In the Bull Pen: Des Moines

By: Slade Long
April 22, 2016

Air Time has an average bull score of 45.63 in four outs this season. Photo: Andy Watson/

Air Time has an average bull score of 45.63 in four outs this season. Photo: Andy Watson/

DES MOINES, Iowa – The Des Moines Invitational this weekend won’t feature many surprises in the bull pens. Most of the bulls here are veterans that we’ve seen plenty of times this season, and With Des Moines being a two-day event with no 15/15 Bucking Battle the short round pen will be stronger than we saw in Billings last week. Several of the best bulls in the PBR will be there, with Jared Allen’s Air Time and Pearl Harbor headlining.

Air Time has just four outs on the season, but with an average bull score of 45.63 he’s leading SweetPro’s Long John, SweetPro’s Bruiser and every other bull, but not by much. He has the highest bull score of the season so far with 47 points after bucking off Joao Ricardo Vieira in Phoenix.

Pearl Harbor is just behind the top three bulls in average bull score, and he owns two of the Top 10 bull scores of the season. He also carried J.B. Mauney to the highest score of the season, a masterful 94.25 points in Sioux Falls.

PBR livestock director Cody Lambert had doubts about Chad Berger’s Asteroid a week ago, but they have been assuaged for the time being, and the former World Champion Bull will be in the Des Moines short round as well.

“I feel more confident in him after Billings,” said Lambert. “But, I’m not 100% sure he hasn’t lost a little bit. So, even though I still think he’ll be a contender for the championship, I don’t know if he’ll be as explosive as he once was.”

Chad Berger, Jared Allen’s Pro Bull Team, JARS / Gene Owen, K Bar C, and Rocking I Rodeo have the bulk of the bulls in Des Moines. That means the short round will feature the likes of Who Dey, Slinger. Jr, Wicked, Lane’s Magic Train, Cochise, Seven Dust and others in addition to Air Time, Pearl Harbor and Asteroid.

With just two long rounds in Des Moines, it happens that we will see more than a few short round caliber bulls in the long rounds.

“Both long rounds have a lot of bulls that have been in short rounds this year,” Lambert said. “Rocking I’s Crazy Horse was in the short round last week, and he’s in Round 2 here. Loose Change has been in the short go this year, Tequila Sunrise, Wipeout, Cooper Tires Semper Fi, Sheep Creek, Midnight Train, Texicali, Time Bomb, Bad Touch.”

“None of them have lost their short go status. We just have way more than 15 bulls that can go in the short round, so some of them have to go elsewhere. It’s a strong set of bulls all around, and I don’t expect them to ride a big number of bulls in the long rounds, especially in Round 2.”

Rocking I Rodeo will have a group of bulls in Des Moines, and they have been among the hardest working Stock Contractors this season. Tad Beck, aside from being the sharpest dressed contractor on the back of the chutes, is part of a family with a long history in bucking bulls and rodeo. His father is a stock contractor, and his wife’s family owns Wing Rodeo Co., one of the oldest and most respected rodeo companies anywhere.

“They go several generations back on both sides of the family,” said Lambert. “They’ve been bucking bulls for a long time, and Tad has a good idea of what a bucker looks like.”

Look for the bulls in Des Moines to make it tough on the riders. We won’t see as many different bulls as we saw in Billings, but they will be the cream of the crop.

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