Davis Rodeo Ranch sends bulls to compete alongside world’s best

Bull rider Jerome Davis of Archdale, puts in an 88-point ride to win the fourth round at the 1995 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. After injury cut short his bull-riding career in 1998, he began producing championship-level bulls at his ranch in Archdale. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

A few bulls from Archdale, North Carolina found themselves in the land of the longhorn last week.

Working Man, Mercy Rule and La Grande, three bucking bulls from the Davis Rodeo Ranch, competed in the 2024 Professional Bull Riders World Finals: Unleash the Beast Eliminations held at Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas from Thursday to Sunday. In a group of over 160 bovine athletes, the three bulls competed to position themselves for the championship round and a chance to win a money prize.

On the first day of the Eliminations, Working Man and Mercy Rule competed in the American Bucking Bull, Inc. Open Classic, a bucking competition featuring the top 3 and 4-year old bulls against some of the nation’s top riders.

Working Man tied for 10th place with Fast Flow, representative of Outlaw Livestock, Lone Star Bucking Bull and AFCO, and earned a $1,459.25 prize. Mercy Rule finished the bucking competition in 40th place and failed to win money.

In the first round of the Eliminations, Working Man threw his rider Grayson Cole, the 2024 PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour champion, off his back in 3.85 seconds for a bull score of 43. He even struck Cole while he laid on the ground, causing some bleeding on Cole’s face after the ride.

“(Working Man) looked really good,” Jerome Davis, former championship-winning bull rider, PBR Ring of Honor member and owner of Davis Rodeo Ranch, said. “He’s a young bull…We were pretty excited to have Grayson. That bull’s thing is we really need somebody to try him, and the farther they ride him, the better it gets.”

Mercy Rule, who was competing in his first PBR finals, also took a turn in the first round with Brady Fielder as his rider. Fielder, a 24-year-old from Australia, lasted the full eight seconds, earning Mercy Rule a bull score of 35.

La Grande, one of the more experienced of Davis’ group, competed in the third round of the Eliminations with Kaique Pacheco, a 29-year-old from Brazil, as his rider. Pacheco also lasted eight seconds, but La Grande still pulled out a decent score of 40.25.

“(La Grande) has done this a few times, so it’s been pretty good for him, so far,” Davis said.

Davis said he won’t know which one of his bulls will qualify for Saturday and Sunday’s championship rounds at AT&T Stadium in Dallas until after the final elimination stage, the Ride for Redemption.

The Ride for Redemption will be held Wednesday and Thursday also at Cowtown Coliseum, and it will give 40 riders (25 riders that didn’t advance out of Eliminations and 15 invites) a last chance at the final five berths for the championship.

Davis will have three bulls, Working Man, Bomb Diggity and Fat Randy, bucking in that event. His competing bulls are a long way from the 2024 YETI PBR World Champion Bull honor and $100,000 bonus, which is awarded to the animal with the highest average bull score from their highest-scored eight outs during the 2023 Camping World Team Series, 2024 UTB regular season and two outs at the 2024 PBR World finals. However, they have a slight chance at being named the YETI “Built for the Wild” Bull of the Finals and earning a $25,000 bonus for posting the top combined score based on their three outs in the PBR World Finals.

Davis feels that Bomb Diggity and Fat Randy will have good outs Wednesday and Thursday, considering they haven’t had as many outs as other bulls leading up to the world finals.

For Davis and his bulls, the biggest thing for their preparation prior to the world finals is rest and diet.

“Just like a marathon, you don’t want to run on your feet with a full belly, so you don’t want to buck on a full stomach neither,” Davis said. “We make sure we get them the right feed as far as how much we feed them and that type of thing. (It’s) just to have them feeling good at the end of the day, so they can buck their best.”

Whether they win the big prize or not, Davis’ bulls have come a long way already.

“We’ve been raising these bulls for a long time,” Davis said. “It always makes you feel good when you get some bulls here at the world finals. It’s the best of the best.”