PUEBLO, Colo. – Last Cowboy Standing, the feature event of Cowboy Spring Break, had already come and gone last month, but three-time World Champion Bull Bushwacker confidently stood with his neck held high last month at the MGM Festival Grounds.
Bushwacker was now basking under the hot sun in Las Vegas during a PBR Fan Club autograph session that featured the PBR’s legendary bovine athlete, as well as the Top 40 riders in the world standings.
Yes, Bushwacker didn’t buck that weekend, and, yes, he hasn’t bucked since winning his prestigious third world title last October.
However, he certainly looked like he still had the muscular ability to handle some of the PBR’s best riders as he did 64 times in his Built Ford Tough Series career.
Even seven months since Bushwacker’s retirement from the PBR, owner Julio Moreno still thinks his bovine athlete has what it takes to be the best and beat out the his top competition.
“I think about it and I ask myself, ‘They are saying Long John and Mick E Mouse, where would Bushwacker be?’ I kind of ask myself that,” Moreno said last month. “I think he would still be ahead of them. I really do. Just walking through my ranch and calling for him. Looking at him, he has those muscles that catch everybody’s eye.
“I said, ‘You know what, this bull could probably buck tomorrow if I still wanted to.’”
Instead, Moreno has focused on letting Bushwacker enjoy the fruits of his six years of labor on the BFTS. He has turned him out on a series of cows and it isn’t uncommon to walk by Bushwacker’s pen and find him entertaining various guests.
Such is life as a World Champion Bucking Bull on Moreno’s Oakdale, California, ranch.
“Troubadour has his girls and Bushwacker has his,” Moreno said. “Every once in a while, at a certain time of the day, they will go meet. Whether they are talking or following each other. They will go lay down and Bushwacker will bring his girls by him and lay down and Troubadour does too. It is kind of funny. It is like, ‘Huh, I was good in 2007 and I was the champ,’ and it looks like Bushwacker looks over and said, ‘Yeah, but I am a three-time champ. I have won just as much as you, but two times more. That is my theory, what they are saying to each other.”
Moreno laughs about the life that Troubadour and Bushwacker have now that there bucking days are over.
Yet, just because they have retired from competition doesn’t mean that the two bovines receive less attention. They still receive the same care from Moreno that they did when they were traveling all across the United States.
Moreno added that bull care was one of his main priorities during Bushwacker’s career, as well.
In fact, Moreno said he agrees with Marlene Henry for going the extra mile and taking the extra precautions with Mick E Mouse when her bull was diagnosed with a small fracture in his back in April.
Moreno said when he heard Henry take the precaution of holding out Mick E Mouse until after the summer break that it reminded him of when Bushwacker underwent surgery for a fractured P1 bone in the fetlock of his back right leg in 2012.
“I told Kent (Cox) and Dr. Warner, I have a World Champion Bull, but all I want to do is get him healthy,” Moreno said. “If he can breed cows OK, we won’t worry about ever bucking him again. That was my thinking first. Get him well so he can go do something. Don’t worry about if you are ever going to buck him again. That was second to me. I am thinking Marlene kind of thought that way too. First get him right, then get him back in shape. Then bring him back.”
Moreno explained that as long as Mick E Mouse returns healthy, he is his favorite right now for the 2015 World Champion Bull title.
“Well, I like Mick E Mouse,” Moreno said. “Long John looked real, real good at the Finals, but I don’t think his trips have been like they were at the Finals (last year). I have seen him live at Anaheim and those places. He has the jump, leap and I just really think Mick E Mouse is the one to be reckoned with. But he is (injured) now so I don’t know what is going to happen.”
Moreno added that Mick E Mouse has already proven he is World Champion Bull material. Therefore, Henry can take her time and take those extra precautions to ensure Mick E Mouse is healthy, 100 percent and ready to return.
“The bull has shown people already this year what he has,” Moreno said. “So if he is like Bushwacker was, you can bring him back for one or two shows after that and be able to go to the Finals and still be a World Champion contender.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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