For those of you who aspire to be a stock contractor when you grow up and estimate that you will have enough GUT and BUTT to fit in with your peers—well… here’s the Dell Hall way of setting bulls at a four performance rodeo. (Granted there aren’t many left since they have to give two head in the timed events). He bucks most of his best bulls three times. That was also Neal Gay’s MO when he was out rodeoing. Donnie did the same when he owned ALL STAR.
Not only does it beef up the draw and improve the rodeo–it also may save a guy a load of stock and with $1.60 diesel that’s important. Too many outfits haul way too many sale barn rejects and bulls that used to buck (that maybe have one good day a year). They feed way too many bulls all winter. I know its tough because some contractors get attached to their ol’ campaigners but there just isn’t enough profit in rodeo to operate this way. Cut your herds, worm, feed better, and buck the suckers. It is the hauling that gets them—not the bucking. Most bulls aren’t going to have long careers like horses anyway.
Every once in a while I’ll hear a contractor brag that he has 100 head of bulls. Well, how frickin’ stupid is that guy? It’s one thing if some are of different age groups that they are bringing along. Owning 50-60 mature bulls is another matter. If he or she (or it) happens to be a rich person (creature) PLAYIN’ rodeo/bull riding and needs a tax write-off I guess it’s okay but for everyone else who needs to make a living —that is just NUTS and damned bad business.
Leasing a few top enders or trading “outs” back and forth with other contractors is more cost efficient than owning them. Feed, interest, tied-up capital, labor, time, and headaches—it just isn’t worth it. If you excluded four or five outfits you could cut nearly every other herd by a 1/3 and some by 1/2. If you figure a bull costs $1.50 a day to feed and you cut 20 head off—that’s $10,000. There are several outfits that do not have a $10,000 NET profit at year-end. The rulebook minimum says you must have 20 bulls. Owning 40 makes little economic sense for most RODEO contractors no matter how big their rodeos are. Twenty 18 point bulls do nothing but hurt your pocket book and the rodeo business.
The writing is on the wall. Several small outfits can top their herds and bring a stronger pen to a major rodeo than a big outfit that tries to use anything other than the top end of his/her/it’s own herd. To stay in the game the big outfits are going to have to cut their overhead (own/haul fewer) and smarten up. Lease the BEST stock (at a fair rate) to compliment the top end of their own outfits and pass the additional cost on to the rodeos. That CAN be done.
And when I say BEST stock… the deal of having say ten different contractors at a big rodeo means NOTHING unless they have depth in their quality. Bringing ten head of an outfit’s bulls when they really only have three good enoughs just because that fills out their load, or they have horses, or makes it makes it worth their while—isn’t good enough—any more. Yes, it will cost more per head to get them to bring fewer animals but it should cost more. Quality deserves a premium. That cost has to be and can be passed on.
The bull riding is different from the horse events in that judges generally just double the stock score to get their total score. Success is contingent upon bull performance. We don’t need the rankest bulls in the world but we do need good solid 20 pointers or better. They are out there in numbers greater than ever before. We just can’t have the dinks. Bring 20 point or better bulls and you’ll still have a few that don’t buck well. That’s okay. That’s expected but you have to at least BRING good bulls to the rodeo. That is reasonable. That is something the contestants and the ticket buyers should expect. Over a period of time you can rebuild the trust and it will result in increased tickets sales at a higher price. PBR has proven that people will pay more to see the best.
No… don’t be coming with that “Yeah… but we don’t have the best bull riders” excuse. We have some of them—more than people are led to believe. We’d have even more if they could count on getting mounted to where it was a riding contest instead of a drawing contest. Our young bull riders will never be able to fully develop in rodeo unless the bulls going to rodeos improve.
Big rodeos aren’t going to be able to slide by duping the public by saying they have lots of contractors and the very top stock. If the rodeo committee doesn’t respond the contestants are likely to call them on it—in the media–before, during, and after the rodeos. I don’t mean that as a threat it’s just something that I think will occur based on what the horse eventers have accomplished in recent years. Bull riders don’t have to go to the media… PBR is quick to point out rodeo’s deficiencies. And even if they don’t—people can turn on their television and see high quality bulls. They come to a rodeo and expect to see comparable quality.
