PUEBLO, Colo. – Jared Allen’s Magic Train was a young freight train leaving the bucking chute in Phoenix this past March.
The young 3-year-old bull nearly hipped himself bursting into the arena floor before using a quick bucking motion and rolling his end caboose in a rippling motion to toss Marco Eguchi to the ground in 6.89 seconds.
He was marked a Built Ford Tough Series career-high 45.75 points in only his third event on the PBR’s primary circuit. After bucking off Ryan Dirteaterin 1.59 seconds two months earlier in Oklahoma City for a bull score of 44.75 points, it was no surprise that stock contractor Matt Scharping was confident in the animal athlete that he and Chicago Bears defensive lineman Jared Allen purchased.
However, Magic Train has seemingly plateaued since those two outs, failing to record a bull score of more than 44 points in his last eight outs.
Scharping had tried switching the bull’s delivery to the left side to help the bull fix a hair-trigger issue he was having in the bucking chute, but the end result was a clean exit out of the chutes with an “unorthodox” kind of trip.
Therefore, this weekend Scharping attempted to buck Magic Train out of the right side again after bucking him out of the left on Friday night and in some previous outs.
The end result was Magic Train being marked 43.25 points out of the right delivery for his 4.21-second buckoff of Zane Lambert, and a 42.25-point score from the left side when he bucked off Jason Malone in 6.16 seconds.
“In the big scheme of things, he is fine out of the left because he bucks hard and I feel he is a short-round type of bull,” Scharping said. “Out of the right, I have had him blow up and turn back a little bit sometimes and in order to win at these things (ABBI events) you have to be into the gate, so that’s why we are trying something different.”
He may be being marked only 43.56 points on average in the BFTS, but Magic Train has proved problematic to riders attempting to ride him. He has bucked off 13 of the 14 riders that have attempted him in the PBR’s Touring Pro Division or Built Ford Tough Series this year.
Magic Train will look to add buckoff No. 14 to his stat book when he is the $5,000 bounty bull for Saturday night’s BlueDEF Velocity Tour event in Minneapolis.
“I know he is good and he was going to explode out of there,” Lambert said. “Everybody I talked to was pretty high about that little bull.”
Malone added, “He felt good. He made about around the left and I was pretty committed to it. I guess he is getting older and maybe smarter and went back around the right and put me on the ground.”
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert said Magic Train has not looked like the bull that once caught some early attention last year.
“Magic Train was decent, but he isn’t as good as he was last year,” he said. “When they bought him he was a little better bull than that, but sometimes they turn out that way. I don’t think they have done anything wrong with him. He doesn’t have a good pattern where he gets scored a lot every time even though he is pretty hard to ride every time.”
Scharping understands that Magic Train is probably out of the running for the ABBI Classic title, but he still likes the bull’s intangibles. The smaller bull has “springs in his feet” and is “trying his guts out” every time.
He added that he and Allen are not disappointed in the bull, and Scharping is committed to trying to help define what makes him buck at his highest potential.
Scharping hopes that maturity and an eventual comfort level inside the bucking chute may be exactly what Magic Train needs to get back to a strong and ranker level.
Jared Allen’s Pro Bull Team takes pride in the bull’s ability to displace riders on the BFTS.
Other than Kasey Hayes and his 87-point performance last month at the BFTS event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Magic Train has been a difficult and unpredictable bull for many riders.
Billy Robinson almost became the second rider to conquer him on the BFTS when he lasted 7.46 seconds on him in Thackerville, Oklahoma, the week after Hayes the 8-second mark.
Robinson, a 12-year veteran on the BFTS, said it is Magic Train’s unpredictability that has stood out to him.
“He bucks hard, you just don’t ever know what he is going to do,” Robinson said. “That’s what makes him stick out so much from a regular bull. He is going to change up and try and do something else to get you on the ground.”
Even though the ultimate goal is to get some consistency out of their bull, Scharping believes that the unknown bucking pattern has been helpful when it comes to bucking off riders at times.
That may be an advantage this weekend in Minneapolis at the Target Center.
“That is just a tough bull for guys to get ahold of because they can’t plan on him,” Scharping said. “With Magic Train, you have to ride him dead center in the middle and just ride him jump for jump. You don’t know if he is going to back up underneath you, lunge forward or if he is going to go left. You have no idea. You are just along for the ride.
“It will be fun (this) weekend to see who gets him.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.
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