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April 20-22, 2018 A publication of the Yellowstone Newspaper Group.

Jess Lockwood riding Too Smooth photo by Andy Watson, Bull Stock Media


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2 • PBR 2018 • Billings Area News Group

Calling for nominations for Beef Quality Assurance awards From www.mtbeef.org

Award applications for the 12th annual National Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Awards now are being accepted. The 2019 National BQA Awards recognize five winners in the areas of beef, dairy, marketing and education: The BQA Cow Calf and BQA Feedyard awards recognize producers who best demonstrate the implementation of BQA principles as part of the day-to-day activities on their respective operations. The BQA / FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) award honors those dairy operations that demonstrate the best in animal care and handling while implementing the BQA and FARM programs at the highest levels. The BQA Marketer Award acknowledges livestock markets, cattle buyers and supply-chain programs that promote BQA to their customers and offer them opportunities to get certified. The BQA Educator Award celebrates individuals or companies that provide high quality and innovative training to individuals that care and handle cattle throughout the industry chain. The National BQA Awards are selected by a committee of BQA certified representatives from universities, state beef councils, sponsors and affiliated groups. Nominations are submitted by organizations, groups or individuals on behalf of a U.S. beef producer, dairy beef producer, marketer or educator. Individuals and families may not nominate themselves, though the nominees are expected to be involved in the preparation of the application. Past nominees are encouraged to submit their application under the new nomination structure. Previous winners may not reapply. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association manages the BQA program as a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. Funding for the BQA Awards is made possible by the generosity of Cargill, which has supported the program since its inception, and Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, which sponsors the BQA Educator Award. Find the application and nomination requirements online. Applications are due by June 1, 2018. For more information about BQA visit BQA.org. 2018 Cow Calf Award Bently Ranch, Nevada Bently Ranch is a 1,500 head cow calf operation in Northern Nevada. Today, the ranch has begun to sell their meat directly into the local market, marketing and selling grass fed, grass finished beef. In all aspects of its operation, Bently Ranch strives to do the right thing when it comes to raising high-quality beef. Proper animal care and handling are at the cornerstone of this ranching operation, and appropriate employee training is a crucial part of that. As such, Bently Ranch requires 100 percent BQA certification of its cowboys and managers.

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2018 Feedyard Award BLAC-X Farms, Inc., Minnesota Located in the rolling hills of Rock County, Minnesota, BLAC-X Farms Inc. is a progressive, privately owned commercial cattle feeding operation with a permitted capacity of over 2,900 head. The operation finishes approximately 4,500 cattle annually in addition to a 250 head spring calving commercial Angus cow herd. BLAC-X. sets the bar extremely high for environmental stewardship, animal care practices and employee training and safety programs. Since they manage both a feed yard and a cow/calf operation, they have the unique ability to see the work of BQA full circle. They also demand high BQA standards for sourcing cattle to utilize in their feed yard. 2018 Dairy Award Kraft Family Dairies, LLC, Colorado Kraft Family Dairies, LLC is a progressive dairy operation in Fort Morgan, Colorado. The operation consists of 6,500 cows at two separate facilities, Badger Creek Farm and Quail Ridge Dairy, which together produce 500,000 pounds of milk each day. BQA management practices are woven throughout Kraft Family Dairies’ entire production cycle. Consistent with BQA principles, the Krafts are proponents of preventative management, one of their most important prevention strategies is a well-trained work force. Additionally, Kraft Family Dairies is dedicated to advocating for agriculture and maintains a willingness to adopt new technologies to build consumer confidence. 2018 Marketer Award Central Livestock, Minnesota Central Livestock operates three livestock markets in Minnesota: Zumbrota, Albany, Rock Creek and one market in West Fargo, North Dakota. They also continue to conduct business out of their corporate headquarters in South St. Paul. These locations cover a majority of Minnesota’s key livestock production areas. In 2015 and 2016, each location hosted a BQA Certification program and Stockmanship & Stewardship workshop. Central Livestock views themselves as a partner in the beef industry, not just a livestock market. 2018 Educator Award Ron Gill, PhD, Texas Dr. Ron Gill’s technical knowledge in livestock production and overall understanding of the beef industry makes him one of the foremost livestock experts in the nation. His expertise and leadership in developing beef safety and quality programs has been the driving force behind many of the positive changes in the beef industry. Today, Dr. Gill is well known throughout the country as he conducts cattle handling seminars through NCBA’s Stockmanship and Stewardship program, in addition to his responsibilities as a professor at Texas A&M University.


