A Mandan man has a record number of Professional Bull Riders’ titles..and looking for more.
Just last month, he won stock contractor of the year for the seventh consecutive time and for the 10th time overall, both breaking his own records.
In this week’s Someone You Should Know, we meet the owner and operator of Berger’s Bucking Bulls.
Chad Berger pretty much always has a bull in the running for World Champion … in fact, he has more than one that already holds that title.
“It don’t get much more exciting than that,” he said.
Smooth Operator was recently named the PBR World Champion Bull for the second year in a row — and at 10 years old, he’s the oldest bull in PBR history, to win. And he did it back-to-back.
“It’s just the thrill, you know? And who don’t like to win?”
But his love for the rodeo came before he was a big winner.
He said, “It began when I was a little kid.”
He started out riding bulls, and eventually, his dad started raising bucking bulls.
It turned into a rodeo string they hauled all over the country. His dad even had a three-time World Champion, himself.
Berger says riding a bull gives an adrenaline rush that’s hard to compare to, but he says raising the bulls is a totally different eight-second ride.
“But when you own these bulls they kind of become your kids and that’s the closest thing I’ve got to the adrenaline rush as I did when I was riding, so it’s the next best thing,” said Berger. “And it’s really been just tremendous for our family, how it’s all turned out.”
He says his wife has been alongside him the whole time, and so have his kids.
“It’s a family operation. And that’s the neatest part about it,” Berger said with a smile.
His kids are all involved in their own ways and so are their kids!
Especially his grandson, who is already gunning for the operation.. and Berger says he’d love to see it happen.
Berger’s retirement likely won’t be for a while though, and it almost came far too soon.
Back in May, he had open heart surgery. Complications came about .. and on the 31st of that month, doctors tried to correct the issue.
THEN, after that .. came more complications, along with a pacemaker. Plus, he fought covid about a month ago.
Still, he said, “I’m still on the right side of the grass, and I’m feeling pretty good right now.”
Feeling good means it’s back to full-time cattle buying, which is a big job in itself.
He says one of his biggest tasks on top of that is just keeping tabs on his animals and making sure they’re well enough to stir up some dirt.
But when it comes to the best of the best, genetics play a big role.
“They’re like Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson or one of them guys,” he explained. “They’re a special kind of an athlete, and they know they’re better, and they’re going to stick out anywhere they go. It’s all right here, in the heart. Those kind of bulls are just a little more special than the rest.”
Berger is special, too. He’s got a knack for what he does and has over a dozen buckles to show for it.
“I just feel so blessed to have all the fortune we’ve had and all the awards we’ve won and stuff, it’s almost overwhelming at times,” he said, “but it’s awful fun.”
Berger was also inducted to the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2018, and expects his World Champion titles won’t end with Smooth Operator.