By: Justin Felisko
October 10, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – The days of SweetPro’s Bruiser being a bull that every rider should love to get on may be coming to an end.
It is not because Bruiser is a bad bucking bull by any means. That is far from the case. Instead, it is a credit to how rank the bull appears to have evolved into this season.
The 2016 World Champion Bull contender has bucked off 11 consecutive riders on the Built Ford Tough Series since Mason Lowe rode him for 91 points in Oklahoma City during the bull’s season debut.
On Saturday night, Bruiser posted a career-high 46.75-point bull score by trashing Lowe in the duo’s first rematch in 2.56 seconds during the DeWALT Flexvolt Invitational in Nampa, Idaho.
All it took the 5-year-old bull was two massive jumps to the right of the bucking chutes to rip Lowe’s bull rope out of his hand.
“That was one of the best trips I have seen him had since the beginning of the year,” stock contractor Dillon Page said. “He just bucked so hard. He got in the air so much and dropped hard and kicked. He hadn’t had that in his last four or five outs. We kind of had been working on him to get some weight off and leaned up.
“He looked perfect. Evidently, he felt great.”
It was a loud reminder of how strong of a World Champion Bull contender Bruiser really is.
The 46.75-point bull score was his fourth 46-point score of the season – the most in the PBR – and pushed him to the No. 1 ranking in the World Champion Bull race.
Bruiser’s 45.91-point average bull score for his best eight BFTS outs has him ahead of fellow World Champion Bull contenders Jared Allen’s Air Time and Pearl Harbor.
“Well, if he has two trips like that he is the World Champion,” Page said with a smirk. “I think the World Champion is to be had. Whatever bull this year goes and puts two trips together at the Finals that is the World Champion.”
Bruiser is amidst his third BFTS season, but he has already bucked in a career-high 12 events. He has been ridden just five times in 27 BFTS outs in a three-year span and it has been commonly believed Bruiser may be the easiest – for a lack of a better term – to ride when comparing him Air Time, Pearl Harbor and SweetPro’s Long John.
Bruiser’s timing and honesty has been loved by the riders, yet no one has been able to make 8 seconds on him besides Lowe this season. The D&H Cattle Company bull has bucked off world leaders Kaique Pacheco (2.13 seconds) and Cooper Davis (4 seconds), as well as Top-10 riders Eduardo Aparecido (4.98 seconds), Shane Proctor (3.26 seconds) and Jess Lockwood (6.57 seconds).
Page believes riders still view Bruiser as the bull that gave up six qualified rides at all levels of competition as a 3- and 4-year-old ABBI Classic Bull.
Five of the six rides were marked 90 or more points.
Bruiser has matured throughout 2016 and has grown into a powerhouse bull packing 1,750 pounds of brute muscle.
“I don’t think he is even close to the same bull,” Page said. “What made him the bull everybody thinks they can ride is when he was a 3-year-old and 4-year-old. He wasn’t big enough and strong enough then. He bucked hard. He still has the timing, but he is just so strong. When that bull gets in that air good and drops, he has something to it.”
Page was so impressed with Bruiser’s out that he was very close to making a bold statement.
The longtime stock contractor had just watched two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney ride Stone Sober for 92.5 points when he looked at Mauney before pausing.
“J.B. will pick Bruiser one day when he gets another chance,” Page said. “Honestly, I don’t know. I know he can ride him because that is his style, but that bull is going to give him all he is got. But J.B. knows that too.”
Mauney clinched his 2015 world title last year with a 92.75-point ride in Round 4 of the Built Ford Tough World Finals. Bruiser jerked Mauney down right beyond the 8-second mark and hit him in the chest, causing a sternoclavicular joint sprain and ending Mauney’s season.
Bruiser previously had broken Mauney’s jaw a year earlier during Mauney’s 93.25-point ride in Round 4 of the 2014 World Finals.
“He has rode him twice,” Page added. “He has hurt him both times he got on him, but that ain’t going to bother J.B.”
CBS Sports commentator J.W. Hart left Nampa highly impressed by Bruiser and mentioned that Mauney has done a good job in both instances of being in perfect position during Bruiser’s first jump out of the chute.
“Bruiser looked really good,” Hart said. “He made short work of Mason Lowe. You have to be in the correct spot when he hits the ground the first time, and, if you are, you have a way better chance. Your chances go up 10-fold. If you don’t get out of their perfect on that first jump, you see what happened to Mason.
“J.B. has got out on him a couple of times real well. The guys that get around that first corner with a good seat ride him and the better guys are supposed to ride him, but they cannot make a mistake. That is the thing. If you make one mistake he will buck you off.”
In regards to the World Champion Bull race, there are no bonus points at the Finals if a rider makes 8 seconds or not.
The main priority for each World Champion Bull contender is to put together two back-to-back outs that average somewhere above 46 points. Any average score above that mark should put any bull in the conversation to win the 2016 title.
It is why Hart says Bruiser, the runner-up to 2015 World Champion Long John, very much may be able to win the title.
“I know he is not the rankest bull out there, but I do believe he is the most consistent and could put those trips together when they are competing head-to-head,” Hart concluded. “If you took the best trip, single score out there, Air Time would be favored.
“Air Time is your favorite, but Bruiser is probably favored.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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