The Page family has raised bucking bulls in Oklahoma for more than 20 years.
H.D. Page, who learned the business from his father Dillon, said he’s “not good at very much stuff,” but he knows as much about raising bulls as anyone in the business.
“I’m going to come with good bulls every year,” said H.D., who along with his father has named Stock Contractor of the Year six times in the PBR. “Without sounding like an arrogant ass or whatever. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Every year, the younger Page said he looks over all the calves D&H Cattle Co. have on their ranch and he picks one that he thinks “will shine” once he’s old enough to compete.
A few years ago he had an eye on a bull he eventually named Stone Sober.
“He’s been that way every year. He’s been my best bull, but every year something’s happened to keep him from shining,” said Page, who added, “His deal hasn’t always come together.”
As a futurity calf Stone Sober didn’t have his best day when it mattered most, but, according to Page, he still bucked and as an ABBI Classic Bull “he tried too hard.”
Stone Sober was the frontrunner, but lost out.
Page said he had a top-heavy rider – Zane Lambert – and just jerked him over the frontend and fell down in the process. Lambert was awarded a re-ride and Stone Sober was effectively eliminated from contention.
This past season, Page thought he should have been among the contenders for World Champion Bull.
“By all rights he should have been in the voting,” said Page, who paused before adding, “I don’t know. He should have been one of the bulls selected.”
He then added, “When you have 23 or 24 outs you’re subjecting them to having a bad day, especially him. That’s the baggage he packs around with him. He’s gotta a little hair trigger in the chute and if (those) guys don’t want to give him a fair shake they don’t have to.
“You do a little something out of the ordinary and he’s going to come undone in there.”
According to www.probullstats.com, he’s had 20 career outs against the top riders and bucked off 18 of them.
This year alone, he had 25 outs and bucked off 96 percent of those who nodded their head, including a 12-2 record on the Built Ford Tough Series. He was the second highest marked bull at the World Finals behind Long John.
Had he been a World Champion Bull contender he would have won the title over Bushwacker.
Page noted that Stone Sober goes to the left, which makes him all the more difficult to handle for right-handed riders, and without naming names he indicated that several riders have told him they agitated Stone Sober in the chute as a means of wearing him out before they ever nod their heads.
“I’ve seen guys I thought just purposely made him buck in the chute just to take him off his game,” Page explained. “I never had enough whatever to do that. Courage or whatever. I was always too scared. I wanted to get out of there without getting crashed. I’ve seen guys do it and guys have come and told me they’ve done it afterwards. It’s not like I’m just making this up.”
No one actually rode him this year on the BFTS or anywhere else.
However, like 2013, he had a pair re-rides awarded.
Emilio Resende rode him in 2013 for a respectable 88 points in the opening round of the BFTS event in Oklahoma City, but his overall record has five re-ride blemishes.
“That’s probably what kept him from actually being in the running,” Page said. “I’m not a very good politician either and maybe I’m just biased. I’m sure I am.”
As for politicking – or lack thereof – that’s probably what kept him and his father out of the running for Stock Contractor of the Year.
PBR Statistician Slade Long, who tracks every out recorded on the BFTS and the Touring Pro Division and Blue Def Velocity Tour along with pro rodeos, said he would have voted differently than the Top 35 riders in the world, who voted Chad Berger for the fourth time in his career.
Long noted that Berger didn’t finish the Finals with a single bull scored among the Top 15 high-marked bulls, while the Pages had three in the Top 10.
They hauled 11 bulls to the Finals, including the top two Classic bulls coming into the final event – Bruiser and Margy Time – but it was Long John, who outscored every bull followed by Stone Sober.
“Nothing of theirs really underperformed,” Long said.
“I don’t know, I thought maybe I had a shot at it last year,” said Page, who described the top contractor award as the highest honor in the industry, “but I don’t know. I don’t keep up with it.”
He’ll certainly be a contender in 2015 and so too will Stone Sober.
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