Bodacious (bull)

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Bodacious
Bodacious standing at ease.
Facing Down Bodacious
Bodacious
Country United States
Breed Charbray
Brand J31
Sex Bull
Color Yellow
Weight 1,799 lbs., 816 kg.
Born 1988
Longdale, Oklahoma, U.S.
Years active 1992-1996
Breeder Bill McCann
Owner Andrews Rodeo Company
Notable riders Tuff Hedeman, Scott Breding
Died May 16, 2000(2000-05-16) (aged 12)
Red River County, Texas, U.S.
Honors
ProRodeo Hall of Fame 1999,
Bull Riding Hall of Fame 2017
Awards
1994-95 PRCA Bucking Bull of the Year,
1995 PBR World Champion Bull

Bodacious #J31 (1988 – May 16, 2000) was a ProRodeo Hall of Fame bucking bull who was infamous throughout the sport of bull riding, one of the more popular sports of rodeo. Bodacious was commonly referred to as "The World’s Most Dangerous Bull." Bodacious won the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) Bucking Bull of the Year in 1994 and 1995. He also won the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) World Champion Bull in 1995, making him the only bull to win both awards in the same year. Today Bodacious has just as much of a fan following, if not bigger, than he did when he was alive. In a PBR article written on January 22, 2013, entitled, "Who's the Greatest," it states that the two most mentioned bulls were Little Yellow Jacket and Bodacious.[1] However, this is before Bushwacker won 3 World Champion Bull titles. In a PBR article written on June 29, 2015, entitled, "The Memorable Bulls of the PBR" Bodacious is listed "as one of the most famous bulls of all time, and he was at the end of his career when the PBR was just beginning."[2]

Bodacious was dubbed "The World's Most Dangerous Bull" due to his habit of jerking guys down and then head butting them.[1] Many cowboys tried to ride Bodacious in his career. And many of the ones who did attempt a ride fell victim to his head butt and no longer had the face God gave them. Unfortunately, statistics were not as well maintained at that time. Generally, records show that Bodacious was attempted more than 130 times. Some 8 and others day 10 times did he give up a qualified ride. Clint Branger and Tuff Hedeman both rode him for a qualified ride, which would be two of the more well known bull riders. Unfortunately for Tuff, he would go 3 more times for buck offs, the last one culminating in the worst wreck on Bodacious in history. It required facial reconstruction surgery. After Hedeman and another ride suffered traumatic facial injuries, Bodacious was retired for being "too dangerous.[1]

Bodacious spent a well deserved retirement on his owner Sammy Andrews' ranch.[1] Although, he did make an occasional tour. He is buried on that ranch. Fans still visit his grave site to honor him there.[1]

Background[edit]

Bodacious, who was born in 1988, was a cross-bred Charbray bull.[3][4] Bodacious started out life as inconspicuously as any other Charbray bull calf could, with a color and not even a brand yet.[4] The only thing that distinguished him from the rest of the herd was that he was yellow and the others were gray-blues and creams.[4]

The Yellow Bull Calf[edit]

The first man known to own Bodacious was Bill McCann.[4] He would always laugh when he recalled how he sold the most famous bull in bull riding history for pennies on the pound. McCann was in the business of buying calves from Merrick Ranch. He and his co-owner, Bill, owned Geary Livestock Auction. They would buy from Merrick and then sell from the auction. Merrick Ranch was well known for its high value Simbray bulls and the robust calves they produced. When he and Bill got the call that there were 300 head available for purchase, they reacted swiftly. It was steer cutting time! McCann loaded his trailer up and drove to Oklahoma's Arbuckle Mountains. Bill culled about 16 of the fattest Merrick bull calves. His buyers wanted smaller calves, that, when castrated, would not drop a lot of weight. Plus, he liked their looks. These were eye pleasing cattle with gray-blues, creams, and one yellow. His buyers would want these calves. Those were good days; now the Merrick Ranch is no longer in existence.[4]

The Bull Branded J[edit]

When a rancher by the name of Jess Kephart came to the auction, he wasn't looking for steer.[4] He was on the prowl for herd bulls and bucking bulls. The calves that McCann had culled appealed to him. "Rodeo people like loud-colored bulls," says Bill. Meaning that the yellow calf passed out of McCann's hands. Jess never laughed, unlike McCann, about how he sold the bull that would be worth so much. Jess Kephart lived in Longdale, Oklahoma, and Bodacious was branded with "J". He pastured the yellow calf in "dusty mesquite and cactus land" near Okeene, Oklahoma. The yellow bull received nothing extra in feed in winter, and thus he grew up lanky and scrawny. Jess decided he did not like the yellow bull for a herd bull when he was three. He didn't seem to be much to look at. Cue Phil Sumner, a rodeo stock contractor, who had showed up to see another bull. Jess offered to throw in the yellow bull as he could use some extra scratch.[4]

The Bull Branded J-31[edit]

"Phil Sumner paid Jess the going rate for beef on the hoof."[4] At that time, it was about 50 cents a pound. The yellow bull received a new brand. Sumner added 31 to Jess's J. Now his brand was J-31. J stood for Jess. 3 for March. 1 for 1991. In Sumner's records, he recorded the vet's estimate that the bull was 2 years old. This was an easy mistake to make as he weighed only 1,200 pounds. He was really 3 years old.[4]

J-31 was still skinny at age three, and his breed was usually subject to turning fat and clumsy as it matured.[5] Thus, Sumner just held to branding him with J-31 and not giving him a name.[5] Sumner didn't have high hopes that the bull would survive long enough to merit a name.[5] Sumner brought the bull to some local rodeos in northern Oklahoma. However, J-31 didn't do much in the way of bucking.[5] It appears J-31 was not a good bucking prospect.[4] The yellow bull could jump high, but could not not figure out what to do with the cowboy on his back.[4] The first three cowboys easily made the whistle on him.[4] "I was thinking, Dude, you’re going to have to step up your game plan or you’re going to be going to McDonald’s," Sumner told me.[5]

