LAS VEGAS - The season will end with a flourish today, because we will see a steady stream of short-round-quality bulls in both rounds, highlighted by Bushwacker and Asteroid duking it out for the World Champion Bull title in the final round.
Silvano Alves may not have the championship sewn up, but at this point the race has a feeling of creeping inevitability. If he rides one of the two bulls he sees today, it's all over.
WORLD STANDINGS LEADERS
Silvano Alves on 412 Big Iron:
I've been talking about how good Alves is all season, so let's put this in perspective.
Big Iron is one of the Top 1 percent of bulls in the past 10 years in terms of average bull scores. In terms of longevity, he is approaching 100 career outs, with 40 of those against world-class riders, which again is in the Top 1 percent of the close to 25,000 bulls we have records of. He's been to the PBR World Finals four times now, and by the end of this year he will have been to the National Finals Rodeo three times. Most stock contractors on this earth can only dream of having one bull this good in a 10-year stretch.
With that said, Alves will absolutely own him today. If you poll all the riders and former riders in attendance, it will be hard to find one of them who honestly thinks Big Iron will get the best of Alves, and that illustrates how dominant Alves has been since he arrived on the scene. You're looking at the World Champ here: With two bulls left, he doesn't have it clinched mathematically, but in reality, no one will catch him.
Alves will absolutely own [Big Iron] today.
Caleb Sanderson on S3 Unser Racing:
Sanderson has been perfect thus far, and this won't be the hardest bull he's had to ride here, but it won't be the easiest, either. They met in St. Louis back in February and Sanderson came down. No one has made a qualified ride on this bull since then.
Rubens Barbosa on 22S Priceless:
Barbosa has provided a lot of excitement this week, and that will continue. Priceless has been ridden in each of his past five outs, including once by Sean Willingham in Round 2 here for 89.75 points.
Guilherme Marchi on 655 Cowboy Casanova:
Look for Marchi to get another score here. Barbosa won Round 2 on this bull, and he should spin into Marchi's hand.
Robson Palermo on 10-5 Crosswired:
Again, there will be another big score here. Ryan Dirteater took Crosswired to a 91.75-point score in Wichita, Kan., and we could see a similar score with Palermo aboard.
J.B. Mauney on 532 Paycheck:
Hyland Cattle Co. brought two bulls to the Finals, and both of them will be involved in the race for the event win today: S3 Unser Racing with Sanderson, and Paycheck, whom Mauney has been on three times and ridden twice. This is an honest bull, a rider favorite, and he produced an 88.75-point score for Aaron Roy in Round 2.
Valdiron de Oliveira on 868 After Party:
They haven't met before, and this will be the matchup of this round, because of the pairing and what's on the line here. After Party is ridden fairly often, but is by no means easy. This bull has the ability to get Oliveira on the ground, and will not quit trying to do just that. This is a fast bull who bucks hard, and does not spend a lot of time in the air. He will work the entire 8 seconds to rattle a rider loose bit by bit, and he is successful more often than not.
This bull has the ability to get Oliveira on the ground, and will not quit trying to do just that.
Pete Farley on 67 Toy Soldier:
Toy Soldier is one of the most often-ridden bulls in this round, and typically that kind of record indicates a bull with a lot of rhythm. Farley's riding style is extremely dependent on the bull having some kind of steady rhythm, and he should get along with this one.
Aaron Roy on 529 Mood Swing:
Roy had this bull in Wichita and didn't last long on him. This is a bull who has tossed 95 percent of the right-handed riders who try him, and hasn't been ridden by anyone anywhere since February of 2010. He's working on a streak of 25 straight buckoffs.
Justin Koon on 107 Rock & Roll:
Koon was fired up last night, and even though he didn't get a score, he showed he came here to win money; not to hang out and have a good time. He may be mad enough to be the first guy to get a score on this bull, who has yet to allow one. Koon has nothing to lose here, and that is a good spot to be in for most riders.
Fabiano Vieira on 5403 Perfect Poison:
Perfect Poison has had a perfect season. He hasn't been ridden since the last day of last year's World Finals, where Mike Lee was 91 points on him in the championship round. Vieira has a chance at a round-win here, but it will not be easy.
Cord McCoy on 530 Gray Squirrel:
Kody Lostroh rode this bull in Round 3, but touched his horn, and ended up with a no-score. Gray Squirrel is 9-0 against Built Ford Tough Series riders, but his days are numbered. Too many guys like the looks of him.
Brendon Clark on W233 Charlie Bullware:
They met here last year, and Clark stayed aboard for 6.4 seconds. Charlie Bullware has only been ridden eight times in 92 outs, and that is a most impressive record for a bull who basically goes out there and spins. He is one of the best bulls in PBR history already, and although he is getting up in age now, he has not fallen off very much in performance.
Charlie Bullware has only been ridden eight times in 92 outs, and that is a most impressive record for a bull who basically goes out there and spins.
Stormy Wing on 563 Heebee Geebee:
Wing was 88.75 points on Heebee Geebee in Alburquerque, N.M., earlier this season. This bull is a good draw in any round at any event, and could help Wing get into the short round here.
(Slade Long, PBR Web developer and statistician, has been crunching the numbers on bucking bulls for 12 years. In addition to his regular "Morning Line" series, published just prior to every Built Ford Tough Series performance, Long co-hosts " In the Bull Pen with Cody Lambert," a podcast recorded every Thursday prior to each BFTS event.)
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