Mitch James may not come across as your regular PBR stock contractor.
He doesn’t wear the Statesman Hat and rarely will you see him in a Pearl Snap Shirt, but Mitch’s enthusiasm for the sport of bull riding shines through with every word he speaks.
“I really love this industry. I really really really enjoy it”.
Over the past twenty years, Mitch and his family have been a major sponsor of the PBR in Australia with Paradise Outdoor Advertising (POA) banners proudly displayed and branded bulls bucking at PBR events all around the country.
“I used to go to the PBR events with dad, as I started to grow into the family business and began to take over POA I approached Glen Young [CEO, PBR Australia] and said I need to buy a bull,” said James.
Young put James in contact with Jason Dittmann from Dittmann Bucking Bulls, and together they formed the Paradise Outdoor Advertising All-Star Bull Team.
Anybody who has travelled through Central and North Queensland has no doubt seen the billboards on our highways and in inside regional towns featuring some of Australia’s rankest bucking bulls including POA Fully Locked & Loaded and POA Palooka.
But James’ passion for bucking bulls continued to develop rapidly and as a result, he took the plunge and “randomly” bought straws of bull semen from some of the USA’s top bucking bulls including Air Time, Margy Time and High Tensile.
“I really wanted to learn from the ground up, and the breeding was something I wanted to do with my family as a hobby,” said James adding that he enjoys spending time in the bush when he is not in the POA office.
Realising that James was serious, Young promptly put James in contact with some of the major players in the Australian bucking bull business including George Hempenstall, Jared Farley and Mitch Russell.
After spending countless hours in conversation with these top minds, it was time for James to add some females to his herd.
“My first lot of stock I bought were some cows and heifers from Jared. There was a lot of awesome Houdini, I’m a Gangster and Double Jeopardy DNA in there.”
James now needed a place to keep his rapidly expanding herd of assets, and after meeting Charters Towers-based stock contractor Adam Power the pair struck up a partnership.
“We got the cows up there; we then built a full arena… I got ten young bulls to have some fun with so I could learn my way,” said James.
Realising that the breeding program may take a few years to kick fully into gear, James approached Brandenburg Bucking Bulls to buy a bull that was already bucking in PBR Australia competition that would fit the MJ Bucking Bulls brand.
That bull was Slam n Jam.
“I thought Slam n Jam would be a great bull for my brand. He’s a real character, a great little bull and he has great bloodlines.”
James also contracted the Brandenburg’s, the 2017 PBR Australia Stock Contractors of the Year, to continue training and hauling the bull to events all over the country.
Following his buck off of World No. 45 Lawson Nobbs at Last Cowboy Standing in Brisbane last week, Slam n Jam has allowed just four qualified rides from 37 outs in PBR Australia competition.
With MJ Bucking Bulls gaining traction online, at the farm and in the arena, James started producing merchandise, and before he knew it, caps and shirts were being shipped to fans as far afield as Brazil.
“A lot of people started hitting me up about partnerships and sponsorships, and I thought, why not?”.
For the average fan, getting into the bull game is a hard task and James recognised this. He now gives those interested a chance to experience the thrill of bull ownership through MJ Bucking Bull VIP Membership and Partnership Opportunities on his bulls and breeding program.
“A big part of what I am trying to do is to allow people to come and get a taste of what it’s like to be apart of the bucking bull industry… The opportunity didn’t really exist before”.
“I love giving back to the sport, and it’s about making it better,” he added.
James says his goal is to have a full team of MJ Bucking Bulls trained by Brandenburg Bucking Bulls with partnerships available to anyone who wants to be involved, similar to the Horse Racing industry.
After the initial success with Slam n Jam, which officially began at the 2018 PBR Australia Grand Finals with a $2000 bounty battle vs Rubens Barbosa, it was time to add another PBR Australia bucking bull to the MJ Bucking Bulls herd.
“I bought Berzerk as my second bull… He’s been great. He’s my short-go bull. He is really exciting and getting a lot of people to take notice.”
Berzerk remains unridden after nine career PBR Australia performances and has averaged a 43.75 point bull score in his first two outs for the Brandenburg Bucking Bulls and MJ Bucking Bulls partnership.
Fans who attended PBR Australia’s Last Cowboy Standing on Saturday night would have also noticed that the 2018 Rookie of the Year Lane Mellers has also been recruited to join the MJ Bucking Bulls team.
“I selected Lane because he is young, got a good attitude, a good outlook and he can ride bulls,” said James when asked what made Mellers a suitable rider to represent his team.
A confident Mellers was outstanding in the MJ Bucking Bulls threads last week, riding Dittmann Bucking Bulls’ Shots for 84 points and added 85.5 points on Tough Task from Dunne Bulls to finish runner up in the event taking home plenty of cash and points towards his goal of finishing on top of the the PBR Australian National Standings.
Recently, MJ Bucking Bulls has also invested in breeding stock on the ground in the USA to provide further genetics for their programs here on home soil.
James has even begun importing embryos to Australia with cows like Airtime’s dam, Lonestar 17 featuring high on the list with the help of his 8-year-old Nephew Bailey Mckenzie who is a major partner in MJ Bucking Bulls and recycles cans and bottles to help with the financial side of the company.
“I’m really about improving the industry, the genetics… it would be great to have the same quality bulls here in Australia as they do in the USA,” said James.
“We have been doing some pretty crazy stuff.”
With some of Australia’s rankest bucking bulls in their pen, a talented young bull rider wearing their gear, plus the outstanding American and Canadian bloodlines becoming entrenched in their breeding program, MJ Bucking Bulls well and truly live up to their slogan – ‘Bred to Buck’.
You can see Lane Mellers plus, both Slam n Jam and Berzerk in action this weekend at the 2019 Cairns Invitational on the PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour.