In the Bull Pen: Albuquerque

We’ve only seen five 90-plus point rides this season, and none in the last two events, but that could change this week. Albuquerque, New Mexico, is known for featuring the best bulls in the PBR year in and year out, and as a result there are typically multiple rides hitting the 90- point mark here each year. This year is no different. If you can think of a rank bull, he’s probably scheduled to go in Albuquerque this weekend.

The bulls in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, didn’t allow a qualified ride in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round, and this week rides will be harder to come by, but PBR livestock director Cody Lambert says the riders can rise to the challenge.

“Last week we had just a good set of bulls in the short go,” Lambert said. “I thought they would ride three or four in the short go at least, but they didn’t. They might do better this week even though the bulls are a little stronger. Sometimes when you go in thinking you’ve got the rankest pen of bulls possible, they’ll ride several of them. Just like at the Iron Cowboy, in the second round I thought they might not ride any, and they rode four. Several guys really stepped up. I don’t expect the bulls to pitch a shutout again. They were good in Sioux Falls, but they got lucky too.”

The long rounds at Albuquerque will feature quite a few bulls we normally see in short rounds, because of the overall strength of the pen.

“It’s a typical Albuquerque event,” Lambert said. “We’ve got more short round bulls than we can put in the short round, so a lot of them go in the long rounds. We’ve always have a lot of the top bulls available for Albuquerque — it usually works out logistically for the contractors, and that makes Albuquerque have one of the strongest pens every season.”

Beaver Creek Beau is coming in to Albuquerque with a perfect 21-0 record on tour, and he has put down some of the best riders in the world. No one seems to have an answer for him.

“His bucking ability doesn’t match his speed,” Lambert said. “He’s strong, he kicks, spins and bucks every time, but he’s slow. He has so much force and strength when he bucks, but the speed just isn’t there. He’s like an offensive lineman in football that plays by the rules, doesn’t have any tricks, and isn’t fast, but he’s just so strong he blows through everything in his path. Beaver Creek Beau is a rank, rank bull that is dull to watch because of his lack of speed. He’s not flashy or exciting. When they do get him ridden only the guy on him and a few experts are going to notice how great a ride it was, and I hope some of those experts are the judges. A rider can’t really get away cheating to the inside of the spin on him, because he won’t pick them up fast enough, so they’ll have to ride him in the middle every jump, and every jump will be a test on him.

Chad Berger’s Brown Sugar hasn’t given up a qualified ride this year, and he’s faced some pretty talented opposition.

“He’s got the competitive nature of Little Yellow Jacket,” Lambert said. “He’s not the rankest bull here, but he tries harder at 5 seconds than he does at 4 seconds, and he’s going harder at 8 seconds than he was at 5. He just keeps giving a little more and a little more. I think every rider could learn something from Brown Sugar. All the great riders know this, but they need something to remind them to finish strong. Every great athlete, when they get tired, they put out more effort — and that’s what Brown Sugar does. If the riders pay attention to that, they could turn some 6- and 7-second rides into 8-second rides.”

With the exception of Air Time, every bull who has been the high-marked bull of the event this season will be in the short round in Albuquerque. This includes Smooth Operator, Stone Sober, Mick E. Mouse, PercolatorBuck Dynasty and Boot Jack.

Follow Slade Long on Twitter @Probullstats

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