The Morning Line: Iron Cowboy

ARLINGTON, Texas  With the format for Iron Cowboy changing to a progressive-round event like the Last Cowboy Standing, not much changes from the rider’s perspective. Just like any other event, the rider’s job is to stay on.

The big difference here is that the bull power is dialed up as high as it can get and there aren’t very many bulls at this event that are easy. The object here is to win the event, which pays out 600 points toward the world standings, but every round also awards 150 points to each round winner, more than the standard 100 points available at regular BFTS events.

Alexandre Cardozo on 701 Shepherd Hills Stockman:

Cardozo is here because of his Touring Pro Division success. This is a guy we see quite a bit at the Touring Pro level, and this will be his first BFTS event. He’s picked a good place to make a debut, and he really couldn’t have drawn a better bull. Shepherd Hills Stockman has long been one of the nicer bulls to ride in short rounds and is one of the better performing long-round bulls. He spins to the right and has been ridden by right-handed riders about half the time. Cardozo has a good shot to make the whistle, and if Stockman has a great day, he could pick up some big round points here.

Shane Proctor on -24X Butcher’s Nightmare:

We haven’t seen too much of this bull. He only has seven career outs, and four of those were on the Built Ford Tough Series level. He threw off Renato Nunes and Ryan Dirteater in St. Louis and Fabiano Vieira in Denver. Reese Cates rode him for 87.25 points and second in a round in Oklahoma City and Guilherme Marchi got him for 87 points and a round win in Biloxi, Mississippi, last year. So what we have here is a bull that is more than capable of tossing the best riders… unless they are right-handed, and Proctor is.

Austin Meier on 965 King Buck:

King Buck typically produces good scores and shows well, but he’s also one of the easier bulls to ride at this event – or on the BFTS in general. The reason is that after two or three jumps, riders know what to expect on him – more of the same. He’s got a nice, even-timing about him, and each jump he makes is a lot like the last. His direction change is easy to track, and he just doesn’t try to throw any dirty tricks. Riders like him a lot, and Meier in particular should too – he rode him in Oklahoma City in the 2013 season for 84.75 points. King Buck was very young then. Recent scores on him are in the 87-88 points range.

J.W. Harris on 018 Ranga:

If King Buck were a little trickier, a little less friendly and hit the ground a little harder, he might be this bull. Ranga is a similar-looking bull who produces similar scores to King Buck, but he’s a little more ornery. He will typically spin to the right, but will reverse it, and he can have some breaks in his timing that make him harder to ride. Right-handed guys have had a lot of success on him, but the key factor here is how Harris will handle the change of direction at around the 6-second mark.

Mike Lee on B111 KISS Animalize:

Lee won the lottery here. This may be the best draw in this round. If you think of bulls as famous movie monsters to be conquered, this one is like the Stay Puft marshmallow man from Ghostbusters. He’s dangerous, and a worthy adversary, but it’s hard to be scared of him. Guys have earned a lot of round points on him this season. Lee should ride him easily even though he will spin away from his hand here.

Neil Holmes on 868 After Party:

After Party will retire after this event as one of the best bulls in bull riding history. He was the PRCA Bucking Bull of the Year in 2010. He’s never been the rankest bull around, but with 94 career outs, he’s consistently produced big scores and round wins whenever he’s ridden. Just drawing him doesn’t guarantee a paycheck though – there’s still the problem of making the whistle on him. After Party doesn’t leap high and show off his air time – he stays close to the ground and works guys over. The key with him is that he’s very quick and he gets a lot of guys down on his head early in the ride, particularly left-handed guys. Staying off his head in the first few jumps is the test for Holmes here.

Renato Nunes on 96 Redneck:

Like King Buck, this bull shows well and produces good scores, but struggles to get riders on the ground. Redneck typically goes to the right, but left-handed riders have ridden him more often than right handers. Nunes doesn’t have the best style for handling bulls that spin away from his hand, but he should be favored here.

Guilherme Marchi on 801 Slippery Devil:

We haven’t seen Slippery Devil on tour in over a year. J.B. Mauney won a round at the 2013 Built Ford Tough World Finals on him. He’s always one of the best possible draws at any event. He has great timing and shows very well, but as with Nunes, the challenge for Marchi is that this bull will spin away from his riding hand. Marchi doesn’t typically get along with those bulls as well. Most of the riders here would be favored against this bull, and if Marchi comes down, it will be by his own mistake.

Follow Slade Long on Twitter @Probullstats

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