In the Bull Pen: Last Cowboy Standing

By: Slade Long May 08, 2014@ 08:00:00 PM

Long John bucked off J.W. Harris last week in 6.16 seconds. Photo by Andy Watson /

LAS VEGAS ― The Last Cowboy Standing is a unique event and opportunity for riders, as well as bulls. Because of the event format, 50 riders will compete in Round 1 rather than 35 riders at a typical Built Ford Tough Series stop. For the riders, and especially the riders we don’t normally see on tour, this event is a huge opportunity. Just stay on your bulls and you win.

The bulls we’ll see in Las Vegas are the cream of the crop. PBR Livestock Director Cody Lambert has a little over 100 bulls on hand, and because this is a high-profile event and the last event before the summer break, he had a lot of great bulls available to pick from.

“Getting a bull into the Last Cowboy Standing this year is kind of like getting a bull to the World Finals,” Lambert said. “A good many stock contractors wanted to come here and that raises the bar on bull quality to the point where every bull that’s coming here is probably going to get serious consideration for the World Finals.”

Round 1 will take place on Friday. Fifty riders already have their draw for that round. Those who stay on will move on to Round 2. The guys who are successful in the second round are headed into rough territory because Bushwacker and friends await them in Round 3.

“There are some great bulls here – short-round caliber bulls – that may not get a trip,” said Lambert. “I’m counting on 25 guys coming into Round 2 on Saturday, and for the guys who make it out of that round I’ve got 26 bulls sitting there waiting for them. I’ve got them all numbered, starting with Bushwacker, Long John, Fire & Smoke, Shepherd Hills Tested and on down the list. If 10 guys make it to Round 3, they’ll draw at the first 10 bulls on the list. If it’s 15 guys, they’ll draw at the first 15. But, however many guys are there for Round 3, they will draw the rankest bulls at the event. That round should cut it to one or two guys at the most. They could all get bucked off, in which case they’d go another round, but ever since we’ve been using this format one guy has stepped up and taken it. I expect to start on Saturday with 25 guys in Round 2 and I expect six or seven of them to make it through to Round 3. I figure Round 3 will be the last round – that one guy will make the whistle there.”

Lambert has D&H Cattle’s Long John at number two behind Bushwacker on the third-round list after Long John’s event-winning trip in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“I think the judges definitely got that right in Colorado Springs,” Lambert said. “Long John was the rankest bull there. The only thing that ever costs him is that he doesn’t really spin. He made about half a round one way and started back the other, but he has everything else a bull can have. What was even more impressive was the effort J.W. Harris showed on him. That was really the kind of thing that inspires people. Every bull rider there should have been able to appreciate what he was trying to do, and the quality of bull he was on, and the way he went about it. It was an old-school cowboy effort.”

Two of the bulls we’ll see in Round 3 – Bushwacker and Shepherd Hill’s Tested – are currently ranked among the Top 10 bulls in Built Ford Tough Series history by buckoff percentage, even after Tested was ridden by Kasey Hayes last week.

“Tested really bucked,” said Lambert. “He didn’t have an off day – Kasey Hayes rode him. It’s good for those bulls to get ridden occasionally – it challenges them, and keeps them on their game. A bull that gets a lot of easy buckoffs can get a little lazy sometimes. Tested is one of the hardest bulls to ride that we’ve ever had in the PBR and he’s probably going to have a pretty rank trip this week.”

The Top 10 bulls on the list for Round 3 are as follows:

1: 13/6 Bushwacker
2: 58X Long John
3: 904 Fire & Smoke
4: 20U Shepherd Hills Tested
5: 850 I’m a Gangster Too
6: 9311 Honey Hush
7: 841 Wicked
8: 718 Rango
9: 43X Magic Train
10: 903 Rock River Red

Follow Slade Long on Twitter @ProBullStats

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