Round 1 Matchups:
Brady Sims on 908 Americana:
Some interesting stats on this matchup: Americana has been ridden 10 times in 30 outs, five times by right-handed riders, and five times by lefties. Four of those five rides for lefties belong to Sims. They first met at a Touring Pro Division event in 2013 where Sims was 86.5 points. They had three rematches early this season, with Sims winning each time. So it’s safe to say that Sims probably likes everything about this bull except that he’s only managed to place in a BFTS round on him once. Gage Gay won the opening round in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Americana Just last week.
Chase Outlaw on 22 Say I Won’t Gunslinger:
These two have met before, but it’s been a while. It has also been a while since we’ve seen this bull at the Built Ford Tough Series level. He had a bad trip about a year ago in Nashville, Tennessee, and we haven’t seen him on tour since. He has done well at the Touring Pro level, and this out will be his shot at getting back to the big stage. Outlaw rode him back in June 2014 to an 87-point score and a second place finish in Binford, North Dakota.
Ryan Dirteater on 27 Gentleman Jim:
Gentleman Jim goes to the left, he has good timing, and he really telegraphs what he’s going to do each jump. He typically stays hooked to the left, but from the rider’s perspective it’s easy to see that he’s going to keep doing what he’s doing. As you might expect this adds up to him getting ridden a lot. He’s given up seven scores in 13 career outs, and in five of his last six outs. He got Robson Palermo in Thackerville, Oklahoma, but it was at the 7.68-second mark.
Silvano Alves on -9 Circle City:
This bull is supposed to be a pushover for right-handed riders, and a slam dunk for Alves. But, over the past five events, Alves has ridden less than 20 percent of his bulls. Whether it be a nagging injury or just a slump, he’s not himself lately. He should be a huge favorite in this matchup, but right now he’s not the machine he once was.
Tanner Byrne on 730 Air Bender:
This is a rematch from the Iron Cowboy, where Byrne was 84.25 points on this bull. Air Bender has been ridden a few times in his 20-out career, but Byrne is the only right-handed guy who has done it. This is a classic style bull that should fit a taller rider well. He’s big in the jump and kick department, but not a particularly fast spinner.
Aaron Roy on 023 Rusty:
Roy won a round on Rusty in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with 88 points. Rusty is one of the more rider-friendly bulls you’ll see here. He has very even timing, and he doesn’t move forward. He’s the kind of bull that riders love. When Roy rode him he went to the left, but he can go either way.
Stormy Wing on 0114 Tahonta’s Magic:
This is a rematch that the bull won. They met about a year ago in Laughlin, Nevada, and Wing was down in just less than 5 seconds. Tahonta’s Magic likes to go to the right, and he is ridden more often by right-handed riders, but that’s not a problem here. Wing can ride bulls that go either way just as well. His biggest issue is overriding them. He rides with an aggressive style and it can cost him sometimes.
15/15 Round Matchups:
Gage Gay on 1237 Walk Off:
This is a rematch that’s firmly in the bull’s favor. Walk Off won the first match, and the odds are he will win this one too. He’s 22-2 in his career against right-handed riders. Lefties haven’t fared much better — he’s 24-3 against them. Walk Off is the real deal. He’s a hard-nosed bull that does everything well, and he’s not entirely honest. He can have some roll to the outside while he spins, and that presents a big problem for a right-handed rider against a bull that bucks this hard.
Shane Proctor on 001 Smooth Operator:
Aside from having an awful day with Guilherme Marchi in Billings, Montana, Smooth Operator has looked unbeatable all year. He’s a little ranker bull than Walk Off, and unlike Walk Off, he’s not very subtle about what he does. Everything that makes him difficult to ride is very easy to see. He takes long jumps that cover some ground, and when he comes around he does it with a vengeance. He tends to go to the right, which will be into Proctor’s hand, but that really hasn’t helped anyone yet. Smooth Operator overpowers riders to the point where every time you see somebody try him you come away thinking he’s just too much bull for anyone to handle.
Cody Nance on 978 Little Red Jacket:
This is a rematch from Nashville. Nance lasted less than 3 seconds there. Little Red Jacket has a lot of backup, and he’s not above mixing it up and taking a step forward now and then. He has a very similar style to three-time PBR World Champion bull Little Yellow Jacket, and he shares the same genetics as well. He’s not unrideable, he has been getting ranker as the season goes on and Nance won’t have an easy time here.
Silvano Alves on 3 Mississippi Hippy:
Hippy is unridden in seven outs this season, and he has never been very rider-friendly. He’s not a high leaper or a fast spinner. He just lumbers around the arena. He can have some long jumps where he covers some ground. His main weapon is his size. He’s far larger than the average bucking bull, and he’s twice the size of some bulls. He knows how to throw his weight around too, and this makes him hard to hold on to. Alves has been in a pretty bad slump, and this isn’t the best draw for breaking that.
