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MORNING BRIEFING

Rodeo Stars: Health Officials Full of Bull

September 21, 1996|MAL FLORENCE

It has been suggested by government health officials that rodeo bull riders wear protective headgear instead of a Stetson.

"And what's next?" wrote Tara Meyer of the Associated Press. "Seat belts on the bulls? Padded horns? Slapping the dust off your jeans with a cordless vacuum?"

Scott Breding of Edgar, Wyo., a college champion and 21-year-old rodeo competitor, isn't keen on the idea:

"If I can't have my hat on, it just doesn't seem right. It's the code of the West--the tradition. Most people who get into this sport know the risks they take. It's part of the thrill."

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Add rodeo: Now an assistant trainer for the Dodgers, Stan Johnston, 25, was once a professional bull rider who attended college on a rodeo scholarship. He tells Live! magazine he broke both legs, both arms, six ribs, his sternum, cheekbone and neck.

He admits, though, that he isn't utterly fearless. "I would rather get on a bull than face a Hideo Nomo fastball," Johnston said.

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Trivia time: What do famous NFL quarterbacks Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana, Joe Namath, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino have in common?

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Eau de gridiron: Russell Maryland, Raider defensive tackle, put things in perspective when he wasn't able to take a shower after last Sunday's game against Jacksonville at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum because of plumbing problems:

"There are two ways to look at this," he said. "I only live five minutes from here. Jacksonville is five hours from here."

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Irish legacy: Former Notre Dame Coach Ara Parseghian in the Chicago Tribune on the pressure of coaching at the school:

"You have such a sense of responsibility and tradition. And the external demands leave you torn in a multitude of directions 24 hours a day."

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Looking back: On this day in 1955, Rocky Marciano knocked out Archie Moore in the ninth round at Yankee Stadium in New York to retain the world heavyweight title.

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Trivia answer: They all grew up in western Pennsylvania.

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And finally: Joe Carter of the Toronto Blue Jays on the marketing of Tiger Woods: "Nike has been telling us for years we're not marketable because people can't wear baseball spikes to the mall or school.

"Well, I know one thing is for sure. If they can't wear baseball spikes, they can't wear golf shoes."

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