The Morning Line: Billings, Day 1

By: Slade Long
April 07, 2017

BILLINGS, Mont. – There were only six rides in the opening round in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, last week. Look for the riders to do much better than that. Individual matchups are the key factor in rider success, and tonight there are quite a few matchups that favor the rider. Several of them have fantastic draws in both of the first two rounds.

There’s an interesting twist in the bull pen tonight. Gene Owen’s Seven Dust and Mystikal are both out tonight, and both are slated for the championship round as well. It used to be common to see most of the championship round bulls go twice at an event, but it’s been awhile since it was standard practice.

Mystikal is unridden in his short career, and will take on Cody Teel, while Seven Dust will welcome Ramon Rodrigues to the Built Ford Tough Series. Rodrigues has been riding very well in the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour, but there’s a good chance Seven Dust will be the rankest bull he’s ever faced. He certainly isn’t the best draw for your first bull on the big stage.

Round One Matchups:

Derek Kolbaba on 794 Sully:

On paper, this should be a walk in the park for Kolbaba. Sully has been ridden in five of his six BFTS outs, and he’s 1-7 against left-handed riders in his career. He typically goes to the left immediately, and never speeds up, slows down or changes anything up. He’s the kind of bull that most guys here should ride, and they do.

Brennon Eldred on 711 Stars and Stripes:

This is the BFTS debut for Eldred, but he’s a pretty polished rider already. He rode SweetPro’s Bruiser for 94.5 points at the National Finals Rodeo back in December. He’s drawn rideable bulls in both of the first two rounds here, and if he does his job he should be high on the leaderboard going into Round 3. I don’t expect him to be able to win the round on this bull, but he should get a score.

Joao Ricardo Vieira on 2739 Flat Top Pete:

Vieira should have the advantage here. This bull isn’t ridden that often, but he reliably goes to the left, and he should fit Vieira perfectly. Vieira has an even better draw tomorrow night. He’s coming off a big ride in the Sioux Falls championship round, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him leading this event after two rounds.

Kaique Pacheco on 00 Set ‘em Up Joe:

This bull is not easy, but Pacheco has a very good chance. Set ‘em Up Joe is not a big bull, but he has power. He tends to go into a spin and reverse it at some point, and he’s likely to throw a big jump in during the reverse. This is not the kind of bull Pacheco can go to sleep on. He’ll have to handle some adversity to get a score, but he should get a good one.

Matt Triplett on Z32 Cracker Breaker:

Triplett is coming off an event win in Sioux Falls, and he’s drawn an excellent bull to start things off here in Billings. Cracker Breaker is a big strong bull who focuses on bucking rather than spinning or speed. He has a lot of up and down, and can be a lumbering beast sometimes, but Triplett is good at handling all of that. This bull produces an average score of just over 87.5 points, so if Triplett can hang on to him he will surely place well in the round.

Shane Proctor on 807 Cowtown Slinger:

This bull is essentially the opposite of Cracker Breaker because he’s all about spinning and speed. Proctor has been on him twice and bucked off both times. That said, he did take him to 7.84 seconds in their second meeting back in 2015. All the riders know this bull very well, and although he spins to the left, every rider has a decent chance on him because he has rock-solid timing. Like a couple of other guys here, Proctor drew well in both rounds, and stands to do well.

Stetson Lawrence on 058 American Sniper:

Lawrence rode this bull rather easily in Nampa, Idaho, last year. American Sniper has thrown off a lot of the top riders, but recently he’s been giving up more qualified rides. He’s been ridden in his last four BFTS outs, going back to Lawrence’s ride last October. Sniper was a deceptively difficult bull early in his career because he had a lot of front end movement and didn’t have as much kick or backup to help the rider out. He’s mellowed out somewhat with age, and he’s a more balanced and easier to ride bull now.

Luciano de Castro on 93Z Bandy’s Bad Boy:

Castro has been on Bandy’s Bad Boy twice this season and he bucked off twice. But, the buckoffs came at 7.47 and 7.97 seconds. He should have this bull figured out by now and could be the first lefty to ever get a score on him.

Koal Livingston on 104 Moto Moto:

You can never count the guy who has this bull out. Moto Moto is similar to Sketchy Bob – a bull we will see tomorrow night – in that he’s big, strong, methodical and ultimately a bull that anyone can ride for a solid score if they hustle. He will change leads with his front end more than Sketchy Bob will, so he’s a little trickier to ride, but he’s been very good to right-handed riders throughout his career.

Alex Marcilio on 078 Grandpa Joe:

The PBR used to award the bull that carried riders to the most money in a season, and if they still did, Grandpa Joe might be in the running for that. He’s a solid long round bull and he always goes to the left, but he’s no more difficult for right-handed riders than he is for lefties. He’s reliable, predictable and has steady timing, and he’s still good enough to place on. He’s almost always the best draw in whatever round he’s in. Marcilio is a competent rider and should be able to handle him.

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