Chad Berger isn’t big into celebrating.
That’s one of the many reasons he keeps piling up the most valuable buckles in pro rodeo.
Just hours after clinching his unprecedented ninth straight PBR Stock Contractor of the Year Award in Las Vegas on Sunday, Berger was back in Mandan on Monday at, of course, a cattle show.
“We don’t ever want to get satisfied,” said Berger, who has won the top award six years in a row. “We want to keep grinding. That’s just kind of the way we do it.”
Nobody does it better in the stock game than Berger. And nobody is close.
For the 2019 Pro Bull Riders season, Berger’s pen produced the top two bulls in the circuit.
Smooth Operator, ranked No. 1 for much of the season, closed out the award for the PBR’s World Champion Bucking Bull with a dominant performance at the World Finals at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Smooth Operator, who appears to still be in his prime at the age of nine, earned an average of 45.84 in Vegas to also earn the “Built for the Wild” bull of the event.
“(Smooth Operator) has been through so much. He’s a true fighter,” Berger said. “When he was five, he split the pelvis from his spine, and when he was seven, he shattered his knee cap, but he keeps coming back. He’s an amazing animal.”
Right behind Smooth Operator in the world standings was Smooth Wreck. Smooth Operator’s B.O.T. (buck off time) was an off-the-charts 4.17. Smooth Wreck, however, was not far behind at 4.86.
“It’s all heart with them,” Berger said. “They’re very competitive. The guys know they’re in for a fight when they’re on those two.”
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Smooth Operator and Smooth Wreck have another marquee showcase ahead at the Nationals Final Rodeo (NFR) back in Vegas Dec. 5-14.
“They’ll get some good rest after the first of the year,” Berger said.
The hat trick of top contractor, and top two bulls, is the rarest of feats.
“I’m not aware of it happening before,” Berger said. “It’s a great tribute to the team we have.”
As usual, Berger was deflecting credit for his bucking bull dynasty.
“My wife (Sarah) is amazing in what she does. My family is incredibly supportive and I have the best hired men you could ever want in Rex Meier and Delbert Nuce,” Berger said. “And Juan Gonzalez, I can’t say enough about him. He runs our place in south Mandan like he owns it. I’m able to be gone a lot because I know Juan has everything under control back home.”
“It’s not really that different from football. I guess I’m kind of the head coach, but everybody else has to convert to make things happen and everybody does. It’s just a total team effort. It really is.”
With 2020 approaching, Berger, like his bulls, has no plans to back off.
“We’re always looking for new bulls, new strategies, where to be to expose (the bulls) to the best,” Berger said. “It’s kind of a 24-7 thing, but we love it.”