There are many reasons why PBR is doing well while rodeo attendance is soft if not declining. Better product for sure. Recognizable stars—yep. Consistency of the product—uh huh. But one of those reasons is that PBR is on television and people are getting wiser—more aware. Even if the rodeo ticket prices are comparably low people STILL spend a lot of money and time coming to a rodeo and they don’t like to be taken advantage of. You may get them ONCE but they won’t be back and they’ll tell others. Rodeo stock has to get better. You have to advertise the top stock and advertise them as individuals—just like you do the cowboys.
It is either that or see your best contracts get piece-mealed away. The good ol’ boy days are numbered. Rodeo Managers are getting replaced. Old friends are getting older. Contestants are going directly to the committees, sponsors, and the media. In the last five years the horse event contestants have influenced changes of stock contractors at many rodeos. I don’t see them changing their tactics. They can’t make a living unless they have the best stock to get on at the rodeos they go to. If anything they will become more aggressive.
Back to Basics Economics:
Feeding 20 bred cows will make you a lot more than feeding 20 used-up bulls. And if I owned a good bull, instead of walking around with my head in the clouds thinking I’m gonna sell thousands of straws of semen at $300 a pop —I’d be going door to door trying to GIVE IT AWAY to people with good herds of cows in exchange for a first right to buy any of the calves (bulls or heifers) at a few cents over market. With bulls selling for $10,000-$75,000 I’d rather have 50 bull calves to look at every year than the $3,000 of semen sales.
Have some formerly great bulls that you just can’t make yourself sale barn? Do like Bennie and Rhett Beulter do. Either give them to, or sell them to, neighbors or others who have a few cows. They’ll have a good home and you can buy the calves.
Many of the greatest bulls in rodeo history were born out of wedlock. Rodeo bulls escaping then raping and pillaging the local farm or dairy herds. The great General Isamo was a notorious jumper—traveler. A scoundrel. Had his way with the prettiest for miles around. Herfs… Angus… Shorthorns… Longhorns… Charlais …. Holstein… Jersey… Brown Swiss….polled… horned…. (a non discriminatory kind of guy). Jump in… do his business… jump out… hide out… traveled at night… a real desperado. There was a period of years where you could buy better rodeo bull prospects at Weld county sale barns than you could at bucking bull sales.
Some of the best bulls ever to see the rodeo arena were the least likely looking individuals. Mongrels. You shoot enough bullets—you’re gonna hit. Dump enough semen in cows… run um in–put a dummy on um–and see what you got. A few cows have proven themselves as being producers of bulls that spin. Very few bulls have. It’s probably too early in the game to make any decisive judgments on the genetics deal but heck it has become a mini industry. Its fun… some people are making money with it … its interesting to the public… I don’t want to throw a wet blanket on it. Certain herds HAVE produced good prospects annually for a number of years. How successful individuals will be trying to mimic that success is still an unanswered question.
So…the rodeo season is winding down….
back the truck up and have the hired man load um up. If you don’t have a hired man—let your wife take care of it. Wives/mothers are tougher—more practical. They’ve buried lots of green parakeets in cigar boxes. Put a scotch cap, a pair of coveralls, some big ol’ muck lucks on a half dozen stock contractor wives and hand them whips—they’d get some things straightened out in short order. For one thing… the world wouldn’t need nuclear weapons any longer. Fifty stock contractor wives dressed and armed as I described would have taken Iraq in three days. Saddam would be feeding stock, setting up arenas, and untying calves. Don’t think I’d trust him driving a stock truck.
The world is changing…. you’ve got to cut your overhead, concentrate on quality, and charge more providing for a better product.
America’s First Cowgirl: Lucille Mulhall
Lucille Mulhall was already a skilled roper at age 8.
The following is quoted from the book jacket of America’s First Cowgirl Lucille Mulhall, by Beth Day, Published by Julian Messner, Inc., 1955. Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 55-9850.
“World’s Champion Roper — America’s Greatest Horsewoman — Queen of the Range — and the only woman who ever roped steers competitively with men — Lucille Mulhall held the top spot in contests and vaudeville for twenty years. Will Rogers, friend and teacher, called her the world’s greatest rider.
“Born in the saddle, Lucille was the spirited daughter of Colonel Zach Mulhall, an Oklahoma ranch owner. Unlike her sisters, she wasn’t interested in dolls and sewing or piano lessons but preferred branding yearlings and roping wolves and jack-rabbits and steers; training her small, sure-footed ponies; practicing the trick riding that was to make her famous all over the country.
