GUTHRIE, Okla. - After fighting bulls for 31 years, Joe
Baumgartner had no way of knowing what life would be like once he
retired from the arena.
He thought he might find some opportunities near his home in
California, but he wasn't sure.
He planned to be home more often with his teenage sons.
Eight months later, he's employed by the ABBI and thankful for the
workload. The title printed underneath his name on his business
card - "Yeah, I even (have) business cards" - says "BSB
"I'm finding out that services means a lot of things," Baumgartner
said. "It's loading bulls, it's running the chutes, setting up bull
riders for a grand opening, it's going out to where all the Back
Seat Bucker bulls are kept and checking on them and making sure
they're doing good."
Baumgartner was originally hired, along with Kent Cox and Dean
Wilson, to work with and train the 100 bulls being used for the
Back Seat Buckers program.
However, in the past few months, he said Kaycee Simpson, ABBI vice
president, has expanded Baumgartner's role with the
Last weekend, Baumgartner was in Guthrie, Okla., for the annual
There were 178 futurity bulls competing during the day along with
a dozen more in the junior futurity, and then more than 70 bulls
competing over the course of two evenings in the derby and maturity
"You know Kaycee, he's got me going to some of the bigger events,"
said Baumgartner, who was on hand to help set up five truckloads of
Priefert back pens. It was the most pens Priefert ever assembled in
"One thing about Kaycee Simpson is he puts himself around people
he can trust, because if anybody knows Kaycee, he takes on the
load, and when he takes on the load, he's there for every part of
it," Baumgartner said. "He's giving me the opportunity, and he
knows that he can trust me with making the right decisions. Any
decisions I'm not capable of making, he knows that I'll come to him
for the right answer."
"I know more bulls than I know people, and I like
being around bulls more than I like being around people."
Baumgartner said he'll likely be spending quite a bit of time
this summer in Colorado working with the Back Seat Buckers program,
which houses its bulls at a prison facility 30 miles outside
He intends for his sons - ages 13 and 14 - to join him in
Colorado for the rest of June and most of July. He'll then spend
nearly a month in Oklahoma, where the next two Back Seat Buckers
events will take place (in Tulsa and Thackerville).
"I'll get some time with them," Baumgartner said, "but my original
plan was to stay home and work around the house. With the economy
the way that it is right now, a guy's gotta do what he's gotta
Baumgartner said he loves working with bulls, especially young
"I know more bulls than I know people," Baumgartner said, "and I
like being around bulls more than I like being around people" - and
watching them grow and develop as athletes.
He explained that he enjoys watching their routines. One day a
calf might stumble and fall down and then two days later, kick up
over his head.
"I find myself cheering for them," Baumgartner said. "I want to
see them win. They become like family, and he would be like a
parent sending his son to college. You know, 'OK son, you're ready.
Go on to the big time.'
"I'm lucky. I enjoy still being able to be around the bull riding
NEWS & NOTES
BULLS SHINE IN OKLAHOMA: The ABBI paid out more
than $600,000 to stock contractors last weekend at the annual
American Heritage, which took place at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie,
Okla. Hard Twisted and Jungle Fear were the Top 2 bulls after two
days of bucking 178 futurity bulls. D&H Cattle Company and
Pillow & Barrett Bucking Bulls each earned $86,148.69,
respectively, for the win. A total of $420,237.50 was paid to the
Top 20 two-year-old bulls.
Aaron Halpain won the junior futurity, which features contractors
who are at least 12 years old, but not over 18. He hauled and
flanked Can't be Touched, who scored 21.5 points.
Scott Accomazzo's Air Time was the derby winner. He collected a
$23,705.50 check for the win, and the ABBI paid out $84,662.50 to
the Top 10 derby bulls, which also included Honey Hush, City
Lights, Paradise and Andrews 907. Derby bulls are 3-year-old
Classic bulls, while the maturity competition was open to bulls of
The top-scoring maturity bull was Shepherd Hills Sod Buster. His
87.5 points earned D&H Cattle Company another $4,785, and J.W.
Hart took home $3,588.75 for second place. Flirting with Disaster
was marked 87.25 points.
Youngster Mason Lowe won the Touring Pro Division event. He was
the lone rider to cover two bulls this weekend with a pair of
85-point rides, while Guthrie Long had the high-marked ride. He
covered Misery Business for 88.5 points on Friday night.