One Sunday afternoon, outside Okeene, Oklahoma, a cowboy was out on Bodacious on what was about his fourth time bucking, when things took a slightly sinister turn for the young bull.[5] Bodacious was in a small arena with this kid on his back when he suddenly got his caught in the bull rope. Well, that kid was flailing around trying to dislodge his hand, and Bodacious suddenly flipped out. The bull leapt up, spun around, jumped forward, and then kicked back. The bull's legs were so high behind him, he almost flipped over. Bodacious had nearly leapt over the fence by the time the kid had pulled his hand free. "It just freaked him out," Sumner said.[5] "After that, he had a goal: airmail those cowboys."[4]

It didn't take long until bull riders at the local amateurs rodeos refused to take on J-31.[4] Sumner would watch the bull, who was now very smooth and muscular, roam around the hilly pasture near Goltry, Oklahoma. He would say, "Young man, do you have any idea how you intimidate the cowboy that draws you?" When Sumner realized he might have a major league bull, he contacted his friend Sammy Andrews. Like Bill McCann and Jess Kephart before him, Sumner had no idea just what caliber bull he was passing on. He was purchased by Andrews of the Andrews Rodeo Company, who hauled him and bucked him for the rest of his professional career. And the yellow bull finally had a name - Bodacious.[3][4]

The Bull Named Bodacious[edit]

Sammy Andrews is a third generation stock contractor who started at a young age.[6] Sammy’s stock contractor ability is well proven by the success of his hall of fame bucking bull Bodacious.[6] Andrews was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2008.[6] Andrews received the prestigious PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year award in 2002.[6] The Andrews ranch is located in Addielou, Texas.[6] Throughout his career, Bodacious was referred to as "the yellow whale" by National Finals Rodeo (NFR) announcer Bob Tallman.[7] Andrews bought Bodacious in 1992, and the skinny 3 year old weighed in at 1,900 pounds by the end of his career.[7]

Bucking style[edit]

"Bodacious was such a powerhouse it wasn’t uncommon to see his belly from the top of the back of the chute – and if you can imagine being tied to something nearly a ton dropping even five feet then changing directions – and you don’t know what direction – you can imagine a very small glimpse of him. He was able to buck many off before they could nod their heads."[8]

Bodacious is known for one precise deception that resulted in many injuries for riders.[1] He would bring his head down to the ground and then rear up, which forced the rider to shift his weight forward.[1] At that point, he would throw his head back into the rider's face, smashing it.[1] Bodacious was always a forceful bucking bull with an impressive vertical leap, which kept him from being conquered by more than a handful of riders.[7]

Career[edit]

Bodacious had a shorter bucking career than most bucking bulls at four years.[7] This was obviously due to his early retirement, which came from his penchant for seriously injuring riders. He sent several people to the ER regardless of protective gear, like face masks and helmets.[8] However, in those four years, Bodacious managed to buck off 127 of 135 riders throughout the PRCA and the PBR.[7] "He's a lot ranker than any of those bulls-they were more performance," said Bryan McDonald, the PRCA bull riding director who sets the pens for the NFR.[7] "Pacific Bell could hook the crap out of you. Mr. T and Red Rock, they were both smart and wouldn't hurt anyone.[7] Bodacious, he was murderous."[7]

PRCA[edit]

In 1992, the first place Sammy took Bodacious to was Houston, Texas, to one of the PRCA's biggest rodeos.[4] At that rodeo then bull rider and current PBR Livestock Director Cody Lambert drew Bodacious and Bodacious knocked him unconscious. Also in 1992, a young rider named Bubba Dunn, who would later become a world champion, drew Bodacious at Lufkin, Texas. As one can imagine, he had never heard of the bull. Thus, he asked Andrews what he might expect from him. "He's got a lot of down," Andrews replied. Andrews was implying it would be hard not to bust heads. Bubba remembers that "down," "remembers pushing so hard with his riding arm as the bull dropped that he was arched back, staring at the arena rafters." But nonetheless, Dunn made the whistle. He was the first bull rider to make a qualified ride on Bodacious.[4] Known bull riders who made at least one qualified ride on Bodacious in professional competition include Terry Don West, Clint Branger, Bubba Dunn, Tuff Hedeman, Jim Sharp, Legs Stevenson, and Greg Schlosser.[9]

A couple months later, Canadian Greg Schlosser drew Bodacious in San Antonio, Texas.[4] He recalls Cody Lambert's warning, "I don’t want to scare you or nothin’, but that bull is one of the baddest son of a guns I’ve ever been on." Since Greg had flown all the way from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, he wasn't going to let that stop him. He made the whistle and 82 points on Bodacious.[4]

All this while, Bodacious was still growing.[4] His neck had expanded into a bulge. He had picked up several hundred pounds of muscle. However, Bodacious did not slow down the way most bulls did who weighed almost a ton. He remained just as quick as ever. When he leapt up towards the sky, and then jerked a rider toward his broad head, it was with the full force of 1,850 pounds of mature weight. Rodeo commentators, announcers, and bull riders began to notice that the cowboys who drew Bodacious were letting themselves get bucked off and clear of him. "You can see it in their eyes," bull riding great Tuff Hedeman once said. "They’re just looking for a place to get off."[4]

In 1995, according to the cowboys, Bodacious learned something new.[4] He learned a new trick of sorts. This trick was a kind of stutter hop on his front legs, which he followed up with a faster and more powerful lift of his head. In Lufkin, Texas in February 1995, Bubba Dunn took Bodacious on for a second time, and he scored 93 points. During this ride, Bodacious managed to crease the brim of Bubba's hat and bruise his cheek. Bubba counted himself lucky. "Bo was psychotic. He didn’t like people." says Cody. "If you were on his back, he wanted to hurt you."[4]

D&H Cattle Company[edit]

D&H Cattle Company has been well known today in the PRCA and the PBR for a long time.[10] In 2015 and 2016, their bulls won the coveted PBR World Champion Bull title. And those same two bulls have placed high in the PRCA as well. You know them if you know modern bull riding, Bruiser and Long John. D.H. Cattle Company, run by Dillon Page and his son, H.D. have won the Stock Contractor of the Year Award six times. Not many know, however, that H.D. used to ride the bulls in the 90's. In fact, he rode Bodacious three times. That makes him the only person familiar with Bodacious from the standpoint of both rider and breeder.[10]

