'Richard Hammond's Crash Course' Recap: 'American Bullfighter/Paddle Boarder' (2.03)
Richard Hammond tackles two more occupations in this week's episode of Crash Course: in Texas, he takes on the rodeo and in Hawaii, he tries to master the open water. "Who signed me up for this?" he wonders aloud, and it's a valid question, as the theme of this installment seems to be 'things that put Richard Hammond in very real danger.'
The intrepid host arrives in Texas and meets up with Clint Hopping, who is one of only three hundred professional bullfighters (or, as they're more commonly known, rodeo clowns) in the country. It's Clint's job to teach Richard not how to ride the bull, but how to distract and avoid it. Clint tells Richard that his career choice is horrible for his health insurance premiums, as "it's in the top two most dangerous things you could ever do." This does not fill Richard with confidence; nor does his new work wardrobe, a black T-shirt and shorts, which he thinks make him look like "a member of Motorhead's road crew." The film crew starts laughing at Richard in shorts.
Clint begins by introducing Richard to the various bulls he'll be dealing with in the rodeo, but Richard doesn't get to work with any of them just yet - his starter bull is a wheelbarrow with attached horns. Handy chalkboard play-by-play with some cute stick figures informs the audience that it's Richard's job to get between the bull and a fallen bullfighter. Clint explains to him how bullfighters take advantage of a human's ability to turn better than the bull.
Richard then makes the mistake of asking Clint about any serious injuries he may have suffered; Clint tells him that the most serious ones have been head injuries, and he can't really remember them. That's not a good sign for Clint, but Richard happens to have the other man's medical history for his edification and that of the viewers at home. The list includes two concussions, two fractured collarbones, and "a myriad of broken arms and fingers." Sounds like fun, doesn't it?
After just two hours of instruction, Richard is handed some pads and pronounced ready to face a live bull. His first attempt at bullfighting is anticlimactic, as the bull has already decided to head in the opposite direction before Richard actually gets all that close to him. Take two is more dramatic, with the bull heading right for Richard, and he just barely gets out of its way. He asks Clint why he and his colleagues risk horrible injury, and Clint tells him it's "for love of the game." He takes a very nervous Richard fishing to calm his nerves - but Richard isn't a great fisherman, either.
The next day is the day of the rodeo, and Richard is still haunted by his previous close call. Clint admits that he thinks Richard might be a better spectator than bullfighter, and has intentionally misplaced Richard's pads in order to break that suggestion to him. That makes this episode the first time a 'crash course' has been aborted before Richard has completed it.