By: Slade Long January 21, 2016
Over the first two Built Ford Tough Series events, the riders have been winning. They’ve converted nearly 50 percent of their opportunities into scores. PBR livestock director Cody Lambert expects the tide to turn Friday in Oklahoma City.
“I expect riding percentages to go down, and bull scores to go up,” Lambert said. “The guys have been riding really well so far, and they’ve made some great rides, so they should be fired up and ready to go. But, because Oklahoma City is located in the heart of bull country, it’s easy to get great bulls here, and the bulls will be noticeably tougher this weekend than last. New York was a little stronger than Chicago, and Oklahoma City will be a little stronger than New York. The bulls in the middle of the pen in Oklahoma City will be bulls I probably could have used in the short round in Chicago or New York.”
Oklahoma City will feature an American Bucking Bull Inc. (ABBI) Classic competition in the first round, and it will be the first chance to see this year’s crop of 3- and 4-year-old bulls. Two of them, Wicked Stick and Buck Autism, we did get to see quite a bit of last year as 3-year-olds, and they are very good.
“There’s no doubt we’ll see a misfire or two in that group,” Lambert said. “This time of year most of these bulls are really new and all we have to go by is a video or two and very few records. Later in the year we’ll know a lot more about these bulls, but right now they are a big unknown, and that’s why we have a great pen of reride bulls set for the first round.”
The short round in Oklahoma City will feature last year’s ABBI Classic Champion Bruiser, and the 2014 Classic Champion and 2015 PBR World Champion Sweet Pro’s Long John. But they aren’t the only headliners. The Built Ford Tough Championship Round pen is loaded with bull talent this weekend.
“Bruiser, Long John and Air Time are the biggest names in the short round,” Lambert said. “But, they aren’t the only ones. I just got off the phone with HD Page, and he’s going to bring Stone Sober — my least favorite short round bull. He’s been one I have a hard time trusting, but he’ll be one of the most difficult bulls in the round whatever he does. Gene Owen’s Wicked is a bull that has been around for a while, and they are going to a lighter schedule with him this year, but he will be there. Cody Ohl just got a new bull – Betta Be Ready – who is going straight into the short round. Chad Berger’s Crossfire is here, and I thought he was the best bull at the NFR last year. Rob Smets is bringing Jeremiah, and he’s still unridden. He was a short round bull at the World Finals. Red Moon and Brutus were both Classic bulls last year and they are moving up to the short round here too. Lane’s Magic Train is another former ABBI Classic bull that’s here. It’s a tough pen overall, and rides will be hard to come by this weekend.”
Just one rider turned in a qualified ride in the Oklahoma City short round last year. J.B Mauney won the round with 86.25 points largely because no one else stayed on. The same scenario is possible this year, and while it will be tough for the riders, Oklahoma City will be a showcase event for the PBR’s top bull talent.
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