A look at life after football for now-retired OSU Spirit Horse “Bullet III”

TULSA, Ok. - On Saturday, the senior football players weren’t the only ones taking the field for the last time.

At halftime, the famous horse “Bullet” retired after 14 seasons of running onto the field after touchdowns.
He was the third “Bullet” since the Spirit Rider program started in 1984.

Now he’s hanging up his horseshoes and turning over the reins as he enjoys his retirement in Tulsa.

“I mean, there's a lot of them with a game but as far as dear to my heart, probably most of my favorite memories are going to be here and at the ranch with the kids being able to ride him,” said Ty Cunningham.

Ty and his wife Jennifer have been caring for Bullet for 14 seasons. The two former Spirit Riders took over the program in 2005 and were immediately met with unexpected tragedy when the then-Bullet died right before kickoff.

“So we had three weeks to find a black horse,” Jennifer recalled.

Any horse person will tell you it's hard to find the perfect match - especially in a specific color.
Finally - one peaked their interest - a 7-year-old show horse from Illinois named Leaguer's Country Zip.

“Went and tried him - didn't tell them what we were trying him for - and decided that he would be the one,” said Jennifer.

The Cunninghams say Bullet belonged to a little girl at the time - and they knew if he was gentle enough for a child to travel to horse shows with - he`d likely be a good fit.
Bullet went home with them and had one week to transition from show horse - to spirit horse.

“He had never had a flag carried on him so that was the first thing we did. So every day for the first week he had a flag on him,” said Jennifer.

Ty and Jennifer traded off riding him for his first three years - during all the stadium construction from 2005 to 2008. From then, Bullet was handed off to different spirit riders over the years.

“He knew his job, he knew what to do and so it got to where you could just put somebody on him and he was on autopilot,” said Ty.

Bullet has seen many different teams as well.
Ty says over the years, the Cowboys started scoring more and more touchdowns - keeping the gelding pretty busy.

“They run probably more in one game now than we would run in a whole season in 1998 and 2000,” Ty said.

After 14 years of fun, the Cunnininghams made the difficult decision to retire Bullet - an announcement made at halftime of the Cowboy`s 2018 home finale.

“To watch the fans show him as much love as they did - that was a pretty incredible moment,” said Jennifer.

Now - Bullet will get to relax with his family - and a special someone.

“He has a girlfriend here at the ranch - we`ve always called her his girlfriend - just a mare that he won`t leave her alone and they liked to be turned out together,” Jennifer said. “Currently the plan is just to let him be in the pasture and let him be a horse.”

The Cunninghams say they have a few horses in the barn vying for Bullet’s job but he’s got a spot in their heart that could never be replaced.