OTTUMWA — On Sept. 14, Brent and Cheryl Nunnikhoven of Ottumwa and their yearling bucking bull, “Mood-swing,” won the 2013 Champion Reserve at the MBBA Finals in Valentine, Neb. That's not too shabby considering this is “Mood-swing's" first year competing.
Only the top 36 in the Midwest and beyond get to compete in the finals. Nunnikhoven, a rodeo veteran of 22 years, knows from experience what it is that makes a bull good.
“It's all about action and turn-back,” Nunnikhoven said. “It's genetics in them, and it's just a matter of whether they want to do it or not. I rode bulls for 22 years, and I guess when you get too old to do that, you start raising them. I started that around 2001.”
The Nunnikhoven's yearling “Mood-swing” has genes from a prominent PBR bull because he is the grandson of the legendary “Moody Blues,” who won the 1998 Bucking Bull of the Year for the PBR. "Mood-swing" went to 10 events this past summer and won two and placed in seven others, culminating with the big win at the MBBA Finals.
The Nunnikhovens are a family operation near Ottumwa, and the husband-and-wife team work together raising cows and bucking bulls.
“We keep the cow herd at our place, and when they born, they stay here for about six months and we wean them, then the bull calves they will go to Monroe. We have an indoor pen up there and in February-March, we'll start running them through the the bucking gate to see if they're any good,” Nunnikhoven explains, “I've got five yearling bulls I just weaned, and in about two weeks I'll load them to go to Monroe, and they'll stay there the winter. There's an indoor barn up there where they'll train.”
The Nunnikhoven's next bucking bull competition is in Springfield, Mo., in October.