OAKLAND, Calif. – All evening, Kindra Moreno’s phone was buzzing and vibrating throughout her best friend Danielle George’s wedding in Manteca, California.
Julio Moreno had the same question every time she picked up the phone, “Where are you at? Where are you at? Where are you at?” he pleaded.
Even by the time Kindra had reassured him that she was in the car and speeding her way across California toward Oracle Arena, he continuously kept calling.
The two are partners in crime in nearly everything they do, and it is especially true when it comes to Bushwacker bucking. With every out in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round passing, Julio was only getting more nervous leading up to his bull’s $50,000 Bad Boy Mowers Bonus Round matchup against eventual event winner Stormy Wing.
“We are a big team,” Julio said. “She had to be here or else I was going to tell them not to buck him.”
Kindra was just as nervous during her hour-long drive west toward the San Francisco Bay area. She had wanted to leave the wedding around 7:30 p.m., but she was unable to get on the road until a little after 8 when dinner was about to be served.
She had to also hold her breath when she came upon an accident when she first made it to Interstate 880.
Kindra’s mad dash transferred from automobile to foot once she found a parking spot next to Bushwacker’s trailer outside the arena. She must have had an anxious look in her eyes as the security guard from the outside gate ran beside her as they tried to maneuver their way towards the arena floor.
Oracle Arena, which is home to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, is not the easiest of places to maneuver, and Kindra got lost at one point trying to make her way to Julio as the roar of the crowd continued throughout the Kawasaki Strong Battle at the Bay.
“I was thinking, ‘Where do I go?’ she said. “I ran down the completely opposite end at first. Then I tried to talk to somebody and he didn’t really know where I was going, so I ended up running into Douglas Duncan in the hallway and he told me how to get here.”
She finally made it to the arena floor as Josh Faircloth – the fourth out of the championship round – was being helped to the locker room and gave Julio a call.
“I just got down the steps from bucking Roy and I looked up and I didn’t know where she was,” Julio said. “I told her to jump the fence and she said she couldn’t because she was wearing a dress.”
Therefore, Kindra ended up heading to the sky box on top of the chutes to prepare to watch Bushwacker take on Wing.
Julio went through his normal routine with his famed bull. He was right there rubbing Bushwacker’s back and chewing on his piece of Big Red gum with 13 cents in his pocket, while J.B. Mauney, the only man to ride Bushwacker in the last four years, prepared to pull Wing’s bull rope.
Then a long day of stress and worry for the Morenos was all said and done in 3.23 seconds. Bushwacker put an end to Stormy Wing’s career-night by displacing him for his 18th consecutive BFTS buckoff, and 12th this year, since Mauney rode him in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last year.
Bushwacker used his brute strength to force Wing into slapping him multiple times before finally dislodging the 25-year-old with a strong kick from his rear end.
“I don’t know if I just stayed down too long or if he got me raised up or what,” Wing said. “I felt good and then he just got me.”
Bushwacker was marked 45 points and put forth a solid rebound after being scored a career-low 43 points last week in Laughlin, Nevada. He has now been marked 45 points or higher in 10 of his 12 BFTS outs during his farewell tour.
Following the event, Kindra explained that Danielle, who she works with at Pioneer Equine Hospital in Oakdale, and her new husband, Levi, were in complete support of her skipping out on the rest of the wedding reception to be there for Bushwacker and Julio.
“They said, ‘Anything we can do for Bushwacker, (we) would be more than happy to do for him,’ Kindra said. “They are pretty supportive and it’s good to have good friends like that.”
Kindra even laughed at the fact that, ironically, Julio had called her an unplanned 13 times on Saturday – their lucky number when it comes to Bushwacker.
Most of all, though, it is a truly special bond to have a loving spouse standing by your side in those ever stressful moments that have become the norm for the Morenos when Bushwacker prepares to ready himself inside the bucking chute.
“We put a lot of pressure on each other to keep on going, which if I don’t tell him good luck before an event he is fighting his head,” Kindra said. “Whether that be a superstition or not, I am not sure, but it is nice to know somebody can turn to you like that and expect you to be here by their side.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.
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