COSTA MESA — They served their country in Iraq as U.S. Marines.
On Thursday, the four men were serving the crowd of hundreds, pretending to play poker as bulls charged them, seeing who could last the longest without getting up from the table and running away.
It provided some of the most intense moments at the Orange County Fair.
"Not even the bull riders volunteer for this kind of stuff," says Tim Coy, an emcee. "The bull riders know the dangers involved, but we get a lot of Marines who volunteer. They want the money, and they love the danger."
They also ended up splitting the $1,000 jackpot. Which means even though the crowd thinks there's just one winner, they all leave the ring with the same amount of cash — sort of like baristas in a café dividing up the tip jar, although these Marines-turned-cowboys aren't serving lattes.
"Your heart starts pumping, and your adrenaline starts flowing, and you don't feel anything," said Marine Cpl. Michael Peace, who was the second one to be chased out of the ring by a bull early on in the game.