Earlier this week, the Professional Bull Riders announced that Rango, one of the stars of not just the elite Built Ford Tough Series, but also the Nicholas Sparks movie, The Longest Ride, passed away on Sunday morning. According to PBR, the 7-year-old bovine athlete was admitted to the hospital for intestinal issues and passed away after experiencing heart troubles while receiving treatment.
Rango was owned by four-time PBR Stock Contractor of the Year Jeff Robinson. He said, “I have had several hundred bulls compete at the Built Ford Tough Series level and he was my second-best bull ever. He wasn’t my second favorite bull – no, he was No. 1(a). He meant a lot to me. There is no way he will ever be replaced.” [PBR}
One of the crew members who worked on the project in Winston-Salem, NC was also taken aback by the news. “He was a big deal in that movie, he was written into the script and everything.” Rango was a cast member. “He even had his own doubles,” the crew member said. Other bulls had a little make-up done to create his likeness. “It was great working with Rango. The Humane Society was there watching him like a hawk. We enjoyed working with them, too.” Rango had a majestic way about him and he had 1,000s of fans. “He was probably the most athletic bull in the stable and a lot of crew members grew attached to him. It’s funny because these bulls, they look violent when they are out doing their thing, but when they are in their pens, well, I can’t speak for all of them, but Rango was very kind. And he was very well taken cared for, you could tell.”
Without spoiling the movie for ya, and if you haven’t read the book, let’s just say that Rango and Scott Eastwood’s character share an exciting moment together towards the end.
Rango is set to have his own credit in The Longest Ride which will hits theaters on April 10, 2015. In the meantime, PBR reports they will conduct a special tribute to Rango during the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas on Oct. 22-26 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
One of the more popular bovine athletes on the PBR’s BFTS roster, Rango was a bull that riders were excited to face. A qualified 8-second ride on the 1,500-pound bull often meant a winning score. Rango last bucked on Sept. 6 at the Jack Daniel’s Invitational in Nashville, Tennessee, facing two-time PBR World Champion Silvano Alves in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round. The two teamed up for a score of 92.25 points which was enough to not only win the round, but also propel Alves to a second-place finish at the event. It is the second-highest score recorded this year, and was the most-watched video highlight on the PBR’s digital channels last week.
Appearing on the BFTS scene in 2011, Rango bucked off 63 of the 75 riders he faced in his four-year PBR career for a buckoff rate of 84 percent. He challenged many World Champions, including J.B. Mauney (2013), Alves (2012, 2011), Guilherme Marchi (2008) and Mike Lee (2004). His average ride score was 90 points – with the highest being the 92.25 points Alves received just one week ago; it was matched by Marco Eguchi in Albuquerque, New Mexico, earlier this year.
The upcoming film adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks best-seller, “The Longest Ride,” which is centered on a fictitious PBR bull rider, also featured Rango. Fans will be able to see Rango in action in the film, which hits theaters on April 10, 2015.
The PBR will conduct a special tribute to Rango during the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas on Oct. 22-26 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
“He will definitely be missed; he was just like one of the family,” said Robinson.