By: Darci Miller
PUEBLO, Colo. – Sadie Berger knew the time was ripe.
While she officially works in sales, marketing and merchandising for Chad Berger Bucking Bulls, growing up with Chad Berger as her father meant Sadie has been hands-on with the bulls for nearly two decades.
So in early March, with the PBR’s Bad Boy Mowers Mowdown in Little Rock, Arkansas, overlapping with The American in Arlington, Texas, and the family sending bulls to both events, Sadie realized this could be her chance.
She wanted to get out there and flank a bull on the Unleash The Beast for the first time.
“I’ve been bothering my dad about it for a long time,” Sadie said with a chuckle. “Since my dad was going to be at The American and Delbert (Nuse), which is our main bull hauler, was going to be going to Little Rock, I just was like, this would be a great opportunity.”
She ran the idea past her mom, Sarah, and then called her dad.
“I want to flank a bull or two,” she told him, “and I don’t want to go unless I can.”
“Well, what’s out?” Chad asked.
“I want to flank Rocket Man,” Sadie responded.
“That’s a good one for you to flank,” Chad said. “Don’t mess up!”
Normally, when Sadie attends events, she handles social media for Chad Berger Bucking Bulls. But she frequently flanks bulls at home and on L.J. Jenkins’s ranch, and last year began flanking competition calves at women’s events.
She had the know-how, and was ready to take that next step up.
“I’ve been wanting my dad to kind of start giving me a little bit of the reins,” Sadie said. “My brother and sister, he taught them a lot of his knowledge on cattle and livestock, and all that stuff. Where me, I was the kid playing sports, and I went to college, and am kind of his business, tech-savvy, doing all the other kind of things for him. So I don’t think he’s ever really wanted me to be overly involved with the animals, but it’s something that I really enjoy.
“I’ve always had the interest. I just feel like, at this point in my life, I need to start expanding my role in the company, or I’m going to be stagnant. So it’s just kind of time for me, I feel like, to take on another role.”
With her father’s approval, Sadie headed to Little Rock with Nuse to make her own UTB debut.
She did indeed flank Rocket Man, who helped Ramon de Lima to an 87.5-point score in Round 2 for a 42.75-point bull score.
“I feel like it went well,” Sadie said. “My dad jokingly said, since they rode him, he didn’t buck hard enough. He did have a little bit of a different trip than usual, but I felt like it went well. I had fun doing it. That bull, it had a good score, and so I was happy with that.”
But her night wasn’t over. While Nuse thought their bulls were done for the round and began to leave, they still had Space Force to flank.
“Silvano (Alves) looked at me and he’s like, ‘You’re up!’” Sadie said. “Every bull might be a little bit different as far as how they’re flanked, and that bull actually needed the flank on his inside hip, so it was kind of a good thing that Delbert came (back) over there. And that bull kind of bunched up and wadded up in the chute, and I was having a little bit of a hard time, so he helped me out on that one.”
Space Force ended up dispatching Fabiano Vieira in 2.94 seconds, also earning a 42.75-point bull score.
Despite Little Rock being the biggest stage she’d ever flanked on, Berger says she wasn’t all that nervous to get behind the chutes.
“Last year I started flanking some competition calves, some paternity calves, at some of the women’s events,” she said. “And the one thing I had to teach myself was to stay calm, because I believe a lot in energy, and so I’ve learned that the animals can feel your energy. A lot of people have told me that, but I also believe in that, so I just have learned to keep myself pretty calm. I did get a little excited and anxious, but nothing crazy.”
It also helped that the PBR bull riders and stock contractors are people she’s known for most of her life.
“I know it is a male-dominated thing, but everyone back there was so awesome and supportive,” she said. “Brady Sims, he’s one of my best friends, and he was right there beside me, making sure that I was calm, and making sure that I was doing what I needed to do. And L.J. Jenkins, and I mean, all those bull riders and stock contractors that were back there were super supportive. That’s just the great thing about this sport and this business, is everybody kind of backs each other in any situation in life, whether it be flanking bulls for the first time at the UTB, or whatever it would be. Everyone’s kind of got each other’s back, and I think that’s a really cool thing.”
While there’s no concrete plan for her to flank again, Berger hopes to get more opportunities to do so during the summer run of Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour and Touring Pro Division events.
Regardless, she’s proud to join the growing number of women on the backs of bucking chutes, and bring some attention to women who might not get credit for what they do behind the scenes.
“I love it. It’s awesome because there are a lot of women in this sport that do a lot that don’t even receive recognition,” she said. “There’s women that do a lot with bulls that you don’t see on the back of the chutes. But it’s great that women are getting out there, and I love the role that they’re taking in this sport. LeAnn Hart, for example. She’s awesome. Sarah McCoy. I mean, those women, they do a lot for their families’ business with the bulls and stuff. It’s pretty cool.”
© 2020 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.