"I was 10 feet tall and bulletproof when it was over," Mauney recalls. "It's a bull everyone was scared of, said couldn't be rode. I rode him."
Even now, though, the cowboy shows plenty of respect. "If I needed to last 8.2 seconds," he admits, "I wouldn't have made it … he tossed me like a ton of bricks."
Mauney has a ready reply for those who say he caught Bushwacker on an off day: "Well, let's strap your rope to him and let me see what you think."
Mauney remembers his ride like this: "He didn't turn back and spin, but I'd rather he did jump and spin. A bull's a lot easier to ride when they spin, doing the same thing over and over, rather than leap way up, jump left, jump right, jump forward.
"You can tell when a guy's done on him, and it's not too hard to bail. Usually by the end of his first jump, Bushwacker's got 'em tipped one way or the other. Last time, he had me off to the left and turned right, away from me. I was done.
"The time I made it, I kept all my ducks in a row, stayed real square on him, and didn't lean one side or the other. He kind of didn't know what to do."
Mauney says he and Bushwacker have since reached an uneasy peace. The cowboy knows not to try and pet the bull when they've done television interviews within proximity of each other. Owner Moreno says anyone other than one handler will get "smashed" or "thrown over the fence" for doing that. And Bushwacker is especially surly before feeding time.
Yet the bull is typically a sportsman to the cowboys he unseats. He usually doesn't stomp them or attempt to impale them with his horns. Rather, he simply runs toward the exit gate to be with other bulls.
Pro-circuit bulls are scored and ranked over their careers, moving up the competition ladder based on the quality of their bucking. Moreno says he knew Bushwacker was special by the age of 3, the bull's fury so pronounced that veteran PBR bull rider Frank Newsome is surprised he's still around.
"Freak of nature," Newsome says. "A bull to buck as hard as he does, to be that fast, that athletic.… I've been around cattle, bucking bulls, all my life and there's never been another like him that I have seen, especially when you talk about the period of time he's been around.
"Most bulls that have ever bucked as hard as he does usually cripple themselves within a year. They buck so hard they actually break something in their own body. He's been around five years and has been the rankest bull alive the whole time."
Bushwacker typically doesn't become beast until it's time, Newsome notes, saying that in the chute the bull is "a real cool cat," unbothered by the strap that gets wrapped around his ticklish flank. The strap is designed to prompt a bull to buck more violently.
"He doesn't try to lean against the gate or cheat in any way like other bulls do," Newsome says. "Stands square, right in the middle of the chute, lets you get your rope pulled as tight as you want it. To be that cool and that rank is unique."
Moreno has seen that calm too, and feels he knows his famed animal well enough to interpret the thoughts.
It's like "Hurry up, get on, let's go — on the best ride Disneyland could've ever imagined," Moreno says.
Unlike thoroughbred horses who breed only after retirement, Bushwacker already has produced a pair of 2-year-old bulls. It's lucrative business. Each breeding session generates $4,000.
At home in his Oakdale pen, Bushwacker shows off his naturally ornery nature — "he doesn't like to interact with people," Moreno says — by digging up piles of dirt, flinging them into the air and rejoicing with a loud, distinctive, snort.
Moreno calls it a "yell," and says that if another bull stops by, Bushwacker sticks out his chest and flexes his muscles.
The owner turns interpreter again with what that means: "Here I am, king of the hill. You can't buck like me."