By: Justin Felisko May 01, 2014@ 11:00:00 AM
PUEBLO, Colo. – Shepherd Hills Tested will take to the dirt on Saturday night at the Broadmoor World Arena as the Bad Boy Mowers Bonus Bull against Fabiano Vieira with $25,000 on the line for the Brazilian in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
However, it wasn’t too long ago that Shepherd Hills Tested was still working his way up the ranks competing at ABBI, Touring Pro Division and select Built Ford Tough Series events.
Two years ago, he was a 4-year-old competing against over 80 other Classic bulls at the 3rd annual ABBI Spring Fling Classic. He bucked off Bonner Bolton in 1.68 seconds and earned an event score of 87.25 points. Shepherd Hills Tested would tie for sixth place and eventually go on to win the 2012 ABBI Classic championship, while also making a name for himself by bucking off J.B. Mauney, Chris Shivers, Austin Meier and Ryan Dirteater that year.
The next wave of bucking talent rolls through Stephenville, Texas, on Friday and Saturday with the 5th annual Texas Farm Bureau Insurance ABBI Spring Fling. There will be over 200 different bulls, ranging in age from 2 years old to 4, looking to make a name for themselves in Classic, Futurity and Derby events.
There will almost certainly be another Shepherd Hills Tested making a name for himself down in Texas this weekend.
“There is going to be a great set of bulls, a hell of a set of bulls,” said Brad Boyd, who is co-producing the event and owns Lone Star Arena. “There will be some bulls in there that will sure enough shine that will become threats to the top money earners.”
There are a variety of bulls competing this weekend in Stephenville that have BFTS experience, such as Montana Madness, Texas Red and Circle T’s Crossfire to name a few.
2013 ABBI Classic Champion The Rocker bucked last year in the Classic portion of the annual event, as did Air Time, Stone Sober, Modified Clyde, Little Andy and Raven Flyer – who faces Gage Gay in the 15/15 Bucking Battle this weekend.
2009 ABBI Classic Champion Black Pearl has also bucked in Stephenville in the past.
Some riders scheduled to ride in the Touring Pro Division event are Ben Jones, Chad VanAmburg, Josh Faircloth, Lachlan Richardson and Kaique Pacheco de Oliveira.
The Spring Fling is one of the top ABBI events of the year.
“It’s a huge event,” Boyd said. “Either you have luck or you don’t have luck, but usually the bulls that are in the top end of this Spring Fling here in Stephenville are usually the top-end (Classic) bulls at the end of the year.”
The 2014 ABBI Classic Champion will take home $200,000 in Las Vegas this October.
There will be close to 2,000 people in attendance each night in Stephenville and the environment will feature pyro and a big screen television screen. Even more so, Boyd likes that the event is also a teaching tool and helpful environment for new stock contractors possibly interested in getting into the bull business.
“There are a lot of new people getting in that are coming to see what it’s all about, and they heard Stephenville is the place,” Boyd said. “We try to throw an experience out there so that if there is somebody sitting in the audience that wants to be flanking a bull or wants to own a part of a bull, if I can’t help them, somebody else can. We got the whole ABBI crew down here.
“We try to make everyone feel at home and have everybody have a great time, feel no pressure about anything. If they need something, want something, whatever, we got it. It is a first-class event right here in Stephenville.”
Boyd believes it’s also important for young stock contractors, such as those new to the Back Seat Buckers program, to really see how an event like this goes on. A lot of times, new stock contractors only see the BFTS on TV. Instead, there is a growing process for bucking bulls just as there is for youth football players or other athletes.
Everyone will have their eye on what bulls may have what it takes to be the next rank bovine on the BFTS.
“There are a lot of bulls that have made it to the Built Ford Tough that have come through this event,” Boyd said. “It’s just a maturity process. It’s like high school football, college then the pros.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
© 2014 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.