I’d not seen this entertainment activity at any of our other galas.
This private school auction had a western-themed fundraiser. To add to the ambiance, they brought in a mechanical bull for guests to ride during the silent auction portion of the evening.
Although guests were wary at first, they eventually warmed to the idea to try it.
The bull was positioned in the middle of an inflatable ring. It reminded me of an inflatable swimming pool for children. When the guest was thrown off the bull (some sooner than others), he or she had a comfortable (relatively-speaking) landing.
The mechanical bull activity was easily set-up and tore-down by the entertainment company. Guests were encouraged to dress for the West, so most wore jeans which was conducive to the activity of bull-riding. More men tried the activity than women, but I did see one female give it a shot.
The school auction itself was held in the school auditorium. The bull was set-up in the center, on the side of the auditorium, near the bleachers.
Although guests did stop shopping in the silent auction to watch the riders, it wasn’t a noticeable distraction. Most people would watch one or two guests ride, and then moved on, drifting back to the silent auction or bar.
During the live auction, when we asked guests to sit in the bleachers, the inflatable ring was deflated so guests could easily walk to that section of the wall.
Here’s my take: Anyone working with school auction themes using a Western bent (e.g. Wild West, Cowboy, Cowtown Days) should consider talking to an entertainment company about renting a mechanical bull. It was a fun addition. Just make sure you encourage guests to dress casually.