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The Morning Line: Tucson, Day 1

Although the race for the World Championship tends to get the most attention, the race to qualify for the World Finals will be the most heated one here. This is the last Built Ford Tough Series event of the season and there are a number of guys who are very close in points hoping to get in by winning some points at this event.

Bonner Bolton on 1925 Painkiller:

Bolton is right on the bubble to make the World Finals. Of all the guys around him in the standings, he drew the best in this round. Painkiller has been ridden eight times in 15 career outs, and he gave up 86.5 points to Douglas Duncan in his only BFTS appearance. A bull that brings good scores and is ridden over half the time is always a good draw in a long round, and in this case he’s a better draw than anyone else on the bubble has.

Fabiano Vieira on -0 Johnny’s Boy:

This is a rematch from just a few weeks ago in Springfield. Johnny’s Boy got the best of Vieira there, but not until the 7-second mark. On paper this matchup looks like a slam dunk for Vieira, and you can bet this bull won’t get him twice in a row.

Shane Proctor on W29 Play With My Berries:

This is an L.J. Jenkins’ bull, and this is his first trip to the big stage. He’s been to a number of Touring Pro Division events and has given up several rides despite not having faced many high-level riders. Proctor will be the best rider he’s faced in two years, and he should have the edge here.

Robson Palermo on 011 Smoke Wagon:

Palermo had this bull in Las Vegas and nearly made the whistle – coming down in 7.5 seconds. Smoke Wagon had given up a couple of rides before that, but his biggest problem is that he’s inconsistent. Palermo should be able to handle him, but you never know if he’s going to be worth 87 points or closer to 80. Palermo is just above the bubble, and probably has the Finals in the bag, but he could get passed by several guys here.  He could use some insurance points.

Cooper Davis on BB88 Woody:

Davis is headed for his first PBR World Finals this month and is not on the bubble. He’s not far from breaking into the Top 10, and he’s been on the move. He earned a second-place finish in Allentown, Pennsylvania last week, and he won a round in Springfield. He’s got a good draw here and it is one he’s ridden before. They met in Seattle early this season. Woody is a solid long-round veteran and he’s given up a lot of rides to right-handed riders.

Valdiron de Oliveira on 10 Jonely Bonely:

Jonely Bonely is 2-5 against right-handed riders and hasn’t really faced many top-tier riders. Oliveira will be the best rider he’s faced in over a year and it will be something of a surprise if he can get Oliveira on the ground.

J.B. Mauney on 1991 Big Naughty:

This is a bull that really tries to spin as far around in one jump as he can, so he puts a lot of effort into each jump. He will break things up by taking a high leap occasionally and this gives him a little uneven timing. He likes to spin to the left, and he hasn’t been very successful in getting rid of left-handed riders. He’ll have trouble getting Mauney on the ground here.

Renato Nunes on 2575-0 Flab Slab:

We haven’t seen this bull on tour this season, but he’s been around for a few years. He’s a good fit for Nunes, as he likes to spin, and he’s got good timing. He’s been ridden three times in five BFTS outs. He’s given up 11 rides altogether in his 29-out career.

J.W. Harris on 12 Mini Me:

Harris has moved up to 5th in the world standings after a win in Allentown, and he’s riding his best at the most important time. He’s likely to get a score here, but this bull may not be enough to place him in the points in this round. Mauney’s bull is a likely to produce a higher score, and the rest of the top five are all question marks in this round.

Reese Cates on 64 Merlot Man:

This is a rematch from about a year ago. Cates was 86 points on Merlot Man at a TPD event in Bakersfield, California.  This is a veteran bull that likes to spin to the right and has been good to right-handed riders. Cates needs to have a good event here and go into the Finals with some confidence. He’s placed in two rounds and has just four qualified rides since the summer break.

Follow Slade Long on Twitter @Probullstats

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