The Sin Hang-up

Braided rope with rosin, was wrapped around real tight

Fixing the riders wrist and hand, it was twisted up just right.

It happens all to often, as the rider was neatly tied

To the smelliest and orneriest set of steaks with hide.

The first clown there, had grabbed the bulls attention

Off’ring a better target, seemed to be his only mission.

Bullfighter Two mounted up, with just a little work

He grabbed the wrap, found the tail, and gave it one big jerk.

The young and novice rider, had terror mixed with fear

Kept his hand locked closed, the Bullfighters could see it clear.

The clown just kept on pulling, a tug of war ensued,

the rider went and panicked, the ‘fighters not amused.

The four dance partners tired, as they worked the rope again

The bull was getting angrier and high-tailed it round the pen.

The bull was chasing fighter 1 as he juked and moved aside

The bull was in his pocket, gaining with every stride.

Two men were earnin’ paychecks, their efforts maxed out full

Each was doing all he could, to separate the boy and bull.

The hang up lasted seconds, an eternity as mom’s go

When it could have been far shorter, had the rider just let go!


Fights are no fun to be in, but imagine how much it would stink to be tied to the thing that is beating the snot out of you!  That is what it’s like to be hung up on a bull.  I have fought bulls for the last 8 years and hang=ups have been a regular events.

This summer the worst hang-up of the summer took place in the deepest mud.  It was down in Burlington, where one or the Christian Youth Rodeo Association Bullriders got bucked off away from his hand in mud deep enough to drown us all.  Daniel, my bullfighting partner, was the first to grab the tail of the rope.  I tried to go to the head of the bull but he had no intention of coming out of his spin.  He hit Daniel in the hip knocking him away from the action a couple yards when I tried to  get to the kids hand.  The bulls hip came around and knocked me out of the way and Daniel went back in.  This time I wasn’t gonna let the bull stay in the spin, so I grabbed both horns and pulled him to me.  Here is where the mud came into play.  After I grabbed both horns, I wasn’t able to move my feet and he hit me square in the ribs.  When I hit the ground, my elbow popped out of place (an old injury), and I was laying directly in front of the bull about 10 yards.  Just as the bull was bucking toward me, I saw a flash of lavender.   Daniel had shot the gap trying to pull the bull away from me.  The bull lifted his head, hitting Daniel in the butt and shooting him up in the air.  I tried to crab walk out of the way when the bull ran over the top of me.  His back leg hit me in the hip pads, as the bull rider, still attached to the bull, was drug right over top of me.  I grabbed Jess Pope’s chaps, hoping to pull him off the bull by adding weight.  We looked like two water skiers getting drug across the water because we couldn’t stand up.  Daniel finally got Jess undone from the bull and we all walked away but it was an action packed 20 seconds.

This hang-up was rare in the fact that it was a true hang-up.  When working most youth rodeos and camps, a true hang up doesn’t happen often.  Most of the time a hang-up is really a “hang-on”.  Hang-ups only happen when you come off away from your hand, letting your hand roll over, making the hand impossible to open.  A “hang-on” is when someone gets bucked off and refuses (or doesn’t realize) to open his hand and let go.

Sin is one of those things that we sometimes get hung-up too.  There are times when sin entangles us…when the things of this world have us wrapped up, rolled into your hand and tied in, Think of Tuff Hedeman at the NFR (pictured here).  The video lasts 54 seconds of his hang up.  Five bullfighters, 12 chute help, and a knife is what it took to free his hand from the rope.  Paul used the word “entangle” to describe our attachment to sin.  He often speaks of it binding us up and keeping us captive.  There is no better word to describe a hang-up.  Despite your best efforts, the snot is getting beat out of you, but you can’t get your hand out of the rope.

A “hang-on” is a different story.  Sometimes our hand is in the rope and we are getting dragged around the arena on our own volition.  This is especially common at youth rodeos where kids are told at all costs “don’t open your hand.”  A kid starts leaning and their hips slip down on the side of the bull and they are hanging parallel to the ground.  Once the foot slips over the back of the bull, they begin to be drug around the arena, feet and legs banging kicking up dust in their wake.  In an instant, the rider panics and keeps their hand closed, a bullfighter chase ensues, and everyone in the arena starts yelling “open your hand!”  Sometimes our sin is the same way.  For all the stuff that has us trapped (hung-up) there are a ton of other things that we refuse to let out of our hands.


We get “hung-up” to lies, entangled in their burden, and we “hang-on” to unforgiveness and anger.  Our hand is stuck in lust, and grasps worry with a death grip.  Our sin is sometimes something we are stuck too, and sometimes something we choose to hang too. Sometimes we are hung up and Paul, possibly harkening back to Solomon’s words in Proverbs 5.22, writes “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles [euperistatos] …” Paul knew how sin takes hold, grabs on, ties us up, and imprisons us (Romans 7.14, 23; Gal. 3.22).  But sometimes we “hang-on” in our sin.  Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, explains that: “In [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness [aphesis] of sins…” (Eph. 1.7)  The word “forgiveness” is the same word for release.   Through Christ’s sacrifice, His blood, releases us from the sin that we hang on too.  When were “hanging-on”, first and foremost we must open our hand.

Whether we “hang on” or are “hung up” we are in harms way, affixed to that which brings pain and suffering.  Sin is deadlier than a 1800 lbs animal.  We must get separated from our sin…and the only way to do that is through the blood of Christ.

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