“While still in her early teens, Lucille was the top cowboy performer in the West. Extremely feminine, soft spoken, and well educated, she seemed a paradox, for she was so steel-muscled she could beat strong and talented men at their own games. She could have been a society belle, but she loved the rough, dangerous life and cowboying was in her blood. Had she been a man, she would have been content to work on a ranch, but as a woman she was a novelty and the only way she could make use of her singular talents was in show business. The term cowgirl was invented to describe her when she took the East by storm in her first appearance at Madison Square Garden (in 1905).”
“From the time Lucille was booked for New York, the newspapers had been attempting to describe the phenomenon that was Lucille Mulhall. They had struggled with such ridiculous descriptions as ‘Female Conqueror of Beef and Horn’ and ‘Lassoer in Lingerie’ to the simpler, more realistic ‘Cowboy Girl’ and ‘Ranch Queen.’
“Finally one of them managed to coin a word which would describe the life and talents of any girl who could rope and ride and do ranch work alongside men. The word was ‘cowgirl.’ It was invented to describe Lucille, and it has since become a part of our language.”
By Pat Graham
DENVER — L.J. Jenkins settled onto Big Bucks, wiggled his hand under the rope to get a firm grip, took a deep breath and motioned he was ready to ride the 1,350-pound bull.
Jenkins was soon brushing dirt from his chaps after the brute of a bull sent him sailing off last June. No one’s really ready for Big Bucks — only two riders since 2004 have stayed on his back for an entire eight seconds.
Big Bucks is one of the baddest bucking bulls around — making him the prime bovine athlete to undergo the Professional Bull Riders’ inaugural test for anabolic steroids. The PBR recently started screening its bulls to ensure their meanness comes through good genetics, not by beefing up with performance enhancers.
Jerry Nelson, co-owner of Big Bucks, gladly allowed blood to be taken from his prized bull’s tail and analyzed for steroids after an event at Madison Square Garden in January. Nelson wants to make sure all the bulls are competing on a level field.
“If Big Bucks shows up with anything in his blood stream that ain’t supposed to be there, I’m suing my vet,” said Nelson, the CEO of Frontier Rodeo in Winnie, Texas. “My bulls buck because the good lord gave them the ability to buck.”
The PBR comes to Anaheim for its annual tour stop this coming weekend at the Honda Center … Read on …
After hearing persistent rumors of possible doping, the PBR decided to head off any potential problems — think baseball and the congressional hearings. The organization contacted Dr. Walter Hyde of Iowa State University’s college of veterinary medicine, who helped formulate a test for the PBR to detect the use of anabolic steroids.
“We’re not sure if there’s a problem, but if there is, we want to get out in front of it,” said Matthew Rivela, general counsel for the PBR. “We want our culture clean.”
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association — which also has bull-riding competitions — hasn’t had any of its members raise concerns about doping in bucking bulls, but the issue is now on its radar.
“We’re keeping our eyes and ears to the ground to see if we need to take steps,” said Cindy Schonholtz, the animal welfare coordinator for PRCA. “But I think a good breeding program, feeding and nutrition would be a lot better than artificially doing anything.”
Although the four-legged competitors are subjected to testing, their counterparts — the cowboys — currently don’t have to submit samples.
“There’s not one shred of evidence that cowboys are using,” Rivela said. “But if that did present itself, we’d act accordingly.”
The PBR is still working out the penalties should a bull test positive. A stock contractor — owners who lease bulls to the PBR — could be fined up to $5,000 this season for an offense. In 2009, suspensions will be added to the punishment.
So far, only Big Bucks has been tested, and his results aren’t expected back for another few weeks. The eventual hope is to draw blood from the top three bulls after each competition.
“We’re very committed to this,” said Rivela, whose organization has spent close to $100,000 to set up testing. “The bulls are the stars of the show, too. We’re looking after them.”
The PBR isn’t expecting a BALCO-like scandal. In fact, the organization would be surprised if anabolic steroids were even a slight problem.
“I don’t see the benefits,” said Dr. Gary Warner, a veterinarian who specializes in bucking bulls and works closely with the PBR. “You’ve got to do things to take advantage of being on it. It’s kind of hard to stick the bulls on a weight machine and pump them up.”
Warner said that if stock contractors are beefing up their bulls, it’s because they’ve been severely misinformed.
“They think the drug is going to make the bull buck harder and faster,” Warner said. “But when you know the physiology, you realize that administering it isn’t going to give them a competitive edge.”
Plus, steroid use can lead to sterility, ending the possibility of a lucrative breeding career after a bull’s rodeo
run. An owner can sell a straw of a top bull’s semen for around $2,000.
