LAS VEGAS – True champions rise to the occasion when their backs are against the wall and that was exactly the case for two-time World Champion Bull Bushwacker this week at the Built Ford Tough World Finals.
Bushwacker gave owner Julio Moreno and the 17,204 standing fans in attendance one final memory during his last career out by roaring out of the bucking chute and taking two quick jumps to shed 2004 World Champion Mike Lee off his back in 2.13 seconds to claim his third World Champion Bull title on Sunday afternoon.
“It was tough, but we did it,” Moreno said. “Oh man, this is great. This is the ultimate. I was a little nervous the first time and thought he just didn’t get marked. Again, I thought, 'Well, hopefully, this score of 46.5 points will hold up.’
“I can’t really explain how I feel; just, this is the greatest of my whole life.”
Bushwacker was marked 46.5 points three days after being credited with 45 points for bucking off Brady Sims in Round 2 (Sims lasted 3.9 seconds). The 91.5 total points was enough to defeat the seven other World Champion Bull contenders.
Bushwacker’s half-brother Roy finished in second place with 91.25 points.
Asteroid began the day leading the bull race with 46.5 points, but he was only marked 42.25 points Sunday against Silvano Alves. Mick E Mouse was right behind Asteroid with 46 points, but only received 43.25 points for bucking off Tanner Byrne in 3.39 seconds in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
Mick E Mouse (89.25 points), Asteroid (89.25 points) and I’m a Gangster Too (87.75 points) rounded out the Top 5 bulls.
Lee sustained a concussion when his head was slammed into the ground.
However, it didn’t take away from the fact that Lee was grateful to be the last rider to ever attempt arguably the greatest bull in the history of the sport.
“It was awesome,” Lee said. “I just wish I wouldn’t have taken his fake. It was an honor to be able to get on him one last time and he always marks good with me, which was good for Julio.”
Bushwacker continued his recent unpredictability by leaving the chute to the left before darting back to the right to the shock of Lee, who is 0-for-4 in his career against the bull ESPN The Magazine dubbed “The Baddest Body in Sports.”
“He is a pretty smart bull and that is how the cookie crumbled today,” Lee said.
Moreno added, “I thought he bucked. He fired out of there and about kicked my head off and went and pulled Mike up. It worked out for me and I hope Mike is alright. He is the last man to try and ride him.”
Bushwacker concluded his 2014 season with a spotless 14-0 record on the BFTS and 17-0 overall. He has bucked off 64 of his 66 challengers over the course of his six-year career on the BFTS. Overall, Bushwacker has slammed 84 of his 87 opponents to the ground since his first out in 2009.
The bovine athlete ended his career with a streak of 20 consecutive BFTS buckoffs, after J.B. Mauney ended his PBR-record streak of 42 consecutive BFTS buckoffs in August 2013 when he rode him for 95.25 points in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
On a day when Asteroid and Mick E Mouse look poised to overshadow Bushwacker’s special day of his farewell tour, Bushwacker instead gave everyone else one final reminder of the true champion he is.
Director of Livestock Cody Lambert called it simply a fitting end to a champion’s legacy.
“He didn’t get lucky,” Lambert said. “He just earned it again. He came through like the champ he is. That is the perfect ending to the perfect career.”
Before Moreno went to flank Roy, who was scheduled to buck four outs after Bushwacker, he took one last look back at Bushwacker in the back pens.
“I wanted to look at him one more time,” Moreno said. “I said, ‘Alright, we did it buddy.”
Bushwacker will head home with Moreno and his wife, Kindra, on Monday morning and he will be allowed to bask in his glory for the rest of his life.
“He is going to get the big pen and I am going to pet him and get whatever he wants,” Moreno said.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.
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