Well.....the reality is that simply is not true.
The last thing that I would encourage anyone to do is shoot at a bull riding vest (especially if you were wearing one) because it will blow a hole clear through it....I don't care who makes it.
The fact remains that today all bull riding vests are made from similar raw materials that could be comparable, but no where close to the end result of providing true "bullet proof" protection.
When we were out in Denver at the WESA Convention we met with Len Clement, VP of Product Development for Phoenix Performance Products, which is the leading manufacturer of protective rodeo vests. Len shared a story about how the security guards in their office always joked about how they wanted one for protection. Len had to share the fact these are not "Bullet Proof Vests".
It is easy to misunderstand and think they might provide that level of protection with terms like Kevlar, Spectra Shield and other technical names floating around. Today the most popular style is covered in leather for the outer shell and a simple breathable mesh liner sew inside to enclose the layers of dense foam and hard plastics.
Is it really that simple?
Now, again I am not some certified engineer that evaluates the impact resistance of materials. I'll leave that to guys like Len and his team to develop the secret potion. However, the insides of most all the vests on the market are made with layers of foam.
As it relates to Phoenix vests, they have a special bonding process to take multiple layers and press them together in a cell pattern to spread the impact. If you try to squeeze it with your hand you can not make the layers touch. Pretty amazing stuff. They have years of research involved with the Equestrian industry and are truly the original provider of the bull riding vest dating back to Tipperary.
So what makes a great bull riding vest?
- Field Tested - look around and you'll find Phoenix vests dominating the industry
- Flexibility - the cell structure of the insides make Phoenix the most flexible
- Quality Materials - Phoenix again takes the lead with the highest quality materials that we have seen. The sewing, heavier zippers, the quality of leather, Velcro...name it! Quality!
- Design - light weight and the only vest with removable inside panels so you can trim them to meet your riding style and remove them to clean it if needed.
- Price - A lot of a vest for the money. Should be over $1000 if ya think about it!
- Availability - Can you get it when you need it - with Phoenix you can!
- Custom Options - if you want something just for you we can do it.
- Guarantee - quality craftsmanship guarantee - love it or send it back.
Bottom line is the only thing that can save you from all injuries in the sport of bull riding is your couch (and we know a few guys that should be wearing a helmet and vest even laying around)!
There is not a vest on the market that will protect you from every injury...but in our opinion Phoenix Performance currently makes the best ones available.
Spur' It Up!
PS: Don't go shootin' at your Buddy...cause he won't be your' buddy for too long!