PUEBLO, Colo. – There is a sibling rivalry brewing in Oakdale, California, between three-time World Champion Bushwacker and his half-brother Roy.
Bushwacker, fresh off his come-from-behind World Championship performance, has been enjoying the fruits of his labor on Julio Moreno’s ranch after retiring at the conclusion of the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
However, Roy has become quite the pest to the veteran bovine athlete.
Just last week, Roy was making his way down the alleyway near Bushwacker’s pen when he stuck his head through the fence and tried to give Bushwacker a piece of his mind.
“Roy wants to fight everybody,” Moreno said during this past weekend’s BlueDEF Velocity Tour event in San Diego. “He thinks he is the king, but he is not. They got in a little fight this week and Bushwacker put him in his place.”
Moreno compares Roy to a young hotshot who is always looking for trouble.
“He is like that bad cat that goes to the bar underage and arm wrestles with his friends and then gets in a fist fight,” Moreno said. “Someone breaks a bottle over his head and he walks it off like, ‘Dude, what happen there?’”
Roy is used to seeing Bushwacker receive all of the fame and attention when visitors arrive on the ranch or when fans stop by Bushwacker’s pen on the BFTS. Apparently, Roy has grown a tad bit jealous of the bull that beat him out by one point to win the 2014 World Champion Bull title.
Moreno noticed that during World Finals Roy began to show his frustration toward Bushwacker when Bushwacker started to eat Roy’s hay that was being blown by the wind into his pen at the South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa. Bushwacker even ate all of Mr. Bull’s hay on one occasion, as well.
The stock contractor would be watching the live camera feed of Bushwacker’s pen and he could see Roy in the background standing far away in his corner. It is similar habit that Roy displays on Moreno’s ranch whenever Bushwacker is greeted by a group of visitors or tourists.
“After he bucked (in Round 2), he was just mad and he went and stayed in his corner,” Moreno said. “I kept seeing Roy doing nothing.”
If Roy can come into his age and stay healthy for an entire season, he may be talented enough to win his first world title in 2015 and get some bragging rights on the ranch. He will likely need to develop another weapon to his arsenal to pair with his strong spinning motion, but the 5-year-old is coming off a somewhat, surprising second-place finish at World Finals.
Roy first earned a bull score of 45.25 points for bucking off Marco Eguchi in 2.75 seconds during Round 2. Roy then came back on Championship Sunday to post 46-points after Eduardo Aparecido made the 8-second mark on him for 93.25 points.
“You know, I never even thought about poor Roy and everything because I was so worked up about Bushwacker,” Moreno admitted. “When we came back after his first trip and I talked to Shorty Gorham and I said, ‘Shorty, I think this bull is going to win this. If he has an out like he should, he is going to beat everybody depending on what happens with Asteroid.’
“Then it came to it that Asteroid didn’t have his trip. It was scary, but the old man (Bushwacker) beat Roy by a point.”
Bushwacker and Roy are both sired by Reindeer Dippin. Roy’s mother is 107/3, while Bushwacker’s is Lady Luck.
One problem that did arise during World Finals was the fact that Roy stopped eating following his first out. Moreno wasn’t sure if it was nerves or something else that caused his bull to stop wanting to eat his grain. Roy did lose some weight, but the bull has since regained it, as well as the muscle that he lost.
Moreno is going to try and use a trick that Kent Cox did when he raised Roy for a few months, which involves sprinkling some strawberry milk powder on Roy’s grain.
The biggest concern of all is going to be if Roy can stay healthy and out of his own way next season.
Roy looked impressive in his second out of 2014 when he bucked off Stormy Wing in 4.81 seconds and was marked 45.25 points in Anaheim, California, in February. However, he would not buck again for four and a half months after having a procedure that was similar to the one Bushwacker underwent in 2012 to fix a chip in his fetlock.
It was the first of three occasions in which Roy was injured this year.
Roy next bucked at the June PRCA rodeo in Prescott, Arizona, before being marked 46 points at the Touring Pro Division event in Salinas, California, on July 16 when he dispatched Cody Campbell in under two seconds. Yet, injury struck again when he was roped in the arena and was flipped over, leading to a minor leg injury.
Moreno let Roy heal for another two months before he returned in stellar fashion at the Desert Showdown in Laughlin, Nevada, to get some revenge on Cody Nance. The Paris, Tennessee, bull rider had previously ridden Roy for 89 points at the 2013 World Finals and, prior to Aparecido, was the only rider to make the 8-second mark aboard him.
Nance nearly duplicated his previous success in the second meeting before falling short at the 6.93-second mark. Roy was awarded a 45.75-point bull score. It was the first of four consecutive 45 points or higher markings he would post to conclude the season.
“That bull has all of the heart in the world,” Nance said. “He is out of Reindeer Dippin and he never did have any quit in him either. The bull was really rank (when I rode him). Nobody really knew the bull a whole lot; he was just a Classic bull that year. He has made a name for himself since then for sure.”
Roy then suffered another minor injury after he knocked out Josh Faircloth in Oakland, California, in his final regular season out this year.
“He is real accident prone,” Moreno said. “I am just hoping he does good and comes on and is able to buck up to his potential like he should.”
Roy has posted a 7-2 recond in nine BFTS outs (6-1 in 2014) with an average bull score of 44.78 points.
Moreno says the plan for 2015 is to haul Roy to eight to 10 BFTS events starting with Sacramento, California, at the end of January. He will also try to bring Roy to a couple Touring Pro Division events in California and bump his end of the year total to roughly 15-16 outs, which would be more than his 11 PBR career outs thus far.
Between now and the New Year, Moreno expects to keep things light on Roy around the ranch. He wants to let the bull continue to run around, play and buck on his own accord before the season gets underway.
“I am going to take it easy and not really pressure him,” Moreno said. “Maybe two days a week I will exercise him. Other than that, I am going to let him eat and get big. He has what it takes.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.
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