In the Bull Pen: Oakland

Bushwacker’s brother Roy will be among a strong pen of bulls in Oakland. Photo by Andy Watson /

The Oakland event marks the second week in a row the Built Ford Tough Series will showcase bulls from the West. We haven’t seen most of these bulls since earlier in the season. Because the World Finals is coming up, bull performance is very important this time of year.

In the outdoor arena in Laughlin last week, more than a few bulls didn’t perform to their usual standards. With the deep sand and high temperatures, each long round in Laughlin produced at least six rerides.

Since the Built Ford Tough Series resumed in August, PBR livestock director Cody Lambert has been working towards putting together a list of bulls for the World Finals in late October. With few exceptions, the Laughlin event didn’t help the bulls that attended with regards to their standing on that list. Lambert noted that because of the tougher conditions, some bulls revealed they didn’t have what it takes to finish strong.

“The ground and the heat were the biggest factors in Laughlin,” Lambert said. “The ground was deep sand, and it was in excess of 100 degrees each day leading up to the performance. The arena in Laughlin is a permanent arena, unlike most of the places we go, and it isn’t built on level ground, and it was a tough venue for the bulls. Once we got to the short go and the 15/15 round, those bulls didn’t have their best days, but they always show up, because they’re just better than the rest of the bulls. They still got the job done, even with the bad conditions. Some of the bulls got cut from the Finals list because they came to Laughlin. It was an easy situation for a bull to fail in. The Finals is a tough environment for the bulls too — for different reasons.”

One of the best bulls in Laughlin will be in Oakland this weekend as well. Julio Moreno’s Roy had an outstanding trip with Cody Nance – maybe his best trip ever.

“He was better than we’ve seen him be before,” Lambert said. “He had a lot of kick when he first came around, and a lot of speed and a lot of drift after that. Bull riders should love him. I knew he was going to be good, but I didn’t know he would be that good. We haven’t seen him a lot because he’s accident prone. If a bull is going to get hurt, it’s going to be Roy. Whether it’s a fight with the other bull, or he steps on something sharp, he’s just spent a lot of time healing up from off the field injuries. If he can keep himself healthy, he’s got the talent to be a great bull at this level.”

Bushwacker tied the lowest score of his career in Laughlin, but Guilherme Marchi wasn’t able to take advantage. Bushwacker will face the event winner in Oakland for a $50,000 bonus ride.

“Bushwacker was really hard to ride, and he still bucked Guilherme Marchi off, but it was a terrible day for him,” Lambert said. “I wouldn’t expect that to happen at two events in a row. I do expect we’ll see Bushwacker at full tilt this week.”

Also in Oakland, we’ll see Cowtown Slinger, I’m a Gangster Too, Brown Sugar, and Fire & Smoke – all of whom did well in Laughlin.

Follow Slade Long on Twitter @Probullstats

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