"The first time I got on Bo was at [Edmond, Oklahoma], at an IPRA rodeo in '90 or '91," Page said.[10] "He smashed my face pretty good on the way up." Page drew the bull a second time at his hometown in Ada, Oklahoma. It was a $1,000-added PRCA event. Even though that amount seemed petty for getting on a bull that usually sent the rider to the ER, Page didn't hesitate. He still remembers it clearly. "K.J. Pletcher had his face smashed pretty good and had this big, green helmet he'd been wearing. I don't know how, but they talked me into wearing it," Page remembers. "Then just like before, Bo hit me again, but this time on the way down, right in the helmet." The IRPA is the International Professional Rodeo Association.[10]

The very next weekend at Athens, Texas, he drew the bull again.[10] Page couldn't believe it. "When I called back and they told me I drew him again, back-to-back weekends, I said, 'You got to be kidding me!' So, this time, I got me a game plan together," Page said. "I didn't think he bucked as hard as he usually did," Page said. "These guys say he did, but either way he was still up and down and circled around to the out gates. He still hit me in the face again on the way down." This time, though, the result was disappointment. Page ended up staying on for 8 seconds, but the judge called him for a slap and disqualified him. "I was going to be 90-something on one side and on the other the judge said I slapped him. I'm not too sure that I did though. Especially since that judge didn't particularly like me," laughed Page.[10]

Terry Don West[edit]

Bodacious is one bull who doesn't really like to be alone. But just because he is lonely for bovine company doesn't mean he'll settle for you. In fact, he's worse to deal with if he's alone.[11] "He is very capable of killing a man," said Terry Don West.[11]

World Champion Bull Rider Terry Don West was one of a few riders to ever get a qualified ride on Bodacious, in fact he got two rides.[12] In his first ride, Terry Don West put up a sensational ride on Bodacious at the 1995 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.[7] Terry only earned $181 from his first ride on the big guy.[12] However, on his second ride, it was a much larger sum of $10,000.[12]

Terry recounted once that he rode Bodacious for a qualified ride twice and that he was bucked off twice in his career.[13] One of the times he got bucked off Bodacious he was sent to the hospital.[13] The 5' 8", 140 lb. West, who is the first and last rider to get a qualified ride, has gotten aboard Bodacious 4 times.[11] He has scored a ride twice and been bucked off twice.[11] In 1991, when West scored the first ever qualified ride on Bodacious, who was not well known yet, the prize money bore that out, only $181.[11] They met again in 1993, and Bodacious got his revenge, bucking him off and bruising his ribs.[11] Their third meeting was a disaster for West, and Bodacious almost ended him.[11] It was in 1994 at an event in Houston, TX.[11] During the ride, he was not wearing a protective vest.[13] Bodacious exploded off his front feet and more damage was done than a head bashing.[13] Terry received broken ribs, a broken wrist, and a punctured lung.[13] "He didn't want to get on him that night," said West's wife, Michelle, a former barrel rider. "He was saying 'I'm just not going to get on him.' And I said 'Big deal. What's the worst thing that can happen to you? You'll get bucked off?' "Then when he was lying out there, gasping for air, about to pass on, I said to myself 'That's real smart, Michelle. I decided never to put my two cents in from then on.'"[11] However, West did not let his injuries stop him taking on Bodacious again. In 1995, and wearing a protective vest this time, he rode him through to a qualified ride to score 87 points.[11] He earned a much larger amount of $10,000.[11] The score was 2-2.[11]

Later on, Fox Television talked him into a fifth ride to break the 2-2 tie with Bodacious, with the benefit money being donated to a children's hospital.[13] This event was to cap off the $1 million Wrangler Bull Riders Only (BRO) World Championships at the Thomas & Mack Center.[11] "I hope this is the last time they buck that bull. He will kill somebody," said West at the time, the reigning PRCA world champ, who would donate his $10,000 purse to Sunrise Children's Hospital. "There's a lot of fear there. You test yourself every time you get on a bull, but getting on Bodacious, you have to dig down deep and pull out something extra. "He's scary. To get on him, you test how much you've got."[11]

To promote the event, a nervous cowboy climbed into Bodacious' pen at Harrah's Las Vegas for photographs.[11] Keeping Bodacious calm were his girlfriend and two calves. "He'll tear the pen up," West said. "When I got in there, he gave me a look, saying 'Don't get no closer. You'll pay for it.'" Those words of warning weren't just ballyhoo. The 31-year-old from Henryetta, OK will wear a chest vest, a mask, and face mask. He also pre-purchased additional insurance. Bodacious may have been inactive for 2 years and approaching the end of his prime at age 9, but that signature head move is lethal. "Bo hasn't forgotten how to buck," he said. "He'll try to dirk me down about his second jump and try to knock my head off. Then he'll level out and try it again. The power he throws behind him, with such force, that's where he hurts you. I gotta try to dodge the bullet. I want to walk away from this match. I don't want to get carried away in a stretcher."[11]

In many athletic sports, fear is a liability.[11] However, West says bravado can be a rider's downfall on Bodacious. "When he crushed Tuff Hedeman's face (October 1995 in Las Vegas), he broke pretty near every bone in his face," West said. "I hated to see it happen, but I don't think Tuff gave him the credit he deserved. He was too confident on that bull." The next time Hedeman drew Bodacious, approximately 2 months later at the 1995 NFR, he turned off Bodacious when the chute opened, opting for no score. Later that day, Bodacious broke bones in Scott Breding's face. The face mask he was wearing did not help. "One friend of mine rode him and he shoved his jaw bones back into ears, chipped his teeth and lost his hearing," West said. "That shows you what this bull can do."[11]

