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Another athletic league implements steroid testing

The Professional Bull Riders Association began steroid testing earlier this month in New York
For weeks I have pondered whether or not I should write a column about steroid use.
   Performance enhancing drugs have rocked the Tour de France and baseball recently, and steroids in particular seem to be routinely in the national news.
   I have been waiting for an opportunity to weigh in on the subject and it looks like the opportunity is here. Another professional sport has recently added drug testing to its program, and unlike most sports not a word of complaining has been heard.
   Beginning in 2008 the Professional Bull Riders Association will begin testing for steroids. After each event throughout the season the top performer will be tested.
   The first testing under the new policy was held following the VERSUS invitational at Madison Square Garden in New York City the first week of January.
   Any positive test will result in disciplinary action by the competition committee.
   So far not one word of complaint has been heard about the program and it looks like it is going to be a big success.
   What makes this program interesting is that it's not the cowboys that are being tested for steroids. It's the bulls, and it is the stock contractors who are subject to discipline.
   At this point in time it is unclear if any bulls are actually doing steroids, but it is the stock contractors themselves that asked for the program.
   Reportedly steroid use was much more prevalent in the past as stock contractors have realized that the serious and detrimental side-effects that steroids had on their bulls simply outweighed any benefits gained. It is hoped that the testing will lead to healthier bulls and will make a level playing field for the cowboys.
   If testing causes the same problems that it has in other sports we may soon see bulls taking masking agents and designer drugs. Let's hope that's not the case.
   In other news, last summer I wrote a column about Oscar Pistorius who was attempting to be the first double-amputee to make it to the Olympics in track and field. Last week the International Association of Athletics Federations ruled that his prosthetic racing legs give him a clear competitive advantage and are considered a technical aid in violation of track rules.
   As a result Pistorius is ineligible to compete in any further competitions organized under IAAF rules. Pistorius had announced plans to appeal the decision.
    It is my hope that the IAAF will win on the appeal, but that Pistorius will be allowed to compete in open competition. Just not allowed to participate in the World Championships or the Olympics and not allowed to set records that would be recognized for able bodied athletes. That seems to me to be a fair compromise.
   And finally one last comment about the Fearless Forecasters contest. The final results appear in today's paper, and yours truly finished last, and I had to cheat to do it. After I got behind early in the competition I devised a brilliant plan to get back into things where I would wait until everyone else sent their picks in and then pick the teams that no one else picked. If it worked each time I got a game right I would gain on the field. And I might add it worked brilliantly. I got several upsets right that no one else picked. The problem is that more often than not they were right and I fell so far behind that I couldn't even see the individual who was in next to last from the hole that I dug.
   The interesting thing is that as bad as I did it is better than many of the individuals that make their living prognosticating games for national television. Chris Berman, has been picking games on ESPN for years and is frequently below 50 percent on his picks. I guess the moral of the story is that I'm not ready to pick games in Prineville, but I may be ready for prime time.
   Anyway the contest was a lot of fun and congratulations to Buzz Williams for defending his title, and to Casey Waletich, Rosie Honl and Chuck Wettstein for making a contest out of it.