SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Julio Moreno was getting ready to load Roy onto his trailer early Saturday morning at his Oakdale, California, ranch when Bushwacker ran up to the edge of the fence.
Bushwacker looked on as Roy began to make his way through the alleyway toward the trailer after Moreno had already placed Mr. Bull into the first compartment.
Bewilderment began to set in for the three-time World Champion Bull, and he then got a little testy when Roy went past his pen toward the trailer.
“Bushwacker wanted to come,” Moreno said. “He wanted some of (Roy). Roy was scared of him and got on the trailer.”
This weekend’s Sacramento Invitational was Moreno’s first Built Ford Tough Series event that he hauled bulls to this season, and his first BFTS event without bringing his World Champion Bull on the road with him since retiring him following the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
“To see him holler and really want to come, it is tough, but I still did the right thing (retiring him),” Moreno said.
It still isn’t easy though.
Driving down the road with his wife, Kindra, he couldn’t help but think, ‘Man, I hope he doesn’t try hopping the fence,’ as the image of Bushwacker looking on ran through his head as they pulled out of the ranch.
“I kept telling Kindra, ‘Ya know, uh, man, he is still young,” Moreno said. “She just goes, ‘Be quiet. Be quiet.”
He then laughs about it, realizing that Bushwacker has started to adjust to life on the ranch. Moreno believes it was harder for the bull in November when he saw the trailer heading off to BlueDEF Velocity Tour events without him.
Bushwacker was more fired up then, than he was on Saturday.
“This is the first time that I went somewhere where I thought he was alright,” Moreno said. “He doesn’t miss it as much as he did when we went after the World Finals. There were three weekends in a row where he wanted to go bad.”
Moreno has yet to put Bushwacker on any cows since winning his record-tying third World Champion Bull title. He has been letting his bovine athlete bask in the sunlight and hang out in the shade whenever he pleases.
It is a life of grain and relaxation after a six-year BFTS career brought him not only three world titles, but also a PBR record BFTS buckoff streak of 42 in a row, as well as countless other memories.
“He loves it,” the stock contractor said. “He has a place where he goes and rests when it is sunny. When it is foggy he stays underneath the cover in a bunch of shade. He is having a good time.”
Still, Bushwacker does have his moments where his championship pedigree comes to the forefront.
Moreno was exercising Roy this past week in preparation for his season debut when Bushwacker made his way to the edge of his pen, he too wanted to get some training in.
It is why Moreno decided to run him four days this week.
“He loved it,” Moreno added. “He dug a hole about five-feet deep.”
Bushwacker also made his Super Bowl pick, selecting the Seattle Seahawks to win Super Bowl XLIX. Moreno, who is a Seahawks fan, said that he didn’t put any extra grain in the Seattle bucket, yet he may have made eye contact with Bushwacker and the bucket.
There is no hiding from the fact that this season will be different than past years for Moreno without Bushwacker leading the charge.
Although Saturday night was a good start with Roy being marked 45.25 points for his 5.83-second buckoff of Fabiano Vieira in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
“It is a little tough,” Moreno said. “I knew I was going to get over 22 to 23 points with Bushwacker every time. Now, I am hoping these guys draw the right cowboys or bull riders now to make them look good and show good, where I used to know Bushwacker would do his thing, even though I was nervous last year every time he went out.
“It is different.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.
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