In the bull pen: Tacoma

By: Slade Long March 14, 2014@ 02:30:00 PM

Smackdown has been one of the more consistent bulls on the BFTS. Photo by Andy Watson /

TACOMA, Wash. ― The PBR Passport Invitational in Tacoma is the only Built Ford Tough Series stop scheduled in the state of Washington this season and it’s something of a homecoming for one of the PBR’s most famous bulls.

Chad Berger’s K55 Smackdown is a product of the Katich ranch in Northeastern Washington. Bulls from the Katich ranch have played a big part in PBR history. Bulls like Major PayneRapid FireUnforgivenDr. Proctor and Dog Face all have been featured in highlight reels throughout the history of the organization.

J.B. Mauney puts up 93.75 points on Smackdown to win Round 2 of the 2013 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas. 

Smackdown is the latest Katich bull to carry on this long tradition, and his career has been impressive indeed. He’s approaching 100 career outs, with 73 of those at the Built Ford Tough Series level. He’s currently 14th on the list of bulls with the most all-time Built Ford Tough Series outs and will move into the Top 10 with just a few more outs; he is likely to pass Chicken on a Chain and Promise Land by the end of the season.

By every measure, Smackdown is already one of the most accomplished bulls in PBR history, and he is still on top of his game while he nears the end of his career.

PBR Livestock Director Cody Lambert considers him one of the most dependable bulls ever used on tour.

“He’s about 9 years old now,” Lambert said. “He’s been a great bull for a long time. He’s lasted longer than most bulls on tour and he’s never really had a bad day. He’s gone against the best riders his entire career. He is rideable, but he still gets the best of most guys. It takes a great ride to make the whistle on him. At his age, this could be his last trip to his home state, and he’s got some relatives here. His half-brother, Get Smacked, will be in the short go with him.”

Get Smacked doesn’t travel as much, but he’s tough to ride in his own right. No one has earned a score on him since April of last year.

A couple of other bulls from the Northwest will be featured in the short round. Craig Wentz’s Buckey is another bull nearing the end of his career, and he’s had a good one. Red Eye Rodeo’s Badger Milk is more of a newcomer with some promise.

“Buckey has really kind of come back,” said Lambert. “He had an off-day at the worst possible time last year, and it took him out of the Finals. He’s bucked ever since, and he’s back in the short go. Badger Milk had a trip here at Tacoma with L.J. Jenkins that was about as rank a trip as we’ve seen any bull have. He had an off-day in Billings with Silvano Alves after that. He’s back to bucking, and he is a big rank eliminator type of bull. L.J. rode him seven seconds, the bull never made a round, and he would have been 90 on him no doubt. ”

Shane Gunderson’s Buck Wild will also be in Tacoma – he’s the highest-ranked bull that will be there. His PBR career average is slightly higher than even Smackdown’s – mainly because he gets gaudy numbers at a lot of Touring Pro Division events.

“Buck Wild is hard to get out of the chute on,” said Lambert. “He wears a halter, and they run a rope through his halter while he’s in the chute to keep him from jumping around in there. There’s a big incentive to get out on him though, because he’s flashy, and he’s borderline easy to ride. He jumps so high in the air and hangs there. He keeps his back pretty level, and he doesn’t hit the ground very hard. He has almost no drop, and that makes him just as flashy but a little easier to ride than most short-round bulls.

There are a few heavy hitters set for the short round as well. Jeff Robinson’s High SteaksStanley Fat Max and RFD-HD are all bulls that are very seldom ridden. But, overall, the pen of bulls we’ll see in Tacoma will be around the same level we saw in Kansas City, Mo.

“Tacoma be a little softer on the bull power,” said Lambert. “Kind of like the week before the Iron Cowboy. In Kansas City they rode four in the short round and this group will be a lot like it. We’ve got Albuquerque next week and most of the top end bulls will be there.”

Follow Slade Long on Twitter @ProBullStats


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