Destinee Crockette rides the Cadillac Ranch's mechanical… (Sun photo by Gene Sweeney…)
Corralled by a ring of inflatable cushions near the back of Cadillac Ranch in the National Harbor sits Diablo, one of the state's few regularly operating mechanical bulls.
On a typical Friday or Saturday night, hundreds of would-be cowboys sign a waiver and fork over $3 for a chance to test their bull-riding ability. Though a few experienced riders can stay on for as long as a minute, most last only 10 or 20 seconds, said Dathon Compton, the restaurant's general manager.
But that doesn't stop them from trying. "People love it," Compton said. "I've seen 300 ride it in a day."
Diablo is available for rides whenever the restaurant is open, as long as one of the operators is present.
The trick, Compton said, is in the legs. The best riders lean back, hugging the sides of the bull with their legs, and use the attached rope to help keep their balance.
Compton has never ridden Diablo, but said he rode a mechanical bull when he worked at the Cadillac Ranch in Cincinnati, and wasn't bad.
"I can hold my own," he said. "I've stayed on for up to a minute before."
Cadillac Ranch is at 186 Fleet St. in Oxon Hill. Call 301-839-1100 or go to cadillacranchgroup.com.