PUEBLO, Colo. – SweetPro’s Long John bucked off his second opponent (Dustin Bowen) of the 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Friday night and today PBR.com takes a look back at the 2015 World Champion Bull’s top-5 performances of the season.
1. 47.5 points for a 7.42-second buckoff of Fabiano Vieira (2015 World Finals)
There is no arguing that Long John saved his best performance of the season for the 2015 finale in Las Vegas. Desperately in need of a huge score to try and usurp Jared Allen’s Air Time for a chance to win the 2015 World Champion Bull title, Long John did just that by exploding for a season-high 47.5 points with a memorable out against Fabiano Vieira.
For as awkward or silly as Long John may appear at times because of his longer than normal legs, it is those same legs that give him an extra explosion that can happen within any second of a ride attempt.
That was exactly the case when it appeared like Vieira was going to ride Long John during the World Finals. Right at 7.42 seconds Long John used every ounce of strength in his long-legged body to leap that much harder into the air to shed the tough Brazilian cowboy.
“He is like any other athlete,” Page said. “He is gifted in his athletic ability. That gives him an advantage over some of the others. He is long-legged and moves easy. He weighs 1,900 pounds and he moves around like he weighs 1,200 pounds. That in itself gives him an advantage, but it is easier for him to buck than one that is a little more vertically challenged. Just because it is easy for him, doesn’t mean he is going to do it every time.”
Vieira expects to ride Long John in 2016 if he gets a second chance.
“Next time I get a chance, I will ride him,” Vieira said. “My rope moved. If it didn’t move, I think I would have rode him. I like him. He is very nice. … He is the best bull in the PBR. He can buck.”
2. 46.75 points against Kasey Hayes (Billings, Montana)
Similar to Vieira, Kasey Hayes nearly came through with a qualified ride aboard Long John before being launched ferociously into the air at the 6.49-second mark in Billings, Montana.
It was just one of those deals where everyone was telling me, ‘You made an awesome rank ride and you were almost there,’” Hayes said. “I was like, ‘Well, almost only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades and it really don’t cut it to almost make a great ride.’
“It is one of those deals where you don’t want to almost make a great ride. You want to make a great ride.”
3. 46.75 points in rematch vs. Nathan Schaper (Colorado Springs, Colorado.)
Nathan Schaper was confident before he attempted Long John for the second time this season at the Rumble in the Rockies. However, the second encounter did not go nearly as well as his first.
Schaper was dispatched in 3.45 seconds as Long John earned 46.75 points in his second consecutive out.
“He was really good,” said PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert in Colorado Springs. “He was outstanding. When H.D. brings him, he bucks harder. He just seems to have his best days when H.D. brings him.”
Schaper had previously ridden Long John for 89 points in Kansas City, Missouri.
“I still like the bull,” Schaper said. “You just have to do things right. You can’t screw up. I never got on time with him. I don’t know why I left bad. I was just out of time from the get-go and then you feel everything.”
4. 46 points for bucking off 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi in season debut (Oklahoma City)
It was only his first out of the 2015 Built Ford Tough Series, but Long John showed during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round in Oklahoma City that the early-season talk about the bovine’s potential for a World Championship Bull title is serious.
Long John reared out of the bucking chute and sent Guilherme Marchi crashing toward the ground in only 2.08 seconds in a display of pure, brute strength to be marked an event-high 46 points.
Marchi had previously ridden Long John for 86 points last year in Oklahoma City, but this time around H.D. Page’s bull was that much more difficult and stronger said the 2008 World Champion.
“He is a really good bull, one of the best ones we have in the PBR right now,” Marchi said. “He is a contender for the Bull of the Year. He has a lot of power, a lot of kick and a lot of explosion in the air. He got me. He put me into my hand and made a quick move to the left. He beat me today.”
5. 45.5 points for bucking off three-time World Champion Silvano Alves (Tulsa, Oklahoma)
Many things were not in SweetPro’s Long John’s favor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this past August.
Not only was Long John competing at a lesser weight than stock contractor H.D. Page would prefer, but the ground conditions inside the BOK Center were less-than-ideal, and he was matched up against three-time World Champion Silvano Alves.
In the long run, none of it mattered.
Long John was able to leave the bucking chute during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round with his stereotypically powerful bucking motion and spun to the left to dispatch Alves in 3.2 seconds.
The World Champion Bull contender was marked an event-best 45.5 points.
“He was really good,” Page said. “I was a little concerned about the dirt being loose. He likes to really push off and I was afraid it was going to break his game up with the dirt giving out from under him like it was, but he got along OK. Even with the loose ground, he still broke loose up and down strong. I have seen him be ranker, but I thought he was good.”
Long John bucked off four World Champions in 2015 – Alves, Marchi, J.B. Mauney and Mike Lee.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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