Raising bulls that buck what Tyler Farris of New Castle loves to do
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor
NEW CASTLE — Tyler Farris likes where things seem to be headed with his business, but he’ll be the first to admit he’s not satisfied with the success he’s had so far.
“I got my first set of bulls when I was 16, and now we’re up to about 85 head of bulls,” said the 22-year-old New Castle native of his business that provides rodeo bulls to the Professional Bull Riders national circuit. “We have a pretty good business going now. But it’s just like any business. You’re not going to start at the top. You’ve got to build a foundation first, and we’ve got a pretty good foundation set up right now.”
The business that Farris owns and operates, “Farris Bucking Bulls,” is run primarily out of his home in New Castle. He’s traveled all over the western part of the country to places like Oakland, Calif.; Boise, Idaho and Stillwater, Okla. for PBR events that feature some of the nation’s top bull riders.
With that travel time has come some of the downtime that accompanies the business Farris is in: red-eye drives up the highway in his semi – with two dozen bucking bulls in tow – or a blown semi tire or clutch on the way back home eating into the prize winnings from a successful rodeo.
“You’ve got to love what you do,” Farris said in a matter-of-fact tone. “There’s been times when I’ve been on the road for a long time after going for 18 hours and thought to myself, ’What in the hell am I doing?’ You’ve got to love what you do, or it’s not worth doing.”
Farris got an early start with what he does for a living. He was homeschooled and, as he put it, has had a full-time job since he was 10. At 16, he scrounged up what money he had saved and bought his first set of cattle to raise as bucking bulls, setting the initial foundation for the business he has now.
And there’s a lot of things Farris has picked up from other bull contractors over the six years that his business has been up and running. They range from flank straps — a rope strapped around a bull’s lower torso to apply pressure and enhance the animal’s need to buck — to a remote-controlled dummy that’s strapped onto the bull’s back and released to simulate the act of bucking a rider off.
Farris, however, would rather rely on another aspect: genetics.
“There’s a million people out there who raise bucking bulls,” he said “There’s very few people out there who raise bulls that buck. There’s a fine line there.
“Anyone can buy a cow and train it into a bucking-bull cow,” Farris continued. “But very few people raise bulls that buck, and what I mean by that is having bulls that you can put on a truck and take anywhere in the world with you, and you’re not scared that they’re going to let you down.”
Farris touts the “quality, not quantity” standard, saying that he’ll breed the bulls that perform well in the bull-riding arena and use the offspring for competition down the road. He also considers the bulls to be “athletes,” opting for high-quality feed and a strict diet for the bulls to enhance their overall performance. Farris will also start younger ones out at smaller rodeos to get them used to the noises and environments before turning them loose on the top dogs of the PBR circuit.
It’s a philosophy that’s helped him come away with successful results, and that success has landed him jobs around the nation and locally.
Farris provided bulls for the weekly Snowmass Rodeo this past summer and, more recently, took his stock to a PBR event in Colorado Springs this past weekend. And the quality of the bull stock makes a difference in the quality of the paycheck Farris gets. For each rider who gets bucked off, Farris typically earns $500.
That can add up quickly, but it can also disappear in a heartbeat, as expenses add up. Farris, however, said he’s driven to see it through to make his business a long-term success.
“If I wasn’t driven to do this, I wouldn’t be here right now,” he said. “You’ve got to start somewhere.”
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