By: Slade Long
August 18, 2016
NASHVILLE – The Built Ford Tough Series has been on hiatus since mid-May, but the season resumes this week with the fourth and final PBR Major of the year, the Frontier Communications Music City Knockout, presented by Cooper Tires in Nashville. This event will feature a head-to-head tournament format where riders compete in pairs and may advance by score or buck off time. For this event, PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert typically pairs the bulls by hand so that each rider has a bull similar to the man opposite him in the bracket.
In Nashville, there are four brackets leading to the final pairing. Three of those brackets are seeded with riders, and the fourth is a Second Chance Bracket to be populated with the Top 8 losing scores or times from the first four rounds. The second chance bracket features a number of World Champion bull contenders including, Crossfire, Asteroid, Beaver Creek Beau, Cochise and Big Cat.
The final four showdown will feature Chad Berger’s Brown Sugar and After Party on one side, and K Bar C’s Who Dey opposite Blake Sharp’s X22 Hammer it Again on the other. The winner from each side will face off against each other on the two leading contenders for World Champion Bull: Berger’s Pearl Harbor and Jared Allen’s Air Time.
Pearl Harbor and Air Time are also the Bad Boy Mowers bounty bulls this weekend. A total of $75,000 are on the line for any rider that can conquer either of them.
Air Time has been the leading contender for the World Championship all year. He has the highest average bull score among bulls expected to compete, and the scores are what it will come down to in the end. He is unridden since March of 2014 when Renato Nunes earned 92.5 points on him in Phoenix, Arizona. Since then he’s thrown Nunes three times, J.B. Mauney three times and a host of others. Air Time is a flashy bull that shows you everything he’s got, and his talent and athleticism are easy to see every time he leaves the chute.
Pearl Harbor, who was purchased by Berger this summer, is a worthy contender in his own right. He has the second highest average bull score this season, and has given up just one ride this year, a huge 94.25 score to Mauney in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He is not quite as wild and athletic as Air Time, but he is just as impressive to watch. Pearl Harbor is a son of 2009 ABBI Classic Champion Black Pearl and was an ABBI competitor of note himself.
The final showdown in Nashville will be one to watch, and could very well be a sneak preview of the World Champion Bull race at T-Mobile Arena in early November.
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