The Morning Line: Springfield, Day 1

The Invitational begins tonight in Springfield, Mo.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The opening round here is an ABBI Classic competition, and we’ll see this group of 3- and 4-year-old bulls again in Round 3. The riders have fared better against this group of bulls in recent events. Early in the season, the young bulls had a noticeable advantage.

Fabiano Vieira on 091 One Shot:
This is one of the better draws in this round. He’s good to ride and he should go into Vieira’s hand. Typically, that is an advantage for the rider, but in Vieira’s condition it presents a problem. When a rider cannot lift his free arm because of a shoulder injury, it often makes him ride better on bulls that go away from his hand, and hinders him on bulls that spin into it. Vieira has a keen sense of balance that should help him get a score here, even with the shoulder injury.

Markus Mariluch on 79 Jo Jo:
Two right-handed riders have faced this bull recently. Guilherme Marchirode him 7.74 seconds in Tulsa and J.W. Harris was 86.75 points on him in Thackerville, Oklahoma. Mariluch, who is coming off a good showing in  Nashville, Tennessee, has a good shot at an opening-round score here.

J.W. Harris on 58X Long John:
This is a rematch from Colorado Springs, Colorado, where Long John had one of the best trips we’ve seen him have, and he still had trouble getting Harris on the ground. Harris went 6.16 seconds the first time. There’s a good chance he gets the job done here.

Douglas Duncan on 08 Margy Time:
Margy Time has proven himself to be the bull to watch at the Classic level this season. He is seriously rank, and truly belongs in a pen withBushwacker and Asteroid. Duncan will have his hands full. Margy Time is unridden in 23 outs so far, and no rider has presented him a true challenge yet.

Ryan Dirteater on 95X Dumber:
They met in Thackerville, and Dirteater came down in 4.96 seconds. Dumber is one of the better bulls in this pen, and he’s a good draw for a left-handed rider, but he’s not easy. He spins to the left with as much gusto as a bull can have. If Dirteater can get him ridden, it will likely be for a round win.

Marco Eguchi on 011 Kung Fu Fighter:
This bull should go to the right, into Eguchi’s hand, and he’s a little too nice to get the best of Eguchi. When he’s faced the better riders, he’s been ridden every time. He had a weak trip with Tanner Byrne in Tulsa, but when he has his day he should be good for an 87- or 88-point score.

Nathan Schaper on 056 South Fork:
When we saw this bull early in the season in Billings, Montana, he went to the left with a good bit of up and down, but with near-perfect timing. When a bull has great timing, he will get ridden at this level, and this one looks good enough to place Schaper in the money if he can stay aboard.

Renato Nunes on 107 Griz Jr.:
Griz Jr. Has been ridden just once – but it was by the first top-tier lefty to try him. Fabiano Vieira rode him in Thackerville. Expect Nunes – a lefty who is in better physical shape right now – to get the job done, as well.

Tyler Harr on 053 Speed Bump:
Speed Bump made his BFTS debut in Thackerville and was ridden by L.J. Jenkins. Austin Meier also rode him last year. When he’s faced the better riders, he’s been more vulnerable, and most bulls with those kind of numbers are typically ridden regularly at this level. Harr is making a move this year to earn his place among the better riders, and his riding has noticeably improved, but winning in this sport is a never-ending job.

Scottie Knapp on 32Y Bruiser:
I liked this matchup when it happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and I still like it. This is a great draw for a left-handed rider, and Knapp nearly got the job done when they met a month ago. Joao Ricardo Vieira won the first round in Thackerville on this bull.

Guilherme Marchi on 056 Thunderstruck:
Marchi is on top of the standings right now, but not by much. Several guys are right there with him. They all need to stay on their bulls and they need Marchi to come down from some. That doesn’t look likely here. We’ve seen this bull twice, and he was ridden once. Not the record of a bull that should get the best of Marchi. We may look back on Marchi one day as the most consistent rider in PBR history. He’s been exceptionally good for an especially long time.

Follow Slade Long on Twitter @ProBullStats.

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