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Smooth Operator: North Dakota bucking bull named World Champion

By Ruth Nicolaus for TriState Livestock News

There’s a bull in North Dakota who’s pretty special.

Smooth Operator, a PBR bucking bull owned by Dakota Rodeo (Chad Berger), Julie Rosen and Clay Stuve, has earned the title, for the second consecutive year, as the PBR’s World Champion Bull.

And he’s the oldest bull to have won the title back-to-back.



At ten years of age, the bull, who is white with black speckles, is still bucking as well as he ever has, said Chad Berger. “He’s just extraordinary,” he said.

Most bulls reach their prime between five and eight years of age, but Smooth Operator is still going strong.



Smooth Operator, Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve, during the PBR World Finals in Las Vegas. Photo by Andy Watson

And he’s done it, after persevering through two major injuries. In 2015, his spine and pelvis were injured because he bucked so hard, and two years later, he injured a kneecap. Both times, Berger got the bull top veterinary care and let him rest, allowing him time to heal.

Berger purchased the bull, who is out of a famous bucker, Gigolo, who goes back to the great bull Playboy. Last year, when Smooth Operator won the PBR World Champion Bull for the first time, a full brother to him, Hot N Ready, owned by Harper and Morgan Rodeo in Texas, won the PRCA Bull of the Year award, the first time bulls sired by the same bull won the awards in the same year.

Smooth Operator knows he’s special, Berger said. “He’s just cocky. He knows he’s good. Most bulls get to where you can scratch or rub on them, but he won’t. He never has. He tucks himself in a corner and keeps his eyes on you till you get out of his pen.”

The bull took a victory lap in 2019 during the PBR World Finals after he bucked off rider Chase Outlaw, in 4.11 seconds. “He wouldn’t leave the arena,” Berger said. “He just kept going around and around and around, three laps. Those good bulls, they know what they’re doing. They love their job.”

Jose Vitor Leme rides Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve/Julie Rosen’s Smooth Operator for 94.25 during the 15/15 round of the Billings Unleash the Beast PBR. Photo by Andy Watson

Last year, Berger contemplated retiring Smooth Operator after the World Finals so the bull could go out on top. But when he took the bull to the first PBR event in Chicago in January 2020, he posted a 46.75 point score. “Well, I guess he doesn’t want to quit yet,” Berger mused. “All year long he was phenomenal.”

This year, he’s thinking about retiring the bull again. “I’ve got a month or so to think about it,” he said. “I might just do the same thing. Take him to the first couple of events and if he looks like he’s having fun, we’ll do it again.” Berger will know when the bull is ready to retire. “The minute he shows me he’s not having fun, I’ll quit with him. I’m not going to just let anybody ride him. He doesn’t deserve that.”

Not only has Smooth Operator been recognized for his excellence, Berger has, too. For the tenth time (seventh consecutively), he won PBR Stock Contractor of the Year. It’s something he is proud of. “It’s something to work hard at. You don’t get tired of winning it.”

He gave credit to his family, including wife Sarah, and three of his employees: Delbert Nuse, Rex Meier and Juan Gonzales. “Those three guys work tirelessly with those bulls, and my family is all behind me. They all do their jobs.”

He’s also proud to bring the distinction of the PBR’s best bull and best stock contractor to his home state. Born and raised in Mandan, N.D., with headquarters south of town, “it makes me proud to bring the honor back to North Dakota and Mandan in particular. The state of North Dakota means a lot to me.”

Smooth Operator spends his summers at the ranch near Mandan and his winters at the ranch near Henryetta, Oklahoma.

More information on the PBR can be found at http://www.pbr.com . Information on Smooth Operator and Chad Berger is at http://www.chadbergerbuckingbulls.com

 


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