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In the Bull Pen: Billings

By: Justin Felisko
April 14, 2016

Asteroid's last event came in Phoenix earlier this season. Photo: Andy Watson/BullStockMedia.com

Asteroid’s last event came in Phoenix earlier this season. Photo: Andy Watson/BullStockMedia.com

BILLINGS, Mont. – The Stanley Performance in Action Invitational will be a long event, and will feature an eclectic group of bulls. A second long round followed by a 15/15 Bucking Battle are set for Saturday night, while Sunday’s finale will include a third long round and a short go. All told, we’ll see roughly 135 rides or attempts over the weekend.

There are 123 bulls on hand in Billings for all this, and the top of the bull pen will go in the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Saturday. That will consist of a pen of bulls everyone is familiar with by now, including Crossfire,SweetPro’s Bruiser, SweetPro’s Long John and Asteroid.

Asteroid returned to action in St. Louis, and looked pretty fresh after a year on the bench in semi-retirement. In Arlington and Phoenix, he didn’t earn the kind of marks from the judges that he is accustomed to. The jury is still out on whether he will compete for World Champion Bull this season, but given that he has the highest career average marking of any active bull in the PBR, the chances are good that he will qualify. Asteroid changed owners this year, and when that happens a bull usually has to adjust to a new environment and new routines. He should be fine, though, and could very well return to form here. If he doesn’t, he becomes a bigger question mark than he is right now. He needs to put up a few of the scores we are used to seeing from him to qualify for the World Champion Bull race at the 2016 PBR World Finals.

D&H Cattle Company’s Bruiser and Long John – the last two ABBI Classic Champions – are both on track to finish the year among the top eight bulls and qualify for the World Champion race. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, the last event they both attended this season, they finished first and second.

Crossfire has been solid all season, and he’s been to more events than most bulls this year. He is leading the World Champion Bull race right now, but he’s projected to end the regular season around fifth place.

Big Cat, Stone Sober, Cochise, Brutus, Wicked, and Stanley FatMax will also see action in the 15/15 Bucking Battle, among others. FatMax is going for his 71st career buckoff at the BFTS level, and has 118 overall career buckoffs already. To put that in perspective, less than one half of one percent of bulls ever reach 100 career professional level outs, and FatMax has 118 career buckoffs.

The short round in Billings will feature bulls that are, on average, just a step below the 15/15 Bucking Battle bulls and should be similar to the short round in Little Rock, Arkansas last week. In fact, it will consist of many of the same bulls. Cooper Tires Brown Sugar, Modified Clyde, Jeremiah, and newcomer Lester Gillis will all go in Sunday’s short round.

The long rounds will showcase quite a few bulls native to the Northwest, and some Canadian bulls as well. The long round pen is led by Chocolate Thunder, a PBR veteran and native Montana bull, may be more famous locally than most bull riders from the area. 2015 Canadian Bull of the Year Skori’s Minion Stuart and Wild Hogs Bucking Bulls’ Hey Jack – the current high marked bull in Canada – will both go in the long rounds along with many others.

Harvey Bierema of South Dakota, and Craig Wentz of Washington both have a set of bulls going, joining Chad Berger, Gene Owen / Jars, and D&H Cattle in the Billings bull pen.

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