SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Altercation seemingly went about everything at 120 mph. Kenny McIlroy’s bull never did anything slow. It always had to be fast.
There was no slowing him down, especially once he got inside the bucking chute.
McIlroy believed Altercation was getting close to reaching the next level of his career; he had begun the 2014 Built Ford Tough Series with six buckoffs and he was marked above 44 points in every out.
Sadly, Altercation passed away on Thursday morning after being struck by lightning on the K-C Bucking Bull ranch in Ohio when a vicious thunderstorm rolled through around 3 a.m.
Altercation was 6 years old.
“We are sad at the farm because he was one of our top bulls,” McIlroy said. “It is just a shame that we lost him. He will surely be missed.”
McIlroy had gone out to check on his pasture that morning and he found Altercation lying underneath a tree. He then called the local veterinarian, who diagnosed that the bull had been struck by lightning.
“It’s a freak thing,” he said. “Pretty much there was nothing we could do about it. It just sucks that it happened.”
Altercation had a 16-3 BFTS record and was a perfect 5-0 this season after bucking off reigning World Champion J.B. Mauney, Brant Atwood, Billy Robinson, Renato Nunes and Joao Ricardo Vieira. Throughout his career, he bucked off five World Champion bull riders: Mauney, Nunes, Silvano Alves, Mike Lee and Chris Shivers.
He finished his career with an average BFTS bull score of 43.84 points. He was ridden by Fabiano Vieira for 90 points last year at the Ty Murray Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Valdiron de Oliveira (87.75 points) and Marco Eguchi (87.25) also covered him in 2012.
“The older he was getting, the better he was getting,” McIlroy said. “The bull was just starting to come into his own. He was always one of those bulls that had a hair trigger. The more guys jack around on him in that box, the more fired up he got. My God, when the gates opened, that bull was just all but rank.
“He dusted the best, that’s for sure.”
McIlroy’s favorite memories of Altercation were beginning to take shape this year.
“I would say probably my best memory of that bull was this year at Arlington,” he said. “He pretty much made short work of J.B. I had another sweet memory. He bucked so hard that he busted Brant Atwood’s chaps right off of him. He was just unbelievable. That was a fantastic trip for him.”
People often ask McIlroy why he enjoys raising bucking bulls that compete in the PBR.
His response is always the same.
“I say, ‘We play it because of the love of our animals,’” McIlroy said.
He then concluded, “It is amazing how many people across the country have the love for Altercation just the same as us.”
INSIDE LOOK: SPRINGFIELD DRAW
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – There are only five Built Ford Tough Series events remaining until the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals and injuries are beginning to pile up, which is allowing other riders in the bottom half of the standings to jockey for position toward qualifying for the Finals.
This weekend there will be 11 alternates – J.W. Harris, Stetson Lawrence,Harve Stewart, Jordan Hupp, Billy Robinson, Josh Faircloth, Guytin Tsosie, Jason Malone, Tyler Harr, Scottie Knapp and Louis Blanco – competing in Springfield at the PFIWestern.com Invitational thanks in part to six riders ranked inside the Top 30 of the world standings being ruled out of competition because of injury.
Less than 900 points separates No. 30 Nathan Schaper from No. 40 Harr in the world standings.
J.B. Mauney, ranked 12th in the world standings, confirmed to the PBR earlier this week that he will be unable to compete due to his lower right back injury that he aggravated in Nashville, Tennessee, last weekend.
No. 13 rider Kasey Hayes has also doctored out of the event due to his fractured jaw that he sustained in Thackerville, Oklahoma, last month when he butted heads with Margy Time. It’s been a tough go for Hayes this second half after being on pace for a career year.
Rookie of the year contender Tanner Byrne will miss his second consecutive event because of a right wrist injury. Byrne tweeted Thursday that he was hoping physiotherapy will work in his favor and allow for a return to action next weekend in Laughlin, Nevada.
Kody Lostroh, who had risen all the way to 37th in the world standings, is also out this week after re-aggravating his chronic wrist injury last weekend.
Sean Willingham (hip), Robson Palermo (right shoulder) and Ty Pozzobon (left knee) all remain out of competition as well.
Stormy Wing and Hupp are returning to action after missing last week due to injuries. Wing was a late withdrawal from the Jack Daniel’s Invitational because of a concussion and Hupp is back after sustaining pulmonary contusions and a torn abdominal and oblique muscle in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
Zane Cook and Ryan Roberts are both competing this weekend as Native American invites. It will be Cook’s second BFTS event in Springfield, while Roberts will be making his debut.
Asteroid, Jared Allen’s Air Time and Shepherd Hills Tested highlight some of this weekend’s championship round bulls.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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