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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thursday Cardinal Couple -- Women Can Be Stock Contractors Too


- The "Commish" looks at the other half of Bull riding. 

( Mark continues his series of bull riding articles today with the other half of the equation...the bulls and where they come from.) 

The goal of the PBR was to put the best riders up against the best Bulls.  Without the Bulls, there would be no PBR.  So, where do the bulls that compete in the PBR come from?  They come from the Stock Contractors--the people who own and lease bulls to the PBR - to ensure that the pool of bulls used at each event are the highest caliber possible.  And each year Stock Contractors have kept their end of the bargain.  The Bulls raised are getting bigger, stronger, and faster AND WITHOUT THE USE OF STEROIDS. (Since 2008 the PBR has been testing Bulls for steroids at events to ensure the integrity of the sport.)

One Stock Contractor that has been doing very well is 20 years old and just so happens to be a woman.  Her name is Mesa Pate.

Mesa Pate was raised in Ryegate, Montana where she comes from a ranching background. Now she spends most of her time in Texas where she raises Bulls. At the age of 16 she started her own Bucking Bull Business--Mesa Bucking Bulls---Some of her bulls Buck in the Built Ford Tough Series PBR Events.   How did a 16 year old teenage girl get started in the Bucking Bull business?  According to Mesa, the story goes like this:

"Well, when I got started all I knew was about horsemanship and grass-fed cattle. I'd grown up watching the PBR and can remember being a little kid sitting with my parents on the weekends watching the bull ridings and picking out the bulls I liked. I had my favorite guys, too: Justin McBride and Luke Snyder were always my favorites, but I was always really into the bulls. Actually, I was infatuated with all rough stock, bucking bulls and bucking horses. When I was about 10, I told Larry Mahan that I was going to be a bareback rider, and I really planned on it. I even rode steers as a kid, but broke my femur doing it, so my bull riding career was thankfully cut short. I don't think you can be successful as a stock contractor unless you have a love for the sport and the animals."

Three years ago, Mesa Pate purchased 10 head of cows and 3 bulls from two of the top Stock Contractors in the business--Bob Tallman and Terry Williams.  Within that herd was an injured bull she named HIGHWAY 12 which turned out to be the most influential animal in her life and got her where she is today.

It was thought Highway 12 (Mesa nicknamed him ALBERT) would only be good for breeding. However, she gave the bull a year to heal and decided to buck him.  According to Mesa, “He was outstanding. He was one of those special bulls ... he was one of those once in every, at least once every once in a while kind of bulls.”  Pate has since sold Highway 12 to Stock Contractor Jeff Robinson.

How good is Highway 12?  His first "out" was May 14, 2010.  It was at a PBR event in Pueblo, CO where he bucked off Billy Robinson in 1.9 seconds.  Highway 12 received a Bull Score of 43.25 which is about what a good PBR Bull should receive. His last out was June 1, 2012 in Asheville,NC where he bucked Kasey Hayes off in 6.53 seconds and received a Bull Score of 44.50.  For his career in the PBR Built Ford Tough Series events he has had 32 outs with only 4 rides.  His average bull score is 43.688.  The 4 times he has been ridden, the Cowboys received scores of 92, 88.50, 91, and 85.   

To further her career Mesa moved to Texas and started hauling her bulls to Classic events, and smaller bull ridings around the state. She felt she learned a lot from some of the great Stock Contractors but learned the most from her bulls. "It was a lot of trial and error, but they really helped me."

What attributes does Mesa look for in a good bucking bull?

"I'd like to say I have a preference when it comes to bulls, and maybe this outlook lacks a little technical finesse, but I don't care what style they have as long as they buck!  I do like some more than others, but when it comes right down to it, we all just want the rankest bulls we can find."

The term "RANK" does not mean the bull gives off a foul, rancid odor like BILL THE GOAT does sometimes (For Pete's Sake Paulie...give Billy a bath!).   Some Bulls may but I have not gotten close enough to one to find out.  RANK means that the Bull is difficult to ride.  The goal of any stock contractor is to raise RANK BULLS.

( Editor's Note: Just for the record, Bill the Goat bathes every Saturday with the boys on the Drunken Amish Farm. With a loofa attached to each horn, he's quite popular.) 

For Mesa the perfect bull would weigh anywhere from 1,400 to 1,800 pounds. 

"I don't have a problem with bulls smaller than that, other than at this level it takes a very special little bull to last for very long.  A lot of little bulls buck really hard, but aren't as strong as some of the bigger ones.  Unless they have something extra, they usually start getting ridden pretty often, and that wears on any bull.  When a bull pushes 2,000, it's pretty hard for them to buck hard for the entire ride.  That's a lot of weight to lug around.  They may buck hard, but to me it seems like huge bulls like that aren't very athletic.  Of course, like anything, there are always exceptions!"

She wants to try and find a bull that is light enough to have a lot of speed but big enough to take the strength of the riders these days.  

She likes bulls that are stout in their shoulders because she feels that is where their power needs to come from.  Mesa explains, "Luckily you can get a lot of that muscle through a good feed program.  I feed roughly $500 worth of grain in just a over a week, and that is what it takes to keep the condition and muscle I like on my bulls."

( Editor's note: WE can relate. Our bill for bananas and banana related products for the staff chimps at CARDINAL COUPLE is outrageous...not to mention the pay-off money we "tribute" to Poobah each month for protection and "health" assurance.)

