By: Slade Long August 08, 2014@ 11:15:00 AM
When the Built Ford Tough season resumes in Tulsa next week, the riders will be chasing a world title, and the race for the bulls will heat up as well. The last eight events of the season are a big deal for the bulls. The World Championship contenders will be in the spotlight, but every bull at every event from here on out will be gunning for a spot on Cody Lambert’s World Finals list. That list will take shape in Tulsa, and it will change a lot by mid-October. Winning a spot on the PBR World Finals roster is a huge deal for any bull, and there are a lot of legitimate contenders. Although it tends to play out behind the scenes, it’s one of the most heated races in the PBR every year, and it’s about to begin.
As the BFTS season heads into the home stretch, here are eight bulls to watch.
No bull gets more press than Bushwacker, and for good reason. He’s the best bucking bull that has ever played this game. He’s made a few appearances over the summer, and as usual he’s made the best riders in the world look like they really don’t have an answer for him. He bested JW Harris and Mike Lee before turning J.B. Mauney away for the 12th time in his career. Bottom line, Bushwacker is the real deal. He’s winding up his career here, and when he’s gone, the best bulls in the future will forever be compared to him. Don’t miss an out of his farewell tour — you’re watching history.
Asteroid has been quiet this season. He only has four outs to his credit this year, but the word is that we’ll see a lot more of him between now and the World Finals. Because he hasn’t been around as much, he’s taken a back seat to Bushwacker in the World Championship race, but don’t count him out. Asteroid is still capable of outscoring any bull at any event, and he has a legitimate shot at the title.
Mick E. Mouse
Injured at Arlington during the Iron Cowboy, Mick E. Mouse was on the sidelines until late July, when he made his return at a Touring Pro even in Monroe, Louisiana. He looked as good as ever. He’s primed and ready for the home stretch, and like Asteroid, he’s capable of pulling an upset at any event. This is a bull that is unridden in 26 career outs, and he hasn’t really ever looked vulnerable.
Shepherd Hills Tested
Tested had one of the best trips of any bull this season when he faced JW Harris in Decatur, Texas, in May. He was as close to unrideable as it gets there. He’s been ridden once this year – Kasey Hayes was 91.5 points on him in Colorado Springs. With 76 career outs and just three qualified rides, he’s a major player in the bull world, and he’ll be a major player in the World Championship race.
When you start thinking about what’s going to happen when Bushwacker retires, you have to think that this bull could fight his way to the top. This is the up-and-coming bull to watch for the rest of this season. He was the high-marked bull at the Last Cowboy Standing, beating Bushwacker by a full point.
Fire & Smoke
If you like to see bulls spin, you’ll want to keep an eye out for this one. Fire & Smoke is a pretty straight spinner — the kind of bull that riders like. But, he’s so good at it that few guys are going to get the whistle on him. He’s got lots of action, and speed to go with it. Kasey Hayes rode him over the summer for 94 points.
Bushwacker isn’t the only bull retiring at the end of this season. Smackdown is on his farewell tour as well. By any standard, Smackdown has had an amazing career. He’s logged more than 100 outs in six years, and he’s never had an off day. If there were a hall of fame for bucking bulls, Smackdown would be a first-vote hall of famer.
Every year a bull rises up and wins the ABBI Classic championship for 3 and 4-year-old bulls. Margy Time looks to be the favorite to take that title this year. We’ve only seen him a couple of times at the Built Ford Tough Series level, but he’s been worth watching. He’s got all the tools a bull needs, and like Air Time, he’ll be one to keep an eye on in coming years.
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