By: Justin Felisko
August 03, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – When a bull has bucked off 26 opponents in 33 outs, one would think that the bull would likely have surrendered a 90-point ride during at least one of those outs on the Built Ford Tough Series. However, when it comes to Wicked, Gene Owen’s bull has yet to have partnered with a bull rider for a home run.
What is even more surprising is that it is not because sub-par riders have made the 8-second mark on Wicked. You would think riders such as two-time World Champion and active 90-point rides leader J.B. Mauney, Kaique Pacheco, Fabiano Vieira or Guilherme Marchi would have been able to cross the 90-point threshold.
Instead, each of those riders fell within a point or less shy of the 90-point marking. All and all, riders on the Built Ford Tough Series average 88.14 points per ride atop Wicked.
Is Wicked simply not that rank? Or did any of those Top-10 caliber riders have an off night?
Well, if you ask PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert, he would tell you it is more a fact of riders seemingly being able to make Wicked appear easier than he really is when they do end up riding him.
“Wicked is really good,” Lambert said in June. “The only reason Wicked is this far down (on the World Champion Bull contender list) as Magic Train and Beaver Creek Beau to me is when guys ride him, they don’t score him as high as other bulls. To me, Wicked would be a little higher on the list, he would be up there with Cochise, if he scored as high. For some reason, it takes an almost perfect effort to ride him and the guys that ride him make him a look a little easier than it really is.”
Wicked’s BFTS first half ended with Pacheco riding the black bull for 89.75 points during the third round of Last Cowboy Standing.
That ride, like many others, should have been scored higher according to Lambert.
“When Kaique rode him in Las Vegas and was 89.75, there is no doubt he could have been 91-92,” Lambert said. “When Guilherme rode him a couple of years ago in Colorado Springs, he was 89.5. I thought he could have been 93. When J.B. Mauney rode him this year in Kansas City, I know he could have been 93 and he was 89.”
Wicked is averaging a career-best 43.92 points per out in seven outs this season. He started the year slowly, with only a 42.75-point bull score against Valdiron de Oliveira (6.26 seconds) and a 43-point bull score against Paulo Lima (4.22 seconds).
Mauney then rode Wicked for 89 points during the Kansas City, Missouri, 15/15 Bucking Battle for 89 points, but once again Wicked was only marked 43.5 points.
Wicked then rebounded following a month a half off with a career-high 45.75-point outing against Cooper Davis during the 15/15 Bucking Battle in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Davis lasted only 2.02 seconds.
It was the beginning of three consecutive outs where Wicked was marked 44 points or higher, including 44.75 points for another buckoff of Davis in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
“There is just something about that bull,” Lambert said. “He makes those guys do everything so correct to ride him that it makes the bull look easier than he really was. He is not showy to the judges is the issue.”
Wicked has bucked only once this summer, disposing Mauney in 5.48 seconds in a $25,000 bounty matchup at the Vinita, Oklahoma, Touring Pro Division event.
“He’s smart,” Mauney said. “He’ll turn back a few rounds then he’s going to jump about 10 feet forward on you. That’s his M.O. and everybody knows what he’s going to do. He’s kind of wild and shoots forward on you.”
Owen plans on bringing Wicked to Nashville for the Frontier Communications Music City Knockout, presented by Cooper Tires, on Aug. 19-20.
The final PBR Major of the season kicks off the stretch run to the Built Ford Tough World Finals on Nov. 2-6 during PBR Finals Week.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Throughout the month of July and early August, PBR.com, and the PBR’s social media channels, will be featuring a variety of bulls in the race for the 2016 World Championship, as well as some of the other rankest bovines in the business.
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