By: Justin Felisko
ARLINGTON, Texas – Don’t be surprised to see Dallas Schott with a big ol’ smile on his face Thursday night during Round 1 of the 2020 PBR World Finals when he looks over into the bucking chutes at AT&T Stadium.
Schott is the proud owner of 2018 PRCA Bull of the Year and seven-time PBR World Finals qualifier Spotted Demon, and the 12-year-old bull will retire following Championship Sunday.
It was only three years ago in which Schott had to miss the 2017 PBR World Finals as he was still undergoing treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for two major cases of cancer – multiple myeloma and multiple lymphoma.
Doctors diagnosed Schott, who is currently in remission, in February 2017, and he immediately began his treatments.
“They gave me four to six years to live, and I told the doctors they were crazy and I would beat this thing,” Schott said. “The cancer was through the front of my chest and forehead and all down my spine. They found out I was the first one ever to have both major cancers (at the same time), and they did stem cell transplants and everything they could. I was there through November and had to miss the World Finals. I was out in time to go watch him at the National Finals Rodeo, which lifted my spirits so much.”
Coincidentally, Spotted Demon also missed the 2017 PBR World Finals that year. Spotted Demon’s reasons were far less severe as the bull had developed an abscess in his foot, and stock contractor Julio Moreno wanted to rest the bull for the NFR.
Schott and Spotted Demon have since bounced back from 2017 together in astounding fashion.
The South Dakota native continues remain upbeat and positive amidst his battle with cancer.
Spotted Demon went on to not only win the 2018 PRCA Bull of the Year honors, but also qualify for three more PBR World Finals after it appeared his career was on a downward spiral.
“I am in remission now, and actually the doctors at the Mayo Clinic are astonished at how well I’m doing,” Schott said. “I think the Lord is on my side and I have a lot of people praying for me.
“Spotted Demon is 12 years old and hangs with all the young boys.”
Moreno became partners with Schott in 2016, and he said he could tell in his voice and see in his face during Schott’s battle that Spotted Demon became a light for him to focus on during those dark days. Moreno can speak from experience after losing his son, Mikel, to acute lymphocytic leukemia when Mikel was 18 years old.
“I went through it with my son having leukemia, but I really think that was something – your morale is higher,” Moreno said on Thursday morning while driving over to bull housing to feed Spotted Demon. “Just knowing that you have some kind of disease gets you down, but this kept him up, knowing he could come out and see that there’s his World Champion bull, or bull running for the championship. I really think a lot of Demon made Dallas pucker up and feel real good, and know there’s something out there to try to get well for.
“I’m not saying he didn’t have try, but I really think that kept his hopes up. You need that, when you’re sick in the bed or something, thinking about this or that, ‘Why me?’ I really think that helped. To me. That’s me saying it from experience with my son going through something similar. But Dallas is tough. He whipped it, and went with it.”
Spotted Demon has rarely slowed down in his later years since first debuting on the PBR’s premier series on September 27, 2013 with a 3.52-second buckoff of Stetson Lawrence in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The stout bovine heads into his Round 1 matchup against Rafael Henrique dos Santos with a 48-9 record on the premier series, and 87-15 overall, according to ProBullStats.
“That was one thing I was really tickled with after his 2018 outing,” Moreno said of Spotted Demon’s longevity. “He had a good year, he won the PRCA deal, World Champion, and then he came in third or fourth in the PBR that year. So I thought, ‘Oh, that’s good, he’s going to be all done.’ Then he came out stronger in a bull riding that we had had out there after the two Finals, and I thought, ‘Whoa. Okay, we’ll try it again.’
“Spotted Demon wanted to go, and I just kept him going until we are here, and this is enough now.”
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert tipped his hat to Spotted Demon for his ability to be so stout at 12 years old.
“He is still a great bull,” Lambert said. “He has been spectacular the whole time, and I thought he had a hoof issue three years ago and I didn’t even bring him to the Finals that year. I thought he was slowing down. He just had a foot issue, and he came back just as strong and won a PRCA championship after that. He is a really, really good bull and is still good.”
Spotted Demon had a reputation earlier in his career where he would whip his head and horns when he bucked, leading to some riders to call him treacherous. When Moreno began hauling Spotted Demon, he knew it would be tough to control Demon’s body movements, so he focused on trimming some of the bull’s weight off him and put him on a similar diet plan as legendary three-time World Champion Bushwacker.
Within due time, riders began to warm up more to Spotted Demon, especially once they started hitting 90-point paydays. Only six of the 15 rides aboard Spotted Demon have ever scored lower than 90 points, and Spotted Demon can lay claim to having bucked off seven PBR or PRCA World Champions a combined 16 times.
Moreno said he would have loved to win a World Championship in the PBR with Spotted Demon, but the bovine was competing alongside too many other greats, such as three-time World Champion SweetPro’s Bruiser, to truly finish ahead of the pack.
“He definitely had a chance in the PBR,” Moreno said. “But he was like the basketball player that played against LeBron James. If he hadn’t have been around, they could’ve won a championship. Or Steph Curry from the Golden State Warriors. He popped in those threes, and it wasn’t the year for the other team. Spotted Demon just met up with the wrong bulls.”
Even though he did not claim that PBR gold buckle, Spotted Demon helped plenty of bull riders earn their own buckles. Spotted Demon also played a critical role at the past two PBR World Finals, propelling Jess Lockwood to the 2019 PBR World Championship and Marco Eguchi to the 2018 PBR World Finals event average victory.
Lockwood rode Spotted Demon for 91.5 points last year during Round 2 of the World Finals. It was one of five rides from Lockwood (5-for-6) as he usurped Jose Vitor Leme in the world title race by winning the Finals event average.
One year prior it was Spotted Demon knocking out Eguchi moments after he rode the bull for a career-high 94 points in Round 2 of the 2018 World Finals. Eguchi would clear the PBR’s concussion protocol, and he would go on to finish the Finals 5-for-6 and win the average.
“That was a great bull,” Eguchi said. “You could see over the years of competition he was always a short-go bull. He was always marked high scores. If you do little mistake, that can cause a lot of trouble, so he is one of the best bulls for sure. He is not an easy bull.”
Just like Schott, Eguchi says you have to always associate toughness with Spotted Demon.
“Most bulls, when they get old, after 4 or 5 years they get better to ride,” Eguchi said. “Spotted Demon, though, he is going to retire tough.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media
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