DES MOINES, Iowa ― J.W. Harris wasn’t sure when or if he would have a chance to matchup with Bushwacker this season.
However, the four-time PRCA champion made up his mind when he accepted a three-event exemption to compete on the Built Ford Tough Series event that the first time the two-time World Champion Bull was in a Built Ford Tough Championship Round, he was determined to pick him.
Although he’s ridden his way into the Top 35 the past four events, Harris has yet to have that chance.
But the 27-year-old from Mullin, Texas, won’t have to wait much longer.
This past weekend in Des Moines, Iowa, Chad Berger picked Harris as the featured rider to matchup with Bushwacker in a bounty bull situation on Friday, June 13, in Bismarck, N.D., for an undisclosed – yet substantial – amount of money at Berger’s annual Touring Pro Division event. The event can be seen exclusively on PBR LIVE. Click here to sign up.
“I’m pulling out all the stops,” Berger said after confirming Harris’ appearance.
Bushwacker bucks off L.J. Jenkins in 1.25 second in the 15/15 Bucking Battle in Fresno, Calif.
“You don’t get the chance to get on great bulls like that every day,” Harris said. “You have to take advantage of it while you can.”
Last week, Harris received a call from J.W. Hart offering him a $25,000 matchup at his TPD event in Decatur, Texas, on Saturday, May 31, in which Harris will attempt Shepherd Hills Tested and J.B. Mauney will get on Asteroid in a winner take all challenge.
Three days later, Berger called Harris out of the locker room and spoke privately with him behind the chutes.
Both events will be broadcast on PBR Live at www.pbr.com. The PBR will announce additional special dates that Bushwacker is going to buck later this week.
“It’s Bushwacker’s last year and he’s the hugest thing that’s happened to this sport in a long time,” said Berger. “I get excited just because he’s such a great athlete. Any time I’m where that bull is bucking I’m right at that chute because I love to watch great bulls and he’s talked about and probably going to go down as the greatest bull of all time. What a better place to have him bucking in his last year than my bull riding?”
Bushwacker has been featured in The New York Times, twice in the Wall Street Journal and twice on the CBS This Morning television show. ESPN The Magazine also dubbed him the “baddest body in sports.”
“It’s worth it for my event, the city of Bismarck and the state of North Dakota—it’s huge,” Berger said. “He’s one of the greatest athletes in the world and he’s one of the most talked about athletes in the world.”
The matchup in Bismarck will take place immediately following the first of two days.
Berger said this year’s event will have two separate payouts of $20,000 to the winner of each day – making it a total purse of $40,000 – and will be one of only a handful of events featuring a 50 percent carryover of points earned toward the world standings.
“I have a stellar lineup coming this year,” Berger said. “Other than the Brazilians, who are going home in June, we’ll have just about every Built Ford Tough guy there.”
Harris also confirmed that in addition to each challenge, he intends to enter both events in Decatur and Bismarck in an attempt to earn an even bigger payday.
“To be honest with you, I never thought any of the opportunities I had presented to me would come,” Harris said. “Shoot, I’m dang sure excited about the opportunities I have in front of me and it’s going to be fun.”
Harris has been on Bushwacker once before.
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The two met at a 2010 TPD event, in Waco, Texas.
Bushwacker was only 4 years old at the time and hadn’t developed the reputation he has now. Regardless, he was able to buck Harris off in 6.2 seconds and was marked 46.5 points by the judges.
That was early in Bushwacker’s record-setting streak.
Bushwacker bucked off a PBR record 42 consecutive riders at BFTS events before Mauney rode him last August for 95.25 points in Tulsa, Okla., and total of 56 consecutive riders including TPD events.
Harris doesn’t plan on letting Bushwacker’s reputation get the best of him before he ever climbs into the chute.
“He looks like he bucks hard,” Harris said. “I’m just excited about the opportunity to get on him. The money is the awesome part, but that’s not why I started riding bulls and that’s not why I’m riding bulls now.”
Berger added, “I’m so excited. I’m not much of a tweeter or Twitter or whatever, but I’ve been tweeting like crazy since I made the deal with (Bushwacker’s owner) Julio (Moreno).”
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