TULSA, Okla. – J.B. Mauney is on a march up the world standings and fantasy players are likely continuing to ride Mauney up their own respective rankings.
The No. 2 bull rider in the world is 10-for-13 (76.92 percent) since returning in Des Moines, Iowa, from a torn left ACL.
Mauney was clearly the best rider last weekend in Biloxi, Mississippi, and will be another strong option in Tier A this weekend. The 28-year-old is second on the Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) with a 53.66 percent riding average.
The 2013 World Champion has fond memories at the BOK Center. In 2013, Mauney rode Bushwacker for 95.25 points and was well on his way to his first gold buckle.
Tulsa was also home to Mauney’s second three-ride performance of his career when he went 3-for-4 in 2006.
Mauney has drawn Buck Autism (0-0, BFTS) and Gentleman Jim (4-4, BFTS).
Gentleman Jim has been ridden in three consecutive BFTS outs for 87.5 points and was recently ridden by Renato Nunes for 91 points at the Amarillo, Texas, Touring Pro Division event.
Nathan Schaper, who won Round 1 last weekend in Biloxi, takes on Jump Street (0-0, BFTS) and Slow Boogie (0-0).
World leader Joao Ricardo Vieira has also drawn two new bulls to the BFTS in Speckled Buck and Ranger.
Matt Triplett, who begins the weekend third in the world standings, has two tough draws in Tulsa. He faces Gangster Bucks (4-0, BFTS) and Legal Tender (8-2, BFTS).
Gangster Bucks has bucked off all 12 of his opponents at various levels, while Legal Tender has bucked off seven consecutive riders on the BFTS, including World Champions Silvano Alves and Mike Lee.
Leading Rookie of the Year contender, and No. 4 bull rider Kaique Pacheco, is slated to face Cowbanger (1-0, BFTS) and Redneck (3-5, BFTS). Redneck is ridden for an average of 87.05 points.
Pacheco has at least one qualified in four of the past five BFTS events.
Tier B: Will Alves rebound?
Three-time World Champion Silvano Alves went a surprising 0-for-2 in Biloxi and failed to convert on two bulls he historically would have ridden. While it is likely to early to sound the alarms for a cause of concern, but fantasy players should keep an eye on Alves, who is looking for his first qualified ride since hip surgery in April.
Alves takes on Johnny’s Boy (0-0, BFTS) and Corpus Red (2-0, BFTS).
He has not gone consecutive events without a qualified since February and March 2013 when he was mired in an 0-for-7 slump.
J.W. Harris has drawn Uncle Tink (1-2, BFTS) and Dakota Style’s Hy Test (10-12, BFTS). Harris has the potential to score in the mid-to-high 80s on both bulls and may be one of the best options in Tier B this weekend.
Fabiano Vieira faces FooFighter (0-0, BFTS) and Raven Flyer (6-3, BFTS) following his 3-for-3 showing last week in Biloxi. Raven Flyer had bucked off 26 consecutive riders at all levels before being ridden five out of 11 times this season.
TIER C: Can Dirteater wow hometown crowd?
Ryan Dirteater has a chance to bring the BOK Center to life on Friday night when he takes on Bruiser in front of his hometown crowd. The Hulbert, Oklahoma, bull rider will be the first rider to attempt the bull since he was ridden for 94 points by Pacheco in Guymon, Oklahoma.
Dirteater is a left-handed bull rider, which should benefit him against Bruiser. Pacheco was the only righty to ride him, while lefties such as Joao Ricardo Vieira, Lee and Mauney have ridden him.
Dirteater faces Bad Moon Rising (0-0, BFTS) in Round 2.
Kasey Hayes has a good rematch against Gotta Go Joe. Hayes rode Cord McCoy’s bull for 87.5 points in Guymon,Oklahoma. However, Gotta Go Joe did have a rather unusual trip and unexpectedly went right instead of his usual left.
Hayes takes on Tracker in Round 2. Tracker (3-4, BFTS) has been ridden in three of his last four BFTS outs.
Aaron Roy has drawn Up North Express (2-2, BFTS) and has quietly gone 7-for-14 on the BFTS since mid-April. Roy faces Barracuda (6-0, BFTS) in Round 2.
Bull Power: Air Time returns
Jared Allen’s Air Time (12-1, 45 points per BFTS out) is back in action for the first time since May when he was marked 44.75 points for bucking off Tanner Byrne in 2.8 seconds. He is averaging 45.15 points in five outs this year.
Smooth Operator (17-1, 44.01 points per BFTS out) is bucking on the BFTS for the first time since being ridden by Guilherme Marchi for 83.5 points in Billings, Montana. Chad Berger packed more weight on Smooth Operator this summer, and the World Champion contender was marked 46 points in Bismarck, North Dakota, and 47 points in Big Sky, Montana.
Overall, Smooth Operator bucked off all five of his summer opponents (three PBR events, two rodeos) and averaged 44.2 points per out.
Other bulls to keep an eye on include Little Red Jacket (44.28 points per BFTS out in 2015) and Bruiser (44.94 points per BFTS out in 2015).
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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