PUEBLO, Colo. – 2016 was quite the year for reigning Stock Contractor of the Year Chad Berger.
In January, Berger acquired 2012 World Champion Bull Asteroid and brought the legend out of retirement.
Then, in July, Berger once again made waves by acquiring 2016 World Champion Bull runner-up Pearl Harbor with another monumental purchase.
However, it isn’t just the headline-making acquisitions or blockbuster bucking bulls Berger consistently rolls out on a week-to-week basis on the illustrious Built Ford Tough Series that is evidence of why Berger won his third consecutive, and sixth overall, PBR Stock Contractor of the Year award.
It isn’t even the fact that 10 times (27.7 percent) a BFTS rider rode a Berger bull to a BFTS victory or 15/15 Bucking Battle victory in 2016.
Instead, Berger’s sixth Stock Contractor of the Year award is another example of how deep his bullpen has continued to become in recent years.
It is so deep that Berger has now been able to provide the majority, if not all, of the bulls for some of the best non-BFTS events on the PBR calendar year after year.
Berger’s bulls are a big reason why fans have grown to love summer PBR events in Thief River Falls, Minnesota; Livingston, Montana; Binford, North Dakota; Big Sky, Montana; and Bismarck, North Dakota.
Big Sky was named the 2016 PBR Event of the Year and Bismarck has been Berger’s hometown event for the last 15 years.
Berger, though, isn’t stopping there.
Just like he added to his bullpen at the Built Ford Tough World Finals by purchasing Red Dawn and Flight Plan, Berger is now adding another event to his stock contracting resume.
This weekend Berger is helping lead the charge for the New Town, North Dakota, Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event on Friday and Saturday night at the Four Bears Casino & Lodge Events Center. Tickets start as low as $20.
“It is a lot of work, but I don’t just want to have five or 10 great bulls,” Berger said. “I want to have five to 10 great bulls with 100 good bulls so I can go on and put on these big events by myself. That is what I enjoy. I enjoy that probably more than just having a few bulls. It gives me great satisfaction seeing all those bulls buck. It is something I just love to do.
“I must have a disease because I love bulls and I want to buy more. Heck, I bought more at the World Finals and I am still looking for the next one.”
It is the first PBR Velocity event ever held in New Town and a group of top riders are making the trek to the casino and resort town. Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour leader Reese Cates, 2004 World Champion Mike Lee, 2016 PBR Brazil champion Dener Barbosa, Fabiano Vieira, Mason Lowe, Kasey Hayes, Gage Gay, Derek Kolbaba and North Dakota native Stetson Lawrence are just some of the top riders scheduled to tentatively compete.
Three of Gay’s career-tying four BFTS round wins came aboard Berger bulls. Gay voted for Berger for Stock Contractor of the Year.
“He is just such a good guy,” Gay said. “He will give you the shirt off his back if he has it and he has always been good to me. He has good bulls and is a good guy. What much more can you ask for?”
Berger said, “My goal is to try and win it every year. That is why I play the game. I want to win. I am just like any of them bull riders. I want to be the best at what I am doing. If I am going to do it, I want to try and be the best.”
Berger said his current reign of stock contracting dominance wouldn’t be possible without his family and partners.
“I got the greatest partners in the world including Clay Struve, Julie Rosen, Mike and Christina Heald, Ken Barnhard, David and Mary Miller, David Currey and some guys that have one or two with me. It has been a great relationship with all of them. They have stuck with me and I am proud of every one of them. From the one that has 50 with me to the one that has one, they all mean a lot to me.”
Berger then added he could not forget to thank his bull handlers and drivers Joey Hales and Rex Meier.
“Most of all, I want to thank Joey Hales and Rex Meier,” Berger said. “Without them taking care of them bulls and getting them where they need to be, I couldn’t be at home and do my other job.”
Berger is now tied with D&H Cattle Company for the most Stock Contractor of the Year awards in PBR history.
The Mandan, North Dakota, native previously won three in a row from 2007-2009 and is hoping he can win a record-setting seventh title in 2017.
“There are only two people that know what it feels like to win it six times and that is me and the Pages,” Berger said. “I want to set a record. That is my goal. Hell, I am not going to live forever, so you might as well do what you can to put your mark on this game. There is no sport I love more than bull riding.
“The PBR has opened a lot of paths for me and I just really think we have a shot to grow yet as a sport. I think our fan base has the potential to grow yet and I want to be a part of it.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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