FORT WORTH, Texas - This weekend's Built Ford Tough Series event is all about the bulls.
All five rounds will feature bull competitions. The long rounds on Friday and Sunday are ABBI Classic competitions, Saturday's long round is a maturity and both the short round and the Built Ford Tough Championship Round will pay out to the top four scoring bulls.
Friday night also features a bounty bull - PFI Boot Daddy (formerly South Paw) - for the highest scoring rider in the opening round.
In his weekly podcast, PBR livestock director Cody Lambert said that he imagines Bushwacker will have his name on the first or second place check in the Championship Round "because he's the best bull in the world right now."
Bushwacker is the reigning World Champion Bull. He and Asteroid have established themselves as the top two bulls in the world. Asteroid will not be in Springfield, Mo., this weekend, but will be in Tampa, Fla., next week for the 15/15 Bucking Battle and is expected to compete three weeks in a row.
Lambert said that after talking with Kent Cox, who hauls Bushwacker for Julio Moreno and Richard Oliveira, the plan is for this to be Bushwacker's last regular season out before heading west to Las Vegas for the World Finals.
After this week, the four BFTS events remaining on the schedule are on the East Coast. Following next week's event in Tampa, the last three events are in Greensboro, N.C.; Philadelphia, and Columbus, Ohio.
"The reason is completely logistics," said Lambert, who explained that Cox is based down in Stephenville, Texas, and that during a non-Classic event would only have one or two other bulls to haul on his trailer.
"Bushwacker has certainly done enough."
In the coming weeks, the top riders in the world standings will vote on the Top 5 bulls, who will then compete for the title in a "sudden death" format in Vegas.
"He'll have to finish it out strong like he did last year," Lambert added.
Lambert and PBR statistician Slade Long, who record their podcast every Thursday prior to a BFTS event, also talked about Whiskey's Rebel and Mulligan Man.
Mulligan Man hasn't been ridden this year and has amassed an impressive list of victims that includes twice bucking off Silvano Alves, Austin Meier and Fabiano Vieira. He's also bucked off J.B. Mauney, Guilherme Marchi and Valdiron de Oliveira.
"He's had some of the best bull riders in the world and some of the best right-handers," Lambert said, "and still got them on the ground."
He was last ridden in January of 2011 and in the past four years has only been ridden twice.
As impressive as Mulligan Man has been, so too has Rango.
He was the second-highest marked bull in Nashville, Tenn., last week, and Long thought if he had turned back closer to the gate Rango might have even been the highest marked bull.
Lambert agreed, "He could have.
"In my opinion, David's Dream beat everything there. I thought Rango and Asteroid were tied."
Lambert scores each out for his own personal recordkeeping.
He explained that Rango kicks so high and hard that he walks on his frontend a little bit to catch up, which results in him going out two or three jumps before turning back.
"That's the only difference in him scoring second or third place," Lambert said, "and him scoring first and being just as high as Bushwacker or Asteroid and those kinds of bulls."
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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