Breaking tradition


  • Robson Palermo recently had surgery to repair his nose.

In This Article

FORT WORTH, Texas - Bull riding is a painful sport.

Robson Palermo was reminded of that when he broke his nose at the Built Ford Tough Series event in Pueblo, Colo. It happened in the 15/15 Bucking Battle when he was pulled down over the front of Perfect Poison, and slammed his unprotected face off the backside of the bull's head.

What hurt even worse was that his wife Priscila and two children - Gabriela and Mateus - were in the stands to see it.

"I don't want my daughter to see that," said Palermo, who will compete again this weekend at a Touring Pro Division event in Bismarck, N.D.
Palermo has decided to wear a protective helmet.

He is the latest in a growing list of riders who have made the decision to switch from their traditional cowboy hat to a helmet.

The 28-year-old from Brazil said he's been wearing a helmet while working around his Tyler, Texas, ranch, and added that it feels comfortable. He was planning to get on one or two practice bulls before leaving for North Dakota.

Without having ridden with the helmet, Palermo thought the only adjustment was the fact that with a hat, all he sees is the back of the bull. However, with a helmet on, he'll see the facemask.

"It's weird," he said.

Palermo recently had surgery to repair his nose.

Although Dr. Tandy Freeman did not perform the surgery, the procedure did take place at his Dallas office. According to Palermo, the fracture was across the bridge of his nose, and was a simple surgery that took only 90 minutes to repair.

It was afterward that he talked with his wife about wearing a helmet.

"I need to stop being tough," he said. "I have to be smart now."

Unlike many other riders, who grow up playing other sports in the United States, Palermo has never competed in any other sport that requires a helmet.

Friday night in North Dakota will be the first time he does so.

"I feel pretty good," said Palermo, who has ridden horses for the past few weeks in effort to get the feel for being on an animal.

Palermo also had his right leg reexamined last week.

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