The Ride with Cord McCoy: The Making of a World Champion Bucking Bull
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The Ride with Cord McCoy: The Making of a World Champion Bucking Bull

September 5, 2019


I think in the last 10 years they’ve definitely
proved that these bulls are bred to buck. You can definitely tell in their bucking and
in their bucking style of which bulls they’re out of and how much that their breeding, how
important it is. Today, we’ve come up hereto view some of the cows that we’ve hand selected for our flush. We’re going to go inside and visit with Dr. Barker a little bit about what
goes on and how that process of this flush is going to work. The cow with the big horns
there, number 30, that cow is over 14 years old and that cow will be crossed with a bull
named Asteriod, Reining World Champion Bucking Bull. The cow to her right with the one horn
there has raised two of the best futurity calves that we’ve had. That cow will be crossed with last year’s World Champion Bucking Bull, Bushwacker. The cow on the back there with
the crocked horns, that is actually Play Gun’s mother. And that cow will be crossed with
last year’s World Champion ABBI Classic Bull, Shepard Hills Tested. From natural beginnings, just natural reproduction was the way everyone was used to until artificial insemination came along which drastically changed the face of reproduction for many species. Give the
ability for people to make or breed or reproduce livestock on their farm with animals from
other states or other countries, across thousands of miles. Also be able to reproduce with animals
that they would not be able to afford the animal live where they could purchase semen
out of that bull to bring back to their own herd to change the genetics or the dynamics
of theirs. Flushing takes that one step further to where you can take your best dams or your
best cows in your herd and multiply them multiple times to say you had a 50 cow set, rather
than naturally breeding or artificially breeding those 50 cows, you could take your top 3 or
4 cows and reproduce them multiple times and allow those other 45 to 47 cows to carry the
embryos or carry the calves as surrogates of those 3 to 5 best cows. So you then have
taken your odds of producing higher quality stock and drastically increased that. The
different portions or different areas that you’ve got to include in the flushing process
are obviously the bull for the semen and that selection is based off of the genetics of
the cow or the genetics you’re trying to bring back into your herd with the best match or
donor cow which should be one of the better cows you have as far as genetic reproduction
and then the surrogates can be a variety. They can be cows you already have, they can
be stock cows, just beef cows with no known genetics to them. But things you want to look
for in a good recipient are age, as far as reproduction goes, they’re a sound milker,
they’re sound footed, and in good health. Those will all be good potential recipient
cows for receiving the embryos from the donor. Summarize the flushing process for taking
semen from a known bull and inseminating a selected donor cow for the collection of an
embryo 7 days later. The embryo is flushed from the donor cow and then inserted into
the recipient cow that has been prepared to cycle and be at the same stage of estrus as
the donor cow with a conceived embryo for future calving. There’s obviously significant
financial risk involved in the flushing process and it’s just due to success of the flush
itself. Any time you’re controlling biologics there’s a chance of failure. As far as trying
to harness mother nature and make her work in your favor, the flush process itself is
set up through the flush will run anywhere from $800 to over $2,000 depending on the
quality of the flush. Semen costs will range anywhere from $20 to $7,000 – $8,000 per straw.
On instances where some of the bucking stock and the rarity of some of those bulls and
their semen, the expense of the semen actually rises dramatically. In those instances when
you’re taking into consideration the nature of the cow and her adapting to the environment
and settling and being reproductive which will be the first thing they’ll shut off under
stress situations. There’s a risk involved with having success in that process. This says how much weight’s in that chute. That bull weights 2334 lbs. This bull is definitely beef. The difference in collecting him and doing a semen evaluation prior to the turn out on cows, the difference is they’ll have a thermal,
protected cone whereas this is just open air, a thermal protected cone that they’ll catch
that into and they’ll immediately take it into a dilutant and dilute that semen out
to the levels they want based off the concentration they’ve determined the semen is, they’ll put
into straws to freeze and then they thaw it to see that it survives the freeze/thaw process
and is able to be marketed for usable artificial semen. So right now we’re just pretty much
ejaculating the bull just to view the semen. Yes, this bull will be a herd bull used to
clean up cows in the pasture. As you can tell, with the controllers he’s got down here seems to be in the same rhythm as the bull is moving. You want to do it as soon as possible to better assess the motility and morphology. In this first scope is just the standard light microscope we use to do motility and as you can see there, he would score an excellent on motility. Very
similar to swirling beach sand. That’s my first view so I don’t have anything to compare
it against. The next slide is a straight slide. The second microscope is a phased contrast.
