TUCSON, Ariz. –World Champion Bull contender Roy continuously ducked his head toward the back corner of his pen for most of Saturday night before the start of the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
It had been more than six months since Roy competed at an indoor Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) event and maybe the loud noise and commotion of the BFTS regular-season finale had him intimidated some inside the Tucson Convention Center.
Maybe he was a little self-conscious about his right horn being six inches shorter after stock contractor Julio Moreno had the portion removed because of an infection nine days ago.
Who knows what was going on once again in Roy’s head, but at the end of the night it didn’t even matter.
Once he got loaded into the bucking chutes, Roy was right back at home and he whipped the snot out of Stormy Wing in 3.05 seconds for his second consecutive 46-point bull score on the BFTS.
“He bucks every time,” said Wing, who was one of the riders that voted Roy as a World Champion Bull contender. “He is little and has heart. He is an athlete. He just turns back to the left or right and he has changeup. He knows how to change it up in the spin too. He messes up a guys’ timing and that is what makes it hard on us.”
The 46-point bull score was Roy’s second-highest since putting up an identical score during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round at last year’s World Finals when Eduardo Aparecido rode him for 93.25 points.
The out almost helped Roy steal the 2015 World Champion Bull title from Bushwacker, and Moreno believes Roy is ready to get his own championship hardware in two weeks based on his performance in Tucson.
“That right there proved he has a chance right now,” Moreno said. “If he can have two more outs like that he will have a shot.”
Moreno admitted Roy’s peculiar behavior before the event was worrisome, but he has also become accustomed to Roy’s shenanigans.
Roy drove Moreno crazy last year at the Finals when he stopped eating his grain following his first out.
In Tucson, Roy was barely drinking his water.
“Well, the first time tonight he didn’t even want to come out,” Moreno said. “He was real quiet acting. He kept going down. He is hard to predict.”
Once again, if it was nerves, Roy didn’t show them once the bucking chutes opened.
Instead, he reminded anyone that may have forgotten that the bull with only six outs on the BFTS this season may be able to contend with the likes of Jared Allen’s Air Time, Smooth Operator, SweetPro’s Long John and Bruiser in a bull race that continues to be wide open since the passing of Mick E Mouse two months ago.
“It was real good,” Moreno said. “It was the first time he stayed three turns right there out of the latch and I thought he was going to hit the chute. He stayed away from it and looked good.”
Roy last competed on the BFTS in May when he bucked off Cody Nance for a career-high, 46.25-point bull score.
His two 46-point bull scores are right up there with Long John (3) and Smooth Operator (2).
Roy concludes the regular season with an unblemished 6-0 record and average bull score of 45.38 points.
Wing has been bucked off by Roy three times in his career.
Saturday night was the fastest.
“Yeah, he bucks,” Wing said. “I voted for him as World Champion Bull and would get on him again.”
Moreno understands he has received some flak for not taking his bull to many events this season, but he is letting his bull and the riders show that his bull belongs in the World Champion Bull conversation.
“The cowboys like him, that is the deal,” Moreno said. “That is why he is in the Top 5. They saw him earlier in the year and they know him and they liked him. Everybody likes him and that is good on Roy’s part.”
In years past, Moreno was in contention for the World Champion Bull title with his eliminator Bushwacker, who concluded his career with a 64-2 BFTS record and three world titles.
This year, Bushwacker’s half-brother Roy gives Moreno a World Champion Bull contender that can reward riders at the Finals with a round-winning, home run kind of ride.
“The thing about Roy is he is going to do the same thing right there out of the chutes,” Moreno said. “He is going to go two or three and fade and we are going 90. That is Roy.
“As fast as his eyes rolls, is how fast he does his bucking.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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