ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. ― There seems to be a target on Jeff Robinson’s back.
As the four-time reigning Stock Contractor of the Year, the Mars Hill, N.C., native shrugged it off.
“Yeah,” he said, when asked about the recent flurry of bull purchases by fellow contractors. “That’s just competition. That’s the nature of the beast.
“I still feel pretty good. We haven’t missed an event. There’s guys buying short-rounders, but they still have to be there. They have to prove it.”
Marco Eguchi wins the Ty Murray Invitational with 92.25 points on Rango in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round in Albuquerque, N.M.
Over the past five seasons, no one has come close to the numbers Robinson has produced.
During that span he’s recorded 1,866 total outs – of which 395 have come in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round. This coming weekend’s Built Ford Tough Series event in Fresno, Calif., will be the midway point of the 2014 season, meaning he’ll easily surpass 2,000 total outs and approach 450 short-round outs.
Numbers like that – Chad Berger is at 1,293 total outs – are the result of being able to assemble two, and sometimes three, separate truckloads of bulls at any given time.
“It’s been real helpful because everywhere we go I know I’m going to have at least one truckload of those quality bulls to start my building of the pen with,” said PBR Livestock Director Cody Lambert. “And I can just count on it, so I do everywhere.”
Robinson added, “It’s every week all over the country.”
Last year, at this time, Robinson eclipsed 100 consecutive BFTS events – a feat unparalleled in the 21-year history of the PBR – and this year he’ll run that streak to 129 events in a row following this weekend’s West Coast event.
He is expected to reach 143 in October at the Built Ford Tough World Finals.
The streak began in Columbus, Ohio, in October 2009 after Robinson missed an event in Portland, Ore. Since then he’s used four primary drivers – Casey Robinson, Delbert Nuse, Wayne Aldridge and Clint Hass – and more bulls than even he can manage to list off the top of his head without looking back at the record books.
Twelve times he’s hauled bulls to a BFTS event in either the Eastern or Pacific Time Zone one week and the opposite side of the country the next.
“For his bulls, I think he’s done a great job of being able to do that with two-and-a-half to three different loads of bulls,” Lambert said, “and nobody has as many as he has.”
This year, despite the spending of other contractors in recent weeks, Robinson has 62 more outs than D&H Cattle Co., and more than double any other contractor hauling bulls up and down the highway. His 38 outs in the championship rounds is more than double anyone else’s pen.
And he’s not letting up anytime soon.
“I’ve got two or three things up my sleeve,” said Robinson. “We’ll still have the same amount of short- rounders the next two or three weeks. Last week, (Tacoma, Wash.), we had more than anybody and this week, (in Albuquerque, N.M.), is a little different. It’s kind of like an all-star event here, but we’ll do what we can do.”
He later said, “We’re going to push hard this year.”
The Top 35 riders in the world vote each year on who they believe the top contractor is.
Robinson’s current title run is the third-longest streak in PBR history and two shy of D&H Cattle Co., who took the honor from 2001 to 2005 and again in 2006 along with Teague Bucking Bulls.
Berger previously won it three years in a row beginning in 2007.
Robinson built his entire program from the ground up and in a matter of 10 years has established himself as one of the top contractors.
Jeff Robsinson, the four-time defending Stock Contractor of the Year, gives us a look at where the bulls are kept before an event day.
“He has,” Lambert said. “There’s no doubt about it. We’ve had the great ones and we continue to have great ones and all the best stock contractors don’t necessarily have a whole truckload of bulls. As far as a full-time guy that you can count on every week there’s never been one like him.
“Jeff’s been to more events and put on more events than any of them.”
A year ago, when he reached the century mark, Luke Snyder opined, “He will out-travel anyone.”
Robinson took his work ethic to another level.
In addition to hauling bulls to BFTS and Touring Pro Division events, he’s produced in upwards of 15 TPD events a year in states spanning from one coast to another.
Robinson said the key to success has been logistics.
The same truckload of bulls that was just in Albuquerque will make its way to Fresno before returning home to Mars Hill, while the truckload he hauled to Tacoma has been in Nampa, Idaho, for the past week. He’ll use those bulls in Nampa and the following week in Billings, Mont.
After a week off – there is no BFTS event the weekend of Easter Sunday – he’ll have some new bulls in Des Moines, Iowa, mixed with the bulls from the other two trucks that will also drive to Colorado Springs, Colo., and Las Vegas for the Last Cowboy Standing.
He also plans to add a couple more short-round caliber bulls to his trucks this summer.
“I’ll be contractor of the year until somebody else wins,” said Robinson. “Competition is good for everybody—good for the bull business.”
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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