Top 5 Bulls Ever in the PBR

In rodeo, points are split, 50/50, between rider and bull. The bull’s tenacity, spirit, and elegance are judged on each ride, just as the rider’s skills are assessed. And so while a crop of amazing bull riders has passed through the sport over the years, so too have there been an equally impressive list of animals that rank at the top. Bulls are just as many athletes as cowboys, and the great ones are respected, feared, and admired. 

Best Bulls in Recorded Bull Riding History

Let’s take a look at the Top Bulls Ever in the PBR and more of the memorable bulls of the PBR and how they achieved greatness. These bulls may have taken different paths to the top, but they are all deserving of being counted among the greatest bulls to have ever competed in the PBR.

5. Tahonta

Tahonta is ranked one of the top ten bucking bulls of all time. No small feat in a sport rich in great bovine athletes. He’s a two-time PRCA Bucking Bull of the Year – 2003 and 2004. That puts him in the company of the likes of Cowtown, Bodacious, Skoal’s Pacific Bell, Voodoo Child, and Harry Vold’s 777.

Nicknamed The Golden Touch, the big yellow bull from Big Bend Rodeo set himself apart by having a career record of 49 buck-offs out of 52 attempts with a perfect buck-off record against left-handers. One of those three rides was by Jason McClain in Round 2 at the 2002 NFR has scored 91 points. Pro Bull Stats has Tahonta ranked sixth all-time with a historical ranking of fourth. His career average was an astounding 45 plus points.

4. Oscar

Though most wouldn’t consider Oscar petite, at 1,300 pounds he was considerably smaller than most bulls who have competed in rodeo. In the first five years of his career, Oscar was ridden by 100 cowboys and not a single one could stay on. While he was small, he could still make trouble for his riders, usually with a fast, violent spin to the left. By the end of his career, Oscar would be ridden eight times in 300 outs, by just a handful of riders. Shortly after his retirement, he was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, in 1979.

3. Little Yellow Jacket

Little Yellow Jacket #P761 (August 20, 1996 – September 19, 2011) was a bucking bull. He was a three-time Professional Bull Riders (PBR) World Champion Bull, winning the title in consecutive years from 2002 to 2004. At the time, his three titles made him unmatched by any bull in the history of the PBR. He was also inducted into the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame for his accomplishments. He was the son of #77 Yellow Jacket and the grandson of #LH600 Wrangler Rivets.

Little Yellow Jacket’s three-time World Champion Bull record has since been matched by #13/6 Bushwacker, who received his third title in 2014, his year of retirement, and Bruiser from 2016 to 2018. He was extremely quick and athletic, especially given his 1,800-pound weight, and could spin at speeds that bewildered riders. LJ, as he is often called, could buck off a rider at an average of 2.6 seconds and was only ridden 15 times in 93 attempts. LJ was the first bull to win the PBR World Championship three times, which he did consecutively between 2002 and 2004.

2. Bodacious

Bodacious is one of the most famous bulls of all time, and he was at the end of his career when the PBR was just beginning. He put the hurt on a lot of riders over the years, and by the time he got the best of Tuff Hedeman at the 1995 PBR World Finals, he was a full-grown master of disaster. He was a huge bull that was just extremely athletic for his size, and there was a very narrow window for success on him. A qualified ride was about one inch away from a broken nose or worse every jump.

1. Bushwacker

Bushwacker is a retired bucking bull. He is a three-time Professional Bull Riders (PBR) World Champion Bull, winning the title in 2011, 2013, and 2014. His three titles match the record established a decade earlier by Little Yellow Jacket from 2002 to 2004. He was awarded the PBR Brand of Honor in 2016. He has been referred to as the “Michael Jordan of Bulls.” In 2014, PBR co-founder and Director of Livestock Cody Lambert compared Bushwacker to the likes of Secretariat and Seabiscuit. He was inducted into the Class of 2020 in the Bull Riding Hall of Fame in August.

Bushwacker, at 1,750 pounds and outfitted with a nasty temperament, is a force to be reckoned with. But besides brawn, he’s also quick, smart, and unpredictable, which is why many regard him as the greatest bull to ever compete in rodeo. During his six-year career in PBR, Bushwacker has only been ridden the requisite eight seconds twice in his 66 outs: once in 2009 (his debut year) by Thiago Paguioto, and in 2013 by rodeo legend J.B. Mauney. However, most riders can only manage to hold on to Bushwacker for 3.3 seconds. Bushwacker has subsequently been the PBR World Champion for three years (same as Little Yellow Jacket) and has the record for most consecutive buck-offs in PBR at 42 over the course of four years.

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