The cells in the phased contrast allows you to look at it without the stains so it makes
it a lot cleaner process. You can see on this one, freezing or killing the cells so that
they’re non-modal so you can better assess them and you can alter your focus a little bit from time to time to be able to see them. You can see there. So right now you’re just
looking at they’re not moving and they’re complete with tails. You’re looking that they’ve
got a normal head that’s non blunted, the tail’s attached properly and curls around
appropriately but not curled, curled but straight. That there’s no drop off distal proximal that
would indicate that it’s going to drop off from the tail, the tail from the head at some
point, and that they’re functional, reproductive semen cells.
Perfect. Now these calves of course, none of them match in looks, I mean they’re actually being almost like an adopted calf. Right, they’re more or less, for instance, this cow is a surrogate mother to one of the
bucking calves. Obviously a beef cow and this black calf standing here to the right of her
is her surrogate calf, or AT calf. The day these calves are born, you just ear tag them
to pair them up. Yes, they’re tagged and the way we do our tagging system is we’ll tag
them to match the cow and put their AT mating above so it will have the donor bull and the
donor cow and the recipient cow will have the identification at the top, the bottom
is the recipient cow or the raiser of the calf. I believe that calf is a Rock ‘n Roll.
One of the show ram bulls at the PBR finals. Which surrogate mother or recipient cow is
that one out of. It’s out of the red and white paint short horn across on the other side
of the truck there. I definitely appreciate you spending some time and I’m excited to
get back in there and see our flush and see how we turn out. I look forward to working
with you. Right now I have with me Tim Dougherty who has partnered with me on a lot of the
bulls, especially the biggest event of the year, during the regular season is the American Heritage. This is Tim Dougherty. Nice seeing you again. Of course the first thing you ask
is you’re a PBR fan and a bull fan but what got you involved in the bucking bull business?
Well, I had some running quarter horses, and was familiar with that and I’m very competitive
nature wise and I was a horse race fan and a bull fan, I thought well, we’ve done the
horse things, let’s try the bulls and try to figure out how to make that work. And
along with your guidance, we’ve done reasonably well so far. The biggest two events, I’d say
the biggest season event we have coming up is the American Heritage and we get to watch
a bull you named Come on Baby in there and then hopefully Las Vegas. As you progress
through the season, how do you feel about the bulls we started when they were just baby
calves. Well, it started out mainly for recreation, plus I wanted to try to see how the, I’m a
very hands on person, and I wanted to see how it works. And now I just want to see how
the breeding part of it works. Now you and I are partnering on some of that. So far it’s
been great. I’ve gotta say it’s the genetics. You are coming from the horse business and
me growing up on a ranch, we know how important the genetics are and how excited I am about
the other partnership that I wouldn’t have been able to do alone. We’re actually
flushing 3 of our very best cows to what me and you decided over the phone are the 3 rankest
bulls in the world which we think are Bushwacker, Asteriod and Shepard Hills Tested. What do
you look for to get out of that? Well, two things. One, I want to see can we do it. We
won’t know that for 3 or 4 years yet. And then also for my recreation, kind of turn
it into a business situation also and make a long term relationship vs. just to come
down and watch bulls for a couple years and then leave. By the breeding process, we should
be able to take this out and just see if we can do it or not. But if we’re going to start,
let’s start with the best. You don’t mind swinging for the fence? Absolutely, let’s
go. Let’s go for the deal. You’ve seen it in the horse racing business for I don’t know how long, for years upon years of the lineage of horses, when they go back through those
papers, they find out that Secretariat wasn’t a producer, they found out this horse is a
producer and they start mix matching these mares with these studs and they start coming
up with faster race horses every year. The bull riding, the bull business is no different,
it’s been going on for as long but we finally now have a registry, American Bucking Bull
Incorporated, where you have this great bull and I have this great cow and we can combine
them and we may make that next Bushwacker. We have the blood and the DNA behind it to
prove it, just like the race-horse business. The more that you can prove, the more you
can win, the bigger money comes in. The sky’s really the limit. We should have a Great
American Race or the American Heritage we have, guys win over $100,000 but I really
believe that the pedigrees of it are just – we’re at the tip of the iceberg and it’s
been going on for 35-40 years. This bull is bred to buck. His daddy is Reindeer
Dipping, his momma is also bucking bred and there was no accident that this bull was rank.
