By: Justin Felisko
June 12, 2017
PUEBLO, Colo. – The running list of 2017 victims at the hands of 2012 World Champion Bull Asteroid continues to grow each time reigning Stock Contractor of the Year Chad Berger hauls his prized bovine to the arena.
Yes, Asteroid’s days of being a World Champion Bull contender are likely over with his 43.25-point average bull score this year, but the 10-year-old continues to remain one of the stiffest challengers for any bull rider.
And, let’s be clear, the list of Asteroid’s victims this season is one of the most impressive for any bull.
In his last out, Asteroid made ground beef out of Kaique Pacheco – the runner-up in the PBR world title race the last two years – in 2.83 seconds – during the Tacoma, Washington, 15/15 Bucking Battle.
Prior to that, he bucked off four champion bull riders in a row.
Asteroid first disposed of two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney in 6.57 seconds for a season-high 45-point bull score in Sacramento, California.
The bovine athlete then bucked off four-time PRCA champion J.W. Harris in 2.72 seconds in Anaheim, California.
Reigning World Champion Cooper Davis was no match either for Asteroid in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was bucked off in 5.07 seconds.
2012 PRCA champion Cody Teel lasted 6.06 seconds in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
It is quite remarkable that despite losing a step in his game, Asteroid has remained unridden since returning to competition in 2016.
Asteroid is 17-0 on the Built Ford Tough Series and 20-0 at all levels of competition after only bucking once in 2015.
Even Berger laughs about Asteroid’s undefeated record under his tutelage.
That wasn’t expected after he purchased the bull from Jeff Talley and unretired the bull last season.
“What sticks out to me is he is perfect so far,” Berger said. “If you look and see who he bucked off in them two years, there ain’t no slouches. He has gotten J.B. twice. Joao twice. Kaique. Cody Teel.
“He is bucking top guys off.”
Asteroid is 6-0 against BFTS competition this year.
How is his bull doing it?
“He bucks by feel more than anything,” Berger said. “When he was younger, he would just buck as hard as he could and not for feel. I think he really feels those guys where they are at, and he knows how to get them off.”
Two-time World Champion Justin McBride reiterated the same theory during the CBS national broadcast in Tacoma.
“This has been a great bull for a long time and what he lacks in intensity now he makes up for with intelligence,” McBride said. “He really goes off feel.”
Asteroid is competing for the last time in Bismarck, North Dakota, on Saturday night during the Dakota Community Bank PBR Bull Riding Challenge Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event.
Fans can watch the event exclusively on PBR LIVE beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET on Friday and Saturday night.
Berger will be retiring Asteroid at the conclusion of the 2017 Built Ford Tough World Finals in November.
“It is kind of a little sad,” Berger admitted. “Anytime, you hate to retire a bull like that because you love to watch him buck and perform. It will be pretty special for the people in Bismarck to see him one more time.”
Berger is excited to buck one of the greatest bulls of all time right outside his hometown of Mandan, North Dakota, for just the second time.
Tons of PBR fans in the local area have been clamoring to see Asteroid one more time after the black bull wowed the thousands inside the Bismarck Civic Center last year.
Asteroid won a memorable showdown against Jess Lockwood last year inside the Bismarck Civic Center with a 1.78-second buckoff. Asteroid was marked 46.5 points.
“That and, actually, the first time I bucked him in St. Louis with Joao (Ricardo Vieira). That was probably his two best outs with me,” Berger said.
Asteroid is 66-4 on the BFTS since bucking at his first event in 2011.
He has bucked off World Champions Renato Nunes, Guilherme Marchi, Silvano Alves, Mike Lee, Mauney and Cooper Davis a combined 14 times.
“He has been an amazing animal for a long time,” Berger said. “He bucks by feel more than anything. When he was younger, he would just buck as hard as he could and not for feel. I think he really feels those guys where they are at and he knows how to get them off.”
Berger and his crew at home have been working hard to get Asteroid ready for this weekend.
Asteroid has spent the majority of the last few weeks out on the ranch breeding and has lost some weight as a result.
“In fact, I am almost a little leery to buck him in Bismarck because we had him on heifers for so long,” Berger said. “He is a little thin right now, but we are getting him back. We are getting him ready to go. With his retirement coming, we can breed him a little more and do what I really want to do with him.”
Asteroid is going to be a huge part of Berger’s breeding program for many years to come.
Berger has already been breeding Asteroid with some heifers from former PBR World Finals bulls Big Tex and Smackdown.
“They are big and he is not so big,” Berger said. “I want to get a couple bigger Asteroids.”
He is looking forward to the day of breeding Asteroid heifers with current world No. 1 bull Pearl Harbor.
“I want a cross between them two,” Berger added.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
© 2017 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.