By: Keith Ryan Cartwright May 03, 2014@ 11:00:00 AM
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. ― Coming off one of his longest in-season breaks, Asteroid will return to action in Saturday night’s 15/15 Bucking Battle, in Colorado Springs.
He’s replacing South Paw in the fifth spot and, therefore, will be matched up with two-time World Champion Silvano Alves.
Alves was bucked off in 2.47 seconds earlier this year in Oklahoma City. He is 0-for-3 in his career against Asteroid.
Although Asteroid hasn’t competed since early March, when he did so on back-to-back days at the Dr Pepper Iron Cowboy V and THE AMERICAN in Arlington, Texas, the expectation is still high for the 2012 World Champion Bull.
Asteroid bucks off Gage Gay in 1.5 seconds at the Dr Pepper Iron Cowboy V in Arlington, Texas.
“He loves to buck,” said PBR Livestock Director Cody Lambert. “I think he’ll be as good as ever. I don’t know at seven seconds how good he’ll be, but I doubt we’ll have to watch him at seven seconds.”
No one has reached seven seconds since Chase Outlaw lasted 7.17 seconds at a Built Ford Tough Series event in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2012 just a couple weeks after J.B. Mauney rode him for 93.5 points in San Antonio, Texas.
In 24 outs since Mauney rode him, he’s only gone longer than five seconds three times.
Of course, Asteroid will not only be contending with the time off this weekend. He will also be bucking at a higher altitude in Colorado Springs, which could affect some bulls, especially one like Asteroid who is kept on a ranch in Louisiana, if any from southern-based ranches get ridden past the four- or five-second mark.
“We’ll just wait and see what happens,” said stock contractor Gene Melton, who hauls and handles bulls for Circle T Ranch & Rodeo. “I just hope he’s the same as he always is.”
In a career dating back to late 2010, Asteroid has only been ridden three times.
He made an unceremonious BFTS debut three years ago in Des Moines, Iowa, when he was marked 39.5 points when Elton Cide declined a re-ride option and kept 76 points.
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However, since then he’s been marked 45 points or better 37 times, including a career-best 47.5 points three times.
Some bulls tend to get better the more they’re bucked, whereas Asteroid has always been good whenever Melton brought him to an event—save for those four rare occasions when he hipped himself coming out of the chute (most notably at the World Finals in 2011).
In fact, since making his BFTS debut, five times he’s bucked coming off a two-month layoff and four of those times he’s been scored 45.5 points (Tulsa, Oklahoma; 2013), 46 points (Winston-Salem, North Carolina; 2013), 46 points (Tulsa; 2012) and 46.75 points (Anaheim, California, 2012).
Earlier this year, he was given 44.5 points in Oklahoma City after going just over two months without competing, but he came back in Arlington with a pair of 45.25-point outings on successive days.
“He’s already proved himself until a better bull comes along, which there always is,” Melton said. “That’s just the way it goes. I don’t have anything to be disappointed in, at this point, you know, everybody wants that one bull in their lifetime. You’re real fortunate to have one whether it wins it once or twice as long as you can win one.”
J.W. Hart recently announced that Asteroid will be part of a challenge he’s put together at his annual Touring Pro Division event in Decatur, Texas, on Saturday, May 31.
Mauney, the reigning World Champion, will be matched up with Asteroid, while J.W. Harris will get on Shepherd Hills Tested in a winner-take-all $25,000 1,000 Miles from Home Challenge .
Asteroid won’t compete again until the Tulsa BFTS event in mid-August.
At that point, he’ll compete in four successive BFTS events, which also includes Thackerville, Oklahoma; Nashville, Tennessee, and Springfield, Missouri. According to Melton, he’ll also haul Asteroid to the Biloxi, Mississippi, event before heading west to Las Vegas for the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
Asked if his late-season push will be enough to contend for another world title, Lambert replied, “I think so. I think that’s about how many outs Bones had the last year that he beat Bushwacker.”
Asteroid posts a bull score of 47.5 points in bucking off 2011 World Champion Silvano Alves in the inaugural PBR 15/15 Bucking Battle in Sacramento, Calif.
Lambert likened it to powerhouse college football teams contending for a national title, in that it’s easier to overcome an early-season loss than a late-season conference matchup.
In 2010, Bones competed six times in the first two months of the season and then went over five months before making his next appearance in Nashville. He finished with four outs in the late stretch, earned enough votes from the top riders to contend for a second title and then surprised everyone with two of the strongest outings at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Guilherme Marchi is bucked off by Bones during Round 3 of the 2008 Tulsa Express PBR Classic, presented by Osage Million Dollar Elm Casino.
Although Asteroid is a few pounds heavier than usual, according to Melton, he too could prove to be a formidable contender for Bushwacker, who is in the midst of his final season. He’s looking for a third world title and twice has been upset despite being the favorite, including 2012 when Asteroid kept him from winning back-to-back titles.
“It depends on your bull and the bulls you’re competing against,” said Melton, who said he hasn’t watched two full events all season. “Who knows?”
Lambert quantified his feelings by adding, “I think it’s more important what they do in the fall than what they do right now.”
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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