Round 1 Matchups:
Cody Nance on 83 Santiago:
We haven’t seen this bull on tour in a while, but he has 26 outs on tour, and 51 overall. He’s seldom ridden except by the top-tier riders, and pretty much only left-handed guys as well. Nance qualifies on both counts. He’s already knocked off a couple of heavy hitters this season, and he looks like a man on a mission.
Josh Faircloth on 700 Fire Bender:
Faircloth became the first man to ride Fire Bender just last week in Chicago. He was 86 points, which was only good enough for 10th place in the round, but it was a tough round. Lots of times scores in the 86 point neighborhood will place. If Faircloth can get a second straight score on this bull, it would be a big victory for him. He needs to be more consistent, and that would be the definition of consistency.
J.W. Harris on 01 Extreme:
Last time we saw this bull was at in Madison Square Garden a year ago. Pistol Robinson was 87 points on him, which was good enough for third in the round. Don’t know what’s kept Extreme out of action for the past year, but before he went on hiatus he was ridden three times in five Built Ford Tough Series outs. He will have his hands full here. Harris is tough to get on the ground. The guy is able to weather just about anything bulls throw at him, and it’s not likely this bull get him on the ground.
Lachlan Richardson on 87 Donarado:
This is a great little bull. He bucks hard, he’s very honest, and riders should love him. He can spin either way, but whichever way he spins, he does it with a lot of snap and kick, and he pretty well stays in one place and doesn’t cover a lot of ground. In the history of bull riding, millions of dollars have been won on bulls just like this one. He won’t be the rankest bull we’ll see here, but he’s salty enough to get rid of 75 percent of the riders who try him. When he’s been to the BFTS, he’s been ridden more than half the time. Richardson rode him for 87 points at a Touring Pro Division event back in the 2012 season.
JB Mauney on 15U Electric Prune:
Last week, Jordan Hupp rode this bull for 83.75 points. Electric Prune didn’t have a great day. But, this is a bull that has given up five rides at this level, three of them round wins, and one third-place finish. Mauney won a round on him in Nashville in 2013. Aside from his poor showing last week, this bull has been one of the very best long round bulls in the PBR his entire career. On his best day he’s not going to get Mauney, so the only question here is whether the Prune can be Electric enough.
Eduardo Aparecido on -3 Johnny Walker Black Jr.
The last three times we saw this bull on tour he’s been ridden. Sean Willingham rode him in Round 2 in Chicago for 87.25 points and fifth place in a very tough round. Aparecido has let some opportunities slip away in the first two events, and he needs to convert on this one.
15/15 Round Matchups:
Marco Eguchi on 654 Stanley FatMax:
Like just about every rider in the PBR, Eguchi has been on FatMax before and did not get a score. If you look back at the biggest, baddest, hardest to ride bulls in PBR history, all but a few of them fall short of the numbers this one has put up. Asteroid, Voodoo Child, Blueberry Wine, Shepherd Hills Tested, Scene of the Crash, Rampage, and Bones — none of them are/were quite as good as Stanley FatMax at getting the PBR’s best riders on the ground. That should give you an idea of what Eguchi is up against. This is not a flashy, showy, or spectacular bull to watch, but make no mistake — he’s in it to win it.
Tanner Byrne on 0114 Tahonta’s Magic:
This is one of the lesser-known bulls out in this round, and he’s probably going to be one of the least difficult ones. He’s been ridden a couple of times in 10 career outs, and he hasn’t faced a lot of high level riders. Byrne is a sticky guy, and he won’t be easy to throw off.
Ryan Dirteater on 850 I’m a Gangster Too:
These two have met five times previously. One of them resulted in a re-ride because the bull fell, and one of them resulted in an 89-point ride. Dirteater came up short the in the other three times. I’m a Gangster Too is one of the hardest bulls to make predictions about. He never really has a bad day and he’s always around the same level of difficulty. He’s the kind of bull that every guy here can ride, but he’s also the kind of bull that can throw anyone off at any time. There’s zero margin for error on him. Any mistake a rider makes will cost him, and it’s rare for a guy to be mistake free. Dirteater will have to be perfect here to get a score, and he’s got a good chance here.
LJ Jenkins on 1237 Walk Off:
Matt Triplett was 92 points on Walk Off to win a round at the World Finals, and that was one of only two times the bull has been ridden. This bull doesn’t play. He knows how much he weighs and he likes to throw his weight around. Jenkins has his work cut out for him on one of the more difficult bulls in the PBR right now.
Gage Gay on 841 Wicked:
This is another matchup that’s just about impossible to guess about, but for a different reason. Wicked is extremely unpredictable. He’s not going to be easy no matter what, but sometimes he can be pretty rideable, and other times he can be nearly impossible to ride. Gay is going to have to hope this is one of his gentler days. Look for this bull to have a lot of speed and a lot of moves.