“With the amount of money available after a bull’s career, why would you take that chance?” saidScott Pickens, manager of Diamond S Bucking Bulls. “I don’t think steroid use in bulls is widespread.”
Nelson isn’t convinced. While he doesn’t know for certain if anabolic steroids are being used by fellow stock contractors, he’s seen warning signs.
“Bulls with their eyes bugged out, and things like that,” said Nelson, who owns nearly 600 bulls. “This is no different than baseball — you can ignore it or do something. The fact is it’s happening and we don’t know who’s doing it.”
Nelson tried anabolic steroids on three of his bulls in 1997. The injections were under the supervision of his veterinarian and the purpose was to fatten them up.
“They gained 300 pounds and it made them mean as a chain saw,” Nelson said. “I bucked them and they were outstanding.”
But success in the arena came at a costly price out of it. One became sterile because of steroids, another couldn’t produce offspring for two years and the third just wasn’t suitable for breeding.
“It’s not worth it,” Nelson said.
Former bull rider Cody Lambert doesn’t know if he ever rode a bull injected with steroids in his standout rodeo career. From his experience, though, rage doesn’t make a bull more ferocious, good breeding does. It’s either bred into the bull or it’s not.
“The great misconception is these bulls have to be mean,” said Lambert, who’s on a four-person PBR bull-testing committee set up to investigate the use anabolic steroids. “These bulls are competitors. When the game is on, they’re doing everything they can to win.”
Lambert, the PBR’s director of livestock, likes the idea of testing bulls for steroids. After all, the bovines aren’t able to just say no.
However, Lambert doesn’t think it’s necessary to screen bull riders. He said it’s a huge disadvantage bulking up to ride a bucking bull.
“The more mass, the easier it is to get off balance,” Lambert said. “It’s like gymnastics — you don’t see too many 230-pound gymnasts. I’m sure it (steroids use) is not there. I’m not 100 percent sure, but I just don’t know why anyone would.”
Jenkins couldn’t agree more.
“Look at me,” said the 5-foot-10, 140-pound Jenkins. “I do one sit-up each morning — getting up out of bed.”
The life of bucking bulls is pretty plush. Pickens said his bulls eat about 12 to 15 pounds of grain a day, and have the run of the farm.
“They’re pampered,” Pickens said. “But you don’t want them to get too soft. Just like a football player, you’ve got to keep them worked out and tough.”
Bulls begin to work out with a mechanical dummy when they’re around 2 years old, and the ones who show potential start taking actual riders a year later. By the time a bull turns 5, it should be hitting its prime, which lasts five or more years.
Then, it’s off to a stud life, where a bull can make an owner a fortune if it had a successful rodeo career. Big
Bucks, who’s only 7, was a world champion Bull in 2005, earning an additional $20,000 for the honor.
“You don’t win a lot of money in the arena,” Nelson said. “The thought is the offspring from those champion animals will be worth a lot of money.
“But if you take so-and-so bull and hop him up on dope, it negates the value of my breeding. I have the right genetics to raise bulls to perform at a top level. Guys who give them shots to perform at that level makes the value of what I do less.”
That’s why he’s pushing for the testing of all bucking bulls.
“They can bring down their labs to Winnie, Texas, and test all my bulls,” Nelson said. “My bulls
are clean. My bulls are treated very well. Hell, my bulls get fed better than my kids.”
Bertha Blancett and Rose Henderson
In the late 1800’s, the younger horsewomen began competing against males in a yearly gathering of herds -which progressed into participating in rodeo’s
The first rodeos began in the mid-1800 when thousands of cattle and horses were driven to town for the yearly round-up. The cowboys were eager for relaxation and would compete in tests of skills like roping, breaking horses, branding cattle and racing. They became an important part of frontier life and morphed into a celebration that would occur around the 4thof July.
These celebrations grew into rodeos and Wild West shows.
Women of the 1800, however, were not recognized in the arena until 1885. The most famous cowgirl was Phoebe Ann Moses or Annie Oakley.
Here are two stories of women who also helped start the movement of women in Rodeo’s
(Stories are from the book “Daughters of the West” by Anne Seagraves.)
In 1897, Bertha Kaelpernick Blancett (pictured above) rode over 100 miles to enter a horse race in Cheyenne’s Frontier Days and she was allowed to enter only because the arena was so muddy the cowboys refused to participate. Bertha was coerced into riding a bucking horse to keep the crowd from leaving. Once upon the animal, the petite girl had the ride of her life. Part of the time the horse was up in the air on his hind feet and once he fell backwards, but gutsy Bertha skillfully slid to his side and hung on. Although it was said at that time, that Bertha was a terrible bucker, she had managed to remain in the saddle, putting the cowboys to shame.
