The second Back Seat Buckers competition was held in Tulsa, Okla., last weekend during the PBR's Built Ford Tough Series event. Long Shot 2 won the title and $7,000 of the half-a-million dollar purse available to BSB bulls this season. Gary and Nancy Long's bull scored a 92.5 out of a possible 100 to take the gold buckle.
It takes approximately 42 to 48 pounds of apples to make a bushel, and nobody is more familiar with apples than bull enthusiast Gary Long. Long is the owner of G.S. Long Company of Yakima, Wash., an agricultural chemical and fertilizer retail company considered to be one of the best in the business when it comes to fruit and vines.
The story of how Long became interested in bucking bulls appropriately starts in an apple orchard.
In 2005, Long had Rod Chumley (then the co-owner of a young bull known only as K24, but later as Doctor Proctor) digging a pond on one of his ranches.
"Rod's reputation was great and his family is a big customer of ours," Long said. "We were out there one day and he was talking to our ranch manager and some other guys and he was waving and throwing his arms up in the air and all over the place wildly.
"So I thought there must be some story there, and you know me, I had to go ask. Turns out, he was using his arms to explain how high and wild his bull had jumped at an event he'd just bucked at."
So technically, it was curiosity over Chumley's crazy orchard antics that led Long into the bull business.
"I was at a point in my life where I needed to let my son take care of the business, and I needed to go find something else to do and stay out of his hair," Long said. "So I asked Rod right then and there if he wanted a partner. Once we got that out of the way, we had to figure out some things. Like how in the world we were going to get the bull to Reading, Penn., for one. Next thing you know, I've got a really neat-looking truck and trailer. We put Doctor Proctor in it, and away we go. It just all fell together and to me, just seemed to be meant to be."
"Turns out, he was using his arms to explain how high and wild his bull had jumped at an event he'd just bucked at."
And so the rest is history. Chumley and Long were partners and began buying and raising bulls. The team got together with Monty Samford and ultimately purchased -8 Bring It, who eventually was sold to Chad Berger.
When Back Seat Buckers was announced, it was something Long knew he wanted to be a part of. He researched the bloodlines extensively and at the BSB draft at Cowboys Stadium in March, he selected several bulls. He had already decided that the first bull he picked would be set up as a trust for his only granddaughter, 3-year-old Heidi. The other bulls the Long Ranch would own in whole or with partners. Long Shot 2 was the fifth bull picked in the draft.
Even though Long has made a life of working with genetic reproduction of fruit trees, grapes and hops, his real interest has always been animals. Long holds a zoology degree from Washington State University, so it's not all that surprising that he would end up so deeply engrained in the bull industry and become a fanatic of bovine genetics.
"I've always been intrigued with genetics," Long said. "What does it take to reproduce these great bulls? That's the most fun part for me. Mating this dam with this sire and then seeing the outcome. Of course, we are looking to reproduce that heart and, wow. I'm blessed, and I get so much joy from the bulls here on the ranch. But the relationships and people are what it's really all about."
Still, what seems to really light Long's fire are the bulls, and he immediately gets excited when talking about Back Seat Buckers and his first draft pick.
"Initially, I didn't know to what extent I was going to be involved, but I just knew I was going to support the ABBI, naturally," Long said. "I'm almost 70 years old, and when you get to this point in your life and you're going through estate planning, and they start telling you about all these taxes you have to pay on what you've spent your whole life earning through blood, sweat and tears, it gets a little disheartening.
"So I have been trying to figure out ways to get this money to people who can use it to better their lives, or to continue something. I want to be able to pass it on. So that little BSB bull is set up in Heidi's trust fund. She got a bull and I got a pickup truck." Long got a new Ford F-150 for bidding the highest to have the first draft spot. Another Ford F-150 went to the ranch that the highest drafted bull came from.
Gary and Nancy Long with Kaycee Simpson and Monty Samford.
"Heidi is so excited about the baby calves that I knew this would be a wonderful opportunity for her," Long said. "She loves going out with me to look at them and getting in grandpa's truck, riding around checking them out every day. So that's what's really neat to me about our ranch and family. They live right here and we can do things like that together."
While Long's company is what he does for a living, bulls are what the family does for fun. The family enjoys the commonalities of both circles and speaks of how bull people and agricultural people are similar.
"The best part is that we can go relax in another group of people that we feel are like us. It's the same thing-people that grow and raise something and that are close to the land. We enjoy it so much. The people and friendships have just been wonderful."
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