PUEBLO, Colo. ― So far this season, we've seen a significant
drop in riding percentage in the short rounds at Built Ford Tough
Series events. With roughly half the total number of short round
outs we saw last season already in the books, riding percentage has
fallen from 30 percent in 2012 to 17 percent so far in 2013.
Don't look for that trend to change in Louisville, Ky. PBR
Livestock Director Cody Lambert has 17 bulls set aside for short
round duty, with Bushwacker and
Asteroid at the top of the list. As a group, they
are 77-4 on the season. Fourteen of the 17 are unridden in 2013,
and four of them are unridden in their professional careers. The
average career buckoff percentage of this set of bulls is 90
percent. The way the bulls are lined up, if only 10 riders qualify
for the short round, Shepherd Hills Trapper and
King Lopez will be the two most rider friendly
bulls in it, and they really aren't that friendly.
"I think it looks a lot like the short round pen from
Albuquerque where they only rode one," Lambert said. "It's a tough
set of bulls. The guys who make the short round have their work cut
out for them."
Headlining the bull pen in Louisville are Bushwacker and
Asteroid, appearing together for the third time this season.
Asteroid has been to six events this season, and was the
highest-marked bull at just one of them, while Bushwacker has been
the highest marked bull at all five events he's appeared in.
"It's a tough set of bulls. The guys who make the
short round have their work cut out for them."
"I've said in interviews several times this year that Bushwacker
is the best bull I've ever seen," Lambert said. "Asteroid is the
reigning World Champion, and he won that by beating Bushwacker, so
you know how good he is. We see other bulls that step up to their
level at times, but day in and day out, Bushwacker and Asteroid are
competing over the heads of every other bull. Right now they are on
a level by themselves."
Asteroid's owners, Circle T Ranch out of Keatchie, La., have a
total of four bulls in the first 10 short round bulls that will
appear in Louisville. David's Dream,
Shepherd Hills Trapper and Jack Daniel's
Tennessee Honey will appear alongside Asteroid.
"I think Circle T Ranch in general has the best set of bulls in
the PBR," Lambert said. "They don't have the depth that Jeff
Robinson or H.D. Page has, but their top end, bull for bull no one
can match them. When they come to an event, they make the short
round much tougher."
If 15 riders qualify for the short round, they bring Jeff
Robinson's Delco into play, along with two more
Circle T bulls, Big & Rich and Palm
Springs. Big & Rich may be the best bull to draw at
the entire event.
"Big & Rich looks like the best bull to have in any round,
anywhere you go," said Lambert. "You're not going to make a mistake
and ride him, you're not going to be a little behind and ride him.
If you're a Built Ford Tough Series rider, you should expect to get
a score on Big & Rich. But, the only two guys who have managed
to do it are J.B. Mauney and Guilherme
Marchi ― two of the very best in the business. He's thrown
off L.J. Jenkins, Reese Cates,
Ben Jones, Brendon Clark, he got
J.W. Harris at the National Finals Rodeo before
Circle T bought him. Those are guys you would expect to ride a bull
with great timing and a consistent pattern. There may be more to
him than meets the eye, because he's faced some serious competition
and bested almost all of them."
At the other end of the spectrum are a few bulls that riders
just haven't gotten along with at all, including Tom Teague's 850
Teflon Tom and K Bar C's 107 Rock &
Roll, both unridden, along with a colorful behemoth called
Mississippi Hippy. Bull riding has long been hyped
as a sport where 150 pound men do battle with 2,000 pound bulls,
but that is largely hype. The majority of bulls do not weigh 2,000
pounds, most weigh much less. But, in the case of Mississippi
Hippy, there is no hype ― he's really big.
"He weighs in at nearly 2,300 pounds ― he's just huge," said
Lambert. "A bull that big that bucks hard just has to be stronger
than a smaller bull, and he pretty much has to be slower too, and
he's both of those. He doesn't really have great timing, and he's
not easy to ride. I wasn't sure about him when he first came
around, partly because of his size. But he's earned my confidence.
I believe he'll buck for 8 seconds, and I believe they'll be 92 if
they ride him."
Follow Slade Long on Twitter @ProBullStats