PBR 2018 • Billings Area News Group • 3


4 • PBR 2018 • Billings Area News Group

Montana’s Jess Lockwood makes history with 2017 PBR World Championship By Justin Felisko After five days and six rounds in one of the tightest championship races in PBR history, Jess Lockwood (Volborg, Montana) was crowned the 2017 PBR (Professional Bull Riders) World Champion in early November at T-Mobile Arena. Lockwood, 20, is the youngest World Champion cowboy in PBR history, and he joins three-time World Champion Silvano Alves (Pilar do Sul, Brazil) as the only riders to win the World Championship the year after being named the organization’s Rookie of the Year. Lockwood went 3-for-6 at the 24th annual World Finals, reclaiming the No. 1 spot in the world following his Round 2 victory. In winning three consecutive rounds at the season-culminating event, the Montana cowboy’s name was further etched into the PBR record books. Lockwood won the first three rounds, highlighted by 90.25-point rides in Round 1 and Round 3. He is the 17th rider to claim the PBR World Champion gold buckle in the PBR’s 24-year history. Lockwood earns the PBR’s $1 million World Champion bonus and finished 2017 with earnings of $1,525,292.90 and 4,862.5 world points. “The money is icing on the cake, but money doesn’t mean much

and it goes away,” Lockwood said. “The championship buckle will be with me forever.” Lockwood battled back from various serious injuries, including four broken ribs, a punctured lung and a lacerated kidney. “A lot of grit went into this,” Lockwood said. “I got pretty banged up over the year but you’ve got to cowboy up each and every weekend and make the most of every bull.” Joining Lockwood in the PBR record books, Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) won the 2017 World Finals event title as the only rider to go a perfect 6-for-6 at the five-day event. The 2017 PBR Brazil Champion capped his near flawless performance with the high-marked ride of the event, covering Magic Train (Jared Allen’s Pro Bull Team) for 94.5 points to win the Built Ford Tough Championship Round and earn this year’s Lane Frost/Brent Thurman Award. The 21-year-old is now the 20th rider to win the event title and the fifth in PBR history to cover all of his bulls in the process. Ryan Dirteater (Hulbert, Oklahoma) also went 6-for-6 to win the World Finals in 2016. Leme, who played semi-pro soccer in Brazil, is an accomplished competitor in karate, and had been in the U.S. for only eight days,

Jess Lockwood riding More Big Bucks. Photo by Andy Watson, Bull Stock Media


PBR 2018 • Billings Area News Group • 5

was also named the 2017 Rookie of the Year after his astounding performance adapting to the world’s rankest bulls to net 2,532.5 world points and $416,000. He began the event No. 53 in the world standings and rocketed to No. 7. “I think I’m still dreaming,” he said in holding the eventwinning check for $300,000. “I trained and worked hard to win the World Finals, but I didn’t think I had a chance to win Rookie of the Year. To accomplish that together is without a doubt the best day of my life.” For the second consecutive year, SweetPro’s Bruiser (D&H Cattle Co./Buck Cattle Co.) was named the 2017 YETI World Champion Bull, after recording a 46-point bull score in the event’s final round in dispatching Dirteater in 7.19 seconds. The bovine athlete is now just the fourth bull in PBR history to earn the title in consecutive seasons, joining Bushwacker (2013 & 2014), Little Yellow Jacket (2002, 2003 & 2004) and Dillinger (2000 & 2001). Bruiser was also named the YETI Bull of the Finals with a combined two-score average of 46.5 points. Bruiser earned a 47-point bull score in Round 2 when he bucked off Emilio Resende (Santa Helena do Goiás, Brazil) in 1.91 seconds. D&H Cattle Company earned $125,000 courtesy of Bruiser’s championship and Finals victory in Las Vegas. Dakota Buttar (Kindersley, Saskatchewan, Canada) was awarded this year’s Glen Keeley Award for the first time in his career. This award goes to the Canadian bull rider earning the most points during the season. The Stock Contractor of the Year went to Chad Berger, the seventh time he has earned that honor.

