From your NFR Insider Susan Kanode—
I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to share the stories of many of our rodeo stars and am proud to call them my rodeo family. I got involved in rodeos because I’m passionate about livestock. Now, I’m going to use that passion and my imagination to share a Wrangler National Finals memory from the animal’s perspective! Enjoy.
Let me introduce myself – My full name is SweetPro’s Bruiser. I’m a nine-year-old Brahma cross bull that loves to buck. I was born March 2, 2011 on the Page Ranch near Ardmore, Oklahoma. I was one of about 200 calves and while the Pages have high hopes for all them, I don’t think they could imagine what the future held for me. In fact, I didn’t have any idea either.
Don’t get me wrong, the Pages plan and prepare for greatness every time they match a bull and a cow and while I get treated like a superstar, I’m not the only superstar that has come from D&H Cattle Company. Mossy Oak Mudslinger, the Professional Bull Riders world champion bull in 2006, was born on the ranch and my bloodlines go back to him.
My half-brother, SweetPro’s Long John, got that honor in 2015. Then it was my turn the next year and I didn’t turn loose of that title for three years. The last year I won it, I also got the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world championship. That was 2018.
That was a year for the record books. My name is right beside the most famous bucking bull in the world, Bodacious. He won both titles in 1995. While we bulls don’t keep track of time — except feed time and eight-second rides — it’s incredible that there is a 23-year span between us. That goes to show just how many great bucking bulls there are out there.
From what I hear, the only thing that Bodacious and I have in common are those titles and our love of bucking. And I do love bucking. But unlike a lot of other bulls, I actually like most people and look forward to my daily back scratches and the attention I get.
Just like a world-class racehorse, I have a team behind me. Their primary concern is keeping me healthy and happy. I’ve proven that a happy, friendly bucking bull can be just as successful as an angry one.
When I say angry, I don’t mean that they don’t want to do their jobs. It’s more like they’re angry that any cowboy would think they could ride them. But if you really want to see an angry bull, you’d have to be in the bull pen when they do get ridden.
If I get ridden, I’m going to make a cowboy work for it. I know if someone makes it to the buzzer, we both did our jobs and the scores will be high. Since I get judged too, those scores are important to me and I love it when I can help a bull rider be over 90 points.
That happened this year at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and it was a ride that I imagine people will remember for a long time. I know that Sage Kimzey will. It was round 8. I’d already bucked off Jeff Askey in round 3.
The NFR is different than any other event I go to. First of all, it’s on the campus of the University of Nevada – Las Vegas.n We get to hang out in pens that have been built on intramural athletic fields on the campus. They even have an exercise pen built just for us bulls.
It has a big dirt mound in it and other than the arena, it’s my favorite place. I like to rub my head in the dirt and sling it around. When I get enough of that, I get on top of it and survey the territory, check out what the other bulls are up to and show them what it’s like to be king of the dirt pile.
On competition days, they take us out of our pens after noon and start moving us towards the arena. Going down that lane means its game day.
When I found out it was Sage Kimzey ‘s name next to mine, I was pumped up. It’s not that I do my job differently for different riders but having the chance to match my skills against his was exciting. We both have multiple world championships. We both crave our jobs and we were both born and raised in Oklahoma.
One of my best qualities is my ability to stay calm. That saves all my energy for the eight seconds in the arena. It took all I had to stay calm that evening. Sage helped. He came back and talked to me before I got to the bucking chutes. I eased up to the edge of the pen and he scratched me for a while. He told me how excited he was that we finally got matched up. I let him scratch me some more and enjoyed every minute of that.
Sage left to go get ready and I hung out and listened to the rest of the rodeo and waited. When they started moving me down the alley, I got my game face on. H.D. (Page) was there and while he doesn’t show a lot of emotion, I could tell he was ready for the matchup too.
I stood in the bucking chutes listening to everything that was going on. I could feel the energy of the crowd and the riders. They had already scored a 93.5 and the other bulls were trotting down the alley bragging about how well they did. I was loaded in the chute, and Sage was putting his bull rope around me. The announcers talked about both of our accomplishments and the theme from the movie Rocky was playing – yes, I pay attention to music. I felt Sage settle down on my back and was ready. My ears were twitching, and I was just listening for the tell-tale sound of the gate latch.
I heard it and it was GAME ON. I bucked to the left, planted my nose in the dirt and kicked with all my might. Sage was matching me move for move! About three seconds into the ride, I felt him getting a little loose, so I did my signature leap into the air and switched directions.
I couldn’t feel him at all, and thought that he was gone, but that little bugger was still with me. I gave it all I had for the rest of the eight seconds and so did he. When I heard them say 94-points I knew I could go back to the pens with my head held high. That ride added another title to my resume. I have been the best bucking bull in that arena three different times. (Bruiser was the top bull of the NFR in 2015, 2017 and 2019.)
I love getting awards and attention, but most of all, I just love bucking. People always talk about how big I am and wonder how I can leap five feet in the air. Well let me tell you, I eat right, stay in shape and I have a lot of help from my two-legged friends. I like going to rodeos and that happens because of a partnership with the Franzen family and Powder River Rodeo. I also have fun at PBR events. I think I have the best job in the world.
You can call me Bruiser.