By: Justin Felisko
March 05, 2016
PHOENIX – It has taken reigning Stock Contractor of the Year Chad Berger only two outs with Asteroid to roll the dice again.
Berger has decided to switch deliveries for the 2012 World Champion Bull from the left delivery to the right for Sunday’s Built Ford Tough Championship Round at the Ak-Chin Invitational.
It will be the first time Asteroid has bucked from the right side.
“Well, it just seemed like it was the right time to try it,” Berger said Saturday morning. “I don’t know. I said when I bought him I was going to do it. I didn’t want to do it in Albuquerque for the first time at that tiny arena because he won’t know what is happening there, so I figured I will try it here.
“I am a gambler, so let’s roll the dice.”
Some have questioned if Berger is making the switch as a knee-jerk reaction to Asteroid’s poor out at the Choctaw Resort Iron Cowboy, powered by Kawasaki, last weekend. Asteroid was only marked 40.25 points for a 3.68-second-buckoff of Shane Proctor. During the out, Asteroid stayed to close to the bucking chute and hopped, skipped down the line with Proctor hanging off to the left.
However, Berger has had plans ever since he purchased Asteroid to eventually buck him out of the right-hand delivery.
“For Asteroid, it may not fit starting out in the right,” said PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert. “I always felt like it would do him good and Chad has always felt like that. Chad and I talked about this several times before he bought him.”
Lambert added the switch for Asteroid is not nearly as drastic as a bull rider switching riding hands or a baseball player batting from the other side of the plate.
According to Lambert, a better comparison is a defensive end switching from a three-point stance to a two-point stance or a basketball player using his right-hand for a lay-up instead of his left. Other comparisons include a boxer changing to a south paw for a round, a running back changing his starting point or a sprinter deciding to switch which foot he puts on the starting block.
“Switching deliveries on a bull is not a big a deal as bull riders changing hands or a batter going from right-handed to left-handed,” Lambert said.
Asteroid is 2-0 since coming out of retirement. He was marked 45.75 points in his season-debut in St. Louis – a forceful 2.9-second buckoff of Joao Ricardo Vieira.
The switch of deliveries also may help alleviate concerns of Asteroid potentially hipping himself leaving the bucking chutes. He has been disqualified four times in his career, including a costly one at the 2011 Built Ford Tough World Finals that prevented him from winning that year’s World Champion Bull title.
“It’s not a big deal for a bull to go from one side to the other,” Lambert said in this week’s In The Bull Pen. “The usual reasons for trying it are if the bull fouls himself a lot on one side. Asteroid does that fairly often out of a left hand delivery, and there are times when he likes to go to the right half the time too, so the other side may work out better for him.”
Berger added, “Well, throughout his career a lot of times he went to the right and he didn’t always go left. Sometimes a lot of great bulls, like Mossy Oak Mudslinger, they switched them a lot and they do good. Some of them bulls get bored on one side. We want to see how he does.”
The switch is coming during a weekend with a strong contingent of World Champion Bull contenders competing on Sunday.
Jared Allen’s Air Time, the high-marked bull in Iron Cowboy, Roy and Crossfire are all slated to buck during the championship round.
This weekend will be only Air Time’s third time bucking in consecutive BFTS regular-season events during his four-year career.
Air Time was marked 45.5 points for bucking off Guilherme Marchi in 1.93 seconds at Iron Cowboy.
“We managed him this week in a different way to make sure he was good to go,” stock contractor Matt Scharping said last weekend. “He will be good.”
Air Time is also 2-0 this season, and he too had an out below 45 points. Air Time was scored only 44.25 points for a 1.61-second buckoff of Ryan Dirteater during his season debut in Oklahoma City.
Asteroid and Air Time are arguably two of the most popular bulls in the PBR currently.
Berger admits he wasn’t prepared for such a strong amount of fanfare involving Asteroid after he brought him out of retirement. He knew it was a big deal, but the amount of attention on his bull’s every out was unexpected.
“I never did. I knew it was going to be a big deal, but nothing like this,” Berger said. “This is unbelievable, the hype that is around him.”
So then he is nervous for this weekend’s switch at Talking Stick Resort Arena?
“No. I think he will be just fine over there.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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