In the Bull Pen: Colorado Springs

The riders had a tough time in Des Moines, Iowa, last week. It wasn’t the weakest showing ever by riders at a Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) event, but it was close. Just 16.48 percent of the rides resulted in a score, where the average is around 39 percent for BFTS events. A lot of the reason is because of individual matchups. The bulls are strong at this level, and even the nicest ones are good enough to throw any rider off, but if a guy matches up well with a particular bull, he has the edge. We didn’t see a lot of that in Des Moines, but with a mostly different group of bulls here, we probably won’t see the bulls dominate two weeks in a row.

Round 1 in Colorado Springs is an ABBI classic round, featuring the top 3- and 4-year-old bulls going. Two bulls have dominated the ABBI’s Classic division this year — HD Page’s Bruiser and Brutus, but we will see just Bruiser here, and PBR livestock director Cody Lambert has a lot of confidence in his ability to win.

“Bruiser is a big and strong and has a lot of experience,” Lambert said. “Most of the classic aged bulls just haven’t been around as much, and a lot of them don’t have the muscle Bruiser does. J.B. Mauney was 93.25 on him at the Finals. Brutus has been his biggest competition this year, but he had a little health issue at Stephenville, and they didn’t buck him. They vet released him out of the competition there, and when you do that, the bull has to stay out of competition for 30 days, so he was ineligible for this. There are 25 bulls entered in the Classic, and a lot of them are good bulls, but really it looks like 24 pretty good bulls and Bruiser. I expect Bruiser will have to slip and fall not to win it.”

The 15/15 round in Colorado Springs will look a lot like the last few 15/15 rounds. Every bull is well-proven and we’ve seen them all a lot this year. Percolator, Walk Off, Beaver Creek Beau, Stone Sober, Long John, and Boot Jack are all set to go. We won’t see Yo Yo or Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey – the two bulls that didn’t buck but still produced round wins in the short round and 15/15 round last week.

“It’s disappointing to me that it worked out that way,” Lambert said. “We work hard to ensure a level playing field for everyone, with the idea that the best rider will win, not the rider who was lucky enough to draw a significantly weaker bull that day. It’s disappointing that the other riders let that happen. Yo Yo was a short round bull at the finals, he’s always been good, and he just gave up. Tennessee Honey has a history of having a bad trip now and then, but he’s had his last off day at a Built Ford Tough Series event.”

Four of the top five round points producing bulls from this season will be in Colorado Springs. Kiss Animalize, Little Red Jacket, King Buck, and Percolator are the four bulls, and they have drawn pretty tough. King Buck will face JB Mauney in Round 2, and Joao Ricardo Viera has Kiss Animalize in the same round.

“In all those matchups, the bulls go away from the rider’s hand,” Lambert said. “But, those are all good bulls to ride, and it shouldn’t be a problem. I think if Vieira has trouble with Kiss Animalize going away from his hand he’ll have problems holding on to the lead in the world standings.”

Follow Slade Long on Twitter @Probullstats

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