PUEBLO, Colo. – H.D. Page isn’t sure what he would do if he actually did have a good amount of free time on his hands during the Built Ford Tough Series offseason.
“If I won the lottery, I would still be bucking these calves,” Page said from the D&H Cattle Company ranch in Ardmore, Oklahoma. “I can’t really think of something I rather do. I don’t know. I may go sit on the beach somewhere for three or four days, but after that I would be ready to get back.”
Page was putting together some of the final touches Tuesday afternoon for the upcoming D&H Cattle Company Bred to Buck Sale on Friday. The sale at the Red River Livestock in Overbrook, Oklahoma, begins at 6 p.m. and will feature a set of yearling females, as well as frozen embryos with various bloodlines dating back to talented PBR bucking bulls, including the likes of 2015 World Champion SweetPro’s Long John and 2016 World Champion SweetPro’s Bruiser.
Speaking of Long John and Bruiser, the two World Champions have been in Las Vegas with Dillon Page since Thanksgiving getting acclimated and prepared for the upcoming Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, presented by Polaris RANGER.
The last two PBR World Champions are arguably two of the biggest bovine superstars set to compete inside the Thomas & Mack Center.
“It is the National Finals. It is the biggest stage in pro rodeo,” H.D. said. “It is good that they made it. They are that caliber for sure, but in years past they didn’t take those kinds of bulls. They have a bull riding director now that is a little different and will take the best ones.”
Bruiser became the 16th different PBR World Champion Bull earlier this month with a 46.25-point bull score for bucking off 2016 PBR Brazil champion Dener Barbosa (7.15 seconds) at the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals. He also dislodged Mason Lowe in 5.66 seconds at the Finals in Round 2 for a 44.25-point bull score.
The two buckoffs helped Bruiser finish the 2016 PBR season with 14 consecutive buckoffs after Lowe rode the bull for 91 points in Oklahoma City.
Bruiser was only ridden twice this year in 23 outs at all levels of competition, according to ProBullstats. The only other rider to make 8 seconds on Bruiser was Cole Melancon. Melancon rode Bruiser for 92.5 points at the Vernal, Utah, PRCA event in July.
The World Champ spent the two weeks after the PBR Finals resting in his laurels.
“He gets it pretty good most of the time,” Page said. “He got back to his old routine. He has him a big, soft pen underneath the shed there. He gets to go out and play every day. We have a big exercise pen for him.”
Bruiser went 2-0 at the 2015 NFR with buckoffs of Kody DeShon and Joe Frost.
2016 will be Long John’s last trip to the NFR, and potentially his last competition as a bucking bull, Page explained.
Long John only competed once in the final three months of the PBR season before the World Finals. The 6-year-old bovine athlete has had a history of foot problems and had been dealing with arthritis and a hoof issue.
“He is definitely better,” Page said. “I don’t know if I am going to haul him anymore after this. I am going to play it by ear. We will see when we get him home (after the NFR) and if he looks sound we will haul him.”
Long John also went 2-0 at the 2015 NFR. He bucked off Frost and Dustin Bowen.
“I am probably not going to take him to a bunch of rodeos next year. He has to have eight outs to go to the NFR so he probably won’t go to rodeos.”
Long John went 8-1 on the PBR Built Ford Tough Series this season and headed into Championship Sunday at the World Finals leading the World Champion Bull race with his 45.75-point bull score (6.18-second buckoff of Kasey Hayes) in Round 2.
Long John bucked off Ty Pozzobon for a 45-point bull score in the championship round and lost out on the 2016 world title because of a tiebreaker with Bruiser.
Page couldn’t think off the top of his mind who he would like to see match up against Bruiser or Long John at the NFR, but he said he expects the riders to give it their best against the past two PBR World Champions.
“There are a lot of good bull riders over there,” Page said. “There are some young guys, but they ride pretty good. I think they are a little overlooked. The PBR has always had the reputation of having the best guys, which they do, but there are a good chunk of them kids in there that can ride really good.”
Fellow 2016 World Champion Bull contender Stone Sober is also bucking at the NFR, while other D&H Cattle Company bulls Wired Crazy, Udder Lover, Hurricane Hustler, Frequent Flyer and Sketchy Bob also will be in Las Vegas.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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