"If he wanted to leave here, he could go," said Phil Sumner, the bull's former owner.[11] Sumner had come to Las Vegas to assist in handling Bodacious. "He's been real polite staying in the pen." When Sumner had bought Bodacious at 3 years old five years ago, he had paid only $700 for him. When Sumner went to sell him to his current owner Andrews, he sold him for $7,500 in 1992. Today, in 1997, Sumner says that he would estimate Bodacious being worth approximately 30,000. "But if he weren't the competitor he is, he'd be hangin' in the packing house," he said. When West had climbed into the pen with Bodacious for the photographs, it was Sumner who ensured the safety of everyone involved. This he did by studying Bodacious' body language. He could detect any agitation this way. "If his head starts cockin' or his ears get to twitchin', he's gettin' worked up," Sumner said. "But as long as he's got his girlfriend in there, he'll be pretty comfortable. You put him by himself and he goes berserk." Saturday night, during the event, West expected to be alone with Bo. "I don't want to do this," he said. "I'm scared for my life."[11] However, the bull West drew prior to his match with Bodacious happened to injure him severely.[13] The fifth ride never took place.[13] Fox still donated the money nevertheless.[13]

Tuff Hedeman's Rides[edit]

Tuff's First Two Buck Offs. It was 1993 and Tuff was well on his way to a Hall of Fame career and earning his reputation as King of the Bull Riders.[14] Simultaneously, Bodacious was gaining his reputation as an 1,800 pound master of disaster. "The first time I had him was at a bull riding event in Memphis, Tennessee," Hedeman said. "He was unbelievable. When he left the chute his front end came up so high. I was right in the middle of him, and riding him like you have to ride a bull with a lot of downdraft. But my chest was touching his horns, and my head was right over the top of his. I couldn't keep my hand in the rope."[14]

"I drew him again a month later, at another bull riding in Tampa, Florida, and I was way down over him.[14] He was so strong that he jerked my right leg up past the top of his back and pulled me down. My hand came out of my rope at about 5 and a half seconds, and I rode him another second and a half or so just hanging onto the tail of my rope with my fingertips. But I lost my rope again, and he ejected me right before the whistle."[14]

The 95 Point Ride. However, Hedeman remain resolute in his determination to get a qualified ride on the "greatest bull ever to buck."[14] "His third ride proved to be the charm."[14] Hedeman participated in the 1993 Bull Riders Only (BRO), and Bodacious was also there.[14]

"He was like a monster once he matured," Tuff Hedeman, a four-time world champion, said.[15] "Even the good guys were super scared of him. You’d see world champions ride him for a jump or two and then get off." In 1993, Tuff Hedeman attended the aforementioned BRO rodeo in Long Beach, California. He drew the beast for what many consider the greatest ride in history-a near perfect exhibition. Hedeman scored 95 points on Bodacious in his third ride on him. He would encounter Bodacious one more time.[15]

"That ride that day in Long Beach was, without a doubt, the best ride I ever made," Hedeman said.[14] "If I ever made a perfect ride, that was it. There was nothing either of us could have done to make it better. When it was all over, the judges told me they wished I hadn't been the first guy out. They were saving some space, in case there would could possibly be a better ride. When the event ended, the judges said if I would have ridden last, they would have marked me higher. Bodacious' owner, Andrews, said he would have marked me 98 or 99, and also said it was the best ride he had ever seen."[14]

Tuff's Last Ride. Jump ahead two years to the 1995 PBR World Finals, and Hedeman didn't have any fear of Bodacious.[14] No one else wanted anything to do with Bodacious. Hedeman was riding with the most confidence of his career. His riding percentage was 82.35. "When I drew Bodacious, I just knew I'd ride him," Hedeman said. "In all honesty, I thought I could kick his butt."[14]

"He was like a monster once he matured," Tuff Hedeman, said.[5] "Even the good guys were super scared of him. You’d see world champions ride him for a jump or two and then get off." In August at the NFR in Las Vegas, Hedeman was leading in the rankings. And he was leading by what should have been an unbeatable 300 points when he drew Bodacious.[5]

Most of the fans don't know this, but from 1993 to 1995, Bodacious was out of competition for long periods due to an injury.[5] Despite that, the bull actually returned to action even more difficult to ride. During his absence, he developed an even more lethal bucking move. This move involves him bringing up his rear end with his head to the ground. This entices the rider to shift his weight forward. Bodacious would then thrust his head up and use it to smash the rider in the face. In retrospect, Hedeman was brash and not well prepared. He lasted four seconds.[5]

"This time, a split second after leaving the chute, the bull bucked forward with all his might.[5] Hedeman did what riders are supposed to do: he leaned high over the bull’s shoulders and flung his arm back as a counterbalance. But just as he came forward, Bodacious threw his head back—smashing it square into Hedeman’s face. Hedeman stayed on somehow, his hand twisted in the rope, only to get head-butted again, thrown into the air, and bounced off the bull’s back like a rag doll."[5]

[14]"When I nodded for him, the first jump felt fine," he said. "Then, all of a sudden, whack! When I hit the ground, I felt numb." What Hedeman couldn't see was his appearance, his face had blood all over it. "When I was walking out of the arena I bit down and my teeth didn't come together, so I figured my jaw was broken," Hedeman recalled. "I didn't realize my whole face was smashed. But when I looked at people looking at me, they looked like they'd seen the devil. "They couldn't find the ambulance driver, so I sat down and watched the event on TV back behind the chutes for a little while. I told somebody to go tell my wife, Tracy, I was fine so she wouldn't worry. When I got in the ambulance I felt my eyes swelling shut." Upon arriving at the hospital, doctors determined that Bodacious had broken every major bone in Hedeman's face. It took two surgeries, totaling 13 hours, and six titanium plates to reconstruct his face. Hedeman said that when he returned home from the hospital, his head was so swollen he was unrecognizable to his 4-year-old son, Lane. "It damn sure rearranged my face and altered my appearance forever," Hedeman quipped. "But I wasn't real worried about that. If I'd been Clark Gable it might have been different. The good news was I was ugly to begin with, so it really wasn't any great loss."[14]

"The ride broke every bone in Hedeman’s face below the eyes.[5] Hedeman’s sense of smell and taste never returned.[5] 'I told my buddy afterward, I must have broke my jaw, because when I bite down my teeth don’t come together,' he recalled.[5] 'People were looking at me and then turning their eyes away or putting their hands over their faces.[5] I thought, I must look like Frankenstein or something.'"[5] The incident was the beginning of the end for Bodacious.[14]

