By: Justin Felisko
August 24, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – The stretch run to the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals and PBR Finals week is well underway following the Music City Knockout this past weekend in Nashville.
However, it shouldn’t be forgotten that not only are there nine regular-season events remaining, there are also five 15/15 Bucking Battles, all of which air on national CBS television, before the World Finals begins on Nov. 2.
Therefore, there are an additional 2,275 world points up for grabs beyond the regularly-formatted BFTS events.
Still, it isn’t always a no brainer that one of the Top 15 riders in the world standings competing in the 15/15 Bucking Battle can walk away with points toward the standings.
This weekend in particular is going to offer a quite the challenge for the Top-3 riders in the world standings.
Kaique Pacheco, J.B. Mauney and Cooper Davis will have their hands full during the Express Employment Professionals Classic, presented by Osage Casino, on Saturday night. The 15/15 Bucking Battle airs on CBS Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
Pacheco brings a 160.33-point lead atop of the world standings into Tulsa and has drawn Hammer It Again, which should be a good test for the 21-year-old.
Hammer It Again is coming off an impressive 46-point outing againstFabiano Vieira where Blake Sharp’s bovine athlete used brute strength to launch world No. 4 Vieira into the bucking chutes at 4.06 seconds. The buckoff also caused Vieira to dislocate his left shoulder and is keeping him out of this weekend’s event.
The 5-year-old’s sample size is small given that Saturday will only be Hammer It Again’s third BFTS out and fifth overall. He bucked off Douglas Duncan in 4.35 seconds for a 42.75-point bull score in Duluth, Georgia, in March and Reese Cates rode him for 88.75 points at the Ty Murray Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert said before the Music City Knockout that Hammer It Again was a bull to watch during the second half.
“I have been looking at a hell of a lot of bulls,” Lambert said. “There is a bull that is really flashy that is not a new bull, but he is called Hammer It Again. He is a real, flashy, cool-looking bull. That is the only time he has been ridden, but in my opinion he is one that everyone should want to draw.”
Meanwhile, Mauney is no stranger to 2016 World Champion Bull contender Big Cat.
The two last met at Last Cowboy Standing when Big Cat (44.5 points) eliminated Mauney from the event in 1.94 seconds.
Big Cat competed in Nashville and bucked off Nevada Newman in 1.8 seconds for a 44.75-point bull score.
Mauney listed Big Cat behind Jared Allen’s Air Time and Pearl Harbor in his mid-season World Champion Bull contenders list.
“That was my fault,” Mauney said about his last attempt on Big Cat. “I was raised up to stay on and he drilled my ass. He bucks though. You can tell he is smart. He can go either way and launch you and rolls. He will put you where he wants to and you end up on the ground and on your ass.”
Big Cat is averaging 43.94 points in nine outs this year. He has an unblemished 15-0 record in his two-year BFTS career.
Lambert said Mauney has the best chance of any rider in the PBR to make 8 seconds aboard Big Cat during a Wednesday CBS Sports television production call.
“Nobody has ridden Big Cat,” Lambert said. “He is in contention for World Champion Bull and it will be a big deal for anyone to ride him. J.B. is probably the only one that can.”
Meanwhile, Davis will try to build off his Music City Knockout victory with a tough matchup against Stone Sober.
Stone Sober has only been ridden once in 35 BFTS outs and has 30 buckoffs since being ridden by Emilio Resende for 88 points at the 2013 BFTS event in Oklahoma City. During that streak, Stone Sober has committed a foul, fell or hipped himself five times.
The D&H Cattle Company bull bucked off Pacheco in 3.7 seconds last month at the Kasey Hayes and Stormy Wing Invitational in Guymon, Oklahoma.
“He’s pretty unpredictable after the first few jumps and is going to get a lot of air, but if I do my part on him it shouldn’t matter what he does,” Davis said.
TULSA 15/15 BUCKING BATTLE MATCHUPS
Lachlan Richardson vs. Red Rover (9-0, BFTS)
Jess Lockwood vs. Little Red Jacket (27-13, BFTS)
Robson Palermo vs. Seven Dust (12-0, BFTS)
Tanner Byrne vs. Sam (3-4, BFTS)
Derek Kolbaba vs. Jeremiah (22-1, BFTS)
Ryan Dirteater vs. Pearl Harbor (14-2, BFTS)
Mike Lee vs. Wicked (27-7, BFTS)
Wallace de Oliveira vs. SweetPro’s Bruiser (18-5, BFTS)
Shane Proctor vs. David’s Dream (48-4, BFTS)
Paulo Lima vs. Slinger Jr. (23-1, BFTS)
Eduardo Aparecido vs. Buckle Up (12-4, BFTS)
Joao Ricardo Vieira vs. Brutus (11-5, BFTS)
Cooper Davis vs. Stone Sober (34-1, BFTS)
J.B. Mauney vs. Big Cat (15-0, BFTS)
Kaique Pacheco vs. Hammer It Again (2-1, BFTS)
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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