Whether it’s fear or payback, Cody Ford always checks to see if he’s drawn “Asteroid.”
Four years ago, the veteran bull, currently No. 1 in the world and 17th all-time, tossed Ford around before the rider was left with a separated pelvis.
Ford’s recovery sidelined him for long stretches the past four seasons, but he declared himself fully recovered a few months ago.
And he continues to wait for another chance to ride Asteroid, finding to his disappointment that it won’t happen during Saturday’s PBR BlueDEF Tour stop at Save Mart Center.
“He got me good,” Ford said. “I’ve been waiting to return the favor.”
If it was a bad bull, a bull who’s just going to stand there and not buck and kick, I’d probably not even come down. It looks like I got a good bull, though. It’s got me fired up.
PBR cowboy Cody Ford, on drawing the bull called “Game Over”
Instead, Ford was randomly assigned “Game Over” – a younger bull with far less bucking ability than Asteroid, based on career percentages.
Game Over still presented a strong enough challenge to ensure Ford would make his way to Fresno.
After all, the bull’s bucking motion and frequency accounts for half of a rider’s score. The other half is based on the cowboy’s ability to stay on the bull and last the required eight seconds to register points.
“If it was a bad bull, a bull who’s just going to stand there and not buck and kick, I’d probably not even come down,” said Ford, who is from Stanfield, Ore. “It looks like I got a good bull, though. It’s got me fired up.”
While waiting for his rematch that may or may not happen, Ford has been trying to get his career back on track.
He used to compete at the highest level, on the PBR’s Built Ford Tough Series. Ford took second at a series event in Fresno in 2009 on his way to winning close to $150,000 in prize money that year.
The 27-year-old, however, has struggled since. He’s won just $10,211.51 this year while completing nine rides out of 18 events.
“This year has not been great by any means,” Ford said. “But sometimes, all it takes is one good ride to get it rolling again.”
Cowboy Cody Ford has had success at Save Mart Center, taking second place during a Built Ford Tough Series event in 2009. He won close to $150,000 in prize money that year alone. But injuries have slowed his progress in recent years. He’s won $10,211.51 in prize money this year.
That’s where Game Over comes in. The white bull ranks 826th overall and will make his 2016 debut.
In 2015, Game Over had a buck-off percentage of 60 out of five attempts. The year prior, Game Over’s buck-off percentage was 66.7 out of nine attempts.
But if Ford can last for eight seconds, he potentially could score high.
During a 2014 run, Game Over helped cowboy Stormy Wing record an 87.75 while continuously spinning to his right and bucking over and over before changing course on his spins to go to the left. Ford isn’t a big believer of video and scouting reports, though.
“An animal’s going to do what it wants to do; that’s never a guarantee how it’s going to move,” Ford said. “You just have to be ready for anything.”
The cowboys with the top 10 scores advance to the second round Saturday, with scores from both rounds calculated to determine a winner.
A win Saturday and a string of strong performances elsewhere on the tour could help Ford get back to the Built Ford Tough Series. And maybe that’s where he’ll find old enemy Asteroid.
“If there’s any way I could get back on that bull, I’d sure try,” Ford said. “If that means getting back on the Built Ford Tough (Series), that’s what I’m going for anyway.
“I’ve been on the comeback trail for a while. I’m feeling better now. I’m fired up.”