Mesa goes on to say, "When it really comes down to it, there are some that have it and some that don't.  It doesn't matter what they are built like or how much money you put into feed, or what they are bred like, some bulls will have that special spark no matter what and will buck hard.  Those are the bulls that even people who don't know a thing about bucking bulls can tell are a step above."

Whenever a young girl reaches out and asks Mesa how to get started in the business she said, "IT JUST MAKES ME SMILE ALL THE WAY THROUGH".  So, here is some advice Mesa gives to all the young girls/guys out there who may want a career raising bucking bulls:

First, have a good facility as well as enough pasture to run the amount of bulls you have and places to separate them if they don't get along.   Also, have a way to capture them.   

She feels the most important and probably the most overlooked part of the game when it comes to raising and hauling bucking cattle is a good nutrition program.  Mesa says it is a lot different feeding bulls in the North than in the South.  She says pastures and hay need to be tested to see how much protein it has and what it is lacking, as far as minerals and other nutrition go. From there the type of nutrition program can be determined.

Try to find a practice pen close where you can take your bulls and get used to handling and bucking them.

Once you think you are ready to buck them, find a rodeo or bull riding association in your area and find out who the stock contractor is at an event you would like to go to. Give them a call and ask them if you could bring a couple bulls.   If you think your bulls are good enough, there are also a lot of bull competitions all over the country you can enter for bulls of all ages."

"Try to find someone you like and think does a good job who can help you out to learn from.  Always keep safety your first priority. Remember that not every bull is going to be a superstar, so don't get discouraged if it doesn't happen right away "

Already Mesa is making a name for herself in the PBR as a well-respected Stock Contractor. Here are some of her Bulls accomplishments that she just happened to be a part of:

Highway 12
PBR Bucking Bull of the Year Contender, PBR Finals Bucking Bull and PBR Short Round bull.

Cowboy Casanova
CBR Finals Short Round Bull, PBR up and coming superstar!

702 Cool
Claremore NBBA Futurity Champion, Wes Bruce $20,000 Incentive Winner.

Here is an excellent video profile about Mesa Pate and her story:

Here is video of Highway 12's first out as well as an interview with Mesa and her thoughts about it:

Mesa Pate is another example of a woman excelling in a career that mostly men participate in.  Through hard work and determination she is becoming one of the top Stock Contractors in the PBR.  I would say that part of her secret to success is her philosophy which is:  

"I strive to do what's right for my animals above anything else, and want the best. I'm working towards that, and having a blast doing it every day!  NO MATTER WHAT YOU ACCOMPLISH, SOMEBODY HELPED YOU."

-Commish Mark

( And truer words were never spoken. We wanted to include in Mark's article today a picture from an e-mailer last week that participates in bull the ripe old age of 13. I was having a hard enough time staying on a bicycle at that age. Kallie Kautzman here. Good job today, Commish!) 

We remind you that Jenny's report on Emmonnie Henderson at the Adidas Shootout is tomorrow, we have a round-table discussion with our writers Saturday on a couple of topics and Sunday with Sonja will look at the career of CARDINAL WBB senior Monique Reid. Be sure to check back and make CARDINAL COUPLE a part of your daily routine! We've a wonderful weekend of reading lined up for you.



  1. Are many bulls for rodeos bred and raised in Kentucky? We are well known for our thoroughbred industry, just wondered if Kentucky has a prosperous bull industry.

    Curtis Franklin

    1. Thank You for your question Curtis. Don't know of any Stock Contractors raising Bucking Bulls in Kentucky. Some of the top states that do are: TX,NC,LA, ND,OK, and CA. Looking at an a to b list of Stock Contractors that Buck their Bulls at PBR bull ridings and other Rodeos, there are about 540 contractors listed. It is a Big Business.

  2. I would like to know why Cardinal Couple is "wasting" one day a week dealing with bull riding? There are many topics related to women's sports at UofL that could be covered instead.

    Jennie M.
    Lebanon, KY

    1. Jennie, we have given our writers the freedom to write about whatever they feel like in the months of June and July. We also like the approach Mark has taken about showing the women's role in a sport that many might look at as a "guys only" domain.

      We feel that no days are wasted here at CARDINAL COUPLE. And, when fall sports rev up into full gear at UofL, we'll be "on top of it". We still think we're the best value around...daily coverage at no cost to our readers on a wide variety of subjects. We track our daily "hits"...and find that Mark's bull articles are well read and we feel they are well written.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


    2. I like the bull riding series. It has taught me about I sport I didn't know anything about. Knowledge is good. I'd rather read stuff like this than idiots on a message board that think they are geniuses, inside informants and gurus when all they are is idiots, flamers and instigators.

      You go, Mark! Write whatever you feel like.
      I'm sure when the seasons start for UofL women's sports that you'll make the transition smoothly.
      -- Joe Hill --

    3. Thanks Joe--appreciate the kind words. I know it is not everyones cup of tea. Wanted to inform readers about a sport no one would think that WOMEN would participate in. (I never cared/knew much about the sport until I actually sat down and watched it).


  3. You obviously are ignoring the 2011 PBR in Pueblo where a significant number of bulls tested positive for steroids. It is an ongoing problem that the PBR has tried to hide for years


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