In the Bull Pen: Springfield

Caption: Long John will buck amid a strong pen of bulls this weekend. Photo by Andy Watson /

For the past few years, the Springfield, Missouri, event has been a little different when it comes to the bulls. Each long round here will be an ABBI sanctioned bull competition. Round 2 will be an ABBI Maturity, open to all bulls not ranked among the top 30 PBR bulls this season, and Round 1 and Round 3 will feature 3- and 4-year-old ABBI Classic Bulls.

The only pen of bulls set by PBR livestock director Cody Lambert this week will be the Built Ford Championship Round pen. The rest of these bulls are entered into either the Classic or the Maturity.

“I do go through all the entries,” Lambert said. “I’ll cut off any that aren’t up to Built Ford Tough Series standards. If there are Classic bulls that don’t do well in the first round, they won’t come back in round three. We really want to have bulls that guys could win money on if they ride, and if the any of the bulls entered here don’t live up to that, they are likely to get cut.”

Early in the season, the riders struggled with the Classic rounds, but in recent weeks they’ve turned in some big rides on the young bulls. Lambert believes the younger bulls have become a little more seasoned as time has gone by.

“I don’t believe it is because the riders are more familiar with them,” Lambert said. “Early in the year those bulls had less experience, they fought the chute a little more, and were a little wilder once they were in the arena. They’ve got enough experience now that they are more settled, and more like the other bulls these guys are used to getting on. Most of the guys don’t really know one Classic bull from another right now, and they won’t until a bull has been around for a little while. They all know Margy Time and Long John. Margy Time has won quite a few Classics this year, and he’s strong. Long John has had their number this year too. He’s also strong, and has a lot of up and down. Earlier this season we bucked Long John twice on consecutive days, and he didn’t do nearly as well his second trip. It will be interesting to see here whether he is at full strength with a day’s rest in between trips.”

In Round 2’s maturity, any ABBI registered bull is eligible to enter, provided they weren’t ranked among the top 30 PBR bulls as of entry time. That kept some bulls out, but let a ringer in.

“We had a couple of bulls that couldn’t enter because they were ranked too high,” Lambert said. “But, Stone Sober got in. He’s had some off days, and if it weren’t for those he would be ranked in the top five. But, he’s not. He should absolutely win the round, but if he bucks like he did in Tulsa he won’t win anything. He’s a bull that we hope gets it figured out, because when he has his day he’s outstanding, but if he doesn’t get it figured out he may not make the finals.”

The short round will be headlined by Asteroid, who hasn’t been ridden since J.B. Mauney rode him in August 2012. He’s turned in 29 straight buckoffs since then.

“At Thackerville, Asteroid was as good as I’ve ever seen him,” Lambert said. “At Nashville he didn’t have that big steep jump, but he was just as effective. Lachlan Richardson didn’t make it to 2 seconds on him.

Jared Allen’s Air Time will join Asteroid in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round, and he’s another bull that has been sending mixed signals.

“We’ve got to see if he’s going to be the bull we saw in Tulsa, or the one we saw in Thackerville,” Lambert said. “If he continues to buck like he did in Tulsa, he could take the World Champion Bull title away from Bushwacker. If he continues to buck like he did in Thackerville he may not make the World Finals.”

Shepherd Hills Tested, Wicked, Southpaw and David’s Dream will also appear in the short round in Springfield.

Follow Slade Long on Twitter @Probullstats

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