PUEBLO, Colo. – The list of accolades that SweetPro’s Bruiser has won in his five-year career is nothing short of outstanding – and that is an understatement.
One of the next major accomplishments that is within Bruiser’s crosshairs will be Little Yellow Jacket’s PBR record of three consecutive YETI World Champion Bull titles.
Bruiser will be making his 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast season-debut on Sunday during the championship round of the Express Employment Professionals Invitational in Oklahoma City.
Little Yellow Jacket was voted the PBR’s top bovine athlete three consecutive years (2002-2004) when the PBR used to determined its World Champion Bull via a vote.
Bruiser has won the last two PBR World Championships with a sum of his top eight bull scores in the regular season and his performance at the last two PBR World Finals.
This weekend will be the 6-year-old bull’s first action since being named the Top Bull of the 2017 Wrangler National Finals with two 47-point bull scores. He bucked off Ty Wallace in 4.1 seconds for a 47-point score and dislodged Boudreaux Campbell at the 7.8-second mark for a 47.5-point bull score.
The performance capped off a memorable year for Bruiser.
Not only did Bruiser win the PBR World Championship, but he also won top bull honors at the PBR World Finals and was named the 2017 PRCA Bull of the Year.
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert said Bruiser has already entered the elite category in bucking bull history.
If he were to win a third consecutive championship this year, it would be more impressive than Little Yellow Jacket’s run.
“If Bruiser does it this year, it is better than Little Yellow Jacket because he also has won a PRCA Bull of the Year, he has been the top bull at the NFR and at the PBR Finals, and he has won an ABBI championship,” Lambert said. “He is not as rank as Bushwacker, but neither is Little Yellow Jacket or any other bull in the history of bulls.”
Bushwacker is the only other bull in PBR history to win three World Championships. Bushwacker won top bull honors in 2011, 2013 and 2014.
Bruiser won the 2015 ABBI Classic title as a 3-year-old star on the rise. He also finished runner-up to World Champion SweetPro’s Long John. If not for Long John, Bruiser could easily have won three consecutive World Championships already.
The defending World Champion Bull is the fourth bovine superstar in PBR history to win back-to-back titles and joins 1995 World Champion Bodacious as the only bulls to win both the PBR championship and PRCA Bull of the Year honors.
The PBR is currently celebrating its 25th Anniversary.
Bruiser concluded 2017 12-4 on the PBR’s top level of competition and averaged a career-high 46.02 points per out, which was over a half a point higher than his 45.47-point career average.
A rider has only scored less than 90 points with Bruiser once in the nine rides he has surrendered since debuting on the PBR’s Unleash The Beast in 2014.
“Can he be stopped?” two-time World Champion and CBS Sports analyst Justin McBride said about Bruiser. “I know there are bulls that buck as hard and are harder to ride, but can any of them out-score him?”
Stock contractor H.D. Page said he expects to bring the D&H Cattle Company superstar up-and-down the road once again this year and try to get Bruiser another PRCA championship and a fourth qualification to the NFR.
Bruiser has surpassed 23 outs at all levels of competition three straight years and traveled over 20,000 miles last year.
“Planning on it,” Page said via text on Thursday. “If he wants to I guess.”
Lambert said before the season started that it will be interesting to watch how long Bruiser can continue to compete at such a high-level.
All athletes eventually reach a point in their careers where they cannot exert the same kind of energy that they are accustomed to in their prime.
That is no different for animal athletes.
“That is a skill. Being able to compete like that,” Lambert said. “Bruiser kicks the back of the chutes every time he comes out. At some point, he is either going to try and quit kicking so hard or his feet are going to get sore that he can’t do it. At some point, every competitor loses their physical skill or their competitive nature or edge. They decide they don’t want to put out that much effort. They either lose the ability to do it physically or the ability to come up with the mental capacity to come up with that effort. It is the same with humans and animal athletes. At some point, your skills go.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean Bruiser will lose a step in 2018 either.
For now, Bruiser and Pearl Harbor have begun the 2018 season as the general favorites in the World Champion Bull race.
Pearl Harbor is coming off a 46-point bull score last weekend at the Chicago Invitational and is scheduled to compete in the championship round with Bruiser on Sunday. Some other top bulls slated for the championship round include Magic Train, Smooth Operator and Cochise.
“Who knows how long Bruiser can last,” Lambert said. “Who knows how long Pearl Harbor can last. But they are the two bulls to beat going into the season.”
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