LAS VEGAS – This is a mixed pen of bulls. Half of them are ABBI Classic bulls competing here for the title of Classic Champion. The bulls to watch in the Classic race are Stunting Like My Daddy, Smooth Operator, Bruiser, Long John, Karaoke, Set ‘em Up Joe, Oscar P, Magic Train and Bad Tattoo. They represent the Top 10 in the order they placed in Wednesday’s opening round.
J.B. Mauney on 32Y Bruiser:
This is without a doubt the matchup everyone hoped to see. Bruiser is the bull that should not have thrown off Joao Ricardo Vieira in round one, but did. He’s tailor made for Mauney. He will go to the left from the second they open the gate, and he’s strong enough for Mauney to get the round win on. You have to get the feeling that Mauney has woken up from his recent slumber and that we are starting to see the same guy we saw here last year. When Mauney gets that spark he is tough to beat. He picked to win the round here.
Matt Triplett on 708 Delco:
This is a bull that was about to be put on the shelf due to inconsistent performance, but he put on a show at the Built Ford Tough Series event in Biloxi, Mississippi. He threw Emilio Resende in the short round there, and looked as good as he ever has. If he has that same trip here, Triplett could win this round on him even if Mauney rides Bruiser. This is a solid pick for Triplett. Delco typically gets a lot of air, lots of kick and is very showy. He can spin either way or both ways, but he will often buck in a small box pattern rather than a fast tight spin. He’s like a lightweight version of Rango in that he uses most of his energy jumping and kicking, rather than spinning.
Renato Nunes on 95X Dumber:
This is the bull that Silvano Alves rode in round one for 86.25 points, but Nunes didn’t pick him hoping to be 86 points. Dumber will go to the left, and he can be good enough to be 90 on. If a bull can have an off day, he will almost certainly have it with Alves. Look for this bull to be better and score higher with Nunes.
Nathan Schaper on 055 Bad Tattoo:
Billy Robinson had this bull in round one, and he looked pretty salty. This is a bull that doesn’t have a long history – just a handful of PBR outs. The only time we’ve seen him at this level before Wednesday night was in Tulsa where he threw JW Harris off right at the whistle. This is a quality bull, and he is rideable, but Schaper won’t have it easy.
Stetson Lawrence on 825 Feeling Blue:
This is a Canadian bull, and Lawrence had him at a PBR Canada event back in the spring and rode him for 85.5 points. The bull went both ways with him there. I don’t believe this will be enough bull to win or place in this round on, but Lawrence should post another score here and pull even with the guys who have two rides in the books.
Gage Gay on 8051 Hard Knocks:
This bull has been ridden more often when he’s faced right handed riders and when he’s faced the better riders. Gay is both and he should handle this. Gay has one ride in the books, and he really needs to stay in contention for a short round spot.
Zane Lambert on 903 Rock River Red:
Lambert had this bull on Oakland and bucked off, but he shouldn’t have. This may be the best pick in the round for a right handed rider. He goes to the right, has great timing, and is good enough to produce scores in the 90 point neighborhood. This could be a bull that is more difficult than he looks, because he looks like the one to have, but he is pretty consistent at getting guys on the ground.
Cody Nance on D05 Flint:
This is another bull that was on Cody Lambert’s naughty list, but redeemed himself late in the season. Flint was the highest marked bull in Allentown, PA – throwing off Valdiron de Oliveira there. Flint has been around for a few years now, and the biggest knock on him is that he doesn’t finish strong. Nance has been on him twice, and is 1-1 on him. He bucked off of him in Chicago early this season, but was 92 points on him at a Touring Pro event in the summer of 2013.
Ryan Dirteater on X18 More Big Bucks:
J.B. Mauney was 88 points on More Big Bucks in round one. He was also 88 points in him in Thackerville in August. Two weeks prior to that, Dirteater rode him for 86.75 points in Tulsa. This is a great pick for a lefty. He’s got some speed, and he’s the kind of bull that a rider can’t afford to get behind on. He never really lets up.
J.W. Harris on 58X Long John:
This has to be the most interesting matchup of the Finals so far. Harris took this bull with the fourth pick in the draft, and if he hadn’t, Long John may have sat waiting for a suitor until the end of the draft where the last guy got stuck with him. This is not a bull most of these guys want any part of. In round one, he straight up jerked Valdiron de Oliveira down in just a couple of jumps. Harris had him twice this season, and rode him in Springfield for 87.5 points, but it should have been more than that. He rode him a long way in Colorado Springs before coming down, and that may be the last memory Harris has of this bull because it’s hard to imagine Harris remembers anything about the Springfield match considering he got knocked out cold just after the whistle blew. Whatever you do, don’t go to the refrigerator and miss this matchup – it will be an epic heavyweight battle.
Top 5 riders:
Mike Lee on 013 Tracker:
This is a pretty nice bull that should go to the left into Lee’s hand. He’s been ridden the few times he’s faced the top tier riders. Lee looked good in round one, but he hasn’t since then. He needs another score, and he should get one here.
Guilherme Marchi on 22 Muddy Smile:
Marchi came down on a bull that went into his hand last night, but unsurprisingly, he’s drafted another bull that should go to the right. Muddy Smile is 4-5 against right handed riders in his career, and that’s the record of a bull that Marchi should ride ten times out of ten. With an average score of 86.2 points, Muddy Smile probably won’t carry Marchi to a round win here.
Fabiano Vieira on 810 Hungry Eyes:
Hungry Eyes is unridden in seven career outs. In his last two appearances, he threw off Eduardo Aparecido twice – once in Laughlin, and once in Huntington Beach last week. Vieira isn’t having the kind of Finals he hoped for. I have to believe that if he had been healthy this season he would be running away with the World Championship. It would be nice to see him turn things around here, but he’ll have to break this bull’s unridden streak to do it tonight.
Silvano Alves on 918 Freakster:
The one time this bull was ridden was when he had a pretty bad day. He was much better in Nashville, where he threw off Marco Eguchi in 5.54 seconds. He’s probably about to be ridden for a second time. Alves looks unstoppable right now. He’s ridden 92% of his bulls over the past five events including here at the Finals. The way Alves is riding right now, it’s going to take a short round quality bull to get him on the ground.
Joao Ricardo Vieira on R626 Karaoke:
Vieira padded his lead in the World Standings last night by picking a better bull than Alves and then riding him. He’s done the same thing here. He’s likely to place high in the round on this bull, and he could win it. He was 88.75 points on Karaoke in Oklahoma City early this season. This bull has improved since then, and he’s one of the best bulls out in this round. He will go to the left – into Vieira’s hand, and he’s only been ridden by left handed riders.
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