Tuff Hedeman Turns Down Bodacious[edit]

It was in December 1995 at the NFR that Tuff Hedeman unfortunately managed to draw Bodacious.[5] It was approximately 2 months after the master of disaster had nearly killed him. Since that time, Hedeman had nearly lost 25 pounds. His body was not completely healed yet. Somehow, because it was Tuff, he'd qualified for the NFR despite all that. His was a generation of bull riders and cowboys who never backed down. "They just had something the guys don’t have today," Dillon Page told me. "They were raised up in the country and they got on bulls to win." Incredibly, Hedeman drew Bodacious in the 6th round; he knew what he needed to do.[5]

"I thought at first that I might have done something wrong the last time," he told me.[5] "But when I watched a video of the ride, the fact is that I was in perfect position for a bull of that caliber with that bucking pattern. There was nothing I could do. If I’d tried to lean back to avoid his head, I would have been stretched out vertically, and when his back legs hit the ground the force of the downdraft would have jerked me off. That’s why most people really feared him. He was a great bull, but he got to the point where you could ride him correctly and still nearly get killed." That's why Hedeman climbed on Bodacious' back in the chute. And why, when the gate swung open, Hedeman let the bull explode through it without a rider on his back. Lastly, he tipped his hat to the bull and left the arena. Then, in the 9th round. Scott Breding took his turn and gave Bo his final professional ride.[5]

Yet, Hedeman still has a good bit of respect for Bodacious.[14] He speaks in deferential tones about the bull who proved to be his most climatic challenge. Yet a challenge he would respectfully pass on now. "He did things a bull his size shouldn't have been athletic enough to do," Hedeman, one of only seven men ever to ride Bodacious successfully, said. "He was like a 300-pound lineman being able to play cornerback. In that respect, he was kind of a freak. "If they gave me a million dollars to try him today, I'd say no."[14]

Scott Breding gives Bo his Last Ride[edit]

Approximately two months after Tuff was injured by Bodacious, in December 1995 in the 9th round of the 1995 NFR, Scott Breding drew Bodacious.[4][5] Scott tried wearing a hockey mask for the ride. "I knew exactly what was going to happen," Cody says. "It was the ninth go-round, so I kinda suspected Scott’d try to ride him. If he did, that face mask wasn’t going to help." It took less than 4 seconds for Bodacious to use the same move to fracture Scott's left eye socket and cheekbone. He also broke his nose and knocked him unconscious. The mask was useless. Andrews retired the big yellow bull the next day from professional competition. "I didn’t want to be the guy who let him kill someone," he said. Andrews was sure he was saving a life, but not so sure he was doing rodeo any favors.[4][5]

Breding had drawn Bodacious twice before in his career.[16] He was released from University Medical Center and attended the NFR but did not compete further. "He's already shown us he's an outstanding athlete," Breding said. "I agree with retiring him. He's gotten to be a little treacherous. Everybody knows he's the best." Bodacious is a three-time Bucking Bull of the Finals and a two-time Dodge Bull of the Year. "We're going to put him out on top," said Andrews, who added that retiring the bull made Sunday a tough day. "I was hoping Scott would get by him. If the bull ever needed ridden it was last night. But these boys (bull riders) have made me." Andrews said Bodacious will now be used for breeding purposes.[16]

Tuff Hedeman Interview Clip[edit]

Rusty Baker, Editor, "How does your body feel nearly 18 years after retiring?"[17] Tuff, “I feel awesome. Looking back, it’s really weird to me that I did what I did and didn’t have the damage that maybe I should. Riding bulls for 15 years is a lot like playing in the NFL for 15 years. It’s not physical every now and then- it’s physical every day. But I was fortunate. I always tell people I never had a serious injury.”[17]

Rusty, "Bodacious essentially broke every bone in your face at the PBR finals in 1995, and that wasn’t serious?"[17] Tuff, “No. Not even close. The funny thing about the Bodacious incident is I remember it like it was yesterday. I never lost consciousness. What it did was- everything from here down was just mush (pointing at face). When you watch the accident and see the blood you think it was horrible. And it was bad. But if you break shit, it heals. If it’s not life threatening, it’s not serious.”[17]

Rusty, "When did you know that the damage was worse than you thought immediately after the collision?"[17] Tuff, “When I saw the reaction on people’s faces. As I was walking out of the arena I told my buddy, ‘I must have broken my jaw, because when I bite down my teeth don’t touch.’ I could see people looking at me, and covering their faces. I thought, ‘Oh I must not look very good.’ I remember being back stage waiting for the EMT and watching the replay on the monitors, and I could feel my face starting to swell. This was back when I was still wearing hard contact lenses, and I told my friend, ‘You’re gonna to have to help me dig these contacts out.’ My eyes were swelling shut. It wasn’t painful initially, but once I was lying down in the ambulance and the adrenaline wore off and the swelling and throbbing began to set in, it hurt like hell. My head swelled up and it was the grossest thing you’ve ever seen. There was no way to recognize who I was, or really what I was.”[17]

Summary[edit]

Was Bodacious really the greatest?[4] Or was his reputation a result of promotion? There is some truth to the claim that some frightened cowboys allowed themselves to be bucked off early. Every bull rider's worst fear is getting yanked down onto a bull's head. Those that stayed on past two jumps usually got injured. Many of the bull's 127 wins were very well the result of cowboys letting him win. And it is clearly true that Bodacious made himself into a story by nearly killing Tuff Hedeman. It may be coincidence that Bo picked one of the best bull riders of the time, but that doesn't change the fact that it makes for a story writers never tire of. Especially since the event took place in front of TV cameras and thousands of fans. And if you ask the cowboys, "the hype got hooked to a bull that deserved most of it."[4]

