By Simone Del Rosario. CREATED Feb 22, 2014
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - They are the toughest athletes at the Tucson Rodeo.
No, it's not the cowboys or the rodeo clowns; the true athletes of the rodeo are the animals.
Bulls and broncs leap and twist out of the chutes and toss cowboys in the dirt. But they are not just putting on a show -- they're also earning half the points in that score.
The bucking stock are judged on their performance just like the cowboy. Combine the two and that's the score the cowboy takes home.
So essentially: The better the bull; the better the ride; the better the score.
"We look for the best and we think we've got 'em," said Gary Williams, general manager of the Tucson Rodeo.
Williams hires Bennie Beutler as the rodeo's stock contractor. Beutler & Son Rodeo Co. has provided the animals for Tucson Rodeo since 1952. Beutler is also in the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
"You just try to make it better and better and some years are better than others," Beutler said. "You have to have new players coming along -- meaning livestock -- every year. If you don't -- you skip a year -- you get behind you don't ever catch up."
He likens it to an NFL draft. Every year he tries to breed and raise the best.
Dozens of bulls and broncs he brought to the Tucson Rodeo this year have competed in rodeo's Super Bowl: The National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
So what does a rodeo GM look for in an animal athlete?
"I like to see them fresh," Williams said. "I like to see them healthy; I like to see them a little frisky; I like to see them with a little bit of an attitude."
Attitude that's bred, not trained.
Cowboys say you can't teach a horse or bull to buck just like you can't teach a racehorse to run.
But they say when you have a good one under you and you make that 8-second ride, there's no greater feeling.