This pen might be called the not-quite-ready-for-primetime pen. Many of the bulls out in Round 5 are solid short round bulls – they just aren’t quite World Finals short round bulls. There are a lot of good matchups lined up here, and like the past three rounds, it’s likely to take a 90+ point ride to win the round.
Brady Sims on 807 Cowtown Slinger:
Sims only has one score on the board, but the mysterious forces of luck have matched him with an outstanding bull here. Cowtown Slinger is ridden by about half the left-handed guys who try him, and when he is ridden, he is ridden for scores right around 90 points. This is a great opportunity for Sims to go out on a positive note.
JB Mauney on 62 Mr. Bull:
This is another great draw for Mauney. They’ve met once before — Mr. Bull threw Mauney off in Sacramento, California, early this season, but right now, Mauney is in sync with the universe, and I can’t see this bull getting the best of him. Last season, Mauney and Alves finished first and second at the World Finals, and they are going into the last day of competition here with their positions reversed. This time Mauney is one bull behind Alves. But, Mauney is in a great position to win the finals. Alves has a bull he’s likely to ride today, which will clinch him as the leader in the average going into the short round. Asteroid drew into the top spot in the short round, so the leader will have him. The second-place man will have Percolator, and that gives the second place guy an advantage because Percolator is far more likely to give up a qualified ride. This situation could affect the World Championship race as well, so keep an eye on the battle for the event title. Mauney absolutely knocked it out of the park on Championship Sunday last year, and he doesn’t look like he’s ready to slack up this time around.
Ryan Dirteater on 802 Heavy Dose:
Marco Eguchi had this bull in Round 3, and he was indeed a heavy dose. He has just eight career outs, but besides Eguchi, he’s also thrown off JB Mauney and Guilherme Marchi. Dirteater is having a good finals, but he’ll be tested here. This bull looked pretty formidable Friday night.
Stormy Wing on 1037 Brown Sugar:
Brown Sugar is a classy bull, and most of the riders here would be thrilled to have him in this round. Wing hasn’t had a great finals, but he has one good score on the board and he should add another here. Gage Gay was 87.75 points on Brown Sugar in Round 2 on Thursday night.
Chase Outlaw on 1327 Who Dey:
This little bull will probably go to the right, but Outlaw should get along with him. Who Dey has a lot of speed, and a lot of intensity, but he has great timing. Any bull with steady timing is a good draw. Outlaw has struggled at the finals — he rode one bull here last year, and one bull so far this year. He’s too good a rider to stay in a Finals drought. If he can get the job done on this bull he’s likely to place in the money and gain some confidence going into next season.
Renato Nunes on 904 Fire & Smoke:
We could see another back flip here. This is a great draw for a left-handed rider, and he’s got great timing. Nunes is well known for letting it all hang out, and riding on the end of his arm, but on a bull that makes each jump pretty much just like his previous jump, you can get away with that. Ty Pozzobon was 88 points on Fire & Smoke in round two, and Nunes will make it look better.
JW Harris on 917 Pound The Alarm:
This bull is pretty famous for going to the right and being welly, but in his last two outs he went to the left both times. He isn’t too much bull for Harris to handle, but he doesn’t make his living by being too much to handle. His game is being tricky, and he is definitely tricky enough to sneak out from under any rider. Harris will have to make all the right moves here, but he will have much less bull tied to his hand than he did last night.
Matt Triplett on L704 David’s Dream:
Triplett has been tiptoeing through the tulips for the past two rounds, but he’s about to go barreling through the briar patch again. The riders don’t find David’s Dream very dreamy, and for good reason. He’s really good at throwing them off. Triplett was in the same situation in Round 2 — stuck with a miserably hard-to-ride bull — and he won the round with 92 points.
Tanner Byrne on 75 I’m Your Huckleberry:
Byrne is doing so well in Vegas he may decide to move here. He’s handled himself well in his first Finals, and along with Mauney, Triplett and Dirteater, he could play a spoiler role in the World Championship race. If Alves goes into the short round in the lead and Asteroid gets him on the ground, any or all of these four guys could pass him in the average and take away his ability to catch Vieira. This bull looks difficult on paper, but on film, not so much. Byrne has the right approach for a tall guy. He keeps his knees up and rides with exceptional balance.
Top 2 Riders
Silvano Alves on 807 Hokey Pokey:
Alves drew well here. JW Harris was 88.5 points on Hokey Pokey in Round 3, and this bull looked like a good one to have. Alves hasn’t bucked off since round two in Oakland, California, about a month ago. At the moment he’s looking like the Silvano Alves of 2011 and 2012 — the one no one could beat because he never bucked off. The way things are lining up, Alves is headed for a crucial matchup with Asteroid in the short round, with both of them trying to win a World Championship.
Joao Ricardo Vieira on 04 King Tut:
King Tut bucked off Fabiano Vieira in Round 3, but in his career he’s been beaten by left- handed riders more often than not. Vieira hurt his chances last night, but if he can set that aside he’s still in good shape. He just needs to take care of this bull and not worry about the big picture.
Follow Slade Long on Twitter @Probullstats
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