Farewell, Voodoo

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  • Voodoo Child retires

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L.J. Jenkins’ memories of riding Voodoo Child will have to suffice, because neither he nor anyone else will be creating new ones.

Voodoo Child was retired Saturday night after recording a 45-point bull score in the short round of the RMEF Big Bull Touring Pro Division event in Asheville, N.C. It was a fitting way for one of the greatest bucking bulls in history to punctuate his illustrious career.

LJ Jenkins, who mounted Voodoo Child more times (five) than anyone, praised the rank bucker.

“To ride that bull, you had to have everything just right,” said Jenkins, who lost four of his five matchups with the son of the legendary sire Houdini. “I got it right one time and all the other times I made maybe just a little mistake.

“With that bull, you couldn’t do a little mistake.”

Voodoo Child, born May 1, 2002, on Bob Wilfong’s ranch in Aquilla, Texas, is owned by Jeff Robinson, Bennie Beutler and Cathy McNeely. He was purchased after he won his second consecutive PRCA Bucking Bull of the Year award in 2008. Robinson had been contemplating retiring the 9-year-old for much of 2011.

“It was just time,” said Robinson, PBR’s reigning Stock Contractor of the Year. “He’s not as strong as he used to be, and I wasn’t going to keep bucking him to where he was just another bull.”

Beginning in February 2007, Voodoo Child was marked 45 points or better 30 consecutive times. On his 29th out, he contributed 46.25 points to Justin McBride’s 94.5 in Tulsa, Okla. The two-time PBR World Champion won the Cup Series event and was the first cowboy to make the whistle on the bull.

Voodoo Child’s most well-known buckoff probably came in Weston Boxberger, when he shook Kody Lostroh’s rope loose at 7.47 seconds. He was the only bull to buck off the eventual World Champion at that year’s Finals, and the judges’ 47.5-point tally was the highest marking of Voodoo Child’s PBR career.

“I hung on to the tail for as long as I could,” Lostroh said at the time, “but it’s pretty hard to ride one with a rein instead of a rope.”

Voodoo Child, selected for the past four PBR World Finals, finished second to Code Blue in the 2009 World Champion Bull competition. He retires with a 93-5 career record (94.9 percent). Jenkins never shied away from the bull when he had the opportunity to draft him.

“I’m pretty sure that I drafted him every time I got on him,” he said. “He was a bull that I knew I could ride.”

Jenkins failed in his first two attempts to cover Voodoo Child, falling in 4 seconds during Round 5 of the 2009 World Finals, and in 4.5 ticks at St. Louis in February 2010. Hadley Miller.

“People said I was stupid to keep picking him,” he said. “To finally get him rode there, it was a great feeling.”

Jenkins, fourth in the PBR World Standings, sandwiched his successful ride with two more buck-offs.

“I got a little overconfident and picked him again, and he bucked me off again,” he said. “That bull was just a great bull. He did the same thing every time I got on him.”

The now out-to-stud bovine will get his final night in the spotlight when he’s honored in Las Vegas during the 2011 World Finals.

“This is a great time to retire him, because you don’t want to retire a bull when guys are riding him for 85, 86 points,” Jenkins said. “That’s bull’s too great to be like that.”

— by Chris McManes

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