After a Super Bowl 50 appearance with the Carolina Panthers, defensive end Jared Allen retired, literally riding off into the "sunset" in a video posted online. Now the 12-year NFL veteran isn't straying too far away from his upbringing on a California ranch.
Allen is the owner of Jared Allen's Pro Bull Team and supplies his bulls to the top-level Professional Bull Riders tour and the lower-level Championship Bull Riding.
Allen was introduced to the business by Minnesota stock contractor Matt Scharping, who in 2012 showed him how the business worked. Scharping is now in charge of the day-to-day business on Allen's ranch in Arlington, Minnesota, where 20 bulls roam when they aren't on tour.
"These guys aren't animals," Allen said. "They're treated at every level like athletes, including what goes into their bodies."
When Allen first got into raising bulls for competition, he said he overpaid for some of them. The cost to buy a PBR-ready bull could cost more than $100,000. While Allen still buys bulls, he is now in the business of breeding them, which lowers the cost -- as long as the breeding works.
Like horse breeding, mixing the right cow with the right bull is part of the science, as is a lot of luck, Allen said. So too is making money on the tours. For the PBR, bulls make $1,000 each meet. They win another $1,000 if they get the highest score of any bull that weekend. The big prize is the $50,000 offered for the PBR's world champion bucking bull, narrowly missed last year by Allen's Air Time, which ended the year as the third-best bull on tour. Air Time is six years old and weighs 1,650 pounds.
Through buying and selling as well as adding sponsorships, Allen says his bull business is already profitable, including the proceeds he donates to his foundation, which builds handicapped-accessible homes for Wounded Warriors.
"This is fun for me, but it's a real business," Allen said. "And the greatest part is it's in its infancy. This is like what NASCAR was 20 years ago."
The PBR has started off this season with record attendance, including 35,000 fans for the weekend at Madison Square Garden earlier in the year and 35,000 last Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Despite his reputation for leveling nasty hits on opponents, Allen said he isn't taking a ride aboard his bulls anytime soon.
"I would love to, but my wife wouldn't let me get on there unless I had full football gear on me," he said.