Beyond the Bull Riding

Beyond the Bull Riding

Championship Bull Riding Recognizes Its Rock Stars

Cheyenne, Wyoming – In the heart of Frontier Park, Championship Bull Riding officially kicked off its Road to Cheyenne World Finals at Cheyenne Frontier Days with the annual awards banquet and presentation of the bull rider’s back numbers and ended with an auction to raise money for the children’s charity, Western Wishes.  Appropriately positioned the CBR awards ceremony took place with the statue of bull riding legend Lane Frost in the background and his parents, Clyde and Elsie Frost, seated on the front row.

Tuff Hedeman and production manager Chris Rankin honored the hard working staff of the CBR with custom made Hy O Silver trophy buckles. Hedeman went on to acknowledge the following annual honors:

Bullfighter of the Year – Craig Check, Tomah, Wisconsin 

After a brief career riding bulls, Craig Check jumped into the arena to help his brother Cory during a practice session. Seventeen years later he joined the CBR on “The Road to Cheyenne” bullfighter crew for the second consecutive year.  Craig got his start by attending the bullfighting school of Mike Matt, former 3 time Wrangler World Champion Bullfighter from Billings Montana. Check, the newest member of the CBR Cowboy Protection Agency, is no newcomer to the business. His resume includes fighting buckers at the National Federation of Professional Bull Riders; PRCA Dodge Great Lakes Circuit Finals; Bull Riders of American and the Dodge World Toughest Rodeo competition. When he is not fighting bulls he is a foreman for the Kraemer Company where he claims his job keeps him in fighting shape. Roping and training horses are his hobbies as well as keeping up with two horse loving daughters, Cheyenne and Caylee, with his wife Beth. Check admits he has been lucky only suffering minor bumps and bruises and claims his worst injury was a broken wrist. 

Bucking Bull of the Year – Penny Lover, owned by Benny Cude – 7 Rocking X Ranch

Penny Lover is a bull owned by Cude Bucking Bulls, and he has become one of the stars of the sport this year. He's currently atop Probullstat's The Hot List (past 90 days). He's been out 12 times at CBR televised events this season, and there are zero qualified rides. He made his CBR debut last year in Cheyenne, and the riders have yet to figure him out. His average bull score is 45 points, but it's an impressive 45.8 points in his last six trips. He keeps getting better and better.

So what makes Penny Lover so difficult to ride? According to Tuff Hedeman it is his ability to change his mind. “He is smart, athletic, big and quick. If you expect him to go one way, he goes the other. He can go either direction with a big move and a quick reverse.”

Penny Lover started the 2014 season as a bull included in the first round of events, but he has bucked his way to the top and is now a mainstay in the Shoot Out Round. In fact, he's been a part of the Shoot Out Round eight times this season (including his last six outs). He's had the top bull score in Lufkin (46.5), Bossier City (46), Fort Worth (46.5), and Las Vegas (46). Penny Lover is one of the rankest bulls in the world, and he's going to be one to watch in Cheyenne. Penny Lover is sired by Just A Dream and owned by Seven Rocking X Bucking Bulls.

Stock Contractor of the Year – Jeff Harris, Rafter H Ranch, Palestine, Texas        

Jeff Harris can be described as a stock contractor who has a heart for the game, whether he’s flanking or sorting bulls the former bull rider is happiest when he’s on his way to a bull riding.

“The bucking bull business takes a lot of hard work and dedication. CBR is lucky to have Jeff Harris who recognizes talent and potential in bovine athletes and brings them to Championship Bull Riding,” said CEO and Chairman of the Board, Benny Cude. 

Harris and his impressive string of buckers had a stellar season on The Road to Cheyenne tour.  He began his impressive run with 69 Little Nicky, sired by Sammy Andrew’s Reeses Pieces, as the anchor of his bull team. “He was a little bull with a great big heart,” said Harris fondly of the bull that passed away earlier this summer.  Little Nicky, paired with Pooch Hound and Good Time Charlie collected the reserve champion bull team award in Huron, North Dakota and Los Fresnos, Texas, at the beginning of the 2014 season. Harris substituted bulls along the way using Mickey, Bargain Bin, and Ragin JT to place fourth in Jackson, Tennessee and Del Rio, Texas.

53 year old Jeff Harris has been hauling bulls for 20 years. “I rode bulls and bucking horses as a young man and started raising a few bulls after I quit riding, then I started rodeoing with them,” said Harris responding to how he got into the game.    Harris is known by bull riders as a “rider friendly” bull man. He always talks to the riders and tries to get the best out he can for them and the bull.  It helps that Harris’s son Tate is one of CBR’s top contenders on the televised tour.  

Harris’s philosophy on life, “never forget where you came from and remember those that helped you along the way and treat everybody the way you want to be treated.”