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Friday, May 25, 2012

Buffalo Whisperer

Buffalo whisperer RC Bridges at home with his pet bison in Texas
RC Bridges, nicknamed 'The Buffalo Whisperer' and his wife Sherron, share their Texas home with two enormous bison - 2,400 pound 'Wildthing' and recent 900-pound arrival 'Bullet'.
Wildthing, who is seven years old, acted as the best man when his owners renewed their wedding vows in 2006, after five years of marriage. RC, 63, said: "He carried the rings on his horns and threw them off one at a time for us to catch."
RC, who is a cowboy and horse trainer, has worked with bison - or buffaloes, as he refers to them - most of his life. After losing an eye in 2004 he had to sell his herd - except for one young male, Wildthing, who he decided to keep as a pet.
His photographer wife Sherron, 39, who is part Native American and makes traditional-style clothes and headdresses using the animals' hair, said: "We love our buffaloes. I think if either one of them died, RC would probably go along with them."
Bullet, a female, who is three and a half years old, still hasn't been house trained, or become familiar with the family's pet wolf, Jewell Spirit. She was given to the couple after her previous owner found her too hard to control. RC said: "Her owner told me if I could catch her, I could have her. She kept getting out of the pen and the sheriff's department was mad about it. Well, I just caught her, put her in a trailer and brought her home."
Bison can be very dangerous animals. Their curved, sharp horns are two feet long, and lethal, and they are able to run as fast as 40 mph. RC said: "I knew they were crazy animals but it actually turned out way better than I thought it would be. I always dreamed of training a buffalo, but I never thought about training two. They're like my buddies. Bullet likes to be with me at all times, she'll even give up food to be close to me."
RC, who insists his friends and relatives still visit the family home, said: "They're not afraid to come over because I keep everything safe. But most of them think I'm going to get hurt or killed. I don't think you can ever take all of the wildness out of the buffaloes, though. I've been hurt a lot, so I guess its just part of the game."
Nevertheless, the couple's two grown-up children, son Will and daughter Taylor, are proud of the family pets and have even broken world records with them. RC said: "My son was the first person to ever ski behind a buffalo - on water skis and on sand. My daughter was the first person to ever snow sled behind a buffalo."
He even has trained them to come up his pick-up truck.
One of their huge pets looks startled as it sees another bison's head on the wall in the Bridges' lounge
The buffalo feel completely at home.
They move about freely everywhere. 

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