Buying rodeo bulls is not just for cowboys and ranchers anymore.
Taking a page from the race horse industry, rodeo bull-breeding companies such as Orchard, Texas-based Exclusive Genetics are marketing their young beefy critters to potential buyers outside of the traditional rural ranch setting. Pharmacists, construction and concrete company owners, and even an National Hockey League player have bought Exclusive Genetics baby bulls, which each cost $12,000 to $15,000.
“Our motto is, ‘No trailer, no ranch, no problem.’ There is no experience necessary,” said Billy Jaynes, Exclusive Genetics chief executive and a former rodeo performer. “There is a diversity (of clients) and the one thing about them all is that they love to compete. We provide them with a thrill of a lifetime.”
Case in point: Former Houston Astros manager and big-leaguer Brad Mills has bought several young bulls from Exclusive Genetics, including one named, “Tuve,” which competed in a sanctioned world finals contest for 2-year-old bucking bulls at the South Point this week. The 2-year-olds compete by bucking for four seconds and receiving scores based on kicking, bucking, spinning, intensity and being difficult to ride.
The company staging the young bull event is American Bucking Bull Inc., a sister company to the Professional Bull Riders that is holding its Super Bowl finals at the Thomas & Mack Center this week. The American Bucking Bull event is like a developmental feeder league for the PBR, the bull riding major leagues, which scouts for bucking bull prospects that might have the kick and intensity for a shot at the big time.
Exclusive Genetics, which started in 2007, sells annually about 300 bulls that are 8 to 18 months old. The sister Jaynes Gang company with 10 employees trains, cares for, feeds and transports the customers’ bulls. At this week’s American Bucking Bull competition, the 108 bulls included seven Exclusive Genetics 2-year-olds.
Mills, the current third base coach for the Cleveland Indians, is a bull-loving hobbyist who is passionate about the sport. A former steer rider in junior rodeos in his native California, Mills enjoys soaking up the atmosphere at competitions like the American Bucking Bull event and watching his young beefy prospect.
Mills named his Exclusive Genetics bull, “Tuve,” after Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve who Mills managed. Jaynes told the ex-Astros skipper that the young unnamed bull he just bought was little, quick, athletic and good.
“That’s Altuve,” Mills said. And a bull’s name was born.
On Wednesday morning, Tuve was ready to perform. Mills leaned forward in his South Point arena seat, adjusted his eyeglasses and locked in on the gate that was about to swing open.
Tuve flew out of the gate, only to fall down in his excitement. The young bulls did get up, started kicking and finished with a dismal score of 67.25 — well below the top mark of 90 that’s usually needed to win the event. In baseball parlance, Tuve was like a raw, young, talented hard-throwing pitcher who was too excited and threw a wild pitch.
“He fell but once he got up he bucked very well,” Mills said. “He was so excited and so ramped up.”
Jaynes will hold his own bucking bull events, which are reserved exclusively for his Exclusive Genetics customers during the National Finals Rodeo stint in Las Vegas from Dec. 5-14. It includes a Million Dollar Bucking Bull Championship, which pays $500,000 to the owner of the winning bull.
“We’re trying to make stars out of these bulls,” Jaynes said.
And the bulls’ owners are enjoying the ride.
“It’s a great excuse to come to Vegas,” Mills quipped.
Alan Snel can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5273. Follow @BicycleManSnel on Twitter