Berger and D&H Cattle Company Honored to be Co-Stock Contractors of the Year

By: Justin Felisko

PUEBLO, Colo. – When Chad Berger first decided to host an annual PBR event in Bismarck, North Dakota, back in 2001, the then-up-and-coming stock contractor hoped to attract the top bull riders in the world to the small capital of the Peace Garden State.

Berger, who is once again set to host his event this coming weekend in Bismarck with PBR Dakota Community Bank & Trust PBR Teams Preseason Event, knew the best way to recruit the top riders was with an attractive event featuring some of the best bulls in the business. Therefore, more than two decades ago, Berger reached out to H.D. Page and D&H Cattle Company.

“I wanted the best back then,” Berger recalled during the 2022 PBR World Finals in Fort Worth, Texas. “It was 22 years ago. I had met him the year before at the PBR Finals, but he brought bulls to my Bismarck event at the very beginning. Probably the first three to five years, D&H brought a whole load of bulls up here. A big trailer load. They had great bulls then and still today. I wanted the best, and back then, I didn’t have near as many bulls as I do now. D&H was a big part of making my bull riding a success in the beginning. We go back a long ways.”

That same season was the beginning of five consecutive PBR Stock Contractor of the Year titles for Dillon and H.D. Page (2001-2005).

Seventeen years since their last Stock Contractor of the Year title, the Pages coincidentally shared the stage inside Dickies Arena last month with the Chad Berger Bucking Bulls team as the 2022 PBR co-Stock Contractors of the Year.

The PBR Stock Contractor of the Year Award is given annually to the top stock contractor in the world as voted on by the PBR’s top bull riders.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve won one of them,” H.D. said at the World Finals. “I don’t know how long ago. To be honest with you, I wasn’t even thinking about it all year. It’s the same thing I’ve always done – just try to bring good bulls every time I come, as many as they’ll let me bring – and I try to make sure they’re all good enough they can win something on them. It’s always an honor. It’s voted on now by the guys. The guys that are tying their hand in their rope saying they like their chances on our bulls is what it tells me (it takes) to win Stock Contractor of the Year.”

Berger has now won/tied a PBR-record 12 Stock Contractor of the Year titles.

“Chad’s done an amazing job for the last five, six, seven years, however many years it’s been,” Page said. “Longer than that. It’s a great honor. He does a really good job and has for a really long time. To be in a mention with that guy for the pen of bulls we’re carrying up and down the road says a lot.”

Berger tipped his hat to Page on joining him at the top of the stock contracting mountain, a position Berger had held alone since 2014.

“Oh, my God. They’ve got a great set of bulls,” Berger said. “I’m just glad to be in there with him. To be honest with you, I think he’s come with a very good set of bulls this year. I’m just proud to be part of it.”

Both men acknowledge they have different styles as stock contractors.

Berger is known to have one of the best eyes in the business, scouting and acquiring bucking greatness throughout his current reign atop the Stock Contractor of the Year rankings. Meanwhile, the Pages are the epitome of breeding success in the bucking bull business.

For example, four of the last five ABBI Classic champions have been raised by H.D. Page, while Berger acquired Night Hawk days before he won the 2022 YETI PBR Bull of the Finals event title.

“We’re both bull men,” Page said. “I raise most of mine, and he goes and finds more up-and-coming or proven bulls. He’s got a really good eye for it, and I think anybody who does this for a living’s got to be a pretty good talent evaluator. All stock contractors have that in common. When you do it for a living, you get a pretty keen eye for them. You get a pretty good idea if they’re going to be able to take it to this level.”

Berger added, “Well, the difference in mine and his is that I buy a lot of my bulls and raise some. The Pages’ breeding program they got is very class-act, and I’m glad to be up there getting this award with him. They deserve it as well.

“In the summertime, I put on 14 PBR events. I’ll bring from 70 to 90 bulls, my own bulls, to every one. The guys riding can be 91 at one place and then bucked off in seven seconds at another. They catch onto that and see how hard I work to have a lot of good bulls.”

Berger’s bulls will again be on display this coming Friday and Saturday night with his annual Bismarck event.

Bismarck is the first of two PBR Teams Preseason events on the schedule before the PBR Team Series season-opener in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on July 25-26.

All eight PBR Teams – Austin Gamblers, Arizona Ridge Riders, Carolina Cowboys, Kansas City Outlaws, Nashville Stampede, Missouri Thunder, Texas Rattlers and Oklahoma Freedom – will send riders to compete in two games at each preseason event (one game per night).

The head-to-head games will feature each team selecting five riders to match up against five bulls assigned to their team. The team with the highest aggregate score will be your game-winner. Ties will be allowed.

The same process will be repeated on Saturday night, with an additional four games taking place before a Bonus Round.

In the Bonus Round, each team will select one rider to attempt to ride one more bull. This rider does not have to be one of the five who competed earlier in his team’s respective games and instead can be an alternate (bench) rider.

The Bonus Round is independent of the results of that weekend’s previous games and only applies to the overall event standings in the case of a tie.

The overall event-winning team in Bismarck will be the team with the best overall win-loss record. In the event of a tie in the event standings, a team’s bonus points will be the first tiebreaker.

Bismarck is no stranger to the team dynamic either.

In 2019, one of the greatest nights in bull riding took place when there were eight 90-point rides during Berger’s $125,000 Team Challenge event. Team Cooper Tires (Cooper Davis, Chase Outlaw and Sage Kimzey) won that event, going a combined 5-for-6.

Now a new era of PBR bull riding will begin on Friday night at the Bismarck Event Center.

Fans can watch all of the action from Bismarck live on RidePass on Pluto TV this weekend at 8:30 p.m. ET on Friday and Saturday.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media

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