PUEBLO, Colo. – Marlene Henry’s motherly instincts took over last Saturday when she watched Mick E Mouse slip during the 15/15 Bucking Battle against Nathan Schaper in Billings, Montana.
Once Sunday morning arrived, Henry immediately knew something was wrong with her bull and she and stock contractor Kevin Loudamy pulled Mick E Mouse out of the Built Ford Tough Championship Round after noticing him walking differently than normal.
According to Henry and Loudamy, Mick E Mouse was diagnosed with a small fracture in his lower back after having X-rays taken Thursday morning at Texas A&M.
“Basically, in the lower part of his back in between two vertebrae he has a fracture,” Henry said. “They say it is not uncommon to have that in bucking bulls, especially if you have one that bucks really, really hard.”
Mick E Mouse will spend the next seven days at Texas A&M undergoing treatment, which includes three sessions of acupuncture.
He is expected to miss six weeks, but Henry and Loudamy plan to also give Mick E Mouse the entire summer break off. As long as there are no setbacks in his recovery process, Mick E Mouse will next buck on Aug. 7-8 at the Built Ford Tough Series second-half opener in Biloxi, Mississippi.
“It is relief. It is good news. I haven’t eaten. I haven’t slept. I haven’t sat still for three days,” Henry said. “I have done nothing, but worry about it. It could have been a whole lot worse. A fracture in the back and six weeks, I can live with that.”
Loudamy added, “It is pretty minute, but where it is, it is the same with you or I. If you do anything to your back it is going to hurt. After the trip home (from Billings) I could have sworn I could have bucked him the next day because he came off the trailer at my house bucking and playing, but he was also sore the next morning (Wednesday).
Loudamy took the 2015 World Champion Bull contender to Dr. Rob Thoni in Kilgore, Texas, on Wednesday, who then recommended Henry and Loudamy take Mick E Mouse for X-rays at A&M.
It is believed that the injury occurred when Mick E Mouse slipped in the arena during his out with Schaper.
“They watched the video and from their diagnosis it probably did happen when he slipped,” Loudamy said. “The way it tweaked his back.”
This is the second year in a row in which Mick E Mouse has had to come back from an injury. He broke his right hip last year at Iron Cowboy, which led to him missing close to five months.
At first, Henry feared maybe her bull had hurt his hip again in Billings.
“I felt like it was something with his hip, but the more I watched him travel, I told Kevin, ‘I think it is something in the back because he is kind of dragging his toe.’ It kind of made me feel that it was something to do with the back.”
Loudamy called Henry on Thursday and told her the news.
“He said, ‘OK, you can smile now,’” Henry said.
They are relieved with the diagnosis because if the injury would have occurred in Mick E Mouse’s upper back, there would have been a possibility that his career would be over.
“Thank God it is in the lower back,” Henry said. “If it was in the upper back, he would be done. He would be able to go out and have a life, but he wouldn’t be able to buck again.”
Mick E Mouse is currently riding a streak of 34 consecutive buckoffs on the Built Ford Tough Series and the bovine athlete has yet to be ridden in 40 careers outs at all levels.
This has been a career-year for Mick E Mouse, who is one of the leading contenders for World Champion Bull.
Mick E Mouse has gone 6-0 on the BFTS and is averaging a career-best 45.38 points per out. Mick E Mouse is the current holder of the highest bull score on the BFTS this season with a 47- point outing against J.W. Harris in Anaheim, California.
There will be plenty of time for Mick E Mouse to make a push for the world title when the second half of the season resumes in August.
The most important thing now is for him to rest and get healthy.
“There will be more than six weeks until we come back,” Henry said. “But that should give him ample time for the inflammation and the swelling and all to go down. Hopefully everything is going to be OK.”
Loudamy concluded, “We are not going to take a chance with it. The best thing to do is let it heal completely and we will bring him back and be ready to go. We will just come back strong after the break and be ready to roll.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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