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Of Course Madison Bumgarner Has Been Competing In Rodeo Events Roping Bulls Under The Alias Mason Saunders

The Athletic

The photo is of two men standing in front of a backdrop featuring the logo of Rancho Rio Arena in Wickenburg, Ariz. They’ve just won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition, although the shorter man looks without emotion at the camera even as he holds an envelope full of cash. But the taller man — his thumbs in his front jeans pockets and clad in a huge belt buckle, checkered button-down shirt and Rancho Rio cap — wears a satisfied smile.

The photo was one of several posted on Rancho Rio’s Facebook Page this past December, and the accompanying congratulatory caption identifies the pair as Jaxson Tucker and Mason Saunders. Tucker is a rodeo pro out of North Carolina. Saunders is also a North Carolinian, although you probably know him by a different name. The grinning man in that photo, despite the image’s fuzziness, is instantly recognizable to many who don’t know a thing about roping.

Yes, that was him in the photo and another one showing him competing on horseback, Bumgarner confirmed after throwing a live bullpen session Sunday at Salt River Fields. It was taken Dec. 3, a little less than two weeks before he signed his five-year, $85 million contract with the Diamondbacks. “They don’t always take pictures,” he added. “That was a bigger one.” A few days later, “Mason Saunders” earned a second-place finish in another event alongside a different partner, Ranger Hill. 

Let's play a quick game of 3 truths and a lie featuring Madison Bumgarner: 1) He gave his wife a cow as a wedding gift 2) He once dated a woman named Madison Bumgarner 3) He started dipping in the 5th grade 4) He's been competing in rodeo events under the alias Mason Saunders as he ropes killer bulls. Alright I tricked you because those are all true. Mad Bum is the gift that keeps on giving. I wasn't even taken aback when I learned he won $26,560 in a team roping event two months ago after he roped four bulls in 31.36 seconds. That's only par for the course for this living legend. 

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Quick aside: Mason Saunders 100% sounds like a villain from '24' who threatens to unleash toxic nerve gas to the entire state of California.

That's right, Madison Bumgarner, maybe the greatest big game pitcher in baseball history, and the recipient of a brand new 5 year $85 million contract, has been "secretly" competing in rodeo events under the alias of Mason Saunders. This motherfucker has been roping bulls as his hobby! Now the reason I put the word 'secretly' in quotations is because most people in baseball have been aware of his bull roping aside from the media and the fans....and probably the higher ups in the Giants/Dbacks organizations. Now we're all in on the fun!

This is what happens when you keep Bumgarner out of the playoffs for years. The only thing that guy cares about is pitching in October. When you deny him that opportunity year in and year out he's going to start doing things like roping killer bulls. He's a man who lives off thrill and this is how he's substituting postseason baseball. It all makes perfect sense.  

You have to be wondering if this could void his contract, right? I mean if playing basketball voided Aaron Boone's contract with the Yankees when he tore his ACL in 2003 then I would think BULL ROPING wouldn't fly in a present day MLB contract. Well, the event Bumgarner won in December took place when he was still a free agent, but there an event he participated in March of last year. Bumgarner pitched in a spring training game for the Giants two days later. Incredible. 

I find it hard to believe money is a thing Bumgarner puts much value in. Throughout the 2019 season the lefty has earned $61 million just off of playing baseball. He probably has all of it still and doesn't even know how to access his own bank account. If his contract was voided in the final year with the Giants he likely wouldn't give a damn. Remember, Bumgarner missed a few months in 2017 after he injured his pitching shoulder in a dirt bike freak accident. If you keep roping bulls after that then you really don't care about contracts getting voided. The Athletic actually reached out to the Dbacks GM to see if there was anything in his new deal that mentions bull roping.  

Would Bumgarner be allowed to rope while under contract with the Diamondbacks? The pitcher answered that question with the suggestion to “maybe ask Ken about that,” referring to Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick. Through a team spokesperson, Kendrick deferred to general manager Mike Hazen. Reached by phone, Hazen said he was “not going to get into discussing specific contract language.”

I've got a feeling Hazen is going to have a little talk with Bum this week after his future bull endeavors. I'm all for it. I NEED to see Mason Saunders compete in team bull roping. It's all I want. Can we gamble on that? There's a line for everything, so there has to be. Imagine being in the finals thinking you have a chance at the title and you see across the ring Bumgarner with a rope in his hand. That bull was roped before you could even blink. 

P.S. - I'm fully expecting to learn in a few years that Bumgarner has doubled as a masked vigilante at night fighting crime and saving the local townspeople from deadly criminals.