The Morning Line: Last Cowboy Standing, Day 1

LAS VEGAS – There will be 50 riders out in Friday night’s opening round. Everyone with a qualified ride will advance to Round 2 on Saturday.

If there are fewer than 25 qualified rides (which is likely), then 25 riders will still advance – all of the qualified rides and the rest from the world standings. What this means is that the guys at the top of the standings have a pretty good chance to move on, but the lower-ranked riders must get a score here to advance.

Since this event is a Major, riders can earn higher points than they normally would for the rounds, just like the 15/15 Bucking Battles, and there is 600 points awaiting the winner. However, unlike standard-format events, in the event of a re-ride option, the option is to take the re-ride or take a zero. In other words, you cannot keep your score without being eliminated from Last Cowboy Standing.

Expect a good showing by the riders in Round 1. There are a lot of very rideable bulls out tonight.

Round 1 Matchups:

Billy Robinson on -906 Breakdown:

Robinson has been out with an injury most of the season. He returned in Colorado Springs earlier this month, but didn’t do well. He should get off to a good start here. Breakdown is a very good draw for left-handed riders, and he’s 6-9 against them in his career.

J.B. Mauney puts up 90.75 points on Breakdown, winning Round 4 of the 2013 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas.

Douglas Duncan on 848 Classic Whoppin’:

Duncan earned 87 points on this bull in Sacramento, California, to pick up fourth in the second round. Classic Whoppin’ will go to the left, and he’s pretty much a typical spinner. He’s got enough juice to get riders in trouble if they make a mistake, and he can move around in the spin a bit, but he should be routine for a veteran rider, especially a left-handed one. If this bull could travel back in time to the 1980s, he would have stood out as a great bull to have because there weren’t that many bulls of the same quality.  Now, he has a lot of company.

Mason Lowe on 085 Past Time:

Past Time is a veteran bull that has seen limited time on the Built Ford Tough Series because he can be pretty bad in the chute. Once he gets out of the chute, he’s pretty nice to ride. He’s likely to go to the left, away from Lowe’s hand, but he’s tame enough for any rider here to handle, and he’s good enough to produce a mid-80s score.

Shane Proctor on 05 Camo:

Here’s a proven rider on a bull that’s almost sure to go into his hand. Camo has given up four qualified rides – all too right-handed riders – in 12 career outs. Proctor has the advantage here.

J.B. Mauney on 982 Celling Bioscience’s Jukebox Hero:

This is a rematch from Des Moines, where Mauney was 86 points on Jukebox Hero. Mauney is a huge favorite here, not just because he’s ridden the bull before, but because just about everyone rides this bull. He’s given up 11 rides in 16 outs on tour.

Justin Paton on 033 Shoot Out the Lights:

Paton is here as one of the top-ranked riders from PBR Australia. This is not his first bull in the United States, but Shoot Out the Lights could be the nicest bull to have in all of America. This bull has some speed and is a little flashy to watch, but he has very little power, evidenced by the fact that he’s been ridden handily in 7-of-10 career outs. This is the kind of bull that riders get paid on at all levels. Any guy who has ever won money on a bull has a shot against him, and the more competent riders should ride him 80-90 percent of the time. Welcome to America, Justin – here’s the nicest bull we have!

Guilherme Marchi on 915 Houla Hoop:

This is a quality bull that can carry guys to the pay window, but against Marchi he’s a serious underdog. Houla Hoop likes to go to the right, and he can reverse it, which will be his best chance to get Marchi to make a mistake. If he stays hooked to the right, there’s no way he gets Marchi on the ground.

Tyler Harr on T05 El Capitan:

El Capitan hasn’t been around long, but riders are 3-for-3 on him at the BFTS level. He goes to the right, but left-handed guys are 2-0 on him because he has great timing and isn’t very tricky. Harr has a good chance to punch his ticket to Round 2 with this draw.

Fabiano Vieira on 847 Western Hauler:

For a long time, Cody Lambert threatened to rename this bull “Western Faller” because he had trouble staying on his feet. He’s been better with that, but he’s also getting ridden more. His style is a little different from most bulls. He doesn’t jump up and hang in the air, and he has a hard time unseating guys in one jump. He stays close to the ground, and works on riders a little at a time. He’s quick, and early in his career he could fit more jumps into 8 seconds time than just about any other bull, forcing guys to work hard to keep track of him. He’s definitely rideable, but he’s not the kind of bull you can daydream on.

Nathan Schaper on 253 Rough ‘em Up Tuck:

This is one of the better bulls to ride in the PBR, but he’s gotten the best of Schaper before. Ty Murray has said that Schaper might be the best rider over 6-feet tall he’s ever seen, and there’s a reason for that. Taller guys tend to suffer more when they don’t get back to the front end with every jump, and Schaper is truly gifted at that. He always gets back to the front, and he rides right on the edge of being tipped forward all the time. On this particular bull, that doesn’t matter so much, and getting a guy tipped forward a little is the only way he’s going to throw anyone off. Rough ‘em Up Tuck is the kind of bull that helps a rider stay in the right position, and guys can get him ridden by not doing anything except making a modest effort to stay off his head. Big moves and really hustling to stay forward are counterproductive on this kind of bull, and if Schaper can sit still in the sweet spot he’ll have no problems.

Dallee Mason on 965 King Buck:

In discussing Justin Paton’s bull Shoot Out the Lights, I mentioned he might be the nicest bull to draw in this country, and the reason I had to use the word “might” is because of this bull. King Buck has just as valid a claim to that title. He’s typically worth a lot of points; guys win and place in rounds on him all the time, but they rarely buck off him. Mason is one of the lower-ranked guys coming in here, but he’s drawn the bull he needs to change that in one ride.

Ryan Dirteater on 344-9 Crack the Whip:

Crack the Whip held the top spot in among round point producing bulls this season until King Buck recently passed him, but he’s a good draw here. He’s not nearly as easy as King Buck, and he can be a little tricky at times, but like most bulls that are ridden often, he’s not strong. When he gets guys on the ground, he does it with deception.

Cody Heffernan on 162 Wasted Wages:

This is another Australian rider making his BFTS debut. Heffernan has been around the U.S. quite a bit, and he’s a good rider. He’s got a very good draw here, at least statistically. He’s right-handed, and Wasted Wages is 1-3 against right-handed riders.

Cooper Davis on 802 Heavy Dose:

This is a rematch from Laughlin, Nevada, last season where Davis was 85.25 points on Heavy Dose. Davis is the only right-handed rider with a qualified ride on this bull so far.

Bryan Titman on 0628 Bluegrass:

Bluegrass has been ridden just once in 12 career outs, but he really should get ridden more often. He was pretty nice at the Iron Cowboy, and he likes to go to the left. Titman likes bulls to go away from his hand, so he should be good to go here.

Follow Slade Long on Twitter @Probullstats

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