Later in 1904 Bertha became a star performer in Claude William’s show and was a four time winner in Roman Racing at Pendleton. Bertha rode under men’s rules, was seldom defeated and often beat such cowboys as Ben Corbett and Hoot Gibson.
Four years later Prairie Rose Henderson, an exuberant and talented daughter of a Wyoming rancher, rode to Cheyenne to enter a bronc busting contest. When the lady arrived, she was told, much to her chagrin that women were not permitted to ride. When Rose demanded to see the rules, she found there was no clause forbidding women to compete, and the officials were forced to let her participate. Her entrance into the arena created a sensation. Women had always been spectators, not competitors, and Miss Henderson was a colorful person. She came dashing out of the chute hanging on with all her strength and promptly lost the race. Prairie Rose, however, was really a winner, for she had opened the door to rodeo for other women to follow.
Later, Rose went on to victory in other rodeos and became one of the most flamboyant cowgirls of her era. In 1918, she entered the Gordon Nebraska rodeo wearing ostrich plumes over her bloomers and a blouse covered with bright sequins she had carefully sewn herself.
Rose eventually married a rancher and one cloudy day in 1932, Rose rode off to her last competition. This time, she faced her greatest fear, a storm, and lost her life during a blizzard. Prairie Rose’s body was discovered nine years later and identified only by her champion belt buckle.
“Early accounts have suggested that hornless or polled cattle were introduced to Ireland and Britain from Scandinavia by Viking settlers (Wilson 1909). However, this theory is contradicted by the presence of polled cattle in the Irish archaeological record prior to the appearance of the Vikings (McCormick 1987).” DNA analyas of cattle from Viking Dublin 1999, D. E.MacHugh and others, P. 100.
The purpose of this project was to explore the ancient breed history of Britain’s Park Cattle and clarify the relationship between the ancient horned White Park of today and the ancient polled White Park of today (now referred to as British White). In 1918 the Park Cattle Society was formed in the United Kingdom and a herd book formally established which recorded both horned and polled ancient white park cattle of both black and red points. In 1946, breeders of ancient polled Park Cattle separated from the Park Cattle Society and formed the British White Cattle Society – thereafter the ‘polled’ park cattle were known by the distinguishing breed name – British White.
As a breeder of polled British White cattle I’ve often been asked “What is the difference between the White Park and the British White?” I couldn’t answer and found myself stumbling, as I knew Britain’s White Park Cattle Society quite oddly declares no relationship to the polled British White, yet the information currently available in essays and articles on the polled British White and the horned White Park reflects much of the same lore and legend.
They share this lore and legend because both varieties of park cattle were present in the British Isles since ‘time immemorial’. In Wild, White Cattle” (p.36) by James Edmund Harting (c.1880), it is clear that at the onset of the Middle Ages there were polled herds, horned herds with a variety of shape and length, and herds with both red and black color points. The distinguishing trait today that separates the two varieties is the presence of horns, and secondary to horns would be the disposition of the animal, and those same traits have existed for hundreds of years — the difference today is our 21st century need to peg this wonderful bovine into two distinct breeds. It’s interesting to compare the Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s (a UK charity supported national conservation society) descriptions of the two breeds. It strikes one that they are careful not to step on the toes of the horned White Park Cattle Society, likely because one of their most influential members has strong connections with the White Park Cattle Society. Conspicuously absent is any mention in the White Park breed description of the original founding Park Cattle Society that dates back to 1918 that encompassed all white park cattle, polled or horned, within the United Kingdom.
As well, there is no mention given to the introgression of English Longhorn and Welsh Black genetics into horned White Park herds; and certainly no mention that prior to the 1940’s owners of horned herds made use of polled white park (British White) bulls to improve their herds. The following is an excerpt from the Conclusion section of Jessica Hemmings’ excellent 2002 research article which would appear to lay to rest the claims of horned White Park Cattle, whether docile or wild, of being of ancient aurochsen origin which we are to believe makes them a breed of greater antiquity than that of the polled British White:
“. . . .The public literature distributed by the Chillingham Wild Cattle Association deliberately fosters this sense of mystery, as does the Association’s reluctance to accept the findings of recent zoological studies which indicate that the animals (Chillingham park cattle) are the feral descendants of ordinary domestic stock. Nobody claims that they come from the fairy mounds any longer, but arguing that they are the direct descendants of “the gigantic wild white bull of Caesar’s time, and of the monstrous bovine wonders of the Palaeolithic and neolithic ages” (Wallace 1907, 29) seems thematically similar. Where the origin is obscure, it is easy to imagine it to be remarkable. . .”