"'I don’t have fond memories of him, but Bodacious was the best ever,' says Cody Lambert.[4] Hedeman, who tried the bull four times, rode him the third and almost died the fourth, says 'Bodacious was one of the rankest bulls of all time,' even though 'by the end he was basically a cheap shot artist who would Sunday punch you.'" "Sammy says the bull’s fame has to do with timing. Bodacious was a world-class athlete, but more important, he came along as TV was providing the sport with more coverage, he got tried by the best and, let’s face it, he was amazing to watch. Eighteen-hundred and fifty pounds of beef just isn’t supposed to move that fast, jump that high." "Lord only knows, rodeo needs heroes," says Sammy. "And in the big yellow bull that intimidated even the best, it has apparently found one to hold onto."[4]

PBR[edit]

Bodacious bucked for two years in the PBR, in 1994 and 1995.[18][19] Some of his rides are recorded on the Probullstats website as having taken place on the elite Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS). Notable buck-offs during the 1994 season included Scott Breding[20] and 1994 PRCA World Champion Daryl Mills.[21] In the final round of the 1994 PBR World Finals, Clint Branger was bucked off of Bodacious just short of the necessary 8 seconds[22]; this buck-off ultimately cost Branger the 1994 PBR World Champion title. Out of five recorded attempts during the 1995 season, there was one qualified ride. His BFTS average is 46.4 which puts him second in the historical ranking, with Dillinger still being in first place. That gives him an 80% buck off rate just for the BFTS. The qualified ride was by Branger, who scored a 92 at the Bullnanza at the Lazy E Arena,[23] while the bull scored a 46 at Guthrie, OK, in September 1995. The records do not seem to include the 1995 World Finals, where Bodacious injured Tuff Hedeman during the championship round.[18]

Retirement[edit]

Terry Don West, Tuff Hedeman and Clint Branger were all riders who bested Bodacious at least once.[7] All of them were in agreement with the decision to retire the bull when Andrews' announced it.[7] There was a time Hedeman told a Sports Illustrated reportor, "Of all the bulls I've ever seen, he's the most dangerous."[7]

Bodacious has definitely become a legend. His retirement was precipitated by his willingness to do anything to rid a rider from his back, including injuring them and sending them to the ER. He is the bull that rearranged Tuff Hedeman's face in 1995. He sent many riders to the emergency room. Some of these riders wore masks and helmets, but none of that helped. At 1,800 to 1,900 pounds, this bull is genuinely in the running for the most dangerous bull of all time. Tuff Hedeman once said "even top-ranked guys who weren’t afraid of anything were definitely afraid of Bodacious." Any ride that ended without an injury was a good ride, or a ride on Bodacious that ended injury free was a successful ride.[8]

A few days later, Andrews retired Bodacious from professional bull riding for the safety of the riders; however, he did appear in select Bull Riders Only (BRO) events in 1996 before actually permanently retiring.[24] In 1999, he was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and many know him as "the greatest bull to ever buck."[25]

After Bodacious retired, that same reputation as a dangerous bucking bull made him a celebrity.[7] Andrews built a small-scale industry around the production and sale of T-shirts and videos.[7] Bo was at home at the Andrews' ranch in Bagwell, Texas most of the time.[7] However, Andrews occasionally took him out on the road to make a public appearance.[7] Bodacious also had his own line of belt buckles, watches, and rifles.[26][27] He also starred in Bud Light commercials.[27] There were poems and rock songs written about the bull who had a large fan base.[1] A ski manufacturer named one of its big mountain skis after him.[1]

In 2000, after Bodacious' death, a breeding consortium named Buckers, Inc., took over the marketing responsibilities for Bodacious.[16] After that, a feature videotape of Bodacious became a best seller. The tape ushered in a new era of rodeo merchandising. Montana Silversmith produced and released a line of belt buckles and a watch that became best sellers. A&A Engraving released a limited edition Winchester Rifle. At the time of Bodacious' death, Wrangler released a new Bodacious T-shirt. "Bo" and "Tuff" featured in advertising for Bud Light. Buckers, Inc., also kept Bodacious' legacy alive through distribution of his semen, which was part of a move to breed better bucking stock.[16]

Bodacious toured fairs and rodeos around the U.S.[6] He appeared at Harrah's as a guest.[6] Also appeared at the Silverton Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.[6] Bodacious' career has been profiled in magazines, including Sports Illustrated, Penthouse, and GQ.[4][6] He has been featured on Fox TV’s Guinness World Records Prime Time.[6] In 2004 Outdoor Life Network "Fearless" visited the Andrews Ranch and filmed a documentary titled, "Fearless Bodacious."[6] Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo presented Sammy Andrews with a "bucking chute" to use as a memorial for Bodacious' grave.[6] This chute still appears on Bodacious' grave today.[6] People who don't know rodeo know Bo.[4] And he even had his own New York agent.[4]

Breeding[edit]

Since H.D. Page saw Bodacious from the perspective of bull rider and breeder, i.e., he rode the bull and hauled bulls that were his descendants, he is uniquely qualified to give additional insight into this bovine.[10] "I wasn't real high on him as a producer initially, but I've seen some pretty good stuff out of him-especially his daughters," Page said. "Most of the Bo offspring are pretty droppy. Some guys like that style - up and down with a lot of drop, but some prefer bulls that are a little smoother. I guess it just depends on how good of a rider you are, as to whether you like bulls with his genetics and bucking characteristics or not."[10]

Page concurs with the general industry consensus regarding Bodacious' production performance as a sire.[10] He is aware that a major quantity of Bodacious' blood is out there in descendants who have been success stories. However, on the other hand, Page is one of few contractors who truly understands what it takes to promote a sire as a bucker. "I mean there was a lot of his genetics out there, but nobody promoted a bull better than Bob Tallman promoted Bo," Page said. "He really pushed that bull to be a prominent sire." Page has hauled many of Bodacious' descendants. Many of those descendants were calved by his daughters. A good portion of those descendants were bucked on the BFTS. One of D&H Cattle Company's most lauded bulls is 77 Hustler. This most recent bull, last active in 2011, is a great example of Bodacious' genetics. Very few people know that Bodacious was the first bucking bull registered in the American Bucking Bull, Inc. registry. under #10000708. As of 2013, when the article for the PBR was written about Bodacious' genetics, he had 23 sons who had professional outs. This earned him the top spot on the all-time producing sire's list.[10]

