In The Bull Pen: Anaheim

By: Slade Long
February 02, 2017

Spotted Demon upstaged Pearl Harbor and SweetPro’s Bruiser last weekend in Sacramento. Photo: Andy Watson /

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Frontier Communications Showdown in Anaheim, California, this weekend will feature nearly the same bulls we saw last week in Sacramento, but fewer of them. Anaheim is a two-day event, meaning PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert has just 78 bulls lined up to cover two long rounds and a short go. Chad Berger and partners have 26 of those bulls, while H.D. and Dillon Page and their partners have 22.

The riders did well last week, and they were the most impressive in Round 2, which was almost exclusively Page and Berger bulls. These are bulls the riders see regularly, and on many days they don’t do that well on these same bulls.

What happened last week was that in Round 2 an unusually large number of riders drew bulls they could get along with. You could take the same group of riders and bulls and mix them up and the bulls could dominate next time. The outcome of football games is greatly influenced by individual matchups, and the same principle applies here. You really have to look at what rider is on what bull, and a guy that seems to be riding well can easily get blanked at an event by drawing the wrong bulls.

This seems like luck of the draw, but in the bull riding world, luck of the draw has always meant drawing a bull good enough to win on, and most of the bulls at this level are good enough to win on. Some are more difficult than others, and more the point, some are more difficult for specific riders than others. This works the other way too. Certain bulls are a safe bet to buck their rider off unless they draw one of a handful of riders who have an advantage against them.

The bull pen in Anaheim, like last week, will be headlined by Berger’s Pearl Harbor and 2016 World Champion SweetPro’s Bruiser. Both bulls were solid in Sacramento, but both got shown up by Julio Moreno’s Spotted Demon, who outscored the two more famous bulls by a quarter of a point. Spotted Demon will be in Anaheim to try it again as well. He hasn’t been a World Champion Bull contender in the past, but a few more performances like last week and he may be in the discussion. He’s as reliable as Bruiser, has nearly the same trip every time, and he’s much less likely to be ridden because none of the riders seem to have an answer for him.

In Saturday’s short round we’ll also see Berger’s BC Circular Insanity, the bull Jess Lockwood won the short round and the event on in Sacramento. Asteroid, Stone Sober, Cracker Breaker, Burn it Down and most of the other top bulls from Sacramento will be there as well.

The opening round in Anaheim will feature many of the better long round bulls we saw in Sacramento, including Organized Crime, More Big Bucks and Hurricane Hustler. We’ll have to see how it draws up before we’ll know whether the riders can have another good event.

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