Jess Lockwood riding Big Dutch. Photo by Andya Watson, Bull Stock Media

Photo by Andy Watson, Bull Stock Media


6 • PBR 2018 • Billings Area News Group

USDA announces $8.4 million to support veterans and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers From www.mtbeef.org

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement (OPPE) today announced up to $8.4 million in available funding for training and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers. Funding is made through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program). “The USDA is committed to reaching all farmers and ranchers,” said OPPE Director Diane Cullo. “Through the 2501 program, the USDA is building lasting relationships among these farmers and ranchers, the local organizations that serve them, and the USDA’s local, state, regional, and national offices.” The 2501 Program was originally authorized by the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990. 2501 grants seek to enhance the equitable participation of socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers in USDA resources and programs, such as Farm Service Agency loans or grants through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). Projects may focus on conferences, training sessions, educational materials, or new programs to help these farmers and ranchers thrive and succeed.

Eligible applicants include community-based organizations, networks, or coalitions of community-based organizations; 1890 or 1994 institutions of higher education; American Indian tribal community colleges or Alaska Native cooperative colleges; Hispanic-serving institutions of higher education; other higher education institutions; Indian Tribes or national tribal organizations. Eligible entities must have experience in providing agricultural education or other agricultural-related services for socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers. The deadline for applications is May 15, 2018. See the request for applications for full details. Learn more about this funding opportunity through two teleconferences on March 28, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. EST and April 25, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. EST. To join each session, call 1-888-455-1685 and use passcode 7087935. Examples of FY 2017 funded 2501 projects include a grant to the National Hmong American Farmers, Inc., to provide technical and direct assistance to Hmong farmers in central California who face barriers to successful farming due to poverty and cultural and linguistic isolation. A Florida State University project reached veterans with workshops, online agricultural courses, and 15 farm apprenticeships and managerial apprenticeships at private farms.

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Equipment

1. Helmet Beginning with the 2013 season, any contestant born on or after Oct. 15, 1994 is required to wear a protective helmet. The PBR leaves the choice of headwear up to any of its riders born before this date. Over 50 percent of PBR riders choose to wear a helmet and/or mask to help protect them from threatening head blows and injuries to the face and jaw. The helmet is similar to those worn in hockey with some adaptations.

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2. Protective Vest The vest, invented by PBR Livestock Director and former bull rider Cody Lambert, is worn by the PBR athletes for protection. It serves two primary purposes: it absorbs shock and dissipates the blow to the body, while protecting the torso from threatening punctures caused by direct contact with the bull’s hooves and horns.

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Stormy Wing riding Bruiser. Photo by Andya Watson, Bull Stock Media

3. Glove Cowboys wear a glove only on their riding hand (the hand that grips the bull rope). This leather glove protects a cowboy’s hand and fingers. It also makes it easier to hold on to the bull rope. 4. Rosin Rosin helps the cowboy’s glove adhere to the bull rope. It is a sticky substance that provides the cowboy with a little extra grip. 5. Chaps Chaps are custom-made and often display the logo of a cowboy’s sponsors, as well as various decorative elements. Chaps may be flashy, but they are part of the armor that adds a layer of protection for the cowboy against a bull’s horns and hooves. 6. Bull Rope The bull rope is a flat rope braided from nylon or grass that goes around the bull’s girth area behind his front legs. The rope has a handle, constructed partially of leather that is braided into it and serves as the cowboy’s only anchor for the duration of his ride. 7. Boots The boots the cowboys wear while riding have a special spur ridge on the heel which helps their spurs to stay in place. Some cowboys wear the traditional pull-on boot, while others prefer those that lace up to fit the foot snugly.

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8. Spurs Spurs help the cowboy stay in position on a bull. The rowels are dull so they don’t injure or cut the skin of the bull. The spurring action displays the level of complete control of the cowboy during the ride. Mouthpiece Bull riders wear a protective mouthpiece to help reduce the risk of damage to their teeth, resulting from the jarring action of the bull bucking and from impact with the bull or the ground.


