By: Slade Long
Cooper Davis on 169 Sky Harbor:
This is a great matchup. Sky Harbor is one of the best bucking bulls around. He can really get off the ground and drop out on the level of SweetPro’s Bruiser and other great bulls. He doesn’t consistently spin or change direction and can often spend much of the 8 seconds going straight up and down more or less in his tracks. This results in him getting ridden pretty often, especially over the last 18 months or so. When he does spin, he tends to go left, and he has been more effective at bucking right-handed guys off. Davis should be favored here, but this bull has enough power to be a challenge for even the best riders at this level, and any spin or direction change adds a lot of difficulty. This is a bull that can go straight down the pen and consistently throw off all but the elite-level riders.
Kaique Pacheco on 346 Mr. Winston:
Pacheco has ridden his last eight bulls in a row, won Round 1 in Louisville, won Glendale, and placed third in Kansas City. And for all that, he’s still in second place in the standings. He and Cooper Davis are having an epic battle right now, and if this were the end of the season rather than the beginning, it would be the center of everyone’s attention. He has a bull in Round 2 that bucked him off in Okeechobee, but Davis was 90 points on him to win the first round in Glendale. Pacheco should be able to get by this bull, and he really needs to. Davis is not giving ground. Pacheco won the round last night, but Davis was fourth. Watching two World Champions trade blows is pretty cool. Both guys have a challenging matchup in this round.
Joao Ricardo Vieira on 12 Red Bones:
Vieira bucked off this bull last fall. Red Bones is an all-around tough competitor at this level. He tends to go to the right, and he is fast and difficult. Vieira took third place in the opening round, but this is a tough opponent. It’s been more than a year since a lefty made the whistle on Red Bones.
Eduardo Aparecido on 450 Drop the Hammer:
This bull hasn’t been ridden since February of 2019, but Aparecido is 3-for-3 on him. They met three times in 2018, and Aparecido won all three. This is something of an anomaly. Drop the Hammer has only been ridden seven times in his career, and Aparecido is responsible for three of those.
Derek Kolbaba on 3167 Mama’s Bad Pet:
Mama’s Bad Pet is 48-2 in his career, and he’s 14-0 against left-handed riders. Kolbaba had him in 2018 and took him to 7.4 seconds. Kolbaba was 88 points in Round 1, but he’s now facing a bull who is coming off two full unridden seasons and is on a 24-out buckoff streak.
Kyler Oliver on 92T Buckin’ for Cash:
Oliver was 86 points in Round 1, and he has a great bull here. Buckin’ for Cash has been busy this year, and he’s one of the best draws in any round. He’s been ridden four times in his last seven outs, and he’s a great fit for left-handed riders.
Andrew Alvidrez on 25B Trail of Tears:
Alvidrez was near the bottom of Round 1, but he has a great draw in Round 2 and could jump to the top on two. Trail of Tears is a veteran bull who has been pretty good to right-handed riders. He was ridden twice in Glendale for second and third place in the long rounds.
Jess Lockwood on 33C Slice of Heaven:
This is an interesting matchup. Slice of Heaven is a promising bull who has missed time over the past couple of years, as has Lockwood. He likes to go to the right and has not given up a score to a left-handed rider yet. Lockwood bucked off in Round 1, and he’s 3-for-10 at the UTB level this year. At the moment, he is a non-factor in the title race, and that’s unfamiliar territory for him.
Boudreaux Campbell on 34 Soup in a Group:
Campbell drew well. Soup in a Group is a veteran bull who has given up many huge scores to top riders. For a time, he was a better fit for right-handed riders, but he’s been pretty good to lefties too. He’s given up four 88-plus-point scores in his last seven outs, but he’s also thrown off three straight strong riders, including Kaique Pacheco.
Jose Vitor Leme on 728 Draggin’ Up:
Leme bucked off this bull in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, last summer, but that was an odd blemish on a near-perfect season. Leme should ride this bull nine times out of 10. Draggin’ Up is 3-5 against lefty riders, and even though he beat Leme once, he’s a serious underdog in this matchup.
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