ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. ― His legacy as the greatest bucking bull of all time has long been established.
The only question now is where Bushwacker is among the greatest animal athletes of all time.
Secretariat is considered by many as the greatest thoroughbred race horse along with the likes of Man o’ War, Seabiscuit, John Henry and others. Doc Bar is among the great quarter horses and, of course, Scamper teamed with Charmayne James to win the barrel racing title 10 consecutive years from 1984 to ‘93.
“Bushwacker deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence as Scamper,” said PBR Livestock Director Cody Lambert.
He later added, “It’s hard to compare who is the most dominating in different sports, if they were in the same sport it would be a little easier to compare.”
However, Bushwacker’s owner Julio Moreno said, “Compared to Secretariat and the race horse business, he’s up there. Being his owner maybe I’m partial, but he’s up there at the top.”
Lambert added, “He’s the best bull we’ve ever seen and the most famous one.”
Bushwacker is vying for his third World Champion Bull title in four years.
A third win would equal the PBR record of three, which was set by Little Yellow Jacket from 2002-04.
Among the other top PBR bulls of all time include Dillinger (2000, 2001), Bones (2008, 2010), Promise Land (1999), Bodacious (1995), Panhandle Slim (1997), Chicken on a Chain (2007) and Red Wolf, who was awarded the Brand of Honor last year.
“If Bushwacker can win the world this year and then go on and retire,” Moreno said, “that would be huge.”
He’s been marked 46 points or better four times this season, including when he bucked off Markus Mariluch in 2.27 seconds on Sunday afternoon in Albuquerque, N.M.
“He’s real steep and kind of felt like he was moving ahead,” said Mariluch, who wants another shot at him before season’s end. “He’s definitely one of the greatest bucking bulls that I’ve ever seen and, I mean, for a bull to go as long as he has only been ridden three times in his career, is pretty amazing, especially with the caliber of bull riders we have here. J.B. Mauney has been on him like 13 times and he’s only got him twisted once. He usually gets more bulls rode than that.”
Mariluch is one of only three people to have ever ridden Bushwacker in his career.
He did so in October 2009 when he made the 8-second whistle for 88 points at an ABBI Wild Card event in Las Vegas. Bushwacker was ridden again one night later when Thiago Paguioto rode him in the third round of the World Finals for 89.75 points.
His streak of 42 consecutive buckoffs at Built Ford Tough Series events is a PBR record.
“In everybody’s books he’s been the champion for the last five years really,” Moreno said.
Whether he’s won two actual titles or five in the hearts of bull riding fans, he has clearly developed into one of the most talked about bucking bulls in history.
He was named the “baddest body in sports” by ESPN The Magazine, twice been on the cover of The Wall Street Journal, featured in The New York Times and USA Today as well as the metro, city, county, state and regional newspapers along with radio and TV programs in every city in which he’s competed.
And twice he’s been profiled nationally on CBS Morning News.
Unlike Bodacious, who was probably meaner than he was great, Bushwacker’s career stats are as impressive as the media exposure that accompanies what will be his last season of competing.
Bushwacker will be retired at the conclusion of this year’s tour.
“No bull has caught their attention like Bushwacker and rightfully so,” Lambert said. “He’s the greatest bull I’ve ever seen in my life and I’ve been around this my whole life.”
He’s earned a career average bull score of 46.33 points, which is slightly higher than his PBR average of 46.12.
According to probullstats.com, he is currently the No. 1 ranked bull in the world and is also No. 1 in the power rankings. He’s been the top-scoring bull in 54 rounds in his career.
This weekend, in an event that featured eight bulls marked 45 or higher and another seven 44 or better, Bushwacker was the high-marked bull of the event for the fourth time in 2014. He’s now been the high-marked bull in 15 of his past 18 outs.
“I think he’s standing out more than the others,” Moreno said.
“He never fails,” Lambert said. “And it’s exciting to see him right in his prime.
“He’s still the best.”
FRESNO, CALIF., 15/15 BUCKING BULLS ANNOUNCED
Next week’s 15/15 Bucking Battle will take place Friday night in Fresno, Calif., following the first round of the BFTS event. It can be seen Saturday afternoon on CBS at 1 p.m. ET.
The bulls were randomly drawn from 15 to 1 and include Deerango, Tarantino, Rango, I’m a Gangster Too, Bushwacker (against the 11th ranked rider), KISS Animalize, Shepherd Hills Tested, Mr. Bull, Hair Trigger, RMEF Team Elk, Meat Hook, BIG TEX “ROCKS”, Hustle Up, Stone Sober and Maverick.
Five of the Top 20 riders in the world standings did not compete in Albuquerque, N.M., and three others did not finish the event.
Although three of the injured riders – J.B. Mauney, 4, Gage Gay, 13, and Robson Palermo, 15 – have indicated their intentions to compete in Fresno and the 15/15, the PBR has yet to confirm the final matchups.
Bushwacker has been out four previous times in 2014, this will be his third appearance in the 15/15 and his second of four consecutive BFTS events.
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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