By: Slade Long
January 20, 2017
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Express Employment Professionals Invitational this weekend will be the first event of 2017 to be held in the middle of bull country. Oklahoma City is central to many of the world’s best bovine athletes, and it’s an easy trip for a lot of great bulls. It’s always one of the strongest events of the year for bulls.
The concentration of great bull talent usually brings out some of the year’s most memorable rides. Last year, Mason Lowe rode SweetPro’s Bruiser, and J.B. Mauney rode SweetPro’s Long John in the Oklahoma City short round. Lowe scored 91 points, and Mauney put up 90.25 points. That was 10% of the 90-point rides we saw all season in just one round.
Nearly half the bulls set aside for the short round on Sunday were competing for World Champion bull at the Built Ford Tough World Finals in the fall, including 2016 World Champion Bruiser, and 2015 World Champion Long John.
Jared Allen’s Air Time, D&H’s Cattle Company’s Stone Sober and Chad Berger’s Pearl Harbor are also slated for Sunday’s short round. Joining them are Brutus, Red Rover, Smooth Operator and Jack Shot.
It says something for Canadian breeders and stock contractors that three Canadian raised bulls will be featured in one of the rankest short round pens of the year. Gene Owen’s Hey Jack, Seven Dust and Moto Moto are all originally from north of the border.
Round 1 in Oklahoma City is an ABBI Classic competition, and early in the season we will see a lot of brand new bulls. Some of them got a taste of action last year, and the standout bull in this group at the moment is H.D. Page’s Frequent Flyer, who is nearly as proven polished as Bruiser was at the beginning of his four-year-old campaign.
The rest of the young bulls are practically brand new to this level. The most interesting thing about them are their family trees. In one round you will see more than one son of Bushwacker, a son of Shepherd Hills Tested, grandsons of Little Yellow Jacket, Skat Kat, Reindeer, Mossy Oak Mudslinger and many other famous PBR bulls. There are lesser known sire and grandsires represented here as well, notably Page’s Midnight Mood, and Smooth Move, who have multiple offspring represented here.
Round 2 features a number of bulls we often see in short rounds, but didn’t make the cut for the All-Star short round set for in Oklahoma City. Magic Train, Cooper’s Comet, Red Moon, Margy Time, Sketchy Bob, VJV Nailed and Pound the Alarm will all be out in the second round, along with many more just as good. Sunday will be a long day for bull riders.
The riders did well in Chicago last week, but this event will be a tougher test. There are a lot of bulls out this weekend who can throw the best riders off most of the time, and that doesn’t happen every week. If you are a fan of the bulls don’t miss it.
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