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Morning Line: World Finals, Day 2

As good as the bulls looked last night, they were a warm up round compared to these. Round 2 of the PBR Finals is typically the toughest single long round of the season. All of the bulls that are competing for World Champion Bull will get their first out in this round.

Matchups:

JW Harris on 601 Shepherd Hills Trapper:

We haven’t seen very much of Trapper this season. He’s a veteran bull who can throw off any rider here, and in fact has thrown many of them in the past. Trapper tends to spin to the left, but the direction he spins isn’t as big an issue as it is with some bulls. The real issue with him is timing. He can go from steep diving jumps into a sudden spin, and then on to something else. He can get low to the ground when he turns back, and if he doesn’t get a rider right at the turn back, he will often jump out and try it again. He’s got an effective bag of tricks for getting rid of riders, and he’s not above trying them all in 8 seconds. As a result, he doesn’t have smooth steady timing like some bulls do. Each jump is different from the last. He’s difficult to ride, but this constant regrouping sometimes works against him. When riders weather his more difficult moves he can give them a little wiggle room while he decides what to do next. For Harris, this will be one crisis after another until the whistle blows, and he’ll never feel like he has this bull knocked out. Harris is better at dealing with this than most other riders. He was in trouble several times last night and still turned in a round winning ride.

Chase Outlaw on 781 Asteroid:

Asteroid is a tough nut for any rider here to crack, but Outlaw is a good match for him. They’ve met three times, and Outlaw nearly won the first match back in 2012. Outlaw is very familiar with this bull, and he knows how to get out of the chute clean on him, which is good for Asteroid in the World Champion Bull race. The biggest threat to his bid for second title is his own propensity for bouncing off the chute gate as he’s coming out. Outlaw wants to make the whistle here. He won’t be satisfied with just surviving, and that is the right attitude to have when going up against a bull this daunting.

Renato Nunes on 927 Air Time:

The last time these two met, they produced arguably the best ride we’ve seen this season. Nunes was 92.5 points to win the short round in Phoenix early this season. Air Time is in the race for World Champion Bull, and if it weren’t for inconsistency he would be considered unbeatable. If he consistently had the trip he had with Kasey Hayes in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Bushwacker and Asteroid would be hard pressed to ever out score him. He had a similar outing with Joseph McConnel at the Last Cowboy Standing and with Justin McBride at the American. At other times, he’s seemed lost, and didn’t score as well. He’s a younger bull with a lot of potential, and in this out tonight, he could change everything in the World Champion bull competition, or we could see the highest-marked ride of the year.

Jordan Hupp on 482 Raven Flyer:

Raven Flyer is unridden in 25 career outs, and he’s not a rider favorite, but I think Hupp has a chance here. This bull likes to go to the right, and the further into the ride he goes, the nicer he looks. He has a knack for unseating guys quickly, but when someone tests him, he looks better to ride in the last 6 seconds than he does in the first two. Hupp has been on a roll lately – he’s ridden six out his last nine bulls, and the last four in a row. This bull will be more difficult than those last four, but the clock is ticking on Raven Flyer — someone is going to ride him soon.

Marco Eguchi on 1073/9 Roy:

Roy is another bull in the World Championship race, and he’s seriously talented, but all things considered he is one of the better bulls to draw in this round. Cody Nance won a round on him here last year. If you look at Roy’s best trips from this season — the ones that put him in the race — you’ll see that he tends to spin, and he tends to drift across the arena quite a bit. Almost every bull that puts a lot of effort into drifting ends up being a more rideable bull than the likes of Bushwacker, Asteroid and Mick E. Mouse. Even in Roy’s highest scoring trips this season, guys rode him well past the 4-second mark. He goes to the left, which will be a disadvantage for Eguchi, but he’s still a better draw than most of the other bulls in this round.

Kasey Hayes on 20U Shepherd Hills Tested:

These two have met just once before, and Hayes made an outstanding 91.5-point ride to win the short round in Colorado Springs, Colorado, earlier this season. Hayes is the only rider not named Mauney to have ever made the whistle on Tested. It is important to remember that there is a bit of mutual fund legalese that also applies to bull riding – past performance may not be indicative of future results. Tested will go down in bull riding history as one of the most difficult bulls ever to play the game, and Hayes has his work cut out for him here.

