PUEBLO, Colo. ― PBR Livestock Director Cody Lambert has the bulls lined up for the Sacramento Invitational, and has his plane ticket in hand, but he's not sure he'll make his flight. He and his wife Leanne are expecting the arrival of a grandson, who is due any minute, and the Lamberts were preparing to head to the hospital on Wednesday.
"It's our first, so we're pretty excited," Lambert said. "If I don't make it to Sacramento, I've got Daryl Mills (1994 PRCA World Champion Bull Rider) lined up to fill in as chute boss there."
Meanwhile, the stage is set for the second 15/15 Bucking Battle of the season in Sacramento. Five of the 15 bulls in the bonus round are West Coast natives, and two of them are father and son ― Craig Wentz's star and World Champion Bull contender Buckey and his son Buck Off are both set to appear. Buckey, who is 9 years old and still at the top of his game, has two other sons appearing in Sacramento as well.
"Buckey was in the running for World Champion Bull last year," Lambert said. "I haven't seen him yet this year, but I don't expect him to have lost anything. Eventually he will, though. He's 9 now, and has his calves competing alongside him."
Another West Coast bull set to go in the 15/15 round is Nick Nuciforo's High Octane Hurricane, who was ridden twice in 11 Built Ford Tough Series outs last year ― both times by Silvano Alves.
"He's sure traveled a lot, and he'll do it again this year," Lambert said. "Nick's planning on bringing him to Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Albuquerque, Fresno, and a couple of other events."
Sacramento will feature many bulls from east Texas, partly due to recent weather. The logistics of supplying bulls to PBR events all over the United States are rather complicated, and one factor this season has been that a mild winter in Texas meant that some bulls who lived there didn't develop enough of a winter coat to handle a trip to New York or Chicago. This relatively minor incident affected several events this winter, because some of those bulls were originally scheduled for Oklahoma City, but needed a break that weekend.
David's Dream during the championship
round of the 2012 Des Moines Invitational.
Photo by Andy Watson / BullStockMedia.com.
Circle T Ranch is bringing a full load of bulls to Sacramento, and will have six bulls out in the 15/15 round, including Asteroid and David's Dream, who outscored Asteroid in Winston-Salem, N.C.
"I thought it was an outstanding trip for most bulls, but for him it was a little blow average," said Lambert, speaking of Asteroid's Winston-Salem trip with Guilherme Marchi aboard. "He usually jumps a little higher and kicks more. He looked pretty full. He's not really out of shape, but he may not have been in prime shape. Gene Melton said there are things you can do to exercise bulls, but nothing will get them in top condition better than bucking them."
David's Dream, the high-marked bull in Winston-Salem, threw off Austin Meier there and had one of his best trips on record. He'll face Nathan Schaper in Sacramento.
"He was rank," Lambert said. "He had a little roll, he was way up in the air, and was ready to turn back and buck. He's a bucking bull. He's no bigger than Asteroid ― neither of those bulls are over 1,400 pounds, and they are two great ones."
Circle T is also bringing Shepherd Hills Trapper, who threw off Alves in the 15/15 round in Winston-Salem.
"He was outstanding there," Lambert said. "The judges could have marked him just as high as David's Dream I thought. He's got Sean Willingham. Sean is coming off a win in Oklahoma City, and he had Rockie Smooth in Round 3 there, who can be just as hard to ride as Trapper is, and he made a perfect ride on him. Sean's biggest problem his whole career is that he tends to let his upper body get back too far, and his head gets lifted up. Trapper has a little different style, but like Rockie Smooth he's going to want to throw Sean over the front, so he may just get along with him. It will be really cool if he can ride him. I'd love to see it."
Follow Slade Long on Twitter @ProBullStats
© 2017 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.