BILLINGS, Mont.— Reigning Stock Contractor of the Year Chad Berger had a knot in his stomach the moment Joey Hales called him on Friday morning and informed him that something seemed wrong with Pearl Harbor.
“He has a neck injury,” Berger revealed on Friday night. “Joey called me up earlier this morning and said the bull can hardly pick his head up. I ran out there and he had a little kink in his neck. He wasn’t carrying it very well.”
Berger immediately got a chiropractor and veterinarian out to bull housing to diagnose Pearl Harbor’s injury.
“We had X-rays taken and we were worried about a fracture in his vertebrae or a cracked horn,” Berger said. “Luckily, neither one of that was wrong. He just strained some muscles in there from getting hooked in the gate last week, and it looks like he will be out for two weeks. The vet wants us to lay him off two weeks.”
Pearl Harbor is currently the No. 1 bull in the world standings with a World Champion Bull average of 46.25 points per out. He is 10-0 overall this season with two fouls.
Berger believes Pearl Harbor strained muscles or ligaments in his neck during his out against Jess Lockwood in the 15/15 Bucking Battle last week in Tacoma, Washington. Lockwood was awarded a re-ride as Pearl Harbor grazed his head leaving the bucking chutes.
Pearl Harbor roared back to life with a 47.5-point bull score the next day when he bucked off Fernando Henrique Novais in 5.89 seconds.
Berger said Pearl Harbor had not shown any signs of discomfort this week until he made the trip to Billings.
Regardless, Berger said he wants to take every precaution necessary for the 2018 World Champion contender.
“I am pretty happy,” Berger said. “This morning I was thinking of the worst, but it turned out to be the best. The bull is just hurting and is sore. In two weeks, he will be back.”
Pearl Harbor was slated to square off against Brennon Eldred in Saturday night’s 15/15 Bucking Battle. Living Large will take his place.
“I have been stoked all week,” Eldred said. “That is why I came up here, but no they will have him back in shape in no time. He will be back in no time.”
Eldred was bucked off by Living Large (18-3, PBR UTB) in 2.83 seconds during last week’s championship round in Tacoma.
Pearl Harbor already has 10 official outs this season and is four away from tying his career-high of 14 last year.
The 6-year-old bull did miss some time last year because of injuries. He missed one month in the fall because of a horn infection that occurred when he caught his horn leaving the bucking chutes with Sage Kimzey at an exhibition match in Mandan. Earlier in the season, he missed a month because of a right hoof infection.
Pearl Harbor received treatment from a local chiropractor on Friday in Billings.
Berger isn’t ruling out bucking Pearl Harbor at Last Cowboy Standing at Helldorado Days on May 4-5.
“The doc said he should be 30 percent better today,” Berger said. “I think we will see him in Vegas, but if he don’t look right he can wait until the fall and make the fall run. He already has (10) outs and we don’t want to hurt him and take him out of contention.
“He is one of the best in the world, if not the best. We will just play it by ear and hopefully we will get to buck him in Vegas, but it is no big deal if we don’t.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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