PUEBLO, Colo. – Two of the best in the business in 2013 went head-to-head in Billings, Montana, when J.B. Mauney selected Shepherd Hills Tested during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round draft.
However, it wasn’t much of a contest when Shepherd Hills Tested –the 2013 PBR runner-up World Champion and 2013 PRCA Bucking Bull of the Year – shot out of the bucking chute, ripped Mauney into his hand and knocked the eventual 2013 World Champion rider out cold in 3.5 seconds.
Despite being one of only two men to ever reach the 8-second mark on Shepherd Hills Tested, Mauney admitted on Tuesday morning that it was hard not to forget about the plenty of times the D&H Cattle Company bovine athlete embarrassed him.
“That bull is hard to ride,” Mauney said. “I rode him twice and he shit-canned me a lot of times. The one that sticks out in my head is in Billings. He KO’d me. He shot out of that bucking chute, and I was behind from the word go. I wasn’t going to turn loose. He came back to the left and I fell back and all my weight was on my feet and my feet came straight up over him. I was hung upside down the side of him and when he came around he caught me with both back feet and slapped me into the ground.
“I was left snoozing.”
D&H Cattle Company announced on Friday that Shepherd Hills Tested passed away tragically late Thursday evening. The bovine athlete was 9 years old.
“Tested was a true champion and a member of our family,” they said in a statement on social media. “We will truly miss him. Tested will have his legacy carried on for years here on the Rocking P Ranch through his offspring.”
Mauney recently rode one of Shepherd Hill Tested’s sons, Mud Shark, during his victory in Billings, Montana, two weeks ago. The 30-year-old rode Mud Shark for 89.5 points in Round 3 to set himself up to ride another D&H Cattle Company bovine, 2016 World Champion SweetPro’s Bruiser, for the victory.
Shepherd Hills Tested was one of the fiercest bulls on the Built Ford Tough Series during his four-year career, posting a 39-3 record.
Seventeen of Shepherd Hills Tested’s 80 buckoffs (21.25 percent) at all levels of competition came against PBR World Champion bull riders or PRCA champion riders.
“Bull riders didn’t love to get on him because he was incredibly strong and hard to ride,” PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert said. “He bucked every time and kind of did the same thing every time. He had such a strong move and forward motion that he wasn’t easy to ride. He would rear them back and jerk on them really hard.”
It wasn’t just that initial move either, Lambert added.
Tested made riders work for the entire 8 seconds, which everyone not named Mauney or Kasey Hayes failed to reach.
“He had 8 seconds in him,” Lambert said. “He didn’t have just one big move. He wasn’t something if you got past the first jump you had him rode. He was strong while he was turning back. If he needed to, he would spin either way. If he needed to do something different, he would try it.”
In 2013, Shepherd Hills Tested was one of the best in the bucking bull business with an impressive 26-0 record at all levels of competition, including a pristine 13-0 record on the BFTS.
Shepherd Hills Tested set a career-high with a 46.75-point bull score when he fired out of the bucking chute and slid Austin Meier off his back at the 2013 Iron Cowboy competition.
“Man, I hate to hear that (he passed) away,” Meier said. “I remember how much power and speed he had. He had it all. Power, speed, smarts. He was an athlete.”
Tested then finished runner-up to PBR World Champion Bushwacker at the 2013 Built Ford Tough World Finals by posting a 46-point bull score for a 3.78-second buckoff of Chase Outlaw and then a 45.75-point bull score for his 1.53 seconds of work against Markus Mariluch.
He later went on to be named the 2013 PRCA Bucking Bull of the Year.
A year earlier, Shepherd Hills Tested won the 2012 ABBI Classic championship. Tested won $339,570.39 in his ABBI career.
Shepherd Hills Tested was retired from competition in 2014 and had spent the last three years as a part of the D&H Cattle Company breeding program.
In an era where he had to compete against two bucking bull legends in three-time World Champion Bull Bushwacker and 2012 World Champion Bull Asteroid, Shepherd Hills Tested proved just as dangerous to his competition.
“It happens to a lot of bulls,” Mauney said. “They get overshadowed by the really outstanding ones. Bushwacker, Asteroid and ones like that. The thing that hurt Tested was he bucked more with power and wasn’t real showy.”
For what Shepherd Hills Tested may have lacked in showiness, he more than made up for it with brute force.
No rider attempted Tested more than Mauney.
The two faced off six times at all levels of competition, and Mauney won only two of the six matchups.
“The way he moved forward, if you weren’t on your A game and out over him, and you were behind, he was going to drill you,” Mauney said. “He wasn’t the biggest bull you ever seen, but width wise his shoulders would fill up the bucking chutes. Tested kicked hard, but he was more power. He would bail out of the bucking chute, and he would yank the dog piss out of you.”
Mauney became the first rider to cover the 1,700-pound bovine beast when he rode him for 92.5 points to win the 2012 Springfield, Missouri, BFTS event.
Tested turned into Mauney’s left hand and the future World Champion Bull rider fell into perfect rhythm as the then 4-year-old bull tried to outmuscle Mauney with plenty of kick and power in the front end.
Mauney later rode Shepherd Hills Tested the next year in McAlester, Oklahoma, at a J.W. Hart Touring Pro Division event for 90.5 points less than a month after he won his first world title.
Hayes would become the only other rider to solve Shepherd Hills Tested when he ended the bull’s steak of 21 consecutive BFTS buckoffs by riding him for 91.5 points at the 2014 Rumble in the Rockies in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“It was the perfect ride on a really strong bull,” Lambert said. “It had to be one of Kasey’s career highlights, but it would have been anyone’s career highlight because he was so strong when he bucked that if you didn’t ride him perfect you didn’t have a chance.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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