By: Justin Felisko
January 13, 2019
CHICAGO – Smooth Operator may be a year older, but the 9-year-old bovine athlete looks like he wants to get himself back in the mix for another run at a World Championship.
The 2018 World Champion Bull runner-up debuted in Chicago with a powerful and quick 1.46-second buckoff of Rubens Barbosa in the championship round.
Smooth Operator was marked 46 points, becoming the first bull this year to be marked 46 points or higher on the Unleash The Beast.
“I don’t know,” Barbosa said. “He come fast out of the chute and he pulled me down strong. He is very fast. I did not have a good option to pick. I tried to ride him one time, but I don’t have words to talk about him. He is a good bull.”
Reigning Stock Contractor of the Year Chad Berger said before the start of the event that 2019 may be Smooth Operator’s final season.
“This is probably his last year,” Berger said. “We are going to pick and choose where we go with him this year.”
Smooth Operator went 11-1 last season on the premier series with a career-high average bull score of 45.33 points per out.
He capped his 2018 campaign with a 46.5-point buckoff of Cooper Davis (7.74 seconds) and 45.5-point buckoff of Fabiano Vieira (6.2 seconds) at the 2018 PBR World Finals.
“At the Finals he did well,” Berger said. “He actually beat Bruiser if you combined scores at the Finals. I was very proud of that bull. He has dealt with some career-threatening injuries that we had to bring him back from. I was really proud of that bull.”
Chad Berger’s bovine athlete has been marked 46 points or higher in three of his last five outs and has bucked off six consecutive riders.
RidePass analyst Colby Yates left Chicago highly impressed by Smooth Operator’s season debut.
“Rank. Super rank. My gosh,” Yates said. “That bull is so deserving of a World Championship. He has been such a great bull for a long time. You can see the force. What he does with his front end, he gathers himself. He plants his feet on the ground for the first time and what he does after that is amazing. He just balls up and takes all of his energy and throws his body around. He is super hard to get by.”
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