In the bull pen: Fresno

By: Slade Long March 27, 2014@ 02:30:00 PM

Bushwacker awaits L.J. Jenkins this weekend in Fresno, Calif. Photo by Matt Breneman /

FRESNO, Calif. ― The bulls in Albuquerque, N.M., were one of the best pens we’ve seen all season. They held the riders to just 30 qualified rides in 115 total outs – 13 percent below average for a Built Ford Tough Series event. PBR Livestock Director Cody Lambert says some of that bull power will carry over to the Table Mountain Casino Invitational in Fresno this weekend.

“I think we have a strong pen of bulls set for Fresno,” said Lambert. “Jeff Robinson and the Pages both had full loads at Albuquerque, and those bulls are going on to Fresno. Julio Moreno is bringing Bushwacker andMr. Bull and a few others. There are some good California-based bulls that we haven’t seen as much, but most of the top bulls from Albuquerque are going to be in Fresno too. Rick Dreo of Bar 3D Bucking bulls is bringing five bulls, and all five are good ones.”

Bushwacker bucks off Markus Mariluch in 2.27 seconds, earning a bull score of 46 points in the championship round of the Ty Murray Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. 

Bushwacker will appear in the 15/15 Bucking Battle in Fresno. This will be Buswacker’s 75th career out. He’s been the high-marked bull in his round in 55 of those outs already, and that is a record that may not be broken for a long time. To put it in context, his closest competitor is War Dance. In 2009,War Dance retired with 149 career outs, the huge majority of those being at rodeos where he was clearly the best bull. He logged 53 round-winning outs, meaning he was the high-marked bull in his round just over one third of the time. Bushwacker has won 75 percent of his rounds while competing against elite level bulls his entire career.

“Bushwacker probably could have won a couple more rounds, but he bucked his guy off too fast,” said Lambert. “War Dance was always the kind of bull that turned back right in the gate and showed you everything in the first second. Bushwacker has thrown a good many guys off before he even got to turn back and spin at all.”

Bushwacker hasn’t been very helpful to riders in his career, but they don’t really hold it against him. Over the years there have been many bulls that retired and the riders were glad to see them go. But they all want a crack at Bushwacker, and he gets everyone’s best effort.

“I think the riders really try hard on him, and they really want him,” said Lambert. “L.JJenkins has him in the 15/15 round. He [Jenkins] has some sort of nagging injury, and when he spoke with Keith Cartwright last week he wasn’t sure if he would be able to go in Fresno. When Keith told him he drew Bushwacker, he said he would for sure be there.

“L.J. really got noticed back in 2005 when he rode Reindeer – Bushwacker’s daddy – in Laughlin, Nev. To get another shot at Bushwacker in his final season would be huge, and he doesn’t want to miss that opportunity.”

The Pages will have three of the most impressive bulls we’ve seen this season – Stone SoberShepherd Hills Tested and Long John –  in the 15/15 round, and they’ve got a newcomer that has been promoted into this round – 910 Tee Time.

RELATEDCheck out all the 15/15 Bucking Battle matchups

“Tee Time had a bad trip in Denver at the Touring Pro there,” said Lambert. “I wasn’t really planning on using him anymore for a while, but H.D. Page sent me a video of him from the Austin, Texas, rodeo where he looked really good. They brought him to Albuquerque and he bucked great there with Renato (Nunes). One of the bulls that I originally had slated for the 15/15 round in Albuquerque didn’t do very well last week, so he’s out and Tee Time is in.

Rounding out the pen we’ll see in Fresno this weekend are bulls from a number of California-based contractors, including Flying U Rodeo Company, Humpz & Hornz Bucking Bulls, Jerry Brown, Marty Robinson and more.

Follow Slade Long on Twitter @ProBullStats


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