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He doesnt dance with wolves, he dances with buffalo

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Tracy Chesney

chesney_tracy@hotmail.com

Quinlan – R. C. Bridges, 60, used to dance with his buffalo, Wildthing, when the buffalo weighed a mere 600 pounds.

When Wildthing doubled in size, R. C. had to give up the dancing lessons.

"When I stopped dancing with him, he would pout," R. C. said.

His wife, Sherron, said they’re referred to as, "The Buffalo Whisperer" and the Indian lady, "Palefeather."

Once a rodeo clown, R. C. is also known as "The Buffalo Tamer" and "Dances with Buffalo." Now a horse trainer, R. C. has trained Wildthing to do things that other buffalo have never done.

Wildthing knows how to pull a plow, pull a chariot and has pulled the Bridge’s children on skis through their dirt arena. However, the fun hasn’t stopped there.

When R. C. and his wife, Sherron, renewed their wedding vows on their 6th and 7th anniversaries, the four-year-old buffalo had to be on his best behavior.

After all, he was the best man.

Although Wildthing stood out with his massive presence as the best man, Sherron sparkled in her hand-made Native American Indian attire at their second renewal of their vows.

Wearing a beautiful, white hand-made headdress, she carried a bouquet that included some of Wildthing’s hair.

Wildthing’s favorite thing to do, however, is to come into the Bridge’s house and snoop around. Wildthing likes to sit by his master’s chair, but since he weighs close to a ton, it’s getting harder for Wildthing to fit through the backdoor.

"It hurts Wildthing’s feelings when we don’t let him in all the time," Sherron said. "He’s a nosy-body."

"Once he’s in the house, he wants to see everything," Bridges added. "And, no, he’s never used ‘it’ inside (referring to be house-trained)."

Wildthing has celebrated his birthday (inside the house) complete with a candle-lit birthday cake shaped like buffalo poop. And his family didn’t forget to sing "Happy Birthday" to him.
When Wildthing isn’t inside, he’s curls up right outside the family room window, so he can be as close as possible to Bridges. "He’s usually checking on me and where I’m at every day," Bridges said. "I think he checks on me more than I do on him."
At such a young age, Wildthing has become quite a "little" star. The Bridges, including Wildthing, were featured in a 2-page-spread in the 2008 "Ripley’s Believe It or Not."

They were, also, invited to attend the grand opening of the world’s largest Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum in San Antonio.

They have 16 contracts with The Animal Planet, five contracts with America’s Funniest Home Videos and a contract with CMT’s Country Fried Videos.

They were also featured on WFAA, Chanel 8 Why Guy’s series, The Animal Planet of the U. K., Chat Magazine and in newspapers across the world.

Their son, Will, is the first buffalo skier (skiing behind a bison buffalo), and their daughter, Taylor, is the world’s first person to ride a snow sled behind a bison buffalo.

Sherron said Animal Planet named her the "Little Girl Goes for a Buffalo Snow sled Ride."

R. C. has been fascinated with buffalo all his life and has won two world championships in the American Buckskin Association in cutting. He started raising buffalo in 1995 but had to give it up after the price of hay went up.

In 2004, R. C. had a cornea replacement after losing his eyesight in one eye. When he was a rodeo clown, he suffered two broken necks.

"What keeps me going is my wife, my kids and God," he said. "I also have a high tolerance for pain, which helps, and I don’t use age for an excuse. When I lost my eyesight, I realized that my family was more important to me."

R. C. has been training Wildthing since the buffalo was two months old.

"I try to do things that other people haven’t done," he said. "I made a mistake in training him, though.

He’s like my buddy, and I’m not quite as strict on him as I should be.

"Buffalo aren’t trainable animals, and it’s very dangerous to train him. If I hadn’t been a rodeo clown, I wouldn’t have attempted any of this. When I do things, I don’t know what his reaction will be."

One of Wildthing’s favorite pastimes is to horn things. The Bridges have videos of Wildthing pushing over a wheeled-trashcan, a bench swing and his recliner.

If R. C. is next to the trashcan or sitting in the swing or rocking chair, though, Wildthing won’t touch those objects.
"I think he knows he could hurt me if he did," R. C. said.

"I think he does respect me, and he tolerates a lot out of me."
One of the first times that Wildthing took a walkabout in their house, he picked up the couch with his horns before exiting the building.

"I don’t let him stay in too long, because he could rearrange the furniture," R. C. said.

R. C. can sometimes walk up beside Wildthing and get him to lie down next to him. And, Wildthing likes to snuggle up with him.

"Buffalo need other buffalo or animals to bond with in order to keep them living," he said. "I’m like his mother and his best friend. He lives for me, and his whole life is me."

The Bridges were, also, offered their own realty TV show. But they turned it down for the sake of their children.

"My dream is for Wildthing to be in a Hollywood movie; not me. He’s the celebrity."

Sherron believes R. C. deserves to be in the spotlight.

"Even though he loves what he does, he always puts his family first. He deserves to be in the spotlight. In my book, he’s the truest American Texas cowboy of all times."

Sherron is a photographer and makes and sales Native American Indian clothes, headdresses and jewelry.

For information, visit the Bridge’s Web site at www.krphotos.web.officelive.com or view their videos on Youtube and archive "Buffalo Whisperer."


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