SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Dillon Page looked down at D&H Cattle Company superstar SweetPro’s Bruiser inside the bucking chute on Saturday night and saw the 2016 World Champion Bull quivering.
Page wasn’t sure if the 2016 World Champion Bull was feeding off the energy of the sold-out Denny Sanford PREMIER Center or if his bull was simply nervous for his rematch against Derek Kolbaba during the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
Whatever it was, Bruiser turned that quivering into a forceful buckoff in his first out since being ridden by Stormy Wing for 95.25 points at the Ty Murray Invitational.
Kolbaba, who had previously ridden Bruiser for 92 points in Oklahoma City, was outmatched by Bruiser in their third meeting and lasted an extremely brief 2.22 seconds.
“Maybe he didn’t like (being ridden), but he was going to buck anyway,” Page said. “That is just Bruiser. I can’t say that when they rode him the other day that he didn’t buck like a son of a gun. They marked him 46.25 tonight. Two weeks ago it was 46.75 points, and I think he was better today.”
Bruiser used two big, jumps out of the bucking chute to click Kolbaba’s heels from underneath him and send the 20-year-old bull rider over the front end by jump number three.
Kolbaba immediately shook his head in disgust, knowing he had let a golden opportunity pass him by.
“Like I said, you can’t stub your toe on him and that is exactly what I did,” Kolbaba said. “It sucks, but it dang sure won’t be the last time I get to get on him. You just can’t mess him up. I know it was kind of quick and my feet were above my head before I knew what was going on.”
Bruiser won the YETI “Built for the Wild” Bull of the Event with the highest bull score (46.25 points) in Sioux Falls. The 6-year-old bovine athlete has now been marked 46.25 points or higher in four consecutive outs.
He remains right on the heels of Pearl Harbor for the world No. 1 ranking in the World Champion Bull race.
“He had more snap and more drop (than in Albuquerque),” Page said. “When he left there, he left there harder. To me, the intensity was better today. The bull was quivering in the bucking chute today. I think the nerves had him a touch. I just think that is what it was.
“Today was his day to bring it.”
Regardless of the buckoff, PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert, as well as Kolbaba, believes Bruiser is the bull every great rider should aspire to face off against.
Even more so, he may go down as the greatest bull of all time.
“I think he can be the greatest of all time as far as for great champion bull riders to draw,” Lambert said. He isn’t unrideable. He is rideable, but you have to do everything exactly right.”
Bruiser has been ridden seven times by five riders (J.B. Mauney, Joao Ricardo Vieira, Mason Lowe, Kolbaba and Wing) in 38 BFTS outs over the course of his four-year career.
Those five riders have won over $1.325 million on the back of Bruiser, which includes Mauney’s $1 million World Champion bonus for his world title-clinching 92.75-point ride on Bruiser at the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
Mauney is a good example of how a rider can makes tons of money with Bruiser, but can also become victim of Bruiser’s bucking style.
“The thing is, he is not easy,” Lambert said. “He bucks so hard with perfect timing that the great bull riders should ride him. If you are two inches out of shape, he will hurt you. That is the thing people forget. He is gentle. He is a pet. They brush him and bathe him and everything. He is not mean, but his bucking style, he will jerk somebody down.
“Even after successful rides, he has broken J.B. Mauney’s jaw and collarbone.”
Mauney was unable to finish the 2015 Finals after breaking his collarbone riding Bruiser.
Kolbaba added, “He is a bull that is going to be great when you ride him, but he is also not a day off. He is not a bull that is going to give you a second chance like other bulls will.”
The fact that Bruiser is ridden more frequently than other World Champion Bull contenders Pearl Harbor and TLW’s Big Cat, isn’t an issue either for Lambert, who did say that he marked Big Cat and Air Time higher than Bruiser and Pearl Harbor this weekend.
There is no mathematical bonus for bucking off your rider or helping a rider a win an event when it comes to crowning a World Champion Bull.
“A bull is trying to buck a guy off, but ultimately if they get ridden you are supposed to get a high score and you are supposed to win on him,” Lambert said. “In my mind, it doesn’t hurt Bruiser as to where he falls in the history of great bulls. I have never seen one so good.”
It doesn’t matter to Page either.
Page appreciates an honest battle between man vs. beast.
“Bruiser is a rank bull that is the best one in the world to get on,” Page said. “He is a bull that jumps out and bucks and says, ‘You just do the best you can and I will do the best I can.’ There ain’t no dirty tricks. Ain’t no nothing.
“It is just let’s go at it. Whoever is the winner, we will still be smiling.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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