In the Bull Pen: BlueDEF Finals

By: Slade Long
October 28, 2016

Jeff Robinson's I'm A Gangster Too will highlight the later rounds of the BlueDEF Finals. Photo: Andy Watson /

Jeff Robinson’s I’m A Gangster Too will highlight the later rounds of the BlueDEF Finals. Photo: Andy Watson /

LAS VEGAS – The much anticipated BluDEF Tour Finals is a high-stakes event for the riders. There are some very good riders entered here, and a number of them have a chance to ride their way into the Built Ford Tough World Finals.

To do so they will have to conquer the unknown, because the first two rounds of bulls here are as green as can be. A good many of them haven’t been anywhere, and there’s a reason for that. The first two rounds of bulls here are a mix of ABBI Lifetime Derby bulls, and ABBI Classic Wild Card bulls, and there is a lot at stake for them as well.

The BluDEF Finals consists of three separate ABBI contests among bulls that are held here in Las Vegas each year. It just so happens that they will serve as the bull pen for the BluDEF Finals contestants this year.

Derby bulls are 3-year-olds, and few of them have enough history for anyone to really know about them. The ABBI’s Wild Card Classic is a last chance for 3 and 4-year-old bulls to earn their way into the ABBI’s Classic Finals which starts next Wednesday in the opening round of the PBR World Finals. Bulls that enter the Wild Card are often bulls that haven’t been to many other events through the year. The third ABBI contest is a Maturity on Monday, and we will see a number of bulls that are older and well known there.

Over the years, quite a few well known Built Ford Tough Series bulls got their start at the ABBI Derby or Wild Card. Three time World Champion Bushwacker was ridden as a 3-year-old at this event, and Markus Mariluch earned an event win on him. You can catch a glimpse of an up and coming star here, but it’s hard to say which bull will step up and show off.

Most of the bulls we know well will be out on Monday. Rocking I’s Slinger Jr. and Crazy Horse, Flowers & Wilson’s JJ’s Pride and other BFTS veteran bulls will compete in the maturity. Rocking I’s Like a Boss and Jeff Robinson’s I’m a Gangster Too will headline the short round on Monday.

This is a chance to see very seasoned riders go against unproven bulls they can’t know anything about. This isn’t an uncommon situation in the sport of bull riding, and although these bulls may be up and coming stars, the riders usually have the upper hand in this situation.

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