LONGVIEW (KYTX) -
James Hajek traveled from Oklahoma for this week's rodeo. He is what's called a pick up man. His job is to rescue cowboys after their 8 second rides from bucking broncs.
He's had broken ankles, knees, and hands - but there's one injury that's worse than them all.
"Having your ribs broken. When you breathe it hurts, when you sneeze it hurts. It's no fun."
He says it takes guts to get inside this arena with one of these bad boys.
"It's like taking a punch from Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson."
Hajek will soon be joined by a hundreds more competitors, rodeo workers, and thousands of fans.
they come from all around the country, plus Canada and Europe.
East Texas Tourism Association Director Mary Ramos says good luck finding a hotel room this weekend.
"Not only are they staying in our hotels - they are eating here, they are buying gas here, and they are even buying western clothes here."
She says the rodeo will always be a tourist magnet.
"It's western heritage for us and we are proud of it. It gives us a moment to be able to brag about TX."
Hajek travels to dozens of rodeos a year and says Longview's is one of the best.
"The only problem is that it only lasts for two days"
It's one in which he hopes to leave unscathed.
WHEN: April 11-12, 8 PM
WHERE: Longview Fair Grounds
How Much: $15 in advance, $18 at the door.