In the Bull Pen: Tulsa

By: Slade Long
August 26, 2016

Big Cat and J.B. Mauney will headline the 15/15 Bucking Battle. Andy Watson /

Big Cat and J.B. Mauney will headline the 15/15 Bucking Battle. Andy Watson /

TULSA, Okla. – After kicking off the home stretch of the season in Nashville, the Built Ford Tough Series moves to Tulsa this week, and it won’t travel far for three weeks in a row. Thackerville, Oklahoma, and Springfield, Missouri, are next on tap, and all three locations are fairly close to each other.

Oklahoma is the epicenter of the bucking bull world, and you can expect to see outstanding bull talent every time the BFTS comes to Oklahoma. Both Tulsa and Thackerville will feature a very similar set of bulls, and they will follow exactly the same format. Both events will feature a 15/15 round following an ABBI Classic competition on the first day.

For Tulsa, the 15/15 Round will be headlined by Pearl Harbor, and Sweet Pro’s Bruiser – two of the top bulls in the World Championship race. Notably absent is Sweet Pro’s Long John, who is out for undisclosed medical reasons, according to PBR livestock director Cody Lambert.

David’s Dream, who was retired at the World Finals last season, is coming out of retirement to take a spot in the 15/15 round. He is one of the most notorious buckoff artists in the PBR this decade, giving up just four rides in 52 BFTS outs. He’s been on a swimming program, and his new owners say he’s in great shape and ready to go.

We saw TLW & Kuhn’s Big Cat in Nashville, and he will be in Tulsa as well, taking on J.B. Mauney for the second time this season. Mauney was down in under two seconds when they met back in May. Big Cat is unridden in 23 outs in his career, and he’s another contender for World Champion Bull. Lambert believes Mauney may be the only rider who has a legitimate shot at him right now.

One of Lambert’s least favorite bulls, Stone Sober, will face Cooper Davis in the 15/15 round. Stone Sober can be a World Champion Bull contender at times, but at other times he’s tested Lambert’s patience.

“He’s got a lot of athletic ability, but I just can’t trust him,” said Lambert. You never know when he’s going to take the day off. There’s new bull in here, Blake Sharp’s Hammer it Again, he only has five or six outs. He has the same athletic ability as Stone Sober, but trust him a lot more. He’s not as hard to ride, and he’s not as rank as Stone Sober can be, but he’s just as fun to watch.”

The ABBI Classic bulls in round one have some experience at this point in the season, and they’ve looked good all year. Rocco carried Jess Lockwood to a 90-point score in Nashville last week, and he will go against Mauney in the first round in Tulsa.

“The Classic bulls have looked good this year,” said Lambert. “I’ve been to a few of the Classic events, and I’ve seen a lot of bulls that look to me like the riders should love, but they haven’t ridden very many of them. They only rode five of the ABBI bulls in Kansas City, and in Decatur, Texas, they only rode one out of forty.”

Round 2 will feature a mix of bulls selected by Lambert, and we will see a group of bulls from Jerry Nelson’s Frontier Rodeo Company for the first time in a long while.

“Jerry hasn’t been to the PBR in a long time,” said Lambert. “He was a big part of the early years in the PBR, and while he never won Stock Contractor of the Year, he deserved it a couple of times. He put on more Touring Pro events than anybody, and had as many great bulls as anybody. He’s been focused on the rodeo side of things, and he’s built up a world class set of bucking horses. The bulls he’s bringing here are really solid, and we rarely get to see them.”

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