ST. GEORGE — A local bull is on his way to buck on an international stage Nov. 12.
War Fury, out of Toquerville’s Diamond G Rodeos, enters the Professional Bull Riding World Finals tied for the No. 25 ranked bull in the world and will make his case for World Champion Bucking Bull and a $100,000 prize for the owners of Diamond G, Steve and Cyndi Gilbert.
The Gilberts believe War Fury is primed for a good showing. But after breeding bulls and sending them to competitions for more than 30 years, they know to temper expectations.
“We learned a long time ago that every time we brag on (a bull) we get our hearts kicked in,” Steve said. “So we let the bull speak for himself.”
Thus far, War Fury has done plenty of speaking in the ring in limited competition this season. In a limited four career Professional Bull Riding outs, three this season, he’s bucked all four riders in less than five seconds with an average score of 43.81.
His top score came with rider Ezekiel Mitchell, a top-10 globally ranked rider, who lasted 4.95 seconds on War Fury’s back at an event in Naples, Idaho on Oct. 16. Of Mitchell’s 83 rides this season, only 29 lasted a shorter amount of time.
In limited competition, War Fury has shown promise as the 5-year-old begins to enter the prime of his career. But it should be expected, as championship blood is in his DNA. War Fury is bred with the genes of other illustrious Diamond G bulls, dating back to Ricky #183, who carried Norman Curry to a combined 94 points out of 100 in the 1990 National Finals Rodeo.
War Fury also has genes from 2001 NFR record-setter Mr. USA and White Magic, who was considered to be the most athletic bull in the world at his peak. He also has some bloodline connection to Crooked Nose, the first fighting bull ever inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
“He’s got the genetics, now he’s got to have the heart and have the right things work for him,” Cyndi said.
The Gilberts aren’t worried about the heart. But there’s a normal set of variables that go into how competitive every bull is: how they handle crowds and fanfare, making sure they stay healthy and happy, avoiding freak accidents and even boiling down to the bull’s mood on competition day. The Gilberts have been bitten by those before; they had a bull a year ago that foundered and died just before the National Finals Rodeo last year.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has brought on an extra set of variables that could come into play. Having only three outs in a season is a small number of repetitions. Steve Gilbert says seven or eight rodeos that War Fury would’ve participated in were canceled.
It even changed the venue for the World Finals, which is normally held in nearby Las Vegas. This year, it will be in Arlington, Texas at AT&T Stadium. It will be the farthest War Fury has traveled and will present a different climate.
With all that, the Gilberts are cautious, especially with a young bull that should compete for years to come. At the same time, they hope and expect Wary Fury will put on a show and perform. He’ll have a big test right out of the gate being paired with No. 6 rider Lucas Divino in his first out.
Coverage of the World Finals begins at 7 p.m. local time on Nov. 12 on CBS Sports Network.
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