By: Slade Long
January 22, 2016
Friday’s opening round in Oklahoma City is an ABBI Classic round, which is a competition in itself among 3- and 4-year old bulls. Bulls leave this class after their fourth year of age, and that means we get new ones every year. With a few exceptions that also means these bulls are mostly unknown and unproven this time of year. By this fall we’ll know much more about them.
Round 1 Matchups:
Gage Gay on 2125 Wicked Stick:
This bull is one of the front runners in the ABBI Classic class this year. He competed last year and made it to the World Finals where he carried J.B. Mauney to a 91-point score and a round win. He didn’t travel that much, but he did happen to meet up with Gay in Tulsa, and threw him off in less than 3 seconds. This is a quality bull and certainly one of the best in this round. He’s got good timing, but he’s also fast and has a lot of action. Gay will have his hands full here.
Derek Kolbaba on 37Z Udder Lover:
There are a lot of interesting angles here. First, this bull has one of the best names ever. Twenty years ago stock contractors were just terrible at naming bulls. Whoever named this one should get an award. Udder Lover has been around since last summer, but he’s mainly been on the rodeo circuit and hasn’t been competing in ABBI events. His record suggests he may be bad in the chute, and/or hard to get out clean on. He’s unridden, and he’s thrown some capable riders, but he’s had a number of misfires.
Kolbaba is here on a special five-event invite, which was a good decision on the part of the PBR, because since Kolbaba gave up falling off, he’s been having a lot of success. He might inspire more riders to try it. Kolbaba went 1-for-3 in Chicago, but he left there and immediately went on a tear and rode seven bulls in a row to win three events over the next seven days.
Guilherme Marchi on Z7 Sketchy Bob:
This is another Page bull making his Built Ford Tough Series debut here. Bob has been ridden a few times for good scores, and every time he’s been ridden it has been by a right-handed rider. He’s 1-3 against them. Marchi is coming back off an injury. He had an offseason last year largely because of injury, but if he’s back and healthy no bull that goes to the right will get the best of him.
Fabiano Vieira on 264 Ram It:
We saw this bull in Chicago carry Wallace Oliveira to a third-place finish in Round 1. His only other out on record was at the ABBI Derby in Las Vegas during the World Finals, and he was ridden there as well. Vieira will be the toughest test in his young career so far.
Joao Ricardo Vieira on 2103 Buck Autism:
By the numbers this is the best bull out in this round. He’s got some experience, and he’s been very consistent. J.B. Mauney rode him for 91.25 points in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last season, and Mason Lowe took him for 87.75 points just a couple of weeks later. He went to the right with Mauney, and he was not an easy bull. Vieira really needs him to decide to go to the left here. This is a potential round win if Vieira can get to the whistle.
Robson Palermo on B60 Handsome Jeff:
Ben Jones rode Handsome Jeff for an 89.5-point score and second in a round at the World Finals. This is a rock solid bull and a good draw. The only knock on him in this situation is that he likes to go to the right, and that will be away from Palermo’s hand. He threw off several lefties last season including Fabiano Vieira and Billy Robinson. This is a great draw, but he may not be a cakewalk for Palermo if he spins to the right.
Wallace Oliveira on 13-2 Glory Days:
This bull made it to a couple of events last fall and was pretty consistent. He’s been ridden twice in eight career outs, but those two came against right-handed riders — pretty much the only two right-handed guys he has faced. Olivieira started the season with a bang, but he leveled off in New York. The way to succeed at this level is not to let the big stage be too big. He has to think of this as just another bull and just another place.
Nathan Schaper on 01Z Rocko:
Rocko is one of the most experienced bulls out tonight, and he’s one of the highest-marked as well. He’s unridden in 17 career outs, and has knocked off several very good riders. Schaper has quietly ridden 5 of the 8 bulls he has been on through the first two events, and that is a great way to start the year. This could turn out to be the best bull he’s faced so far, and if he can get the job done he’s likely to place.
Rubens Barbosa on 36Z Rebel Yell:
Barbosa hasn’t been riding well of late. He hasn’t posted a score at this level since September, and he’s had some opportunities. This bull may be worth a second look though. He comes from Page bloodlines, but he belongs to Alabama stock contractor Rickey West. West doesn’t bring a lot of bulls to the ABBI Classics, and he’s not a high roller. He’s a little conservative, and if he thinks enough of this bull to pay his fees for this, that means something. On paper, Rebel Yell has had a couple of monster outs. He was the high-marked bull at a Rainsville, Alabama, Touring Pro event recently, and he was less than a quarter of a point short of being the high marked bull at the Jerome Davis Invitational Classic last fall. This could be a bull to keep an eye on.
J.B. Mauney on 214 Jailbreaker:
This is a tale that’s been told time and again. A brand new bull looks promising, has success at the Touring Pro level, and moves up to the Built Ford Tough Series with a perfect unridden record, and then draws Mauney right off the bat. Mauney has won this scenario far more times than he’s lost it, so the smart money is on him. Mauney hasn’t looked perfectly healthy through the first two events, and that might shift things in the bull’s favor a little, but in essence this is like a promising rookie pitcher stepping onto the rubber to throw his first ever major league pitch to Albert Pujols.
Follow Slade Long on Twitter @Probullstats
© 2016 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.