8 • PBR 2018 • Billings Area News Group

SweetPro’s Bruiser Back to Back PBR Champion Bull! On November 5th SweetPro’s Bruiser owned by D&H Cattle and Buck Cattle Co. became only the second bull to win the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) and PRCA(Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) championships in the same year. The last time that happened was with Bodacious, the 1995 World Champion. Bruiser accomplished this feat on Sunday November 5th at the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada. The PRCA championship was announced in October. Bruiser also joined a select group of only 3 other bulls to win back-to-back PBR Bull of the Year awards, by adding his 2017 championship to his 2016 championship. Only world champion bulls Bushwacker (2013 and 2014), Little Yellow Jacket (2002, 2003 and 2004) and Dillinger (2000 and 2001) have achieved that honor before. So for SweetPro’s Bruiser to achieve both accolades in 2017 is a rare accomplishment.

Bruiser Is One of a Kind

Cody Lambert is the PBR Director of Livestock and in this PBR interview he said “Bruiser’s got it all and he’s got the best personality. He’s the coolest bull.” Adding “We’ll never, ever see another Bruiser.” H.D. Page of D&H Cattle said “That is just his deal. He is cool as a cucumber.” And all the riders want the chance to ride Bruiser because he can bring their point totals up, while being calm in the shoot and a strong but very predictable bucker. J.W. Hart commented “He’s so big, that’s the thing. It’s hard for a bull that big to get that far off of the ground, and he does it.”

Typically, stock contractors will put their young bulls in pasture for 1 to 3 years using SweetPro 250 lb mineral lick blocks. When the best of the young bulls are selected for competition, the owners add Fresh Start loose meal to their regular feed. When competitions come around, those bulls are given EquiPride loose meal for 2 or 3 days days before each competition. This helps the bulls keep their appetites up and stress levels down, which can be difficult with all of the trailer travel and hectic event schedules. Following the competitions, EquiPride is also provided for a few days to help with recovery and conditioning. Then it’s back to Fresh Start until the next event. Erick added "SweetPro is the real deal. It is cost effective and it works. We have a lot of people using our products and we are helping put these people in the money. The last three PBR Bulls of the Year have been fed SweetPro, and the last six ABBI Classic Champions were fed SweetPro. When the Classic Champion walks away with a $200k prize, that's a lot of money going back into our stock contractors' pockets."

A Championship Battle

Bob Thornberg, founder of SweetPro Feeds came from North Dakota to attend the PBR Finals and got to see Bruiser in a very close, head to head finish against Pearl Harbor, another bull that

Feeding Top Bulls

Erick Thornberg of SweetPro Feeds said that many of the top bull owners like Bruiser’s D&H Cattle, and Pearl Harbor’s Chad Berger are getting consistently strong performances from their bulls while using SweetPro products. Thornberg believes a big percentage of the owners of the 1800 bucking bulls in PBR (Professional Bull Riders) and PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) events use SweetPro blocks and loose meal in their competitive bull programs. The results that D&H Cattle and Chad Berger have had with their top winning bulls have been proof positive.

Photos by Andy Watson, Bull Stock Media


uses SweetPro products. As Bruiser was about to take center stage, Bob received a text message asking “How is Bruiser doing?” Within a matter of minutes, he texted the answer back “Just won it!” Bruiser is the second D&H Cattle champion bull to be sponsored by SweetPro Feeds, following the PBR Champion bull SweetPro’s Long John. “The PBR is like a big family and we're glad to be a part of it. We are feeding the engine of one of the fastest growing sports in America" Bob said. “We couldn’t be prouder of Bruiser, H.D. Page and all the great folks at D&H Cattle. It’s been terrific to be a part of their championship season.”

PBR 2018 • Billings Area News Group • 9

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Common PBR Words AVERAGE [av-er-ij] The term "average," when used in PBR context, is synonymous with "aggregate." It often is used to describe a rider's total event score on however many bulls he attempted at a given event (not including rerides). For example, a rider who scored 80 points on each of his three bulls has an average score of 240 points. Style notes: When referring to a rider's total event score, it is more accurate to use "total score on xx bulls" (the "xx" indicates however many rounds in which a rider competed). If he competed in three rounds but successfully only rode two bulls, it is still most accurate to say "in three rounds." For example, if a particular rider scores 80 points, 90 points, and 0 points, in three consecutive rounds at a given event, his total score is "170 points on three bulls." "AWAY FROM HIS HAND" [uh-wey fruhm hiz hand] Bull riders use the term "away from his hand" or "away from my hand" to describe the scenario in which a bull is spinning in the direction opposite a rider's riding hand. Example: A right-handed bull rider on a bull that spins to the left is riding a bull "away from his hand." BARRELMAN [bar-uhl man] A barrelman's duty is to entertain the crowd during the "down time" that is inherent to the sport of bull riding. When bulls are

