MARS HILL, N.C. - North Carolina stock contractor Jeff
Robinson hauls a pen of bulls as deep as it is rank.
Last year, he was the only contractor to have bulls at every Built Ford Tough Series event, and bucked nearly twice as many in Built Ford Tough Championship Rounds as any other contractor.
He's on pace to do it again in 2012, but with one noticeable difference.
Like the general manager of a playoff-bound team, he oversees a continued evolution of his entire pen.
Jeff Robinson's bulls have earned high-marked-bull honors four times this year.
"That's really not by choice," Robinson said. "Some of that was
by injury. You play the hand you're dealt, and we keep trying to
put some on there.
"It's constantly trying to add."
Last year he retired I'm a Gangster, Voodoo Child and Major Payne. At the end of this year, he'll do the same with Chicken on a Chain.
Today his pen is loaded with the likes of Rango, Delco, Deja Blue Emu, Highway 12, Gas Tank, Mac-Nett's Southern Wine and RMEF Gunpowder & Lead - a popular choice among riders in championship rounds.
The bull has bucked in eight of 15 events this year, and been ridden five times. He had bucked off three of four until Robson Palermo covered him for 92 points en route to winning the event last weekend in Des Moines, Iowa.
RMEF Gunpowder & Lead takes Robson Palermo to 92 points
in Des Moines, Iowa, last Sunday. The two have never scored lower
than 91 points together.
"Yeah, I don't know what's got into him," said Robinson, when asked about the recent buckoffs. "How about that? It goes in spells. The bull feels good, but you expect Valdiron (de Oliveira), L.J. (Jenkins) and Luke (Snyder) to ride him.
"He's kind of our high-money bull, and you kind of want them to ride him and win the round."
Robinson said he's a good bull with "as much heart as any bull" he's had.
However, the two-time Stock Contractor of the Year said he still feels like there's a gap between the Top 2 bulls in the world - Bushwacker and Asteroid - and No. 3 bull Smackdown and the rest of the contenders.
"The rankest bull we have is Rango," Robinson said. "Athletically, I think he has the talent to be in that upper echelon, but if he can ever put it all together? I don't know."
He's bucked at 10 of 15 BFTS events and once at a Touring Pro Division event in Fort Pierce, Fla.
His average score is right at 44 points per outing, and beyond two qualified rides - Matt Bohon in Kansas City, Mo., and Austin Meier in Arlington, Texas - most riders are not even making it to the 4-second mark.
Matt Bohon rides Rango for 86.25 points in Kansas City, Mo., in 2012.
Austin Meier notches 91 points on Rango at the 2012 Iron Cowboy III in Arlington, Texas.
Robinson is also hauling the likes of Larry the Cable
Guy's Git-R-Done, Party All the Time, Mulligan Man,
BigTexTrailers.com, Amy's Pet and the newly acquired
Quiet Riot, along with a set of Panhandle
Slim clones - Slim's Ghost, I'm Back and
"You just try to do the best you can," he said, "and hope it works out pretty well."
NEWS & NOTES
MATCHUP: Robinson's Mulligan Man is slated to match up with world No. 2 J.B. Mauney in this weekend's 15/15 Bucking Battle in Uncasville, Conn. Mauney, who suffered a broken finger three weeks ago in Kansas City, Mo., will be returning to action by trying to ride with his right hand down - a switch that has rarely been successful at the BFTS level.
WHERE TO WATCH: Broadcasts
of the weekend's action are as follows: Friday's long round will be
shown on YouTube live at 8 p.m. ET; the 15/15 Bucking Battle, which
will physically take place Friday night, will be shown on CBS
(standard CBS, not CBS Sports Network) at 2 p.m. ET on
Saturday; Saturday's action will be shown on CBS Sports
Network Saturday at 10 p.m. ET; and Sunday's final two rounds will
be aired Sunday on CBS Sports Network at 6 p.m. ET.
Round 1, Saturday's round, and Sunday's two rounds will also be available live, as they happen, at the PBR's Live Event Center.
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