There are several reasons as to why I (Anthony Crosby) love having the privilege of creating content for AAT every week. One of those reasons is being able to shed some light on common misconceptions. I love being able to speak with someone who is an expert in a specific area of life and hear them provide accurate information to myself and my readers who may not be as knowledgeable in a particular topic. Receiving accurate information is the key to forming an appropriate opinion about something, and I’m thankful AAT gets to be a part of that process every week! With that being said, let’s talk about how cool hanging out with bulls can be!
This week, we sat down with a couple of the boys from Benavides Bucking Bulls, Efren and Sergio. This uncle/nephew duo, along with other members of their family, are local bull raisers who desire to bring up quality animals for rodeo competitions and livestock events. They established their brand in 2010, and ever since, they have been dedicated to providing the best bucking bulls for world-title recognition. They will even be hosting a fun event coming later this spring that you may want to keep in mind; however, we get to that in this blog a little later.
First, we need to get to know these fellas a little bit! Sergio. Efrin. Can you please tell us about yourselves and how you got into the business of raising bulls?
Sergio- “I was born and raised here [Elko]. When I was a kid, I played soccer. My dad was all about soccer. When I would go out to my grandma’s house, that’s when I’d be around livestock. Tending to livestock was what I loved to do. I never rode bulls, I liked the events and being a part of it. So, when the other guys in my family started the bull raising business, I knew I wanted to be all in.”
Efren- “I was born and raised here as well. My dad always liked horses; he came from Mexico, and always wanted a horse. When he came here, he had a hand full of horses. So, we were always around livestock growing up. My nephew and I would rodeo together throughout high school. We’d jump on calves or ride steer, but one day we thought maybe we could take things to the next level. We decided to try riding bulls!
“In the beginning, it was kind of hard. We are obviously Hispanics in a rodeo world that normally did not have Hispanics, but we loved it enough that we said screw it! Who cares what anybody else thinks? The first year, we were the outsiders and people would tell us that we sucked. The second year, we started whooping on everybody! We won State, went to Nationals three times, and I got a scholarship for rodeo. I went to college for three years and came back to Elko. I would still ride bulls, but we were getting them from somewhere else to practice. Finally, we asked ourselves why we couldn’t raise our own bulls. So, we got a couple of cows and bulls and started raising them.
“Eventually, we got into the competitive side of raising bulls. We set a high goal for ourselves to get one of our bulls to the PBR (Professional Bull Riders). Those are where all the elite animals go. We kept at it, had some mediocre bulls here and there, but our family kept at it! We had some of our bulls go through the rankings of the Western States Bucking Bull Association, and we’d always get to just about where we wanted to be. Finally, one day, we got a call asking us to come to PBR in Sacramento with one of our bulls; he got to be on TV and everything. It all started as a hobby, but now we’ve reached the level where we can’t stop at all! There are so many people who do it who are born into, save the money, and have a lot handed to them. But, when you’re the outsider looking in, it motivates you to keep being passionate about it. This is our lifestyle.”
What can you tell us about the bulls themselves? People may have an assumption about what it would be like to raise these animals from perhaps what they’ve seen on TV. However, what are they genuinely like?
Efren- “These bulls are animal athletes. Bull riders compete against other riders; these animals compete to see who the best bull is. So, we put so much time and effort into raising them. Just like a bodybuilder or sprinter, we work on their diet, exercise, and health to make sure they’re in tip-top shape. Bulls are what we love; our animals are like our babies. The day they’re sick or hurt is a bad day for us. You may see them on TV, bucking and crazy, but to us, they’re like pets. They liked to be brushed, showered, called by their names, and spoiled. From day zero, you have to baby them. If it takes bringing them into your laundry room to warm them up on a cold day, then you have to do it. I guarantee there are bulls at our house that are taken care of better than half the people in this town!”
Again, based on what people may see on TV or events, some may assume that they’re mean and uncontrollable creatures. Is that a misconception? Are they mean animals?
Efren- “People will ask us how we make the bulls so mean for competitions. They’re not mean. They’re naturally bred to buck because it’s in their DNA. Shoot, would you want somebody sitting on your back? All they want to do is get that person off their back so that they can go back to their pen. They’re not here to hurt anybody; they just love to buck. If you tried to make a cow dog a housedog, it just wouldn’t work because they’re made to get out and go!”
What’s a significant component that goes into how you guys raise these animals to become world-class athletes?
Sergio “The major part of it is breeding. A winner can breed a winner, so you want to put a good bull with a good cow. It’s an artwork. You want to get the best of the best.”
Efren- “Yes, it’s all about genetics. If we have a cow whose dad is a three-time world champion, we need to have that cow for our best bulls! The chances of their kid not being a winner are still there, but at the end of the day, we have to look at their bloodline. There are records and stats on all these things. As long as you do your homework, you can find what you’re looking for.”
As I mentioned earlier in this feature, Sergio, Efren, and the rest of Benavides Bucking Bulls will be hosting an event in a couple of months called Gold Rush Challenge. For the public, it’s going to be a bull riding party! Behind the scenes, it’s a competition for the bull owners from across many states. You can find all of the details on the poster below or through the social media link below. This will be the first year of the event, so mark your calendars and let’s turn out and support these boys as they bring something entertaining for all ages to the community!
We’ll be excited to catch back up with you guys in May at Gold Rush Challenge. In the meantime, are there any last parting words you’d like to leave us with before we let you get back to caring for your two thousand pound babies?
Sergio- “These bulls are top of the line bulls, and these animals are being treated like it. Come on down in May and see them for yourself!”
Efren- “I want to be able to pass this on to my sons and grandsons. It’s been a good lifestyle for me; it’s opened a lot of doors. I’ve been able to meet so many people, and who would ever think we’d be on CBS sports? I can’t even imagine what that’s like for my dad after coming from Mexico. It’s something worth working hard for.
“Without these excellent animal athletes, we wouldn’t have the shows we do. We hope the public sees that and knows we want to put on a great event for the town!”
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Until next time, we’ll see you around, Elko!