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being loaded, or the show is on hold due to live television breaks, a barrelman takes over and amuses spectators with impromptu dance routines or comical dialogue with the event's announcers. The barrelman often hangs around a custom-made barrel placed in the arena's center. The barrel not only protects the barrelman from a charging bull, but also provides bull riders with an island of safety if they are bucked off far from the arena fence or bucking chutes. DISMOUNT [dis-mount] A bull ride is over when either the bull rider is bucked off or the eight-second time requirement is met. When a bull rider is still in control of the ride when the eight-second buzzer sounds, he must dismount or get off the bull as safely as possible. To dismount, a bull rider most commonly reaches down with his free hand, jerks loose his riding hand from his bull rope and flings himself off as the bull is kicking so that the momentum of the kick will propel the rider as far away from the bull as possible. When possible, a rider waits until the bull is moving or spinning away from his riding hand, at which time the bull rider dismounts in the direction of his riding hand. Example: A right-handed bull rider waits until the bull spins left, at which time he dismounts off the animal's right side. DISQUALIFIED [dis-kwol-uh-fahyd] Sometimes a bull rider can be disqualified and therefore receive a no-score even if he stays aboard his designated bull for eight seconds. A bull rider is disqualified if he touches the bull or himself with his free hand during the ride or if his riding hand comes free from the bull rope at any point during the eight-second ride. "DOWN IN THE WELL" [doun in th'uh wel] The expression "down in the well" is used by bull riders to describe a situation in which a bull is spinning in one direction and the force of the spin pulls the rider down the side of the bull into motion's vortex. This is a dangerous scenario that often results in a bull rider getting hung up to the bull. DRAW [draw] An event's list of bull riders and the bulls with which they are randomly paired is called the 'draw.' The draw for a 25th PBR: Unleash the Beast event is typically created via computer the Wednesday prior to an event. If a bull rider says he has a 'good draw' it means he is happy with the bull that he was randomly selected to ride.

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EIGHT SECONDS [eyt sek-uhndz] Eight seconds is the amount of time a bull rider must stay aboard his bull to receive a score. During the eight-second ride, the bull rider cannot touch his free hand to the bull or himself or he will be disqualified. FADES [feydz] A bull that fades during a ride moves backward while simultaneously spinning or bucking in one or more directions.


FLANK STRAP [flangk strap] A flank strap is a strap that goes around the flank of a bull. Its purpose is to enhance the natural bucking motion of a bull and to encourage the animal to extend its hind legs when trying to get his rider on the ground. The flank strap never covers or goes around a bull's genitals, and no sharp or foreign objects are ever placed inside the flank strap to agitate the animal. Pulling the flank strap too tight would restrict a bull's motion, making it uncomfortable for the bull to perform. The flank strap is designed for quick release and is removed immediately after the bull exits the arena. FOULED [foul-ed] If a rider is fouled, it means something happened during the eight-second ride that gave the bull an unfair advantage over the bull rider. This can include the bull rubbing on or hitting the bucking chute at start of the ride or the flank strap falling off the bull before the ride is over. When a foul occurs, the judges often award the bull rider the option of a reride. FREE HAND [free hand] A bull rider's free hand is the hand he does not use to grip the bull rope during a ride. The free hand must stay in the air throughout the ride. If it touches the bull, or the bull rider before eight seconds elapse, the rider is disqualified and receives no score.

PBR 2018 • Billings Area News Group • 11

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HOOKED [hookt] When a bull rider dismounts from or is bucked off a bull, the bull sometimes goes after the rider or the bullfighter and attempts to hook the human target with his horns. This is known as being "hooked." HUNG UP [huhng uhp] Sometimes a rider gets tossed from a bull but is unable to free his riding hand from his bull rope and therefore is "hung up" to the bull. When this dangerous scenario occurs, the bullfighters often move in to help the bull rider free his hand from his rope and get away from the bull. MULEY [myoo-lee] Muley is a term used to describe a hornless bull. QUALIFIED RIDE [kwol-uh-fahyd rahyd] When a rider makes an eight-second ride and is not disqualified, he has made a qualified ride and, therefore, earns a score.