There is more to the story about Bodacious than being a head basher.[5] He changed the way bulls are bred. Prior to Bodacious, most bulls were worth more for beef than bucking off cowboys. The bull riders made the real money at the rodeo. And the riders, well, they were the ones that the spectators came to see. Bodacious, he equaled out that equation. People who never heard of a great bull rider like Tuff Hedeman knew of the bull who had "rearranged his face," as Hedeman's wife later put it. After Bo was retired, Andrews toured the country with him. Bodacious made personal appearances at restaurants, casinos, car dealerships, and much more. "It was unreal," Sammy Andrews said. "I thought we’d sell two or three T-shirts. But we had tour buses coming around to see him." There were Bodacious coffee mugs, belt buckles, jewelry lines, and condoms. "If a Brahman bull ever were a superstar, then Bodacious just might be," the band [[Primus (band)}|Primus]] sang. "He’s a cream-colored, beefy-brawn, full-fledged, four-footed bovine celebrity."[5]

Then the breeders found out that they could earn money without riders.[5] As a Bodacious type of notoriety spread to incoming bulls such as Wolfman, Dillinger, Asteroid, and Bushwacker, cattlemen started to earn more from selling sperm, merchandise, and licensing agreements than they then did from rodeos. At events called futurities, ranchers could have their bulls compete directly against each other. The bulls would carry dummy cowboys on their backs which judges would rate for bucking ability. The top bull could earn up to $250,000 at a single futurity event. As the prize money grew, so did the sport of bull riding's attention to genetics. Where the rancher was once willing to breed any bull that bucked, attention now turned to specific behaviors. They controlled this through outcrossing and in-vitro fertilization. All that was left in question was who could ride the bulls. As time has progressed the average percentage of bulls that a bull rider can ride has gone down as the bucking ability of the bulls have gone up.[5]

Not many realized that Bodacious had a trademark after his name. If you were to ask the bull's owner, Andrews, about it, he would say, "I didn't do that. You'll have to ask Bob." Bob Tallman is an iconic announcer for the PRCA. "I believe in Sammy and I believed in Bodacious. We registered his likeness and created an icon," replied Tallman. The caliber of bulls started changing with Bodacious, and that changed bull riding events. Once Bodacious retired, breeders started to consider how to continue to raising such quality of bucking bulls, and Buckers, Inc., was born. Buckers, Inc., developed a website that tracked the collection of semen from Bodacious. This was the beginning of an industry. It was also an opportunity for breeders to introduce World Champion bloodlines into their own breeding programs. In 2004, Buckers, Inc., had contracted to provide semen to about 50 bulls. This included World Champions, bulls with multiple NFR and PBR Finals showings, and proven prolific sires of great bucking bulls.

Buckers, Inc.[edit]

Another program offered by Buckers, Inc., are bull futurities.[28] Started in 2001 as the Buckers Gold Standard Futurity, two year old bulls have electronic riding dummies attached to their backs. Note that at this age they are not mature enough to have real riders on them. The dummy is programmed to release after 6 seconds. Accordingly, the bulls are all judged on their performance. The bulls all buck in two rounds, their scores averaged. Then the winning bull is chosen and "crowned." Bulls that complete in this program qualify to compete in the Buckers World Derby the next year. In the Derby, the bulls are ridden by human riders, which displays how much the animal has grown, improved and reacts to real competition. "The futurity gives everybody a chance to play," Andrews, who raises his own stock, cited. "It's a lot more special when you raise them. It will be interesting to see how well Bo's calves buck," he added. Andrews, who believes the bulls are "pretty sharp athletes," is passing on all of his stock contractor know-how to his son James. "James has a good eye for animals," Andrews said. James will take his own Andrews Rodeo Company to this year's rodeo at the Naples Watermelon Festival in East Texas. What does Andrews say is his own top bull pick within in his own string? "Slim. He's real showy, not a true spinner, and going to do something different." His son, James, however, prefers "Little Weed. He's the only rank bull. Turns back to the left or right. Bucks. He's been rode twice." About his decades in the bucking bull business, Andrews modestly said, "I've been blessed."[28]

Offspring[edit]

Bodacious sired many bulls that have gone to the PRCA and the PBR, as well as being the grand sire to many bulls that have gone on to careers in the PBR and PRCA. Some of them were named as such – bulls like 'Bo's Excuse,' 'Erks Me,' and 'Fender Bender.'[8]

On June 6, 2008, four of Bodacious' many offspring performed throughout the weekend at Rodeo Killeen. Those offspring included "Red Onion," "Pull the Trigger," and "Fender Bender." All of them lived at Sammy and James Andrews' Andrews Company Ranch in Addielou, Texas.[29]

Bodacious also sired Bo Howdy, who debuted in 2005 as a PBR bull.[30]

Most recent of all, Bodacious' son, Beaver Creek Beau, has been bucking on the BFTS since 2013. Beau is most likely the most successful bucking bull ever produced by Bodacious.[31][32] He ranked in the top 20 on the BFTS last year, and was very close to being a world champion bull contender. At all levels, he's been ridden 7 times of 83 attempts.[33] At the BFTS level, he's been ridden 5 times out of 52 outs. These stats will change often this year as he is an active bull. Probullstats.com is where you can keep current with his record.[33] Beau is a very large bull, like his father, weighing in around 1,900 pounds. He isn't quite as fast as his father, but he's fast enough to be a short and championship round bull. Unlike his father, Bodacious, Beaver Creek Beau is an amiable and friendly bull in the pasture, rather ironic. His owner, Chad Berger, of Chad Berger Bucking Bulls, claims you can even climb on his back.

