by Hope Holland
Las Vegas is known for a lot of things: gambling, winning, losing and going home darn near broke being only four of them. “Go big or go home” would have to be one of the most often heard phrases around the tables and it is usually said just before some hapless soul regrets saying it and goes home.
When the Professional Bull Riders come to town nothing really changes except for the stakes because these guys are betting with their bodies against some 2000 pounds of equally professional bulls instead of just betting with money against the house.
This year the PBR had a brand new cowboy for the 2017 World Champion, such a brand new cowboy that, at only 20 years old, Jess Lockwood is the youngest man ever to win that title. This is not a great surprise though because Lockwood won Rookie of the Year in 2016.
But cowboys are not the only champions made at the PBR Finals. Bulls, always a necessity in bull riding events, are also given year-end titles for their work. This year it was a very tight race with H.D. Page’s SweetPro’s Bruiser from the D&H Cattle Co. getting the YETI World Champion Bull title against top contender Chad Berger’s Pearl Harbor.
With this second World Champion win Bruiser joined a select company in PBR history to win back-to-back titles and joins 1995 World Champion Bodacious as the only bulls to win both the PBR championship and PRCA Bull of the Year honors for which Bruiser won $100,000 for the world title and an additional $25,000 for stock contractor H.D. Page for being named Bull of the Finals.
Bruiser finished this season with 12-4 record and a career-high 46.02 average bull score. Bruiser was marked 45 points or higher in all 16 of his outs, including a career-high 47.25-point score for bucking off 2017 World Champion Jess Lockwood in Austin, Texas. In PBR the bull is worth half of the points given to a bull rider for his ride by the judges so great bulls do indeed make great riders. Bruiser has made a habit of giving riders 90-point rides — if they stay on. If they don’t, the bull still gets his share of the points, which is how Bruiser got where he is today.
This second title means that Bruiser has successfully joined an elect company of great bucking bulls as he joined three-time World Champion Bull Bushwacker (2011, 2013 & 2014), three-time World Champion Little Yellow Jacket (2002, 2003 & 2004) and Dillinger (2000 & 2001) to successfully repeat.
With all of this talk of being a cowboy’s best and worst possible hope for a winning ride it is probably difficult to imagine that Bruiser has a reputation for being a good old boy at home but that is pretty much what is said of his reputation back on the ranch given of course that you remember that he is, after all, a bull.
Within seconds after he had bucked off his final rider at the PBR championships Bruiser was shown getting a friendly scratch along his shoulders and an admittedly dusty pat on his back while showing none of the temperament that follows him out of the chutes where he has a reputation for being able to buck forward, sideways and even backwards while jumping and kicking high enough that you can read the advertising on the chutes under his body if you can read that quickly.
Bruiser and the D&H Cattle Co. can be viewed on www.facebook.com/pagebulls/ if his website doesn’t crash from all of the attention he will be getting in the very near future.