By: Slade Long
May 11, 2017
LAS VEGAS – As has been the custom in recent years, PBR riders will close out the first half of the Built Ford Tough Series season in Las Vegas with the Last Cowboy Standing event. This is the third of four PBR Major regular-season events of the year, and it will feature the now familiar progressive Last Cowboy Standing format.
Round 1 on Friday will have 40 riders going against a cast of BFTS long round caliber bulls, a large number of which hail from western states. There are 15 bulls in Round 1 that are either brand new or relatively new to the BFTS. That constitutes a significant percentage of Round 1, and it’s very likely that some of these bulls will end up playing a major role in who moves on or doesn’t.
Round 2 in Las Vegas will start with 25 riders – the ones who get a score in Round 1 supplemented by the world standings leaders. The bull power in Round 2 will be a step up, with bulls like Gene Owen’s Hey Jack and Chad Berger’s Catfish John and Modified Clyde.
The real bull power will arrive in force in Round 3 in Vegas, led by Pearl Harbor, Berger’s current frontrunner for World Champion Bull. His primary challenger, SweetPro’s Bruiser, won’t be making the trip to Las Vegas, but Owen’s Seven Dust, and Cochise, along with Jared Allen’s Air Time and Magic Train will join Pearl Harbor and Berger’s Deep Water at the top of the Round 3 draw.
In the past, the Last Cowboy Standing events have turned on what happens in the round where the top bulls appear, so Round 3 will be the game changer here, and should reduce the field to a handful of riders. Eight riders made it to Round 3 here last year, and only two emerged from it.
Pearl Harbor dodged a bullet in his last outing in Tacoma, Washington. Shane Proctor rode him there in what was arguably his weakest out of the season, but he still earned respectable numbers. He should have been outscored by Deep Water in Tacoma but he wasn’t. Despite all that, Pearl Harbor should still be considered the frontrunner in the World Championship race. At this point in the season, it’s become a two bull race between him and Bruiser. Both bulls have separated themselves from the rest of the field. Expect Pearl Harbor to return to dominant form here at the last event before the summer break.
Through the first half of the season, Berger has been the dominant stock contractor. He’s bringing 22 bulls to Las Vegas, and in overall numbers, Jared Allen’s bull team is a distant second with nine bulls in this event. Berger has the deepest pen of proven bulls in the world at the moment. His bulls have accounted for around 22% of the total number of BFTS outs this year.
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