LJ Jenkins on 917 Pound the Alarm:

This is a good matchup. Jenkins may be the best equipped guy here to take on this bull. Pound the Alarm is a tricky bull. He spins to the right and as the ride goes on he tends to get more welly. By the 6-second mark he really wants to put the rider to the inside of the spin. Jenkins studies the bulls and knows them as well as any rider, so he will know what to expect here. He had this bull at the American in Arlington, Texas, earlier this year, and turned in an 86.25-point score. This is one of the better bulls in the draw for a right-handed rider.

JB Mauney on 0205/9 Deerango:

Deerango is unridden in 21 career outs, but he hasn’t run into Mauney before. He has faced some competent riders. This bull can be out of line and unpredictable, and Mauney is good at dealing with bulls that don’t act right, and more to the point he’s good at dealing with just about every bull here at this particular event.

Ty Pozzobon on 904 Fire & Smoke:

We’ve seen a couple of big rides on Fire & Smoke this season, and Pozzobon being a lefty, he’s got to be happy to have this bull in this round. Fire & Smoke is the nicest of World Champion bull contenders. He is honest, doesn’t have any tricks, and he has good timing. Quite a few guys in this round were probably hoping to draw him.

Douglas Duncan on 316 Cowboy’s Dance Hall Panda Trax:

We last saw this bull in Biloxi, Mississippi, where he threw Mauney off in 7.13 seconds. Panda Trax has only been ridden five times in 39 career outs, but he goes to the left, and he’s not as powerful as most of the bulls in this round. In many long rounds he would be one of the more difficult bulls out. Tonight, he’s among the easier ones.

Top 5 Riders:

Mike Lee on 12 Circle T’s Crossfire:

Although Crossfire is unridden, he may be the nicest bull drawn by one of the Top 5 riders. Stetson Lawrence nearly rode him here last season. He goes to the left, and he hasn’t really faced anyone as good as Mike Lee this season. Lee has had a good season this year. Much has been made of how many bulls JW Harris has been on this year, but Lee has been on a good many more than Harris has, and he looked unbeatable last night. If this bull has the same trip he did in this arena last year, Lee will get a second score here.

Guilherme Marchi on 706 Percolator:

It’s a short week for Percolator. He was the highest-marked bull in Huntington Beach, California, on Saturday, beating out two World Champion Bull contenders. Marchi has a great chance to win or place high in the round here, and the odds are that this bull won’t make the mistake of spinning into his hand. Percolator is committed to going to the left. If Marchi wants to step up and take the World Title, he needs to make the most of this opportunity — there are far more difficult bulls than this one in this round.

Fabiano Vieira on 001 Born Sinner:

We don’t see this bull all that often, but he belongs in this pen. At times he can have the toughest corner in bull riding — meaning when he starts into a spin he does it so fast and so steep he can make guys look like they’ve never been on a bull before. He can go either way, but he has a more difficult corner when he goes to the right. The outcome here will depend on which way Born Sinner goes. If he goes to the left, Vieira wins. If he goes to the right, Vieira comes down.

Silvano Alves on 942 Mr. Clark:

This is one of the lesser-known bulls out in this round. He’s given up a couple of rides at the Touring Pro Division level over the summer, but he’s 5-0 at this level. He’s been around the rodeo circuit for a couple of years, and he’s faced some good riders, but the two rides this summer are all that he’s allowed. He’s 25-0 against right-handed riders.

Joao Ricardo Vieira on 924B Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey:

If Vieira doesn’t win the World Championship, it won’t be because the luck of the draw wasn’t on his side. He’s faced Tennessee Honey twice before. He was 91 points on him to win second in this same round of last year’s World Finals. He lasted 7.55 seconds in their other meeting in February 2013. This will be the fourth very good draw in a row for Vieira, and had he ridden the previous three, this would not be as tight a race. Like Marchi, he needs to reach out and take the title. Alves creeping up behind him, but Alves’ success is totally dependent on whether the other contenders are content to hand it to him.

Follow Slade Long on Twitter @Probullstats

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