PUEBLO, Colo. – The PBR announced Tuesday the official list of 2014 World Champion Bull contenders. Director of Livestock Cody Lambert took some time to catch up with PBR.com about each of this year’s World Champion Bull contenders with the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals less than three weeks away.
Bushwacker (2011/2013 World Champion)
2014 BFTS outs (ridden): 12 (0)
2014 BFTS average bull score: 45.56 points.
Highest-marked out of 2014: 46.75 points (twice). Bushwacker bucked off Joao Ricardo Vieira at the Dr Pepper Iron Cowboy V in Arlington, Texas, in 2.20 seconds and J.B. Mauney in 1.13 seconds in Oklahoma City.
Notable: Cody Nance lasted the longest aboard the two-time World Champion this year on the BFTS. Nance made it to the 4.88-second mark in Nashville, Tennessee, during his second meeting against Bushwacker this season.
Lambert’s Take: “It’s nearly all been said about him. He is the best one we have ever seen. He is always up against the toughest guys and he always gets the job done. He was ridden once last year and no one has come close to riding him this year, but I don’t think he is going to win it. He has bucked so many guys off so fast that it has taken a little of the fire out of him. He still bucks as hard as he has to, but he only does what he has to do. He will still go to the Finals and buck two guys off, but some other bulls will outscore him. Bushwacker has been so great for so long, I hate to call it a cheap shot, but I have to call it what it is, and it is a cheap shot.”
Asteroid (2012 World Champion)
2014 BFTS outs (ridden): 8 (0)
2014 BFTS average bull score: 45.21 points.
Highest-marked out of 2014: 47 points. Asteroid bucked off Chase Outlaw in 3.19 seconds this past weekend in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Notable: Asteroid has competing sparingly in 2014 and his eight BFTS outs are the fewest of his BFTS career. He competed 15 times last year, 18 times in 2012 and nine times in 2011.
Lambert’s Take: “He was as good as I ever seen him (in Biloxi). Asteroid hasn’t had a lot of outs this year and at Thackerville he looked like the bull to beat. Then he came to Nashville and he looked just OK. He still bucked (Fabiano Vieira) off, but he didn’t look as impressive. I still think he has a good chance of winning it, but he is going to have to have two trips like he had that one in Thackerville. He always had a (hair trigger). If he can’t get away from the chute clean, it will affect him and take him out of it.”
Mick E Mouse
2014 BFTS outs (ridden): 8 (0)
2014 BFTS average bull score: 45.69 points.
Highest-marked out of 2014: 46.75 points. Mick E Mouse bucked off Jordan Hupp in 3.25 seconds at the BFTS event in Sacramento, California.
Notable: Mick E Mouse has bucked off seven of his eight challengers this season in under 4 seconds.
Lambert’s Take: “Mick E Mouse could win it all. J.W. Harris rode him for over 7 seconds in Thackerville and we see he has a lot of gas to last 8 seconds. He is really strong out of the chute and when he gets to spinning, he gets some timing about him. He does have strength and he is competitive. He is trying to throw his guy off so he is one of them that has a real chance. All of these bulls have a real chance to win it, but I think Asteroid and Mick E Mouse probably have the best chance out of everybody.”
Jared Allen’s Air Time
2014 BFTS outs (ridden): 5 (1)
2014 BFTS average bull score: 45.45 points.
Highest-marked out of 2014: 47.50 points. Air Time bucked off Kasey Hayes in 3 seconds in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Notable: Air Time leads the BFTS with two outs that were scored 47 or more points.
Lambert’s Take: “Air Time is claustrophobic in the chute. Air time is a chute fighter and he hates the chute. Everything has to be just perfect for him to have a chance because he can start bucking in there and it can take a long time to get out on him. He has the physical ability to win it, and Renato (Nunes) rode him in Phoenix and he was still that good. He has the capability and he has 8 seconds in him. Yeah, I think he is a serious contender, but he has a chute issue.”
Shepherd Hills Tested
2014 BFTS outs (ridden): 11 (1)
2014 BFTS average bull score: 43.79 points.
Highest-marked out of 2014: 45.75 points. Shepherd Hills Tested bucked off Renato Nunes at Last Cowboy Standing in 5.92 seconds.
Notable: Kasey Hayes became only the second rider to make the 8-second mark on Shepherd Hills Tested in the bull’s 40 career outs when he rode him for 91.5 points during the Rumble in the Rockies in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Lambert’s Take: “I don’t think he has a chance to win it because he doesn’t score as high as the other bulls. He is as hard to ride as Bushwacker and is as hard to ride as any of them. He is not as impressive to the judges for some reason. He is built uphill. He has lots of forward jumps. He is built uphill and is built with his front end higher than his backend, kind of like a buffalo, and he uses his physique and his bucking style at the same time. Riders would naturally lean back on him because of the way he is built even though they are trying not to. He has forward motion while he is turning back and he is incredibly strong. He deserves to be there, but he probably can’t score high enough to win it. He is as hard to ride as any bull we have had ever.”
I’m a Gangster Too
2014 BFTS outs (ridden): 16 (2)
2014 BFTS average bull score: 44.69
Highest-marked out of 2014: 45.75 points (twice). I’m a Gangster Too bucked off Stetson Lawrence (1.94 seconds) in Thackerville, Oklahoma, and Marco Eguchi (2.24 seconds) in Fresno, California.
Notable: I’m a Gangster Too leads all World Champion Bull contenders with 16 outs this season, which is also a career-high for Jeff Robinson’s bull.
Lambert’s Take: “He’s been really good. He’s a little better to ride because he jumps into the air really high and likes to spin to the right. He is not as strong as Shepherd Hills Tested or Bushwacker. He doesn’t have the drop those two do, but he is flashy when he bucks and he nearly makes a whole round in the air. If he gets away from the chute cleanly, which he usually does, he has a chance to score a lot of points and the riders usually ride him far enough that the judges can see what he’s got rather than bucking them off in one or two seconds.”
2014 BFTS outs (ridden): 4 (0)
2014 BFTS average bull score: 45 points.
Highest-marked out of 2014: 45.75 points. Roy bucked off Cody Nance in 6.93 seconds in Laughlin, Nevada, in his 2014 BFTS second-half debut.
Notable: Roy, who has struggled to stay healthy in the past, appears to finally be healthy and has been marked 45 points or higher in every out this year.
Lambert’s Take: “He has been an impressive bull, but he is accident prone. If a bull is going to get hurt, it is going to be Roy. He has had issues about whether he is healthy enough to go and now he finally is. His last two events have been impressive enough that the riders thought he was one of the top bulls. It looks like the riders should love him. He was a real challenge, but he has a real distinct pattern. He is going to spin to the left and he is going to keep spinning to the left. The riders should like knowing what one of them is going to do even though he is really impressive.”
Fire & Smoke
2014 BFTS outs (ridden): 14 (2)
2014 BFTS average bull score: 44.63 points.
Highest-marked out of 2014: 46.5 points. Fire & Smoke bucked off Cody Nance in 3.25 seconds in Des Moines, Iowa.
Notable: Fabiano Vieira is the only rider to cover Fire & Smoke at the BFTS level. First, he rode the bull at the Dr Pepper Iron Cowboy for 87.25 points in Arlington, Texas, and at the Desert Showdown for 88.25 points in Laughlin, Nevada.
Lambert’s Take: “I think Fire & Smoke is strong and hard to ride. He is not quite Shepherd Hills Tested, but he is along that line. He is going to be really tough to ride, but I don’t think he has a chance to win it.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.
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