RALEIGH, N.C. – Dillon Page leaned against the fence post on the back of the bucking chutes in Austin, Texas, last month when he let a small, and somewhat disbelieving, smile cross his face.
“We have never had one,” Page said. “Never.”
Dillon was talking about the fact that D&H Cattle Company has never had a bull win back-to-back PBR World Championships.
The longtime stock contractor and his son, H.D., have accomplished essentially everything there is to win in the stock contracting business in the last 33 years.
They have raised/hauled three PBR World Champion Bulls, five ABBI World Champion Classic Bulls, four ABBI World Finals Futurity Bulls, a PRCA Bull of the Year and taken home six PBR Stock Contractor of the Year awards.
For how successful D&H Cattle Company has been, it is shocking in some ways that in the PBR’s 24-year history that none of their World Champions have won back-to-back titles.
Granted, the Pages have won consecutive World Champion Bull titles as SweetPro’s Bruiser won the 2016 championship a year after SweetPro’s Long John won the 2015 title.
In fact, Long John was extremely close to repeating as World Champion last year before Bruiser usurped him on the final day of the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals with a 46.25-bull score for bucking off Dener Barbosa.
“We had one bull of the year – Long John – and we won runner-up with Long John,” Dillon said.
The little missing item on the Pages’ laundry list of accomplishments is not a knock by any means, but rather a nod to the three bulls that have successfully pulled off the feat in PBR history.
Dillinger was the first to enter the record books as a back-to-back champion, winning consecutive titles in 2000-01, while Little Yellow Jacket then set a PBR-record with three consecutive titles the next three seasons.
However, three-time World Champion Bull Bushwacker is the only bull in PBR history with back-to-back world titles when the World Champion Bull was not decided by strictly a rider vote.
After winning his first world title in 2011, Bushwacker then concluded his six-year career with back-to-back world titles in 2013-14.
Page hasn’t lost sight of those three bulls’ accomplishments, and he would love to add that accolade to D&H Cattle Company’s always growing list of awards and achievements.
“I would love for him to win it again,” Dillon said. “I think he’s got one more shot, maybe. We have never had one. Never. It just don’t happen very often. Bushwacker, Dillinger and Little Yellow Jacket are the only ones to do it.”
The Pages have also never had a bull in the PRCA win back-to-back Bull of the Year titles.
Dillon added that it also isn’t something that he and H.D. lose any sleep over.
“No, we don’t really talk about it,” Dillon said. “He has his part of this he does, and I tell everyone he is my boss now and he tells me where to go, when to go and what bulls to take, but it is a family affair.”
2017 may just be the year for the father-son duo to have their bull successfully defend his title.
SweetPro’s Bruiser heads into this weekend’s Frontier Communications Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, second in the World Champion Bull race after battling back-and-forth with Pearl Harbor all season long.
Bruiser could regain the world No. 1 ranking with one final regular-season event remaining before the 2017 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals by recording a bull score of 46.75 points or higher Sunday during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round at PNC Arena.
Fans can watch the finale from Raleigh Sunday night on CBS Sports Network beginning at 2 p.m. ET.
The 6-year-old bovine athlete has been marked 46.75 points or higher two times this season, including a career-high 47.25 points when he demolished Jess Lockwood last month in Springfield, Missouri.
The 2017 PBR World Champion Bull is determined based on the Top 8 outs during the Built Ford Tough Series regular season plus two outs at the World Finals. The bull with the highest average bull score across those 10 outs will be crowned the World Champion and earn the $100,000 bonus.
Bulls drop their lowest bull scores if they have more than eight outs on their record.
Pearl Harbor currently leads the race with a 46.38-point World Champion Bull average, while Bruiser is in second with 46.28 points.
No other bull is averaging above 44.75 points.
The bull that goes into the World Finals in the No. 1 ranking wins $25,000. The World Champion Bull takes home $100,000.
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert is confident that one of the two bulls will likely leave Las Vegas as the 2017 World Champion.
And if it is Bruiser for a second consecutive season?
“That is a really big accomplishment,” Lambert said. “Their careers are a lot shorter than bull riders. Bull riders’ careers are short, but bucking bulls lives are short. Their prime is usually only two to three years, and Bruiser’s been doing it, and Pearl Harbor. Both of them have been on the radar since they have been 3 years old.”
There may not be a monetary bonus for repeating as World Champion, but Dillon says that seeing Bruiser defend his crown would be a special moment for him and his family.
“If we can get it done, this would be a first,” Page concluded. “I don’t know. It would just be nice to know you have the best one.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
© 2018 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.