FORT WORTH, Texas ― It's not surprising to learn that Bushwacker's owner Julio Moreno, who was not in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday night, would call and reach out to J.B. Mauney a day after the North Carolina cowboy rode the World Champion Bull for 95.25 points.
Moreno said he was excited for Mauney, who attempted Bushwacker nine times before finally making the 8-second whistle.
Mauney and his wife Lexi were en route to their Mooresville home and missed the initial call, but, according to Moreno, the 26-year-old fan-favorite "was pretty tickled" with Moreno's message and returned the call Sunday evening.
Again, an expected move by a veteran rider and a respected bull man showing one another the mutual respect they have for what Moreno referred to as "the best bull and the best rider."
However, what may come as a bit of a surprise to some is what Moreno said before ending the call with Mauney, "This week, draw him again and be 97."
Mauney laughed, and replied, "OK. We'll do it."
Moreno wasn't in Tulsa in part because Kent Cox hauls Bushwacker for him, which he's done his entire career, and in part because he hauled his other bulls to a Touring Pro Division event in Prescott, Ariz.
Moreno was actually flanking a bull when in-arena announcer Matt West told the Prescott crowd that he had just received word of Mauney's qualified ride on Bushwacker.
"I thought, 'Wow,'" recalled Moreno, "and then Kent was trying to call me at the same time. I went, 'Son of a buck, maybe that's true.'"
Joking aside, Moreno said it was only a matter of time before one of the top riders earned a score.
Bushwacker, who won the bull title in 2011 and is the frontrunner to do so again this year, had bucked off 42 consecutive riders at Built Ford Tough Series events and 56 in a row overall.
Moreno readily admits he wanted a rider like Mauney, who is among his favorites, or someone like Douglas Duncan or Kody Lostroh to end the streak if it was ever to come to an end.
He said riders like that would make it look good and score a lot of points.
In the past two days, social media avenues and online message boards have been ablaze with debate regarding the score and whether or not Mauney held on the whole 8-seconds. And some have wondered whether he slapped Bushwacker.
Others have offered up the notion that the ground wasn't as good as it could have been and that's the only reason the streak came to an end.
Moreno said he doesn't want to make excuses.
"This was the right time to do it," Moreno said, "on the best bull and the best rider."
That said, it had been 70 days since Bushwacker competed at a TPD event in Decatur, Texas, which is almost as long as the 7-year-old bull went during the offseason.
According to Moreno, Dr. Gary Warner told him beforehand that a bull like Bushwacker needs to stay busy. Moreno didn't want to use words like "rusty or stale," but said Bushwacker had spent the summer in pen eating.
Cox exercises Bushwacker twice a day, but Moreno added, "It's not like getting on him, so, I think, this coming week they better be ready for him."
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