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RANK [rangk] A bull that is difficult to ride is considered "rank." RIDING HAND [rahy-ding hand] The hand a bull rider uses to grip his bull rope is called his "riding hand." SEEDED [see-did] A rider is seeded if he is ranked among the top 45 bull riders. TURN BACK [turn bak] The term "turn back" is used to describe a bull that displays a bucking pattern in which he heads in one direction and then makes a sharp move in the opposite direction.

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12 • PBR 2018 • Billings Area News Group

PBR World Champions Marchi and Mauney continue to make history each week By Heather Croze

Last year on a crisp Saturday night in Billings, Montana, PBR history was made by 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi. The veteran Brazilian rider threw his arms in the air in celebration and was carried by his celebrating countrymen to the shark cage in the middle of Rimrock Auto Arena when he became the first rider in league history to record 600 qualified rides on the elite tour The 35-year old was presented with a commemorative buckle made by Montana Silversmith for his recordbreaking ride, and with that the tears began to flow as Marchi thanked the thousands of fans that surged to their feet. “I take my hat off to you guys,” he told the crowd. “Because without you guys, we are not here.” Marchi rode Shocker for 86.25 points to reach the milestone. It was just the third time the bull had been ridden at any level in 14 outs. To stay at the PBR’s highest level, Marchi rides and trains horses where he lives in Texas, a state he has lived since 2006. He also adheres to a strict,

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Guilherme Marchi’s 500th ride by Andy Watson, Bull Stock Media

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three-day per week workout regimen, and was featured on the cover of the April 2017 issue of Men’s Fitness magazine. “This is for my children, my daughter and two sons. I ride for them. I want my kids to grow up mentally strong and respectful.” Marchi currently ranks third in the PBR for career earnings with more than $5.3 million. As of March 26, Marchi sits at 626 qualified rides and is still climbing. J.B. Mauney was the latest cowboy to join the illustrious 500 club. The 30-year old accomplished the feat during Round 1 of the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden in New York City this January. Mauney became the third rider in PBR history to reach the prestigious 500 qualified ride mark by riding All The Way Up for 87.25 points during the season opener for the premier 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast. “There are not very many riders who have done this,” Mauney said. “There are only two other guys to have gotten to 500. To be in a category where there are only three of you, that is a pretty good accomplishment.” Marchi and Mauney have been there for each other’s accomplishments. Mauney won the 2017 event in Billings and cheered all through Marchi’s historic ride. In similar fashion, Marchi was on the back of the chutes during Mauney’s ride, watching with a huge grin on his face. “We are glad to have another rider in the club,” Marchi said at the time. “J.B. is more than welcome here. He deserves everything he has done in his career. Mauney currently sits at 507 qualified rides and despite battling injuries so far this season he’s confident he’ll keep racking the rides up before he hangs up his bull rope. “I have been hurt. I have battled injuries my entire career,” Mauney said. “Every bull rider has. That is something you just have to push through.” To go along with his 500-qualified rides, he has two gold buckles, two World Finals event titles, 31 career event wins and 72 90-point rides. He’s also the richest bull rider in history with more than $7.2 million in earnings. With 12 premier series events left before the PBR World Finals, Mauney and Marchi will look to continue to etch their names deeper in the history books. As Napoleon once said, “History is written by winners.” So come on out to Rimrock Arena on April 20-22 to watch Marchi and Mauney continue to write their names in the annals of PBR greatness.


