As far as sports go bull riding is both one of the most dangerous and out there that you can think of. If you have never been to a bull riding competition, the atmosphere is akin to any other sporting event except there is an added element of danger in the air. Whatever sporting event you go to you never know what is going to happen, who will win or lose or what will happen in between. That is all amplified with bull riding especially since the athletes are putting their lives and safety at risk in willingly participating with a very angry animal.
You can grasp the danger of the sport and also the dedication of the bull riders to what they do as you watch Weightless. The short film directed by Jesse Rosten briefly tells part of the story of professional bull rider Cody Campbell and his journey back to his profession after a devastating injury. Campbell talks about the moment after he was injured by the bull. He was thrown and the bull stepped on his leg shattered the lower two bones. We see footage of the incident and Campbell recalls being pulled away from the bull and seeing that leg just dangling there. As with any sport there is always a question of whether the athlete can come back from injury and if they do how that injury will impact them moving forward.
He does not talk about his rehabilitation or his journey back, he only comments that he was nervous about going back and how his leg would hold up. Most people would be petrified to return to something that had caused them harm in the past but not people like Campbell who are so devoted and dedicated to what they do that not even injury could keep them from returning.
Instead Campbell literally takes the bull by the horns and gets back to what he loves. Campbell is rational and know that the possibility of injury is always there with bull riding, but that does not make him scared because he loves it so much and he knows it is as much a mental game as it is physically being able to ride the bull.
Why does Campbell put himself through this? Why does anyone put themselves through a hardship for something they love? Because they love it. Because it is something that they are passionate about and cannot picture their lives without. Campbell describes the feeling of being on that bull even though he says that it is hard to put into words. Everything is slow motion, the bull feels like he is floating in the air weightless, and there is nothing else in the world that can replicate that feeling which is why he loves it. It is the thrill, the adrenaline rush and the love that makes the risk worth it for that momentary feeling of weightlessness.
Besides Campbell’s story, Weightless offers some of the most compelling and stunning visuals from start to finish. Whether it be of the bull itself, Campbell in a contemplation state, a shot of him getting back on the bull, or a beautiful series of him riding, you can feel the emotion and are drawn further into Campbell’s story because of the compelling nature of the images beckoning you. These visuals show bull riding for what it truly is, an art form.