By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – The Unleash The Beast may of had an off weekend last week, but the No. 1-ranked bull in the world stayed busy ahead of this weekend’s PBR Ariat Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, in Billings, Montana.
D&H Cattle Company hauled Chiseled to Blackfoot, Idaho, on Tuesday night for the Gem State Classic Rodeo, and the No. 1 bull in the world did not disappoint. Chiseled was marked 48 points for using three massive and athletic leaps out of the bucking chute before turning back with even more power to dismantle No. 1 PRCA-ranked rider Ky Hamilton just beyond the three-second mark.
Chiseled will continue his pursuit of his first PBR World Championship on Saturday night when he takes on 2012 PRCA champion Cody Teel in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
Fans can watch the 15/15 Bucking Battle Sunday on CBS national television (check local listings).
“I saw (the video) today,” Teel said Thursday. “He looked pretty dang good. You just have to stay loose and match that intensity. You can’t lock down on him.”
Chiseled has become one of the favorites in this year’s championship race, and he sits No. 1 in the standings courtesy of his 46.03-point World Champion Bull Average (best eight outs).
The 2020 YETI World Champion Bull will be the animal with the highest average bull score from their top eight regular-season outs and two outs at the PBR World Finals.
While Chiseled’s PRCA performance has no impact on the PBR World Championship race, it was still a great bounce-back performance after the 2019 ABBI Classic Champion was marked a season-low 43.75 points at the Unleash The Beast event in Fort Worth, Texas, two weeks ago. It was inside Dickies Arena when Chiseled kicked the back of the bucking chutes so hard leaving the gate that he wound up stumbling before bucking off Ezekiel Mitchell.
Chiseled was once again back to his athletic dominant self this week in Idaho, and he will be a stout test for Teel in their first-ever meeting.
Teel has wanted the matchup all year long.
“He’s been first on my mock drafts all year,” Teel said. “I just haven’t came back high enough to get him (in a championship round).”
Chiseled is 6-2 on the premier series this season with an average score of 45.68 points. World No. 1 Jose Vitor Leme rode him for 94 points last month for the victory in Salt Lake City, and Lucas Divino won the Lucas Oil Invitational, presented by U.S. Border Patrol, in Guthrie, Oklahoma, on May 17 with a 90.75-point ride.
2020 Chiseled WCBB Stats
UTB/METC/GC Outs (Ridden): 10 (2)
UTB/METC/GC Average Score: 45.63
World Champion Bull Average (Best 8 Outs): 46.03
Score needed to increase World Champion Bull Average: 45.5
Teel has been battling a right knee injury all year long that dates back to last year’s World Finals. Despite the injury, Teel is ranked 16th in the world standings and remains in good position to qualify for his fourth World Finals.
The 28-year-old is planning to undergo reconstructive surgery following the World Finals. He would then be out of competition for roughly six months.
Here is a look at the other top World Champion Bull Contenders bucking in Billings.
No. 2 Smooth Operator vs. Jose Vitor Leme
2020 WCBB Stats
UTB/METC/GC Outs (Ridden): 11 (0)
UTB/METC/GC Average Score: 45.30
World Champion Bull Average (Best 8 Outs): 45.75
Score needed to increase World Champion Bull Average: 45.25
Matchup: Leme is looking to become the first left-handed bull rider to ever record an 8-second ride on Smooth Operator. The 2019 World Champion Bull is 35-1 vs. left-handed riders, according to ProBullStats, and this will be a stout showdown. That one ride came from Leme (92.5 points) last season to win the Columbus, Ohio, 15/15 Bucking Battle, but the catch was Smooth Operator spun into Leme’s riding hand vs. going to the right like he normally does. Smooth Operator bucked Leme off in 3.77 seconds four months later in Nashville for a 46.25-point bull score.
Leme is also attempting to end Smooth Operator’s streak of 18 consecutive buckoffs. Teel rode Smooth Operator last season at Cheyenne Frontier Days for 91.75 points.
No. 3 Hocus Pocus vs. Ezekiel Mitchell
2020 WCBB Stats
UTB/METC/GC Outs (Ridden): 11 (1)
UTB/METC/GC Average Score: 44.98
World Champion Bull Average (Best 8 Outs): 45.25
Score needed to increase World Champion Bull Average: 45 points
Matchup: Hocus Pocus is likely a notch below the top contenders, but the difficult-to-ride bovine athlete is coming off one of his best outs in months following a 45.5-point score in Fort Worth against Stetson Lawrence (45.5 points). The score was Hocus Pocus’s best since a 46.25-point score at the 2020 Global Cup (3.95 seconds vs. Lachlan Richardson).
Ezekiel Mitchell gets his next crack at another top 2020 YETI World Champion Bull contender. Mitchell is 0-for-6 against Chiseled (0-for-2), Smooth Operator (0-for-2), three-time World Champion SweetPro’s Bruiser (0-for-1) and the late Air Support (0-for-1). However, this matchup could possibly go in Mitchell’s favor if the bull has a trip like he did with 2018 World Champion Kaique Pacheco. Pacheco rode Hocus Pocus for 89.25 points for the victory in Guthrie, Oklahoma, in August.
No. 4 I’m Legit Too vs. Eduardo Aparecido
2020 WCBB Stats
UTB/METC/GC Outs (Ridden): 11 (3)
UTB/METC/GC Average Score: 44.8 points
World Champion Bull Average (Best 8 Outs): 45.19 points
Score needed to increase World Champion Bull Average: 44.5
I’m Legit Too posted his best score of the second half in Fort Worth with 45.75 points during his 2.96-second buckoff of Cole Melancon. The Hart Cattle Company and David Hale-owned superstar has flashed World Champion potential this season, and he may just have the best chance to make the World Champion Bull race a three-headed one come the World Finals.
Eduardo Aparecido will try to become only the second right-handed bull rider to reach the 8-second mark against I’m Legit Too. Left-handed riders have had much better success aboard I’m Legit Too, who has allowed five of his six qualified rides to lefties. Lindomar Lino is the only right-handed rider to conquer I’m Legit Too, but that 83.75-point ride came two years ago in Springfield, Missouri, during I’m Legit Too’s Unleash The Beast debut.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media
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