Reese Cates on 122 Semper Fi:
Cates is in the same boat as Alves in that he hasn’t been riding well, but he does have a chance here, however slim it may be. Semper Fi goes to the left, and he’s got a little trick. He wants to throw the rider over the front, and if whatever he’s doing doesn’t work he will throw something else out there. He can have a lot of backup, he can pause on his front feet, and he can hang in a dive as long as possible. Lots of bulls do some of these things, but this one will try them all. He has every move that can get a rider over the front end and he will use them. Cody Nance rode him in Nashville. His desire to get guys down on his head makes him a little easier to ride than a bull that’s always going away or moving forward.
Tanner Byrne on 058 American Sniper:
This is one of the better draws here, and one of the more rideable bulls in this round — especially for right-handed riders. Byrne has some experience with him as well. They met in Billings earlier this season, and Byrne turned in an 87.25-point score.
Valdiron de Oliveira on 917 Pound the Alarm:
Pound the Alarm is marginally a better draw for right-handed riders, but he hasn’t been great for Oliviera in particular. They’ve met twice before, and the bull won each time. This bull can be a little tricky in that the further he’s ridden the more welly he becomes. When he first turns back he can throw guys to the outside of the spin, but the longer the rider stays on, the more the bull wants him to the inside of the spin. For this reason, he’s never easy, but he is one of the easier bulls in this group.
Stetson Lawrence on 02 Beaver Creek Beau:
Beau hasn’t let a left-handed rider make the whistle since the beginning of his career in 2013. He’s a big strong bull with high, heavy jumps and very little speed. He can be so slow that it presents a problem for riders. They aren’t used to having to wait on a bull, and it can be hard to get in time with him because of his tempo.
Nathan Schaper on 1037 Brown Sugar:
If bulls can be compared to NFL athletes, then Beaver Creek Beau and Mississippi Hippy are like offensive lineman, Smooth Operator is like an All-Pro Linebacker, and this bull is like Barry Sanders or Dez Bryant. He’s all about athleticism. Brown Sugar has a fairly predictable pattern. He usually throws a huge fake to the left and then seamlessly switches back into a high speed spin to the right. However, he can just go to the left without the fake at times. Once he gets into a spin he’s exciting to watch, and as the ride goes on he gets stronger and stronger. He’s a fantastic talent, and because he has great timing, he’s the kind of bull most riders want to draw, and the fact that he throws so many of them off is testament to just how good he is. Schaper hasn’t been on him before. He’s no doubt happy to have him here, but he knows this will be a fight.
J.W. Harris on 1327 Who Dey:
This is the premier matchup in this round. Harris couldn’t have drawn better. Who Dey goes to the right, and he’s been pretty good to right-handed riders. He has also been good to Harris. They met at the American in Arlington, Texas, and Harris turned in a 90.5-point score. He’s the odds on favorite to win this round, mainly because of the difficulty of the other bulls here.
Fabiano Vieira on 841 Wicked:
This could go either way, but Wicked usually makes it go his way. Wicked can be so fast that the few tricks and breaks in timing he throws in are enough to get anyone. He has been ridden a few times, but typically it’s when he’s let it happen by having an off day. As good as Vieira is, he may not be as good enough to keep up with this bull when he has his day.
Matt Triplett on 10728/0 Shaft:
Cody Lambert likes this bull as one of the better bulls to ride both in this round and among his peers in general. But, he may not be a great fit for Triplett, who has tried him twice unsuccessfully, and Shaft has never let a right-handed rider get to the whistle. He has been ridden just once in 20 Built Ford Tough Series attempts. All that aside, Lambert does have a point. Shaft is an honest bull who has good timing, and that’s what really determines difficulty. He is likely to be better to ride than other bulls in his class, it’s just that he has a load of athletic ability to work with.
Kaique Pacheco on 90 Boot Jack:
This is a rematch from Des Moines, Iowa, earlier this season, where Boot Jack won in less than 3 seconds. But, Pacheco should have a good chance here. He can ride bulls of this caliber, and Boot Jack will spin into his hand. This is one of the better matches for the rider on paper, and it may turn out that their previous meeting was a fluke.
Joao Ricardo Vieira on 654 Stanley FatMax:
I can’t think of a bull in the PBR that would fit Vieira less than this one. It might not be too much of a stretch to say there hasn’t been a bull on this continent in the last five years that would be a worse fit for Vieira than FatMax. This is one of the most notoriously hard-to-ride bulls in history. He has given up five rides in 112 career outs. On top of that, he goes to the right almost every time, which normally isn’t good for Vieira.
J.B. Mauney on 922 Modified Clyde:
This is a great draw for Mauney except in one respect: he’s bad in the chute. Mauney has drawn him once before, but they never made it into the arena. Mauney got a reride because of the bull’s chute behavior. Once he does get into the arena, Clyde can be pretty good to ride. He can go either way, but he likes the left, and whichever way he goes, he has good timing and he’s honest.
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