This makes his genetics probably some of the most sought after genetics on the trail. In my opinion, watching these bulls buck that I have over the years, of course being part of the PBR from 1998 all the way until right now still today, watching the bull power grow
was just amazing to see and the reason why it did grow so well is because of the genetics
of these bulls. Houdini was of course, a superstar bull, that raised so many great calves but
all these different blood lines that you can go after anymore, it’s amazing. You gotta
have good bulls and good genetics no matter what. It makes the whole sport that much better because in the race-horse business or bucking bull business, if you don’t have good blood
lines on both sides, you’re probably not going to have a very good chance of winning something in the future. Especially what it’s looking like now. Today’s a huge day for McCoy Ranch.
Over 60 days ago, 3 cows were hand selected out of our whole herd and crossed 7 days ago with 3 of the best bulls in the world, Bushwacker, Asteriod, and Shepard Hills Tested. Today
is flush day here at Pro Animal Health to see just what we’re going to get out of our
investment. This is a 3-channel catheter. It has 3 complete channels going all the way
down to the tip of this catheter. One is for the air cuff, to blow up the balloon to see
it in the horn, so the media doesn’t come around behind it. Because all of my collection
is done on this side of the balloon. There’s the air cuff to blow it up with, which I just
did so you can see it. There’s the inflow, which I hook up the collection media to to
input the media into the horn of the cow and it comes out one tip here at the end. And
two ports for exit and they come out the big hole in the middle. That’s where you’re actually
flushing the eggs out. Yeah, we will collect them in this which is an 80 micron filter
with a stainless steel grid on the bottom of it. How many calves can fit in that there?
Oh, a couple million. I think we got room. Bucking bull cows are probably the most difficult
beef breed that I work with mainly because they’re a high stressed animal. It’s just
like working with an antelope. When you get the flight and fright influences going on
in a cow, it causes a lot of hormonal imbalances and steroid release and stuff like that, in
the cow’s system that are not good for fertility and reproduction. They mess up the transport
of the semen through the oviduct and they mess up the egg transport down the ovulation,
all the hormones involved get skewed because of the stress levels of the cow. If you can
get a calm bucking cow, she’s of no value to you so you’re dealing with an animal that
essentially needs to be as wild as possible to do her job. But then that’s exactly opposite
of what I need. If we could have one that would have bad, bad calves, but be nice and
calm herself, that would be perfect but that’s not in my world. So, they as a whole produce
much less than a well-mannered and low stressed animal. Normally a cow has only 1 calf a year and
my goal is to get more than that production out of that cow and still let her have one
calf a year. And to do that, we manipulate her cycle and give fertility drugs to the
cow so that more than one egg goes to maturity and ovulation during that cycle. We don’t
do anything fantastic or miraculous, we just salvage more than normally would have herself.
We’ll let those fertility drugs do their thing and get a cow into heat and have her release
more than one egg per cycle, that’s been bred at the time that she ovulates, and then a
week later, we take the embryos from that cow and either freeze them for later use or
to transfer them into fresh cows. Today, we’re synchronized at the same time as the donor
was the week before. If I can get 6 transferrable embryos per collection that I do, I’m satisfied
and the client should be satisfied. Now where we do them is if the pregnancy rates on a
fresh embryo of a well-managed recipient herd, we should get 60% of those pregnant. Any thing
better than that is gravy, anything less than that, you need to work on recipient management.
If you’re doing frozen embryos, frozen thawed like the ones we put up today, you’re going
to lose about 10% of the pregnancy rates on that so you can expect 5 out of 10 in a well
managed herd. If we put in 2 for you today that were fresh, I am expecting at least 1,
if we get 2, we done good and everybody is happy. But of the 2 that I transferred, odds
are that we’ll get one of them pregnant. What are we working on right now? Loading embryos for the first cow. Those are frozen embryos for the first cow. The one I showed you is
this exact embryo. It’s loaded. So now what I want to do is give it multiple covers to
keep it clean to get it in the uterus. The uterus is a sterile environment, everything
behind it is not. So I want it in the uterus as clean, or sterile, as possible. When you’re
going in to something like this, there’s no guarantee. It is definitely an investment.
When you’re messing with mother nature, even worse, the mother of a bucking cow, you don’t
know what you’re going to get out of it. Having them settle in and get bred and to flush embryos
out of them, that are already fertilized, is tricky sometimes. We feel like we rolled
the dice to have calves out of this year’s PBR World Champion Bucking Bull, and last
year’s PBR World Champion Bucking Bull, didn’t look like we got ’em today. I talked to Circle
T and we’re going to get another shot at Asteriod but as crazy as it sounds, I’m pretty danged
excited my two Shepard Hills Tested embryos I’ve got growing in another cow right now.
There it is.

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