Within the existing horned White Park herds in the UK, there are apparently animals of both wild and tame disposition. However, the horned Chillingham herd of White Park cattle is considered to be representative of the true feral (wild) white park animal, and DNA testing is said to show these Chillingham animals as distinct from any other European breed. However, per Hemmings 2002 research:
“. . .Although both the late president and the patron have quoted genetic work done on the cattle to support their arguments, the zoological reports in fact make it quite clear that the Chillingham herd does not have any special relationship to the aurochs whatsoever (Hall 1982-3, 96; 1991, 540).”
The Chillingham cattle continue to live in their native habitat and the introduction of new blood is said to be minimal to non-existent. Unfortunately, many historians and breeders key in on this falsely supported DNA report and presume that all horned white park cattle are proven distinct from the polled British White. I believe this is an error of enormous consequence perpetuated by Britain’s White Park Cattle Society for their own disserving purposes that will one day be corrected. There is no public data that identifies the lineage of the British White animals that were used for the basis of these tests, but most assuredly in my opinion the horned White Park animal (s) that was tested was a cow or bull of the most exceedingly closed Chillingham genetics and bears no relationship to the fat and docile appearing horned White Park animals to be found more commonly in Britain, which even a novice can ascertain as having a distinct kinship with Britain’s and the USA’s polled British White cattle.
Exploring different references to the British White, I was surprised to learn that there are Galloway’s that are white with black points, and considering the genetic dominance of the pattern of white with black (or red) points. . .
“Although there is strong evidence that the White Galloway and White Park patterns are due to the tyrosinase gene, the mutation does not occur in the coding portion of the gene and therefore no DNA test has been developed. This temperature sensitive expression of pigment, like that of the Siamese cat, is inherited as a dominant. If a rancher breeds 7 non-white cows and obtains 7 white calves, there is a 99% chance that the sire is homozygous for this trait.” DNA Tests for Cattle – Dr. Sheila Schmutz
. . . .of the polled British White (pre 1946 White Park) markings it could be easily surmised that at some point in time the British White was bred into the Galloway, and I would instinctively surmise this occurred well before the modern days of 1960. I would have thought the odd white Galloway would be found more closely linked to the British White judging from simply the look of these ancient polled cattle and their docile nature and the dominance of the white park markings once introduced into a breed, this White Galloway breeder appears to concur.
“As can be clearly seen, the breeders of these cattle were engaged in a continual struggle to maintain numbers, and from time to time the blood of other breeds was introduced in order to avoid problems associated with in-breeding and to achieve the desired type. (The article on page 7 of the 1998 British White Breed Journal by Mr J Cator gives a full account of these outside sources used between 1840 and 1918 in the Woodbastwick herd).” (source: British White Cattle Society – UK)
The polled variety of the white park cattle was considered superior by this elder cattleman of the UK in the early 20th century. The excellence “since time immemorial” of the polled white park cattle referred to by this gentleman continues today. . .
Sir Claud Alexander, owner of the Faygate herd, writing in the 1912 “Amateur Menagerie Club” Year Book says:”I would, however, strongly advise anyone who may think of forming a herd to go to the polled variety for his foundation stock, for they have been kept from time immemorial for their milk and beef producing qualities, and right well do they justify their existence… The Somerford cows are excellent milkers and one of mine averages five gallons a day when in full profit. In addition to this they are big heavy beasts and give a good return from the butcher when their milking days are over…. Mr Quinton Gurney’s herd at Northrepps Hall is a thoroughly practical one, for on it devolves the task of keeping the town of Cromer supplied with milk. At Woodbastwick too, some grand milkers are to be found, and here great attention is paid to beef producing powers, as the records of the local fat stock shows frequently testify… If anyone who reads these notes and feels inclined to form a herd will communicate with me, I shall be pleased to supply any information that may be required.”
What I find most interesting is the casual inference that the polled variety has better milk and beef producing qualities and has from “time immemorial”. The domesticated white park cattle (British White) from the days of the Druids should have better milk and beef producing qualities than the wild variety of the horned Ancient White Park.