Death[edit]

Bodacious died in 2000 when a cut on his foot caused a bone infection. The medication used to counteract it caused his kidneys to fail.[34]

Bodacious, who earned a reputation as the world's most dangerous bull by giving cowboys a phenomenal qualified ride or hellacious wreck, is no more.[3] He was 12 years old. And 12 years old in bull years is approximately the equivalent of 60 in human years. "He was the baddest bull that I ever saw," said four-time world champion Tuff Hedeman. Hedeman made the greatest and worst rides of his career on Bodacious. Bodacious had an volatile style of bucking which made him a rodeo celebrity. He could rear higher than most bulls. Bodacious tricked cowboys into leaning forward to stay in rhythm with his bucking. He did this so that he could throw his head back and strike the rider in his face with it. Bodacious repeated this move with many of the cowboys who tried to get a qualified ride on him. "Athletically speaking, Bodacious was the 300-pound offensive lineman who could also star at cornerback," Hedeman said. Since his retirement in 199, Bodacious sired hundreds of offspring. Until last week, he looked healthy. "He looked good" until the end, Carolyn Andrews said. "He was fat and sassy."[3] Bodacious is buried on Andrews' ranch with a bucking chute for his tombstone.[27]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Alternative rock band Primus dedicated a song to Bodacious on their 1999 album, Antipop. It is called "Ballad of Bodacious."[35]
  • Austrian ski company Blizzard Ski named their big mountain ski after Bodacious.[1]
  • Short's Brewing Company named a double-Black IPA "Goodnight Bodacious" after Bodacious.[36]

Honors[edit]

  • Two-time Dodge Bull of the Year[23]
  • Bucking Bull of the Finals at the 1992 NFR[7]
  • Bucking Bull of the Finals at the 1994 NFR[7]
  • Bucking Bull of the Finals at the 1995 NFR[7]
  • 1994 PRCA Bucking Bull of the Year[37]
  • 1995 PRCA Bucking Bull of the Year[37]
  • 1995 PBR World Champion Bucking Bull[38]
  • Only bull to win both the PRCA Bucking Bull of the Year and the PBR World Champion Bull, which he did in the same year
  • 1999 Inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame[25]
  • 2017 Inducted into the Bull Riding Hall of Fame[39]

†"'I always hoped he would get in (the Hall of Fame) because I always thought he did a lot for the sport of rodeo,' said Andrews of his famously feared bull."[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Professional Bull Riders - Who's the greatest?". Professional Bull Riders. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  2. ^ "Professional Bull Riders - The memorable bulls of the PBR". Professional Bull Riders. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Notorious bull Bodacious dies of kidney failure". Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved August 25, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af "Life and Times of a Superstar". Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved August 25, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab "The Ride of Their Lives". The New Yorker. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Stock Contractor: Andrews Rodeo Company". 101wildwestrodeo.com. Retrieved 13 January 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Bodacious - One of the most famous, and feared, bucking bulls of all time.". www.westernhorseman.com. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Rodeo Legends – Bucking Bulls". sumonova.com. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  9. ^ "Who were the riders of the bull bodacious?". www.kgbanswers.com. Retrieved 24 January 2017. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Professional Bull Riders - A meeting of the past and present". Professional Bull Riders. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Bull is out for blood". LasVegasSun.com. 3 April 1997. Retrieved 19 January 2017. 
  12. ^ a b c "Terry Don West - About Me". www.terrydonwest.com. Retrieved 13 January 2017. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Terry Don West recalls outstanding career | Okmulgee Times". www.yourokmulgee.com. Retrieved 18 January 2017. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Buck Of Legends: Tuff Hedeman vs. Bodacious 21 Years Later". FloRodeo. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  15. ^ a b "The Ride of Their Lives". The New Yorker. Retrieved 15 January 2017. 
  16. ^ a b c d Inc., Buckers,. "Bodacious - World's Most Dangerous Bull Dies". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 22 January 2017. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f "Rodeo Star Tuff Hedeman Up Close ⋆ Redneck Yacht Club". Redneck Yacht Club. 27 September 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2017. 
  18. ^ a b "Out List for J31 Bodacious (20194)". probullstats.com. Retrieved 18 January 2017. 
  19. ^ "Top 500 Bulls by Adjusted Average". probullstats.com. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  20. ^ [1]
  21. ^ [2]
  22. ^ [3]
  23. ^ a b "PRCA Bull of Year Bodacious Is Retired". NewsOK.com. 11 December 1995. Retrieved 22 January 2017. 
  24. ^ "Bodacious - 96 Phoenix Rodeo". YouTube - Bodacious performing at BRO event in 1996. 15 September 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2016. 
  25. ^ a b "Bodacious - Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame". Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Retrieved 30 October 2016. 
  26. ^ "Bad bull Bodacious dies". NewsOK.com. 25 May 2000. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  27. ^ a b c "Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials - Bodacious the Bull". www.findagrave.com. Retrieved 30 October 2016. 
  28. ^ a b "Stock contractor details latest crop of buckers". www.countryworldnews.com. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  29. ^ "Bodacious' legacy lives on at Rodeo Killeen". Killeen Daily Herald. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  30. ^ "That Ain't No Bull…That's Bodacious!". Cowboy Lifestyle Network. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  31. ^ "Championship Bull Riding :: News - Hedeman Selects a Son of Bodacious as the Bounty Bull in Huron". www.cbrbull.com. Retrieved 15 January 2017. 
  32. ^ "Beaver Creek Beau's size gives him a shot at the big prize". Professional Bull Riders. Retrieved 15 January 2017. 
  33. ^ a b "02 Beaver Creek Beau (28747) bull profile & stats". probullstats.com. Retrieved 15 January 2017. 
  34. ^ "Bad bull Bodacious dies". NewsOK.com. 25 May 2000. Retrieved 30 October 2016. 
  35. ^ "[Article] Bodacious (bull) - Bull Riding - MixingOnBeat - The DJ Support Forum". www.mixingonbeat.com. Retrieved 24 January 2017. 
  36. ^ "Goodnight Bodacious - Short's Brewing Company". Short's Brewing Company. Retrieved 5 February 2017. 
  37. ^ a b "PRCA Bull of the Year Winners". probullstats.com. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  38. ^ "Past PBR World Champion Bulls". probullstats.com. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  39. ^ "The Bull Riding Hall of Fame Inductees". The Bull Riding Hall of Fame. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 

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