By: Justin Felisko
January 29, 2016
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Julio Moreno understands his star bull Roy has a very small margin for failure in 2016 with the PBR’s new World Champion Bull contender qualification system.
Therefore, Moreno decided to give Roy a preseason out two weeks ago at the Reno, Nevada, BlueDEF Tour event to make sure the two-time World Champion Bull contender would be in peek condition for his 2016 Built Ford Tough Series season debut this weekend at the Anaheim Invitational.
If Roy’s performance at Reno was any foreshadow for his BFTS season then Roy may just be in line for a third consecutive trip to the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals as a World Champion Bull contender.
Roy bucked off Kurt Shephard in 4.93 seconds for a 46-point bull score.
“If you wait for the Super Bowl for two weeks and you are stale it can take probably almost until the second quarter for the guys to loosen up,” Moreno said. “That is kind of similar with what I am thinking about my bulls. I wanted him to have an out before because he hadn’t been out since October. I am really glad I did that.”
Roy had his stereotypical trip in Reno. He turned to the left before tail-whipping and fading toward the center of the arena. It was his 10thconsecutive buckoff at all PBR levels. Roy begins the season with eight consecutive buckoffs on the BFTS.
“You know he is going to do the same thing right there to the left,” Moreno said. “He did it pretty good. He missed the chute right there and he did a 360 in the air. He was off the air and did it. That is what bucked off that kid. He tried him. I am sure glad he got him ready for him out here.”
What made Moreno even happier is something that is not seen in the video of Roy’s out. Prior to bucking off Shephard, Moreno let Shephard sit on the back of Roy during an in-arena break.
Moreno was OK with it because he wants to get Roy more comfortable with riders that may take a little longer on him in the chutes. It is also why Moreno is looking to add 50 more pounds of muscle to Roy this season.
Roy has had all of the fight, much like his father Reindeer Dippin, and the heart to be a champion, but the Thomas the Tank Engine of PBR bulls sometimes can be at a disadvantage compared to his larger World Champion Bull contending opponents.
Moreno is hoping to get Roy to 1,550 pounds
“I have been working him lightly and pulling the feed to him – all he can eat,” Moreno said. “That is what I have been doing to him. I am trying to get his front end built up where he can handle that rope or anybody. Anything I can think of to help and I hope (the weight) goes to the front end. He doesn’t have an ass anyways like I would like on a bull.”
Roy posted two outs below 45 points at the Finals last year against Robson Aragao and three-time World Champion Silvano Alves.
“He was super good in the chute over there in Reno,” Moreno said. “In the last out at the Finals, he dropped down like a dog in the back end. So that is what I don’t want.”
Moreno was happy that Roy wasn’t sluggish by any means in Reno, but he also knows this weekend will be a whole new ballgame for Roy when he faces J.W. Harris in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
It will be the first encounter between the four-time PRCA champion and Roy.
“Sounds good. Should be fun,” Harris said. “He is good. He bucks. He spins hard and you have to go at him the same way you would anything else. Shoot, he is going to turn back and go to fading. Really the less you do on him, the better he rides. You try to keep everything small and stay in the middle. That sucker will back a guy into a round.”
Harris is returning to competition after missing the Express Employment Professionals Invitational in Oklahoma City because of multiple injuries, including a right elbow and forearm strain, chest contusion and upper back rib sprains, he sustained attempting to ride Mishap in New York.
Harris’ riding elbow was the biggest cause of concern in New York, but Harris said tests in Dallas on Monday revealed no significant damage.
“I had seen Dr. Tandy (Freeman) on Monday,” Harris said. “Oh, it is nothing. Just sore.”
Harris competed at the Fort Worth, Texas, rodeo this week and rode each of his bulls for scores of 79 and 73 points.
“I was in Fort Worth on Monday and Tuesday and it felt pretty good,” Harris said.
Moreno told Roy on Thursday morning he better be ready.
“I fed him this morning and told him, ‘You have J.W. Harris,’” Moreno said. “I think that is really good. I am really tickled. I have been wanting someone like him to get on him the first of the year.”
Part of Moreno’s excitement stems from the fact that he will likely only buck Roy in eight BFTS outs in 2016 based on the PBR’s new World Champion Bull contender qualification system. Last year, Roy was given some flack for being named a contender despite competing in only six outs.
Moreno is likely bringing Roy to Anaheim; Sacramento, California; Phoenix; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Last Cowboy Standing in Las Vegas; Nampa, Idaho; San Jose, California, and Tucson, Arizona.
“I am thinking if I can just have him perform like he did at Reno, I think I am OK compared to what other bulls did (in Oklahoma City),” Moreno said. “Say I average 46 points for his eight outs, that would be pretty dang good.
“It will be show and tell this weekend. If he can do surely handle J.W. then he will be back in the picture.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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