FORT WORTH, Texas ― For the past four years the story about Bushwacker has been about the inability of the top riders in the PBR to make the 8-second whistle against him.
That story changed last week when J.B. Mauney rode him for 95.25 points in Tulsa, Okla.
As a matter of fact, Mauney's slaying of the streak of 42 consecutive buckoffs at Built Ford Tough Series events and 56 overall became national news, culminating with Mauney's appearance on "CBS This Morning" to talk about "hanging on" long enough to earn the first score on Bushwacker since October 2009.
PBR Livestock Director Cody Lambert believes the ride does not hurt Bushwacker's chances at winning this year's World Champion Bull title.
"Bushwacker is going to be in the Top 5 ― mostly likely No. 1 ― and they have to win at the Finals," Lambert said. "To me, it doesn't change anything and, to me, if J.B. Mauney rides him that's not a blemish on his record."
He stated, "I think he's the best bull that's ever been."
Bushwacker, who won the title in 2011, has been ridden only three times in his career.
However, in fairness to the bull, his owner Julio Moreno and handler Kent Cox, Bushwacker was only 3 years old when Markus Mariluch and Thiago Paguioto covered him for 8 seconds.
Between then and now his numbers have been staggering.
Bushwacker's already been named the Pabst Blue Ribbon high-marked bull in six events, and also picked up a score of 48 points in Kansas City when he bucked off Mike Lee during the 15/15 Bucking Battle. The world champ has been the high-marked bull in 12 of his last 14 outs.
He's been marked 47 points or higher 16 times in his career, including a career-high 48.50 points in Round 3 at the 2011 World Finals.
Last week, Bushwacker was marked 46.75 points.
"That didn't make anyone think any less of him," Lambert said.
Right now, Lambert would rank Asteroid second and Shepherd Hills Tested third.
He went on to list I'm a Gangster Too as the fourth-ranked bull.
"He really confirmed that," said Lambert, referring to the bull's last out in Tulsa, where he was marked 45 points after bucking off Chase Outlaw in 1.71 seconds in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
The veteran bull man said "to some extent" he's always ranking the top bulls, but this week he did not name a fifth-ranked bull.
However, Lambert added, "I don't feel like any bull that wasn't in the race jumped up in there last week."
Neon Ghost did catch his eye though.
"There was one bull in the ABBI competition that I thought was up in that league and his name was Neon Ghost," continued Lambert, who doesn't think the young bull will seriously contend for any title other than the Classic title in 2013.
"I don't think so, but we'll see him again at Thackerville, (Okla.), and Springfield, (Mo.), so who knows? If he bucks like he did at Tulsa, at Thackerville and at Springfield, then, yeah, he will get in (the race for World Champion Bull). If he does that two more times ― actually three more times because they have to buck twice at Springfield ― he'll get in there because I'll put him in there if the riders don't vote for him."
"He was Bushwacker kind," Lambert continued. "The Classic bulls have been very, very good this year and it takes a really good bull to place in the Classics, but I haven't seen anything that stood out like Shepherd Hills Tested used to until I saw Neon Ghost."
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC
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