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In the Bull Pen: Anaheim

By: Slade Long
January 28, 2016

Crossfire will be among the bulls coming to California off a strong performance in Oklahoma City.

Crossfire will be among the bulls coming to California off a strong performance in Oklahoma City.

The Anaheim Invitational marks the first of two consecutive West Coast stops on the PBR’s Built Ford Tough Series. Everything moves to Sacramento, California, next week before returning to St. Louis, Missouri, the week after.

We will see some continuity in the bull pen from Oklahoma City all the way through to St. Louis. Eight of the bulls from the Oklahoma City Built Ford Tough Championship Round will appear in the 15/15 round in Anaheim, and a handful more will be used in the Anaheim short round. Defending World Champion Bull Long John, and his traveling partners Bruiser and Brutus will be making the trip to Southern California, along with Crossfire,Semper Fi, Brown Sugar and others.

Chad Berger is bringing 41 bulls to Anaheim. Half of them will go on to Sacramento and half will return to Oklahoma for a week off before St. Louis. All of the Page’s bulls going to Anaheim are scheduled to go to Sacramento as well.

PBR livestock director Cody Lambert and Berger are bringing a couple of veteran bulls out of semi-retirement for Anaheim. Shepherd Hills Trapper and After Party, both formerly Circle T Ranch bulls, are now on Berger’s truck, and will be in the 15/15 round in Anaheim.

“Both of those bulls have been solid for a long time,” Lambert said. “Because of circumstances, we only got to use them once last year — in Arlington (Texas) at the Iron Cowboy. They were both great there, and they are coming off a long rest. That was the only time either bull went last year.”

The two SweetPro sponsored bulls — Long John and Bruiser — were both on the highlight reel last week because they were both ridden in the Oklahoma City short round for 90-plus-point scores. Lambert says neither bull got ridden because he had an off day.

“I’ve seen both those bulls have a better day, but not by much,” Lambert said. “Both riders were perfect, and a perfect effort will win on even the best bulls. Both of those bulls were really good. Crossfire was as good as I’ve seen him, and I’ve been really high on that bull for a while. He’s tough to ride. Brutus had a really good trip in Oklahoma too. Overall in Oklahoma I was pretty happy with the bull riders. We’ve got a group of guys that are trying hard, and it’s working for them right now. The bulls in Oklahoma were tough, and short round and 15/15 bulls will be just as tough in Anaheim, but the riders have been just as tough, and they’ve been making some good rides.”

There are always some quality West Coast-based bulls, and we will see a lot of them in the long rounds in Anaheim. It has proven difficult over the years to put together a large number of West Coast bulls for one event without supplementing with bulls from elsewhere. But, West Coast breeders have played a large part in the history of bucking bulls, and today many bulls from everywhere in the country are descended from famous bulls from California, Oregon and Washington. Five of the bulls in the 15/15 round have West Coast genetics, including Long John and Bruiser. There’s a long round bull from south Louisiana — Lester Gillis —  who is a son of Flying U’s Whitewater and a grandson of Oscar’s Velvet and Panhandle Slim. That’s as impressive a family tree as a bull can have.

Next week, we’ll follow up on some of the current West Coast bulls we will see in Sacramento.

Follow Slade Long on Twitter @Probullstats

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