Kansas City, Mo. ― Cody Lambert has seen a lot of bull. As the PBR's livestock director, he spends a great deal of time evaluating bulls, and many of them don't live up to their advance billing. Anyone who has spoken with Lambert knows that he isn't prone to hyperbole when it comes to talking about bulls, so when he says that Bushwacker may be the rankest bull he's ever seen, the statement has some weight.
It's telling that it is now difficult to have a conversation with anyone about Bushwacker, who will be headlining the 15/15 Bucking Battle in Kansas City, Mo., this weekend, without the subject of his legacy and the question of whether he is the rankest bull in history coming up.
He's got a good case, statistically. He's not the highest-marked bull in PBR history ― there are five bulls ahead of him, but all five of those bulls, led by Dillinger, spent their careers in the days when PBR events were judged by two judges rather than the current four. The two-judge system results in more outs being marked at the fringes, both high and low. Of the bulls who have competed in the four-judge era, Asteroid is the only intruder into Bushwacker's territory. All other bulls are a good distance back.
Bushwacker has 56 career outs, and he's been ridden twice, both times back when he was just a 3-year-old. Forty-one of his fifty-six outs have come against the best riders of his or any other era, and none of them have really figured him out. J.B. Mauney, the preeminent giant killer in bull riding today, has tried him eight times and failed. His buckoff streak at Built Ford Tough Series events is a record 37 outs, but overall, Bushwacker has put down the last 50 riders who have faced him ― his extra outs being mainly at Touring Pro Division events where he was competing in ABBI Classic events as a 4-year-old.
"At this point, Bushwacker is the best bull I've seen out of all of them."
"I had this talk with a couple of guys earlier this week," Lambert said. "I feel like he's been around long enough - he's gone against the top guys long enough - that I can say he's better than anything else I've ever seen. I go back to bulls like Cowtown, Red Rock, Mr. T, Pacific Bell, Bodacious, all the way up to Dillinger and Little Yellow Jacket, and at this point, Bushwacker is the best bull I've seen out of all of them."
Lambert noted that Bushwacker's sire, Reindeer, has a place in the same conversation.
"Reindeer was as rank as they came, too," Lambert said. "If you look at the number of outs Reindeer had, he kind of gets a bum rap. He was inconsistent at times, especially toward the end of his career. He had a lot of outstanding outs, and he dominated the best riders of his day. It seems like he's remembered more for his bad outs, and the number of great outs he had are overlooked. Really, he's similar to Bodacious, who was also inconsistent. There's no doubt Bushwacker is better than both of them."
Of the other bulls in the 15/15 Bucking Battle, Lambert likes Shepherd Hills Tested and New Holland PowerStar, who are two of the Top 5 highest-marked bulls going this season with at least five outs in the books.
"Those two really stand out even among the best 15 bulls we'll have in Kansas City," Lambert noted.
He's also high on Gene Owen's JC6 South Paw.
"That bull is rank," Lambert said. "He can go to the right or the left, and he can change from one to the other in a hurry. Guilherme Marchi has him, and he's ridden him before, but that bull is way better than he was when Marchi rode him, and that was only a few months ago."
David Day's Mississippi Hippy isn't the flashiest bucking bull in the PBR today, but in terms of color and size, he's got it all.
"He weighs around 2200 pounds, and he really bucks," Lambert said. "He's gotten better for riders because he's developed more of a pattern. He's pretty much going to go to the left. He's improved a lot, because when David first brought him to the PBR, he had a lot of potential, but he was crazy. You could never tell what he was going to do. He's settled down quite a bit, and he's more predictable, but he's still not going to be a favorite of the riders because he's just so strong and so big. He knows how to throw his weight around."
Mississippi Hippy will face Canadian Ty Pozzobon in the 15/15 round, which will air on CBS Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
Follow Slade Long on Twitter @ProBullStats.
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