A few years after the excerpt above was printed, the Park Cattle Society was formed in the UK in 1918, which encompassed both horned and polled examples of the breed. In 1946 the group split and the polled white “Park Cattle” animal became formally known as a British White and the British White Cattle Society in the UK was established. Through their efforts the polled British White has risen from numbers so low as to be listed a rare breed, to it’s status now as a minority breed. Their numbers will continue to grow as this beautiful, docile animal becomes more broadly known across the world as the breed that delivers all that an owner can wish for in health, longevity, fertility, milk, and beef.
Extract FROM JOHN O’GROATS TO LAND’S END, SEVENTH WEEK’S JOURNEY, Oct. 3 to Nov. 5 1871. “We now bade good-bye to the River Dove, leaving it to carry its share of the Pennine Range waters to the Trent, and walked up the hill leading out of the town towards Abbots Bromley. We soon reached a lonely and densely wooded country with Bagot’s Wood to the left, containing trees of enormous age and size, remnants of the original forest of Needwood, while to the right was Chartley Park, embracing about a thousand acres of land enclosed from the same forest by the Earl of Derby, about the year 1248. In this park was still to be seen the famous herd of wild cattle, whose ancestors were known to have been driven into the park when it was enclosed. These animals resisted being handled by men, and arranged themselves in a semi-circle on the approach of an intruder. The cattle were perfectly white, excepting their extremities, their ears, muzzles, and hoofs being black, and their long spreading horns were also tipped with black. Chartley was granted by William Rufus to Hugh Lupus, first Earl of Chester, whose descendant, Ranulph, a Crusader, on his return from the Holy War, built Beeston Castle in Cheshire, with protecting walls and towers, after the model of those at Constantinople. He also built the Castle at Chartley about the same period, A.D. 1220, remarkable as having been the last place of imprisonment for the unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots, as she was taken from there in 1586 to be executed at Fotheringhay.”
The World’s Rankest Bull: Since October of 2009, no professional bull rider has been able to stay on Bushwacker for eight seconds. At a recent P.B.R. event in Pueblo, Colorado, the riders explained why he’s so tough to ride.
By JOE SPRING
Published: July 19, 2011
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Dustin Elliott, a 145-pound professional cowboy, popped into the chute and felt energized by the lights above and the 1,600-pound bull beneath him. He wrapped a rope around his right hand, twisted right to left four times, then bounced up and down three times. The bull, meanwhile, looked casually to the left and waited.
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Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media
Bushwacker stands atop the Professional Bull Riders list of the world’s rankest — or toughest to ride — bulls.
“He’s got a real cool arrogance to himself and then when the gate opens he just explodes,” Shorty Gorham, a bullfighter, said of Bushwacker, who usually bucks most pros in three seconds or so. “But leading up until then you would think he’s just some farm pet that didn’t have an ounce of buck in him.”
Since October 2009, no cowboy has ridden Bushwacker for even eight seconds, the minimum needed to earn a score, and the average is 3.01. In 2010, he jumped, kicked and spun his way to more than $335,000 from American Bucking Bull Inc., which awards prize money to bulls. With an average score of 46.01 out of 50, he stands atop the Professional Bull Riders list of the world’s rankest — or toughest to ride — bulls. But it’s not the numbers that have the cowboys tweaked.
“He’s a smart bull,” the rider Robson Palermo said. “Every time he leaves the chute he got something for you.”
With a relaxed swagger in cramped quarters, hops that should not originate from hooves, and a stable of freakish, syncopated moves that have left riders flummoxed, Bushwacker sometimes appears more ballerina than bovine. In Springfield, Mo., last year, he bucked the rookie of the year, Silvano Alves, headfirst into the dirt, swung rump over muzzle, landed on his right-front foot, and Eskimo-kissed the ground.
Hours before his encounter with Elliott in the United States Air Force Invitational in late May, as the sun rose over his pen in Pueblo, Colo., Bushwacker champed a mix of hay, grain, vitamins and minerals. His trainer, Kent Cox, laid out the feed so the bull would dine at least 12 hours before bucking.
“You can’t eat a big old bowl of spaghetti and go run a marathon,” Cox said.
On days when the bull riding starts at 2 p.m., Cox rises at 2 a.m., ignoring the headaches that have plagued him since he took a horn to the right side of the face while riding a one-ton bull in 1997. The impact shattered his cheekbone, eye socket and nasal cavity. He had five operations to install 13 plates in his head.
A year and a half later, he got back on a bull. He could still ride, but he had lost the desire. He transferred his energy into training bulls.
