PUEBLO, Colo. – Great White is continuing to work his way back into top shape after suffering a hip bone injury last year at the Built Ford Tough Series event in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
After competing in his first BFTS event since that October night this past weekend at the Jack Daniel’s Invitational, Great White’s next test will come in Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky, when he will be a $5,000 bounty bull for the winner of the BlueDef Velocity Tour event at the KFC YUM! Center.
Great White had bucked off all 18 of his foes on the BFTS before he injured himself during Markus Mariluch’s 74-point ride in Fayetteville.
“We think he kind of knocked his hip bone down in Fayetteville,” stock contractor Jeff Robinson said. “We have bucked him three times since and he has been exceptional. (Saturday night) he was OK. We will see how he does next week.”
Great White bucked off Rooster McKeeman in 6.84 seconds Saturday night and was marked 42.2 points.
“He just kind of got my head reared up and left me back on my pockets,” McKeeman said. “I needed to get off my butt. He felt OK, he did have a couple first weird jumps out of there and once he started into it he was pretty sweet after it.”
Great White made his BFTS debut in 2012 at the Oklahoma City event when he bucked off Bonner Bolton in 5.12 seconds. He has posted a career-high marking of 45.5 points on three different occasions, including one of his better outs in Billings, Montana, last year when he bucked off 2013 World Champion J.B. Mauney in 3.33 seconds. It was the second time Great White had displaced Mauney.
Other notable riders he has bucked off include two-time World ChampionSilvano Alves, Kasey Hayes, Chase Outlaw, Cody Nance and Shane Proctor.
Great White had a BFTS average bull score of 43.54 points in 13 BFTS outs in 2013 and had an average of 43.5 points in six outs the year before.
Mariluch became the first rider to make the 8-second mark aboard Great White in an out that the bull would probably wish to take back. He received a career-low 35.5 points, while Mariluch received 74 points for the championship round ride.
Mariluch actually decided to turn down a re-ride and wound up winning the championship round and an additional $4,700.
“I wish he would have stayed good with me, but it ended up working out,” Mariluch said. “I was the only guy to ride that day.”
He laughed before adding, “Definitely the richest I got for that low of a score.”
The Elko, Nevada, cowboy knew he could cover Great White due to his past experience attempting the bull in Austin, Texas, at a 2012 Touring Pro Division. In that matchup, Great White got called with a foul.
“He hipped himself and really blew out of there and jerked me down and cut me a front flip over his head and dislocated my shoulder,” he recalled.
Still, Mariluch believes a healthy Great White may play fits with whomever wins the $20,000-added BlueDef Velocity Tour event.
“He is not a rider-friendly bull at all,” Mariluch said. “He is not trying to jerk a guy down, but the way he bucks, he kind of blows underneath them. It brings a lot of guys down.”
One rider will try to gain an additional paycheck in Louisville.
Mariluch will be in Springfield, Missouri, for the PFI Western.com Invitational, but he said when it comes to bonus bulls a rider has to do his best to keep himself focused and not focus on the possible payday.
“You just have to go at him as another bull,” Mariluch said. “You want to ride that one usually the bounty’s pay more than the overall bull riding.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.
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