14 • PBR 2018 • Billings Area News Group

Lostroh announces his retirement By: Kody Lostroh

Well the time has finally come for me to hang up my spurs and close a chapter in my life that has been amazing and something I’d hoped would never end. In one hand, I’m sad that it’s over and I wish it would last longer. But on the other hand, I’m happy for the experiences, friends and success that I was so fortunate to have over the years. This may come as a surprise to a lot of people that thought I had retired years ago because they haven’t seen me competing in quite a while. Truthfully, I thought maybe I was going to be forced into retirement in 2015 due to some health issues that happened. For those that don’t know, in 2015 my balance, eye sight, and speech all deteriorated instantly one night as I was driving back to Colorado from Oklahoma. I didn’t know what was wrong with me or when it would get better, so I didn’t tell many people other than my family and friends. Originally it was thought that I had a stroke. When those tests came back negative, then it was thought that these were concussion-related effects. But that was eventually ruled out as well. Over the course of the next couple years, I went through lots of balance and eye sight

therapy to regain everything. I worked hard over those years not knowing if I would ever be able to feel normal again, let alone be able to ride bulls again. Eventually I got better at dealing with the symptoms and could drive and ride a horse again, but I’d always feel like I was drunk. Finally, a tumor in my neck was found. It was wrapped around the carotid artery and was choking down blood flow to my brain and putting pressure on some different nerves that go to my face. Then January of 2017, the tumor was removed through surgery and I instantly felt better after waking up that day. At last, the problem was solved! Recovery took quite a while, but after working hard for several months, I was able to start riding bulls again in July 2017. It was what I’d dreamed of doing about every single day while my head was messed up. Being able to ride again seemed like such a distant goal for those two years, but now it was a reality. And so I rode at some smaller events and rodeos trying to get back in the groove and trust my body again. It was great being able to do it again. But with it came one thing that I wasn’t expecting. Riding bulls just didn’t mean as much to me as it used to. I could still ride good and rode several great

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bulls, but the fulfillment after the ride just wasn’t there like it was before. Still planning on riding bulls, but not knowing to what extent that I would go, I’ve still been riding at select events sometimes. But this past weekend I made the decision to step away for good. I was riding at an event and during the ride my bicep tore off the bone on my riding arm. We were just a couple jumps into the ride and I was riding correctly when the muscle snapped. A little more than 24 hours later I was in the hospital doing emergency surgery to remove a large hematoma that had occurred due to excessive bleeding inside my arm. They also reattached my bicep at that time. And as I lay there recovering from surgery, I came to the conclusion that if riding bulls doesn’t mean as much as it used to me, then there was no reason to keep tearing myself apart for it. It’s no secret that bull riding is a rough sport, but the only way to be very successful at it is to love it so much that you’re willing to die for it. For all my life that had been true. Until now. In my mind there would never be a day that I didn’t love riding bulls, and I couldn’t fathom stepping away from it. Well that day has finally arrived, and it honestly feels very strange to me! One thing I’m super thankful for is the friendships that were developed over the years with not only fellow riders, but with fans, stock contractors, producers, bullfighters, journalists and all the other people involved in bull riding and rodeo over the years. Big thanks to all the companies that have stood beside me over the years as well too. Wrangler, Enterprise Rent a Car, DeWalt, Stanley, Anderson Bean Boots, Lincoln Electric, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. There’s way too many people to thank by name, but just know that if I’ve ever shaken your hand and shared a few words, I’m thankful to have met you and called you a friend. And thanks to PBR for the opportunity to make a great living and compete against some of the most badass bull riders that I’ve ever known. I’m very grateful for that and feel fortunate to have occasionally beat some of those legends. Watching some of the new young guys coming up and chasing their dreams gives me hope for the future of the sport. And I hope they never take for granted this time in their lives, and that they never quit working harder to become a better athlete and cowboy every single day. Our sport is one unlike any other, and I encourage the next generation to carry the heritage forward with pride. Continue to represent the cowboy athlete with integrity, hard work and dedication. Lastly and certainly most importantly, I’d like to thank my wife, Candace, for her unwavering support over the years. She is the other half of me that encourages and lifts me up whenever I was broken or beat down. She’s also the number one ranch hand taking care of everything around the ranch when I was gone. And my savior Jesus Christ that gave me the ability to do something I love for so long. I don’t know how riding bulls fit into Your plan, but I know that You were at work there and I credit my success to You. So now I’m not sure exactly what the future holds, but I’m looking forward to the next ride along this wild thing called life. Respectfully, Kody Lostroh

PBR 2018 • Billings Area News Group • 15

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PBR 2018  

PBR is coming to Billings April 20-22, 2018 Billings Area News Group.

PBR 2018  

PBR is coming to Billings April 20-22, 2018 Billings Area News Group.

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