Anyone who knows bucking horses realizes the true power that comes through when a massive beast loves what he does.
Even at just 3 years old, Wazzup fits that category already.
“I love his style,” said Guy French, Wazzup’s owner and the executive director of the United Bucking Horse Association. “He bucks hard, and he’s got the perfect criteria for a bucking horse.”
That says a lot about the big brown gelding, which was sired by Midnight Kid, a Canadian-bred stallion. But there’s so much more. You see, Wazzup owns a Jekyll and Hyde-like personality that helps make the talented young horse even more special.
“He’s super mild-mannered,” French said. “You can walk right up to him and pet him. He’s bucking because he loves it; it’s something that’s really special to me.”
French knows a few things about bucking horses. He rode them through college as a bareback rider at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. While there, he found a passion for the majestic animals.
“My friend and roommate traveled to Fredericksburg, Texas, to pick up some practice horses from Lester Meier for the school, and a dream was born that lives on in my heart to this day,” he said. “As we drove across the pasture to the catch pens, I saw an amazing spectacle of 70 to 80 broncs running and bucking behind us.
“I was struck by the power, beauty, mystique and sheer awesomeness of these animals. At that moment, the dream of owning a herd of bucking horses took root in my soul.”
French purchased his first set of bucking horses from Charlie Thompson in Lubbock, Texas, then continued to piece together a solid string of horses in order to be a stock contractor on the amateur level. Seeing the limited financial opportunities, he opted to build his herd of brood mares in order to raise colts to sell to stock contractors.
“That didn’t go well until I became acquainted with bucking horse futurities four years ago,” he said, noting the first futurity in which he competed was in Glen Rose, Texas, where one of his fillies placed fourth. “If there had been any doubt before, I now had officially caught the bug.”
He quickly realized there was a need to showcase younger bucking horses, so French developed the Classic Bronc Bash, a futurity now in its fourth year. But the Texan saw a bigger picture, which is why he developed the UBHA. The organization was established to showcase younger broncs, which buck with a mechanical dummy instead of a rider to allow the horses the opportunity to develop with age.
“It makes perfect sense to establish an association that would cater to the dummy classes and potentially provide proven foals as contenders,” French said.
There has been great interest. So far, more than 35 people have purchased shares in the UBHA, and the ultimate goal is to increase that number to 55 shareholders, who will adopt a set of bylaws, establish event rules and judging criteria, and sanctioning annual events across the United States and Canada. The shareholders will maintain ownership of the association, determine a board of directors and elect officers to oversee the organization.
“The UBHA will have annual and lifetime memberships available for anyone who would like to participate in sanctioned events,” French said. “Year-end payouts will be awarded to the top colts in each of the three dummy classes.
“It is my hope that the UBHA will be a cornerstone to the bucking horse industry. The UBHA will establish a track record for each colt as it competes in the yearling, 2-year-old and 3-year-old classes. The colt’s value will increase as it continues to prove itself.”