Saturday night’s round is the short round for the ABBI Classic bulls. The best of them from Wednesday night are back, and their score here will decide the 2015 Classic Champion. So there is a lot on the line for the young bulls. The rest of the bulls in this round are bulls that haven’t gone yet. This is a draft round, so the riders picked their poison here.
Bonner Bolton on 138 Crackerjack:
This is the bull that threw Matt Triplett in Round 1. He’s unridden in eight career outs and Wednesday was his debut at the BFTS level. He went to the right with a lot of kick and he had some backup against Triplett. He quickly got Triplett down on his head. He will fit Bolton a little better. Bolton rides upright; he’s very good at keeping his back straight and his chest out and avoids going over the front of bulls, which is exactly what this bull is going to try to do to him. Crackerjack won’t be easy, but Bolton does match up well with him.
Derek Kolbaba on 630 Rebelution:
I really want this kid to adopt the nickname “Shish” if he hasn’t already. He got on the board last night, and he picked a good bull for this round. Rebelution is a little odd. He’s a got such perfect timing that every jump is exactly like the last. He jumps the same height, kicks out at the same angle and comes around in the spin the same degree to the left. He’s a little hypnotic to watch. Most bulls don’t have timing this perfect, so he probably feels a little weird. He’s also got enough speed and action in every jump to get any rider on the ground. He’s given up a couple of rides to left-handed riders, and he really hasn’t faced a lot of top-level guys. Kolbaba is a small guy, and if he can get himself in the groove with this bull early, he could cruise to a good score. He’ll come down early if he gets behind or out of time.
J.B. Mauney on 32Y Bruiser:
This a rematch from this same round at last year’s Finals where Mauney blew the roof of the Thomas and Mack winning the round with a 93.25 point score. It’s also the most important matchup of the night.
All but one of the guys picking ahead of Mauney were right-handed, but they pretty much handed Mauney the round win by not picking Bruiser.
Of course he has to stay on, but I don’t believe any of the riders seriously expect him not to. Bruiser is the perfect bull for Mauney, and he’s worth more points than any other bull in this round. A qualified ride here will clinch the world title regardless of what his competitors do.
Tanner Byrne on 040 Missouri Boat Ride:
This is the kind of pick that Silvano Alves usually makes. Byrne should be a huge favorite here. Missouri Boat Ride looks good, and can produce good scores, but he’s one of the easier to ride bulls at this event, if not the easiest. He’s been ridden six out of seven times at the BFTS level.
Fabiano Vieira on 700 Fire Bender:
Fire Bender is a near perfect match for Vieira. He goes hard to the left and he’s pretty salty. He throws a lot of guys off. He’s 9-1 against the 10 best riders he’s faced, and he’s 9-3 on the BFTS. The one thing missing from his resume is high level left-handed riders. Vieira will easily be the best lefty he’s ever faced.
Matt Triplett on 033 Shoot Out the Lights:
This is another rematch. Triplett was 87 points on this bull in Baltimore early this season. At that time, Shoot Out the Lights was getting ridden just about every time he showed up anywhere. In the latter half of this season, he’s 7-1 against the riders, and he’s faced some quality opponents. Triplett should have the edge here, but not by as much as he did in their first match.
Silvano Alves on 937 Bad to the Bone:
Alves had the first pick in this round and picked a bull he’s relatively certain he can ride. In every draft round, Alves has consistently picked safe throughout his career. It’s not just his strategy, though. Most guys use the draft to pick a bull that will fit them over the bull that will bring the most points. Look for Alves to get another score. He’s never had a bad Finals and he doesn’t want to start now.
Joao Ricardo Vieira on 136 Uncle Tink:
Vieira is a huge favorite here, but he’s not going to beat Mauney in this round if they both ride. This isn’t enough bull to pull that off. This is a very safe pick, but right now Vieira needs to be reaching. If the plan is to wait for Mauney to fail, there isn’t enough time left in the season for that to work.
Cody Nance on 2125 Wicked Stick:
This is the bull that Mauney won the opening round on. We didn’t know much about him then, but now we know that he’s a great fit for any left-handed rider. Lots of speed and good timing make him a great fit for anyone. If Nance can handle him as easily as Mauney did he’ll place high in the round.
J.W. Harris on 1149 Pearl Harbor:
Harris hasn’t had a great week so far, but things will get better for his wallet if he stays on this bull. He’s reaching for a big score with this pick, and not trying to choose the bull that’s easiest for him to ride. Pearl Harbor has a lot of up and down, and he isn’t ridden very often, but he can turn in 44-point bull scores at times, which means Harris could get a 90-point ride out of this. His style is a good fit for Harris as well. Harris tends to get along with bulls that get a lot of air and have some drop.
Cooper Davis on 708 The Rocker:
Look for the Cooper Davis train to keep rolling tonight. The Rocker is a solid bull, much like the one Davis had last night. Kody Lostroh won third in a round on him here last year. Davis has placed in every round, and is the overall leader here. He has a great chance to place in this round as well.
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