The bulls are treated like family around there. It is all part of the family business. And a quite successful one, at that.
"With names such as Perfect Storm, Venom, Bad Grandma, and Macho Man — TZ Ranch provides some of the baddest buckers in the business," says Ty Rinaldo, of TZ Ranch.
Ty, his wife Nancy, and his sons Tucker and Tanner, manage and care for 15 bulls at their 10-acre ranch east of Greenland in Douglas County.
The Rinaldo Family and TZ Ranch had two bulls this year, W26 Page Break and S19 Perfect Storm, qualify for the Professional Bull Riders World Finals in Las Vegas, this fall. The Pro Bull Riding Finals consists of the world’s top 35 professional bull riders and the top 106 bulls, in America and Canada competing for world titles. The finals was October 21-25.
"While at the finals we were excited to hear of the selection of W26 Page Break to The National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in December. The NFR is the Superbowl of Professional Rodeo.
We are a small local ranch, which trains and maintains a small herd of bucking bulls on my days off from Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department."
Each one of his 15 bulls has a personality of its own.
"I love to educate the public about our four-legged family members," he said. "But we are a little dog running with big dogs, when it comes to providing quality bulls for major rodeos and bull riding events."
He says he really doesn't get mean bulls, but searches for "athletes" that can be shaped into top performers, alongside the athlete riders that compete with them. The bull's score, of course, contributes to an individual ride on equal basis with the rider’s.
Ty Rinaldo was professional rodeo athlete himself for nine years, and he and his wife (a barrel racer), and the rest of the family, have been around rodeo and bull riding all of their lives. He grew up in the Grand Junction area, on the Western Slope. But his last ride was in 1993.
"I rode my last bull and took my first Flight for Life the same day," said Ty Rinaldo, 48, of a head injury that forced his retirement in Delta one day, years ago.
Taking care of the bulls is one way of staying connected.
"The thing about rodeo is, that most of guys participating are for other buddies riding the same night. They want them, and the bulls to perform their best. You are really competing with yourself and your own best performance."
The best performance also goes for the bulls, as well. He talks of even "building their confidence" and optimizing their performance by exercise and making sure they have opportunities to buck.
Bucking chutes at TZ Ranch are often busy on weekends, and February 20, bull riding at the Douglas County Fairgrounds is on the slate.
"We treat them like the professional athlete they are, and part of the family. If we didn't, they would quit. You want them to do their best."
Maintenance of 15 such family pets is an arduous task, with them eating 40 pounds of hay a day, plus oats, gallons of water, vet bills, transportation, welding, daily exercise, and on and on. It keeps all of the family busy.
Meanwhile, there is the trip to Las Vegas with Page Break from Dec. 3 to Dec. 12. TZ Ranch bulls have been national competitors in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, and now 2015. Quite a string of successes for this family and their unique bull business.
__ Rob Carrigan, firstname.lastname@example.org