Cox has had great success with Bushwacker, who took home the single biggest check when he won the $250,000 A.B.B.I. Classic Championship during the Professional Bull Riders finals last October. Money also comes from breeding. Earlier this year, a collector took sperm from Bushwacker. It sells for more than $2,000 a straw. The average bull can fill 150 straws per collection.
To help owners pair potential mates, the A.B.B.I. tracks the lineage of every premier dam and sire and the bucking success of their offspring. And though Bushwacker’s line sounds as if it came from the police blotter in a seedy Southwestern drag, it is rodeo royalty. Diamond’s Ghost sired his mother, Lady Luck. Oscar’s Velvet sired his father, Reindeer Dippin’, an ornery bull who went unridden in the P.B.R. three separate years.
“When Bushwacker was a baby he was mean — he’d hook my horse,” said his co-owner Julio Moreno. “Kent’s got him to where, you know, he could eat of your hand now.”
At noon, Bushwacker lay in his pen. He is caramel, except for the tilted white H on his face, the “1 3 6” scar branded to his left rump and white horns cut off into nubs.
Cox helped two cowboys and a cowgirl herd bulls into a truck. His wife, Gina, watched from a deck behind the pens.
“I call him the bull whisperer,” she said. “He lives, breathes and eats bulls, and if you don’t moo, he doesn’t care about you.”
Gina Cox grew up in a rodeo family in Illinois. On weekends, she helps out as a P.B.R. secretary.
“I consider the finals in Las Vegas our vacation,” she said. “And that’s maybe two hours of sleep every night.”
She laughed and ran her right hand over her left forearm, a $65,000 digital prosthetic. In 2004, she lost the arm in a car wreck.
“That was the one time he never left my side — for two weeks,” she said of her husband. “And probably the only time he was away from the bulls for that long.”
As Cox helped guide four other bulls to the trailer, Bushwacker looked out through the fence.
“You know that bull loves his job,” Gina Cox said. “Because when that trailer leaves and he’s not on it, you can tell he’s upset.”
She worries about her husband. He has had at least 13 concussions and often enters the pens to train the bulls with only two blue heeler cattle dogs at his side. He has been knocked down more than once.
As Cox swung open the gate to Bushwacker’s pen, the bull stood still and twitched his right ear into a cup. Cox walked in. Bushwacker trotted out. Soon he was on the truck and off to the arena.
The haul was a short one, comparatively. Cox drives Bushwacker from his home in Dublin, Tex., to more than a dozen events around the country.
After an hour-and-a-half nap at the hotel, Cox showed up behind the Colorado State Fair Events Center at 7. Pyrotechnics went off inside. Bushwacker waited amid a sea of fencing, swinging tails and tilting horns.
Cox went inside and clanked up steps to the platform behind the chutes. Chaw dripped off a grate that creaked under the weight of paunched contractors and square-jawed cowboys.
Cox flanked the 28th and 29th bulls, steadied riders in the chute by holding their shoulders and drawled with cowboys. The gate slammed open. Clumps of dirt flew up into the scrum of hats.
Shortly after 9 p.m., after more than 40 bulls had gone out, Bushwacker ambled into the chute. Cox stood over his still flank. The opening piano from Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” blared from the speakers. Elliott finished squirming and nodded vigorously. The gate opened.
Bushwacker short-hopped into the arena. Drool flew out of his mouth and whirled over Elliott’s head. Bushwacker bounded more than two feet into the air, kicked his hind legs up, and drove his front legs into the ground. Instead of waiting for his back legs to touch dirt, as most bulls do, he sprung off his front feet immediately.
This is Bushwacker’s signature move, and it is as effective in its offbeat athleticism as a point guard executing a crossover dribble to ditch a defender. Elliott came forward and lost the weight of his feet underneath him.
Possibly sensing the rider’s weight shift, Bushwacker staccato-hopped to the right. He accelerated into five successive spinning jumps. His tail whipped his own rump with emphatic snaps. Elliott flew to the right and hit the dirt. The clock showed 6.57 seconds.
Bushwacker kicked out of the arena and into the night. He stopped at the last gate and waited for the next truck. Inside, after the last ride of the night, Kent and Gina Cox walked over to Elliott.
“There’s nobody that we’d be prouder to have ride him first,” Gina said. “That’s for dang sure.”
Then Kent Cox put his arm on his wife’s back and left the arena smiling.
“This is what we work all week long to come do, and the results are here,” he said. “He did his job, and, yeah.”