Cody Nance on 482 Raven Flyer:
Raven Flyer is unridden in 26 career outs, 18 of those on the BFTS level. His days are numbered however. The last couple of times we’ve seen him, he’s looked very rideable. Jordan Hupp rode him 7.41 seconds at the World Finals, and Zane Lambert rode took him 6.74 in Biloxi, Mississippi. Nance has been on him twice, and should be very familiar with him.
JW Harris on 96 Fire Rock:
This is one of the top matchups in this round, and I believe we could see a big score here. Fire Rock isn’t going to try and trick anyone, and he doesn’t have blazing speed. He’s just going to try to buck guys off the old fashioned way. He’ll get a lot of air, and a lot of kick, and he’ll look good doing it. He’s the kind of bull that most of these guys hope to have at every event, and he’s just strong enough to beat the riders on their terms most of the time. He may have a tougher time with Harris. Fire Rock likes to go to the left, but Harris may be the best around at riding bulls away from his hand. This is a fairly honest bull with pretty good timing, and Harris just doesn’t come down from bulls like this no matter how hard they buck. If you think back to Harris’s matchups with Long John, the guy can absorb a whole lot of up and down from a bull before it shakes him, and this bull isn’t nearly that strong.
Guilherme Marchi on 706 Percolator:
You’d like to think that a rider of Marchi’s stature would be heavily favored on a bull that is often picked at the top of short round drafts, but that isn’t the case here. They met at the finals and Marchi came down. Marchi in recent years has been unreliable on bulls that go away from his hand, and that’s what will decide this match. Percolator likes to go to the left, and if he goes that way he’s got the edge here. If he goes right, Marchi has the advantage.
Mike Lee on 965 King Buck:
Like Marchi and Harris, Lee will have to get it done going away from his hand. But, this bull isn’t as strong as the previous two. King Buck has been ridden nine times in 15 outs on tour, and while he bucks good enough to be in this round, his record makes him one of the nicest bulls to ride in the round.
Eduardo Aparecido on JC6 Southpaw:
Chase Outlaw rode this bull in Laughlin in September, and that spoiled Southpaw’s bid for a second straight unridden season. Aparecido had him in 2013 and didn’t ride him. They met again in 2014, but Southpaw fell, earning Aparecido a re-ride. This is a bull where prior experience may not help all that much. He doesn’t have a set pattern — he just does what it takes to get the rider on the ground. Aparecido has his work cut out for him here, as does everyone who faces Southpaw.
Fabiano Vieira on 910 Wreck it Ralph:
This is a pretty good draw in a bonus round or short round. Ralph was in both Baltimore and Chicago in the long rounds, and he was pretty good. He got promoted here because of another bull getting pulled from this round because of a bad trip. Vieira should be a heavy favorite here, the only question being his health. This is a bull has some up and down, and he may put some stress on Vieira’s injured free arm shoulder. If that weren’t a factor, Vieira wins this match 10 times out of 10.
JB Mauney on 344-9 Crack the Whip:
This could be a big score. Crack the Whip likes to go to the left, he’s pretty fast, and he can be a little bit welly. He’s been better at throwing guys off than he looks like he should be. Mauney should be able to handle him, but it won’t be a walk in the park. All in all, this is one of the better matchups in the round.
Matt Triplett on 8312 Clementine:
We don’t know too much about Clementine. He threw Cody Nance off in Baltimore, and looked pretty good doing it. This is not a bull that any rider is going to have nightmares about. He’s small and kind of cute, but he’s only given up one qualified ride in fifteen career outs.
Joao Ricardo Vieira on 917 Pound the Alarm:
Vieira is up against his own weakness here. Pound the Alarm has been ridden six times in 28 career outs. Only one of those rides was by a left-handed rider, and he happened to spin to the left that time. There is more to this bull than meets the eye. He tends to go to the right, and he tends to throw a lot of guys off late in the ride. He wants to throw guys to the outside of the spin right when he turns back, but the further they ride him the more he wants them to the inside of the spin. So far in his career he’s pretty much only been vulnerable when spinning into the rider’s hand, and even then it requires a lot of focus to ride him. Big moves are a mistake on him, and the only way to stay on him is to stay in the right spot and make small quick adjustments when necessary.
Silvano Alves on 018 Ranga:
This could be your round winner. Ranga likes to go to the right, and he’s strong enough to consistently shake loose the best riders. But, Alves typically makes bull like this look easy. Ranga can reverse the spin at some point, but at this point in Alves’ career, it’s hard to imagine him bucking off of any bull. He’s just a bull riding machine. It’s a long season, and anything can happen, but if Alves stays focused and healthy, this could end up like his 2011 World Championship year where he was so dominant he made every other rider look silly.
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