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In the Bull Pen: Chicago

We’ll see a lot of the same bulls in Chicago that we saw in Baltimore last week, or as PBR livestock director Cody Lambert puts it, the ones that didn’t blow it in Baltimore. Some of the bulls from east of the Mississippi have been replaced by bulls from the Midwest, but the core group of short round bulls will look a lot like last week’s group. Chad Berger’s Brown Sugar and Fire & Smoke will go for the second week in a row along with the two highest marked bulls in Baltimore, K Bar C’s Mississippi Hippy and Berger’s Beaver Creek Beau, a couple of bulls that excel without exceptional speed.

“Most of the time speed is a factor when bulls are great buckers,” Lambert said. “In Beaver Creek Beau’s case, if he was a little faster he might be a little better to ride. You have to make such a hard move to get around the corner on him, that riders get ahead of him and have to wait, and that throws their timing off. Once you get a little out of time on him he’s strong enough to make you pay. So his lack of speed really works in his favor as far as being hard to ride. His slower speed also shows off how strong he is. JW Harris doesn’t usually get jerked around on bulls, but he did on Beau. I think JW will ride him the next time they meet, but he came out of the arena talking about how strong that bull was.

“Mississippi Hippy just bucks every time,” continued Lambert. “He always brings it. He’s not exceptionally fast, but he’s not a slowpoke either. He’s so much bigger than the other bulls, and he throws his weight around. I think he rarely scores what he deserves — the judges mark him too low in my opinion. He showed his power with Mike Lee in Baltimore. I’m not sure whether Mike was stunned from hitting the ground or because he got jerked so hard by the bull.”

Jeff Robinson’s Walk Off got the best of Nathan Schaper in Baltimore, and he’ll be in Chicago as well. He’s a powerful bull, and he’s not a rider favorite.

“He’s a very hard bull to ride,” Lambert said. “Matt Triplett made a great ride on him at the Finals, and did everything right. That’s what you have to do to get him ridden. He’ll turn back one way, he can reverse it, and he can have a little roll to the outside. If you look at how Baltimore turned out, Walk Off was one of the last bulls left in the short round draft. This is a bull they were 92 points on at the Finals, and some of those guys who were lower in the average passed him over for easier bulls and ended up not getting many points out of the event.

Reese Cates won Baltimore on Jeff Robinson’s Percolator, and although he didn’t have his best day, he still impressed.

“He didn’t have the kind of trip he had at the Finals,” Lambert said. “He tried to turn back too close to the fence, but he still had a good day. Most bulls in that situation get confused and end up going down the front of the bucking chutes doing nothing. Percolator just turned back in the other direction and had a pretty good day. He’s a better bull when he goes to the left, but I like that even though he got off on the wrong foot he still had a lot of try.”

Jared Allen’s Pro Bull Team will also be in Chicago, but without their star player. Air Time, who was in the running for World Champion Bull last year, is spending the winter in Texas because his hair wasn’t quite shaggy enough to deal with Minnesota’s winter weather. He’ll be making his debut in Oklahoma City.

Follow Slade Long on Twitter @Probullstats

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