ARLINGTON, Texas – D&H Cattle Company preferred being cautious with their prized World Champion Bull Sweet Pro’s Long John instead of having him compete at the Choctaw Casino Iron Cowboy, powered by Kawasaki, this past weekend.
The plan was for Long John to buck during Round 2 Saturday night, but Dillon Page decided to withdraw him after swelling in his front left leg had yet to recede.
Long John has been receiving treatment from veterinarian Mark Barker in Newcastle, Oklahoma, after H.D. and Dillon Page decided to bring Long John to Barker last Monday for analysis. The Pages noticed a week earlier Long John had developed swelling in his leg.
“We noticed it big and H.D had doctored him at home for a week and he gained a little bit, but it just wasn’t getting better,” Dillon Page said. “He’s got joint fluid coming out of his knee into a capsule.”
Long John underwent X-rays and everything came back OK last week, but Dillon felt uncomfortable bucking Long John on Saturday.
“I looked at the X-ray and it was outstanding,” Dillon Page said. “Everything was clean, but for whatever reason we have a hole somewhere that is letting the joint fluid. We had him at the vet and he’s been working on him. He thought Monday when he looked at him, he thought we would be able to bring him here. Friday, when I was supposed to go pick him up, I called him, and he said I could wrap it and might be able to get by with it, but you are taking a big chance with it.
“Then I said, ‘So let’s not take a chance.’”
Long John has been receiving treatment for a week and is on antibiotics to help with the procedure to try and drain the fluid from his joint.
According to Dillon Page, they will likely need to drain the fluid one or two more times before Long John will be ready to buck.
Long John will be likely be out for at least two weeks.
“Oh, he will be OK,” Dillon said. “(Barker) felt like 1-2 times of pulling it off and keeping the bandage on it that it will quit. We just won’t know until time.”
D&H Cattle Company is unsure of what may have caused the injury.
“There is no telling,” Dillon Page said. “A bruise probably. He either ran into a gate or laid down on something. There is no telling. I can’t tell you when it happened because we don’t know.”
Dillon Page did say that he doesn’t believe Long John’s slow start to the season was associated with the injury.
“He has just been fat and lazy,” Dillon Page said with a laugh. “His slowness is our fault. It has nothing to do with it.”
Long John is averaging 44.83 points per out, but was marked 45.75 points in his last out against Tanner Byrne. Long John bucked off Byrne in Sacramento, California, in 5.38 seconds.
“He got me a little backed up on one jump and put a little pressure on my hand,” Byrne said in Sacramento. “He is good. I would like to take him again. I was trying to stay forward and he rides just like a big ole up and down rocking chair if you get in the right spot. I was where I needed to be, but I couldn’t keep my hand where it needed to be.”
J.B. Mauney rode Long John for 90.25 points during Long John’s season-debut in Oklahoma City.
The decision to hold out Long John is a no brainer for D&H Cattle Company.
Dillon Page knows a healthy Long John will always be better than a diminished Long John.
“It is not worth it because you never know with those situations how bad you might make it,” Dillon said.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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