Top bull at Steamboat Springs rodeo event |

Top bull at Steamboat Springs rodeo event

Luke Graham

B.J. Schumacher rides Walk This Way at the 2004 Pace Picante Pro Rodeo Classic in Dallas. Walk This Way - who has been ridden for eight seconds only three times - will be at the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series tonight.

— Four years ago, Bad Company Rodeo owner Mack Altizer’s purchase of the bull “Walk This Way” looked like a gamble.

The 2-year-old bull hadn’t performed well at a high-dollar sale.

“I felt he was non-proven,” Altizer said. “He was scared and nervous at the contest.”

Nonetheless, Altizer – a longtime stock contractor and rodeo czar – took a $3,000 gamble on the tan-and-white bull with a good build and great bloodlines.

“I knew it was a gamble,” Altizer said. “He wasn’t one of the high-dollar sales, but with his track records I bought him and took care of him.”

Four years later, Parker resident Chris Bartlett has a chance to do what only two other cowboys ever have done: last eight seconds on Walk This Way.

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Bartlett will ride the bull at tonight’s Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series event at 7:30 p.m. at Brent Romick Rodeo Arena.

“When the gate opens you’ll hear the explosion,” Altizer said. “The grandstand will be rattling. It’s going to take eight seconds of buckling down.”

If the past is any indication, Bartlett will have to put together a perfect run to ride the world-class bull.

To date, only Justin McBride (twice) and JB Mauney – the top two riders on the Professional Bull Riding Built Ford Tough Series – have ridden Walk This Way for eight seconds. Prior to McBride’s ride earlier this spring, Walk This Way hadn’t been successfully ridden in more than 100 tries.

“The two guys leading the world are the two that rode him,” Altizer said. “That’s the kind of thing that gets him noticed.”

Altizer, who has had numerous other well-known bulls, said Walk This Way is one of a kind.

The bull’s bigger than most, weighing in at 1,900 pounds. Yet Altizer said he’s like a cat.

“He’s big. He’s so athletic he gives you more power,” he said. “It’s like a heavyweight fighter in the there with a featherweight’s agility.”

Walk This Way is ranked the No. 11 bull in the PBR Built Ford Tough Series. He’s bucked off 95 percent of riders.

Despite the success of Walk This Way, Altizer said it will take a top finish in either the PBR or PRCA to really reap the rewards of the bull – something that’s a real possibility as early as this year.

He has a $100,000 insurance policy on the bull and has more than made his $3,000 back. Still, a Bull of the Year prize could make Altizer’s purchase four years ago look like a Donald Trump-like investment.

“When he has a title is when the money comes,” Altizer said, noting Walk This Way is a consensus top-five bull in both series. “It’s possible he could get it this year. He’s got a great shot.”

Year-end voting involves the top 50 cowboys looking at the stats of the bulls and picking their favorite one.

Considering McBride told Altizer his ride on Walk This Way was “one of the best I’ve had,” and countless other bullriders – including former world champions Mike White and Adrian Moraes – profess that the bull is in a league of its own, Altizer said tonight is a chance for Steamboat to see one of the best bulls in the world.

“In the arena he’s all business,” Altizer said. “This isn’t something you’re going to want to miss.”

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