L.J. Jenkins plays on both sides of the fence. Or in this case, on both sides of the bucking chutes.
The 26-year-old Porum bull rider has qualified for nine consecutive PBR World Finals, but he also is a stock contractor, breeding and raising bucking bulls.
“Honestly, I don't want to ride bulls very much longer,” the Springfield, Mo., native said. “Another two or three years, maybe. I don't want to be 35 years old and barely able to walk.”
Jenkins is one of a handful of bull riders who are also in the bucking bull business.
He moved from New Mexico to Porum four years ago after buying land around Lake Eufaula to raise cattle and breed bucking bulls.
It's a business where everyone is trying to breed the next super bull like Bushwacker, a two-time PBR champion who is considered the best in the world and one of the best bucking bulls ever.
Bushwacker's owner, Julio Moreno, has been offered as much as $1 million for his prize bull.
Moreno said he didn't know how serious the offer was, if the investors really could have raised that much money, but he didn't really want to sell Bushwacker at any price.
“Two million dollars might make it,” Moreno said.
In the bull breeding business, raising a bull like Bushwacker is akin to winning the lottery.
“It's every bit of that, I think,” said the California cattleman.
Bushwacker has earned more than $600,000 in competition, but he also is a brand of his own. He is the top seller of merchandise on the PBR Tour. Boot and shirt companies call wanting endorsement deals, Moreno said.
Bull breeders pay between $7,000 and $8,000 for Bushwacker's DNA, but genetics doesn't guarantee success with bucking bulls.
Jenkins has bulls from Bushwacker's bloodline “that are not worth hauling down the road,” he said. “You can breed them how you want to breed them, but if they don't want to buck, they are not going to be that special one.”