FORT WORTH, Texas ― To say that L.J. Jenkins isn’t going anywhere any time soon is to say two completely different things depending on its context.
The 10-year veteran of the Built Ford Tough Series has alluded to having been around “for a long time” already, but the 26-year-old – he’ll turn 27 in July – said he still has three years, “maybe including this year,” left in his career as a professional bull rider.
However, he won’t be hauling bulls.
According to a social posting last week that appeared on his Facebook page, he wrote, “Due to me wanting to concentrate on riding bulls I have decided to sell my hauling bulls.”
His original posting also indicated he would be selling Molly Hatchet – a bull he co-owns with MMA fighter and Monster Energy teammate Michael Chandler – in an online auction in March.
In an interview following up his post, Jenkins said, “I’ve been doing some thinking and I want to go to a bunch of (Touring Pro Division events) this year because it can play pretty heavily on those world standings. I’m going to try and stay healthy this year and go as hard as I can.”
He’s hoping to accomplish his goal of winning a world title within a 12 or 13-year career. He’s still relatively young and has decided to “put everything aside.” Last summer, he sparingly competed and spent the vast majority of his time hauling bulls to TPD events as well as open competitions and rodeos.
Jenkins said that had the point system been different in 2012, perhaps, he would have won a world title.
It wasn’t what it is now – the world standings now take into account points earned at TPD events – so after seeing how it played out in 2013 Jenkins is going to make some adjustments to his approach going forward.
Riders get to accumulate 25 percent of their TPD points toward the world standings and larger TPD events with at least $40,000 added will carry 50 percent of the points.
It was not lost upon the top riders that Jory Markiss earned a third of his total points at TPD events and managed to finish 11th in the world last season despite riding only 25 percent of his bulls at BFTS events. By comparison, Jenkins, who did not compete at TPD events, covered 47 percent on the BFTS level but only finished three spots ahead of Markiss.
“You can get an extra 1,500 points right there and that could be what catches you up or puts you ahead,” Jenkins said. “If you can stay healthy, I think, it’s the way to go. Those events are still really good.”
Another 1,500 points would have moved him to sixth, while the 2,300 points Markiss earned would have pushed Jenkins into the Top five for the second time in three years.
Jenkins is currently ranked 10th in the world.
Revered among fellow riders and even stock contractors for his knowledge of bulls, Jenkins said his decision was not difficult.
“I’m still going to have bulls around,” he said. “I’m just not going to have bulls around that I send to the (BFTS events) and (TPD events). I might still have five or six that if somebody calls me and says, ‘Hey, I need some bulls at this event,’ I can just have somebody haul them for me and it’s no big deal.”
He plans to raise calves and still has 150 cows at his Porum, Okla., ranch.
He also has 2-year-old bulls and indicated that if he sees a 3- or 4-year-old that can compete in the ABBI Classic, he has partners – Chandler among them – who would like to buy in, and he “probably” will add one sometime this year.
“But I’m not going to haul to these big events anymore until I’m done,” said Jenkins, who has battled a series of injuries throughout his career.
He added, “I want to retire at the top of my game and still be healthy and then go right in and have a trailer load of bulls and still be here.”
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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