PUEBLO, Colo. – H.D. Page says he knows exactly where credit is due after sweeping the bull championships at the 2015 Built Ford World Finals.
Brothers SweetPro’s Long John (2015 World Champion Bull) and Bruiser (2015 ABBI Classic Champion) are sons of former World Finals qualifier Show Time and two daughters of 2006 World Champion Bull Mossy Oak Mudslinger.
While it is easy to give credit to their Mossy Oak Mudslinger bloodlines, Page raved about Show Time as confetti was still falling all around him inside the Thomas & Mack Center.
“It is awesome,” Page said last weekend. “It speaks volumes of the work for Show Time. He has created the Classic Champ and the World Champ. Show Time has been a great breeding bull for us. Jim Anderson raised that bull. He was a great bucking bull in his own right.”
Show Time went 17-4 during his three-year Built Ford Tough Series career and averaged 44.18 points per out. He was marked a career-high 46.25 points during the 2008 Built Ford Tough World Finals and would reach the 46.25-point threshold two more times.
One of those times came against J.B. Mauney, who was bucked off by Show Time in 6.7 seconds at a 2009 BFTS event in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Coincidentally, Mauney played a large role in both Long John and Bruiser’s championship seasons.
If not for Long John’s monster out against Vieira, Mauney would have helped Bruiser become the first ABBI Classic Champion to also win the World Championship when Mauney rode the 4-year-old for 92.75 points in Round 4.
Bruiser was marked 45.25 points and finished the weekend with 90 points, placing him second out of the World Champion Bull contenders.
“Man, I couldn’t have drawn it up any other way,” Page said. “I was real excited when I found out he had him. I really didn’t think if Bruiser stayed left, he had no chance of bucking him off. I was rooting for J.B. It was a little too late for Bruiser. It was a great ride. When J.B. draws great bulls, you can look for great things to happen. As a stock contractor, that is who you want on them.”
Mauney was one of two riders to conquer Bruiser in nine BFTS outs this season.
Joao Ricardo Vieira rode Bruiser for 90.5 points to win Iron Cowboy, while Kaique Pacheco rode Bruiser for 94 points at the Guymon, Oklahoma, BlueDEF Velocity Tour event.
“That was my favorite ride and moment this year,” Pacheco said at the beginning of the Finals.
Bruiser averaged 45.22 points per out on the BFTS.
“I’ll tell you what. He has been that impressive since he was a 2-year-old,” Page said. “He just never failed in however many outs he has had since he was 2 years old until now. He has never let me down. He has been that kind of bull. If all of them were like Bruiser, everyone would be in the bull business.”
Meanwhile, Long John concluded 2015 being ridden just three times in 14 BFTS outs.
Long John, who was the runner-up in the PRCA for Bull of the Year this season, averaged 45.43 points per BFTS out.
He was marked a season-high 47.25 points on Sunday against Fabiano Vieira, which clinched him the 2015 World Champion Bull title.
Mauney took over the No. 1 ranking in the world by riding the 5-year-old bovine for 92.25 points in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
“I have always said if you are going to be the best bull rider in the world, you have to get on the best bulls to do it,” Mauney said in September. “If you are in a position to do it, pick the rank ones. If somebody tells me I can’t do something, I like proving them wrong.”
Bruiser and Long John, who won the 2014 ABBI Classic title, may have similar bucking styles and 2015 statistics, but Page says their personalities at home are completely opposite.
“Bruiser is your best friend,” Page said. “He tries to get along with you and Long John, one day he wants you to scratch him on the top of his head and the next day he will run you over. Their personalities are a lot different.”
Page called Bruiser his favorite bull on the D&H Cattle Company ranch in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
“Bruiser is what makes it worthwhile,” he said. “He is fun every morning. He is a character. If you don’t go by and scratch him, he will just be over their screaming at you to come over there and love on him.”
Still, it had been nine years since H.D. Page and D&H Cattle Company have been able to produce a World Champion Bull until Long John.
“I was tickled to death with Long John here,” Page said. “He was the Classic Champion here last year. There is something about this day and this town, he brings his A game.”
“He was the ABBI Champion last year and a PBR World Champion this year,” PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert said. “You can hardly beat that.”
It may never have happened too.
Page nearly sold Long John as a yearling and didn’t really see much of a championship pedigree during Long John’s early years.
His legs are too long for his body and if not for his World Championship, you could argue he is the odd one on the ranch.
“I came close to hauling him to the sale barn,” Page said. “I never had the greatest hopes for him. His legs looked like they didn’t fit his body when he was a calf. But he kind of grew into it. When he was a 2- or 3-year-old, I really started seeing the potential then. When he was 3 that is when he really come on. I was like I might really have something here. You never know. Sometimes the best bulls are later developing and that was the case with him. He snuck up on me.”
Now, Page has a 1-2 punch better than any stock contractor in the PBR.
Barring injury, Long John and Bruiser should remain in contention for the 2016 World Champion Bull title.
“Both of them enjoy what they do,” Page said. “These bulls know when they are good at something and they are both talented athletes. I am going to try and get some calves out of them. That is my main goal.”
After coming up short in the World Champion Bull race in previous seasons, Page said it only makes him relish this year’s Finals that much more.
“When it all comes together that feeling is so rewarding and makes all of those days (of coming up short), you just forget about them,” he said.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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