Jeremy Minor wasn’t planning on becoming a stock contractor for bull riding shows.
He wanted to make his farm, Minor Family Farms Bucking Bulls, in Rogers, Ohio, a retirement home for bucking bulls. He grew up watching bull riding and always enjoyed it. He figured his farm could be a place to let bulls live out their lives, and for people to come and see some of the legends that couldn’t buck anymore.
After getting a couple of bulls, he started hanging out with some of the stock contractors who raised bulls for competitions. They told him he wouldn’t be able to stick with retired bulls for long.
“You’re going to want to see your bulls on TV one day,” Minor remembers them saying. “I said, ‘I think I’ll be all right.’”
He was wrong. He got the chance to buy a few bulls that were still active, and he took it. He built relationships with other stock contractors and started getting his bulls into shows.
The show organizers wanted more bulls. Minor didn’t have any more, so he went out and made a few more deals to get more. His first goal was to have five or six. Now, he has about 30.
This year, one of his 4-year-old bulls, Slamming Gears, won the 2020 Bull of the Year award at the Premier Bulls Tour Finals, in May, in Marianna, Florida.
“These animals are, you know, they’re athletes; they’re superstars, and I like to see the ones that turn into the Michael Jordans,” Minor said.
Minor grew up on his family’s cattle farm, but his dad never let them keep a bull at the farm. Still, Minor was always fascinated with how bulls handled themselves and interacted with things. To some people, they seem scary and mean. Minor sees it a little differently.
“They always still had a soft side, to me,” he said. “I have had bulls try to kill me. At the end of the day, they’re like people, and we work out our differences, and we’re all good.”
At first, he looked at raising bucking bulls as a hobby. But, now, its basically a second full time job. He takes bulls to 50-60 shows each year. They’re booked every weekend, for shows all over the East Coast.
Minor supplies bulls from his farm to 5s Bucking Bulls, owned by Robert Swint Jr., in Florida, for shows. At any given time, Minor has some of his bulls in Ohio, resting, and some of them in Florida, bucking at events. He works for Minor Insurance, his dad’s company, which gives him some flexibility when he needs to haul bulls back and forth between Ohio and Florida.
Minor has always loved agriculture, and he views this as an extension of that.
“I’m not a cowboy. I’m a farmer that raises bucking bulls,” he explained. “I love the animal aspect of it.”
In a way, he said, it’s like watching his children play sports. He roots for them, does what he can to help and enjoys seeing how they progress every year. This year, he saw his hard work pay off.
The Premier Bulls Tour runs about 30-35 events each year through the southern states, with about 45 riders competing and bulls coming from 10 different stock contractors. Out of the 50 bulls that qualify for the finals, only one gets the bull of the year nod each year.
In bull riding, the rider can earn up to 50 points, and the bull can earn up to 50 points. Bulls that score high throw everything they have at a rider — and do it well. The bull of the year is selected based on how well it performs and how consistent it is throughout the year. Slamming Gears, this year’s winner, is known for a steep first jump and for moving backwards as he turns around.
“I mean, it’s a huge accomplishment,” Minor said.
A lot of it comes down to genetics. His bulls are all registered stock.
“They’re bred to buck, and that’s what they are,” Minor explained.
But there is some work stock contractors can do to help. Handling the bulls can ensure that they don’t act up in the chutes at shows. Minor works with his bulls about three or four times a day. He also sets up his pastures so the bulls have to walk up and down the big hills in his pastures to get their hay, feed and water. That way, they build muscle.
This year, Minor is hoping to get back to Las Vegas for the Professional Bull Riders world finals, then to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s national finals later in the year.
A new organization, the Elite Bullriders Association, also recently asked him to supply stock for its events, which start July 17, in Florida. In total, that organization is planning 27 events through the year.
The stock contractors he talked to years ago were right. He couldn’t just stick with retired animals. Now, during the bigger tours on the East Coast, Minor can turn on the TV most Sundays and see his favorite superstar athletes — his bucking bulls.
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