By: Justin Felisko
February 20, 2017
ARLINGTON, Texas – Chad Berger received a phone call on Friday night that no stock contractor wants to ever get.
Joey Hales was on the line and said that Pearl Harbor was favoring his right hind leg and was walking with a limp. Immediately, Berger, after watching a video of Pearl Harbor, withdrew his 2017 World Champion Bull contender from the Frontier Communication’s Iron Cowboy, presented by Kawasaki, and called Rex Meier to come pick up Pearl Harbor and bring him immediately to veterinarian Gary Warner.
Berger said on Sunday evening that test results from Warner came back positive and Pearl Harbor does not have a serious injury.
Pearl Harbor – the current No. 1 bull in the PBR World Champion Bull race – will return to competition in 2-3 weeks.
“Great news about Pearl Harbor, he just got a little hairline fracture and a little infection in his ankle,” Berger said. “Dr. Warner said in two to three weeks he should be back in business.
“Thank God everything is going to be good. Look to see him back probably after Little Rock.”
Berger was disappointed to be unable to buck Pearl Harbor at Iron Cowboy on Saturday night in front of 38,000 PBR fans, but he said his animal’s health was going to take priority over anything else.
Not to mention, it is also a long season.
“These animals are like my children and, if I see something wrong with them, I’m not going to risk hurting them anywhere. Like I said, if I ever die and go to heaven I want to come back as a PBR bucking bull because nobody gets treated better than they do.”
H.D. Page said Sunday there was no further updates on 2015 SweetPro’s Long John, who also was a last-minute removal from Iron Cowboy because of a potential stomach issue.
Berger had originally planned on bringing Pearl Harbor to Iron Cowboy and St. Louis before giving Pearl Harbor a well-deserved break.
The 5-year-old bull is 4-0 this season with an average bull score of 46.06 per out.
Two of his four buckoffs were of No. 3 bull rider Rubens Barbosa, while he also bucked off two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney (46.5 points) and perennial contender Joao Ricardo Vieira (45.25 points).
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert said that through almost two months of the season Pearl Harbor and reigning World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Bruiser look to be the bulls to beat for the moment.
“Pearl Harbor looks to be the best one going,” Lambert said. “He is not very far ahead of Bruiser. Pearl Harbor looks perfect to me. There are a lot of good bulls, but those two really stand out.”
Lambert added that Pearl Harbor could have been marked even higher than his 46.25-point score in Kansas City when the bovine athlete bucked off Barbosa in 6.67 seconds.
“In Kansas City, he did everything you could ask one to do and Bruiser was a half point behind him.”
Berger also explained Pearl Harbor’s injury will not change his plans for Pearl Harbor the rest of the season.
“I don’t change my strategy,” Berger said. “When he’s feeling good, and geographically it looks right, he’s going to be there. We’re still looking for him to have 10 to 12 outs before the Finals.
“We’re not going to hide him out of nowhere.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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