Ty Murray's Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
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Celeb competition series is surprisingly positive.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Unlike other reality competitions, the focus here is on gaining confidence and building skill in a new sport. There's no elimination, so every rider can advance as far as he wants, and there's surprisingly little trash talk among the guys. Instead, they encourage and applaud their peers' efforts and learn from one anther's struggles. Safety is also emphasized throughout the training process.

Violence

Amateur or not, this is bull riding, and the guys take some pretty painful falls from their mounts. Bumps and bruises are common, and more serious injuries (sprains, dislocations, etc.) are also possibilities. That said, safety and proper procedures are emphasized.

Sex

With testosterone flying among the male competitors, expect plenty of jokes about finding new uses for groin muscles and protecting the "family jewels."

Language

"Ass," "hell," and "damn" are popular choices. Multiple uses of stronger expletives like "s--t," "f--k," and "p---y" are bleeped.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Competitors are sometimes shown with beer during and after dinner.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality competition is surprisingly positive, without the greed and trash talk typical of so many others. The host and quasi-famous competitors focus on safety, skill building, and encouraging their peers' efforts. That said, there's plenty of strong language ("ass," "damn," and "hell" are common, with stronger words -- including "f--k" and "p---y" bleeped out), and a fair number of bumps, bruises, and other injuries sustained in the ring.

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What's the story?

TY MURRAY'S CELEBRITY BULL RIDING CHALLENGE is a fantasy boot camp of the most extreme kind. The all-male cast includes actors, athletes, and musicians -- from NFL great Raghib \"Rocket\" Ismail and freestyle motocross champ \"Cowboy\" Kenny Bartram (who, despite his nickname, has never so much as touched a bull) to actor Stephen Baldwin and rapper Vanilla Ice. They converge at the Texas home of seven-time All-Around World Bull Riding Champ Ty Murray where, over the course of 10 days, Murray and other pros teach them the basics of riding -- and protecting themselves from -- their menacing mounts. Those who cut the mustard during training will face the ultimate challenge: a trip to Nashville, where they'll participate in a professional bull riding competition.

Is it any good?

You might think this all smacks of the same stuff as so many other star-studded reality TV predecessors, but this show differs in a few key ways. First, it's not a competition in the elimination sense; no one goes home until the Nashville contest. Instead, the focus is on improving skills and gaining confidence in a new endeavor. This greatly reduces the amount of trash talking among the nine riding newbies and encourages them to support each other's efforts, which gives the show a more positive vibe.

Also central is the show's emphasis on safety; Murray and his cohorts are passionate about teaching their charges the basics that could very well save their lives once they enter the arena. The added bonus is that viewers learn a lot about this extreme sport, too. All in all, the show is a pleasant surprise among its reality peers. Just know that since red-letter language is prevalent (the strongest words are bleeped), it's best for older tweens and teens.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what draws marginally famous celebrities to participate in shows like this. Are they hoping to parlay their TV appearances into something bigger? Do they crave attention? How is this series different from other "celebreality" shows? What do viewers like so much about reality shows in general? How "real" are they? Kids: Do you like reality TV? Why? If you created a reality show, what would it be?

TV details

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