By Marlene Henry
When you think of the name Mick E Mouse the first thing that would come to anyone’s mind would be the cartoon character, well this was anything but that. A black body, white face with 2 black spots around his eye made this bucking bull the highlight of anyone who attended the rodeo. My name is Marlene Henry, I have raised cattle for years and this story of my bucking bull Mick E Mouse, will make you want to raise bucking bulls yourself.
I had a bull calf I was raising from a bottle from Robbie Harrington. He was the son of Dillinger and I had raised him from a bottle till he was about 17 or 18 months old. I didn’t have any bucking cattle at all, I had to cross breed him from my cattle. One day this bull jumped a fence and bread my cows, months later I had four heifer cows that was out of the same bull. A friend of mine had this bull on the PBR (Professional Bull Riding) bucking bull and named him mighty mouse. So when those heifers became of age, my friend Tracy and I decided that we would breed them to Mighty Mouse. Four of them became pregnant. Mick E Mouse was the only bull calf born that had potential.
I started bucking Mick E Mouse when he was about three years old by going to jackpot rodeos. Not knowing anything and what I had, soon found out that he was really good. Eventually he made it to the ABBI competitions of the 3 and 4 year olds. He did really well there, so I moved him into the ABI competition. He started out way at the bottom and I thought if I could get into the top 35, I can get into the Las Vegas ABBI. I went from the very bottom, all the way up to number 3 and got him to Vegas, his first year as an ABBI classic bull. He did really well there. I had no idea what I was doing, but I just had a bunch of people that were telling to me he was something special and they taught me things that I needed to know. It took everyone about a year to convince me that I had a good bucking bull, and that he could compete with the big boys. I never, in my wildest dreams, dreamt that he would become what he did.
At three years old, he received an injury in his bowel and he had to stay in a real small pen for six months. We got through them, and he came back and continued to buck. He had a couple more injuries, but recovered and came bucking stronger than ever each time. During everything that was going on with me and him, he was my best friend in the whole world. He had to stay in a little pen, and he was bored to death. He wasn’t able to be exercised or do anything. I would take a lawn chair out in the afternoon and talk to him. I just can’t believe going back and looking at pictures and videos, he belonged to me. He weighed 2,000 pounds, and to do what he did was just amazing. But he was just an awesome animal.
It’s hard to see a bull and say “this one is going to buck”. I never had an urge to raise bucking bulls. I used to have racehorses and I never like to run race horses when they were two years old. I always felt like if they weren’t mature, their bones and structure wasn’t developing, it wasn’t supposed to be. I felt the same thing about the bulls.
Everything is just not all that together stable the way it is supposed to be. As he grew up and developed, I had friends that raised bucking bulls. I met with a guy who said “There’s a little place down the road from me I want you to bring your bull over one Sunday and see how he will do”. I never put a dummy on him, went straight from not bucking, straight to a rider. I took him over there and the first couple rounds he showed a little bit of potential. He would go out there he would start bucking, it wasn’t like he would come out of the gate and then turn right back in the gate, but he didn’t run off. Some of them would run off like a racehorse, he didn’t do any of that either. Then finally he is getting this.
I kept entering him and trying to get into an ABBI events. Of course the bull not being known, it was very hard to get that done. Finally, after I kept on entering him and I finally got him entered into an event, but it was all the way in Colorado. That was all along ways where I lived. I hauled one bull all the way to Colorado, I was an absolute nervous wreck. I had no idea what I was doing or the people there, I couldn’t believe I was doing this. He first drew Marco Eguchi and I thought “Oh no, first row out of the box I have a Brazilian with my first fail.”
Marco was hurt and he couldn’t ride him. So Savanah Alvarez wound up with him, Savanah didn’t have a clue who the bull was, but I don’t think he thought anything of it. I will just never forget this as long as I live. When he came out he just exploded, he bucked him off in 1.8 seconds. When Savannah got up from landing on the ground and looked at the big screen, his mouth was wide opened. It was like he couldn’t even believe he didn’t know who the bull was. It was like “Who is this bull, where did this bull come from”.
Everyone just gasped. It was my most exciting moment to see the look on everybody’s face, and one of my most memorable times we had.
He was a bull that he had the best personality, if he had a pile of sand he would play and roll around in it. He did a lot of cute things for big animal, his personality was the best. When my friend Kevin and I started hauling him, I told Kevin they are all making fun of me because I was in love with a bull. I told him “I promise you, in one month’s time if you had this bull, you are going to feel the same way I feel about him”. Sure enough he did. I could have never picked a better person to be a caretaker and to haul that bull. Kevin absolutely loved him, just like I did. He took phenomenal care and taught him everything.
Mickey was honestly just a cool animal, he had a lot of personality. I used to tell people if I talked and you looked at his facial expressions, he knew when I was around. Even the CBS sports guys would laugh. In the shoot, where they keep the bulls before the event, you could watch Mickey’s face and when- ever I was walking around there, he would hear my voice. They had all the pens where you couldn’t see me and he would look over the top of the pen to try and find me. One of the CBS sports reporters in Huntington Beach last year, took a picture of him peeping over the truck because he could hear my voice, but couldn’t find me. He said “look, he’s looking for you, He knows your voice”. He and I were so close and had the best relationship.
Whenever Mickey was away for events and then was on his way back home, and got within a mile of my house and he would know that he was close to home. He would start circling in the trailer and start bellowing. How Mick E knew, I would never know. In the off-season he always came back home for a few months and Kevin would start laughing when he got here. Kevin told me when he would get right down the road from my house, he would start doing the same thing he did our first trip back home.
Even after being away from me and being someplace else for the whole season, he still did that same thing. He knew it was home. The way my house is set up, right behind my house is a barn. When he would come home he had to stay in the barn behind the house. So when I walked out my backdoor within 25 feet of the barn and pastor there he was. I fed him twice a day, it was funny, he would follow me all the way back to where he ate his feed.
He knew that this was home and like I said, he could go and be gone for a while and then come back and it would still be home. Some people just don’t get the concept of how smart animals are. He was probably one of the smarter bulls that you will ever be around and not just things like that, even in the arena he knew where that rider was, every moment that rider was on him and he knew where the rider was when he hit the ground. He never stepped on a rider or turned around and would try and fight a rider. He was smart, he knew if you were a left or a right hand rider, very intelligent.
He was on the road a lot and I didn’t really train him, but he was smart. He picked up a lot on his own. He wasn’t crazy, some of them get in the shoot and they flip upside down, he was never that way. I don’t know if it was just nature or if it was just being raised right in my backyard and seeing me every day, but he was truly an amazing bucking bull. A lot of people that have bucking bulls, don’t have the one on one time I had with Mickey. I think that makes us different from the time he was eight months old and I weaned him, until he turned five and went to Kevin’s with me. I think it made the total difference, he was just a smart animal more so than a lot of them.
I think that the reason why Mick E Mouse was such an outstanding buck- ing bull, is because I am a patient person, I don’t give up. I have raised horses and you have to be patient with them. Mick E passed away March of 2015. He still owns the title of 2nd best bucking bull in 2015. I love raising bucking bulls, and I am so glad that I had Mickey in my life.