[Editor's note: The following
story originally appeared in the April/May issue
of Pro Bull Rider. Pro Bull Rider is the award-winning magazine available to PBR Posse members.
For information about joining PBR Posse, go here.]
PROSSER, Wash. - Semen is available.
Now there are three words you don't hear every
Unless, that is, you're on the phone with Craig
Wentz, owner of Buckey, one of the world's Top 5 bulls, who is
proving he's also one of the world's top sires.
Though he's nearly 8, Buckey has only been a
PBR star for about three years. That's rare for the bulls of many
breeders, but not for Wentz, who regularly holds his bulls from
competition until they are fully mature.
"I'll bet Buckey doesn't have 40 lifetime outs
in his entire life," Wentz said. "We flanked him as a calf. We took
him to a junior event as a yearling. Just one. We bred to him as a
2- and 3-year-old. I'd rather have them peak a little later than
Wentz said Buckey and other bulls in the
Northwest are unique in that there aren't many futurity events in
"It's not to say we couldn't feed them up and
get them looking mature," Wentz said, "but having their legs under
them and really bringing it happens when they're 5. In some of the
lower states where futurity is a big part of the program, calves
will mature and peak a lot earlier. It's kind of the way they're
bred. They are breeding to futurity-type champion bulls.
"The end result is that my 4-year-olds would
have a hard time competing against their 4-year-olds, but you can
flip that as they get older, because our bulls are going to be more
fresh at an older age."
Buckey has not received a bull score lower than
44.5 since early 2011. He's only been ridden six times in 23 career
outs on the Built Ford Tough Series.
"I don't know who named him, but whoever
it was, they knew what they were talking about."
Riders posted 89.50 points or better each of
the three times Buckey has been ridden in 2012.
At the end of 2011, Justin Koon was just
three-quarters of a second away from a killer score on Buckey in
the Built Ford Tough Championship Round at the PBR World Finals in
Las Vegas. Koon had never seen Buckey.
"I just got on him and nodded," Koon said.
"He's been in my brain ever since. I was splitting 14th and 15th
place, and that was the bull to have. I love that bull. He fits my
style. I would pick him any time I had the chance. Lots of air in
that spin. He fell down with someone this year because he was
trying to buck so hard."
PBR Livestock Director Cody Lambert agreed.
"Buckey's deal is he gets stronger as the ride
goes on," Lambert said. "It's not the first round to the right that
gets those guys, it's the second or third. He generates more whip
the longer the ride goes.
"Craig called me three years ago and told me he
had a really good bull. I tried him in Fresno (Calif.), and he was
really good there, but he's gotten so much better with time. He
needs the Built Ford Tough Series-caliber of guys to get on him on
a consistent basis. In Albuquerque (N.M.), Buckey was in the 15/15
(Bucking Battle) and his son, Buckoff, was in the long round."
Ah yes, the offspring. All of them have the
word "buck" incorporated in their names. Buckoff, Buckshot,
Buckmaster. They're all really, really good, too. Where did the
"My daughter Fallon named him when we took him
to that one junior event in Arlington, Oregon," Wentz said. "She
was 7. I asked her what we should name the red calf. She looked at
him and said, 'Buckey.' It stuck."
Koon didn't know the story, but he said, "I
don't know who named him, but whoever it was, they knew what they
were talking about. Buckey is perfect for that bull."
In the 15/15 Bucking Battle in Sacramento,
Buckey carried Valdiron de Oliveira to 94 points, the top-scored
ride of 2012. Oliveira's ride resulted in a bull score of 46.25
points. His top bull score came in Arlington, Texas, when
Buckey posted 47 points in dispatching J.B. Mauney.
Caleb Sanderson (91.75) and Silvano Alves
(89.5) also made the whistle vs. Buckey this season.
"Buckey doesn't normally have his best trips
with big, strong bull riders, so I've got to give him kudos for
performing so well with Valdiron," Wentz said. "In the next trip in
Glendale (Ariz.), not to take anything away from Caleb, but he
kicked the post really hard and that took a little off his game. He
was darn sure bucking, but not to his ability. He was distracted a
"He'll do that every once in a while because he
starts right there at the gate. He's got a lot of up-and-down, and
likes to travel. The bigger the pen, the better he is. He likes the
room. I was tickled at Cowboys Stadium when he and J.B. went at it.
That was a big arena and one electric trip."
In his fledgling PBR outs, the 1,700-pound
Buckey was bucked from a right-hand delivery and turned to the
"Cody walked up to me and told me he was afraid
he was going to end up in someone's lap, cuz he kicks so hard over
the fence, so we switched him to a left-hand delivery. We had the
same problem because he started going right," Wentz said.
However, as he has seasoned, Buckey has settled
into his usual pattern of going to the right out of a right-hand
"That bull's heart is what makes him special,"
Wentz said, "He puts everything out there every time they crack the
gate on him. Everything he has in his tank is left out there in the
arena. He's much stronger at 8 seconds than he is at 2 or 3.
"He's somewhat rider-friendly in a way, for a
rank bull. He drops that shoulder into his roll, breaks over and
kicks hard and high. That keeps guys up on their rope."
Robson Palermo, who was another 5-second Buckey
victim in 2011, is anxious to pick him again.
"He doesn't have any tricks," Palermo said.
"You can tell when a bull is really good, because the guys will
talk about him a lot in the locker room. I hear the word Buckey in
the locker room a lot these days."
Lambert has Buckey pegged as a Top-5 bull.
"He's not with Bushwacker or Asteroid," Lambert
said. "He maybe dropped down a notch with Caleb's ride, because he
didn't buck like he did at Cowboys Stadium with J.B., but he has
scored higher than Bushwacker or Asteroid this year, and he's
beaten Asteroid twice. That doesn't happen much.
"Craig doesn't have a lot of bulls, but Buckey
is the first one he brought to me, and that bull has put his
program on the map. Lots of good sons coming our way."