In tonight's marquee competition, 15 of the best bulls in the world are going against the Top 15 riders. The odds generally favor the bulls, but not in every case.
Renato Nunes on 103T Shepherd Hills Sod
Advantage: Sod Buster
Why: He's essentially never been ridden. He had a weak trip at the beginning of his career and allowed a low score, but other than that, riders are 0-for-27 against him. He's likely to spin away from Nunes' hand as well.
Jordan Hupp on -8 Bring It
Why: Hupp is 2-for-3 on him, and rode him just last week in Portland, Ore. Bring It is no pushover, but Hupp seems to have him figured out.
Marco Eguche on 86I Speckled Ivory
Why: This bull's pattern makes him vulnerable to right-handed riders and very difficult for left-handed riders. He's strong, he moves forward a lot, and he doesn't help the rider much. This is hard to overcome on a bull going away from your hand, but a strong rider can deal with it into his hand. Speckled Ivory has been ridden seven times, all by right-handed riders. Six of those seven rides were by right-handed Brazilians, and four of those six were by right-handed Brazilians named Valdiron de Oliveira.
Ty Pozzobon on 599 Mellow Yellow
Advantage: Mellow Yellow
Why: He's been ridden only five times in 36 outs and never by a lefty, although he has faced many of the best lefties in the world.
Cody Nance on 868 Jack Daniel's After Party
Why: Because this is the best draw in the round, and Nance is not bothered by bulls going away from his hand. They've met twice and Nance came up short both times, but anyone in this round would be favored against this bull. After Party should be ridden every time by riders at this level, but he just does not ever quit. This bull puts out a lot of effort. He doesn't overpower riders, he just bucks relentlessly until the rider makes a slight mistake, and then he makes them pay.
[Jack Daniel's After Party] doesn't overpower riders, he just bucks relentlessly until the rider makes a slight mistake, and then he makes them pay.
Caleb Sanderson on 655 Cowboy Casanova
Why: This is the best draw in this round for a right-handed rider. He's ridden 70 percent of the time by righties, and he still bucks hard enough to be here. Great draw for Sanderson.
Luke Snyder on C66 Black Attack
Why: This is the bull that broke Shane Proctor's arm at the National Finals Rodeo. He has only been ridden once, but he hasn't faced many top-level riders. Snyder has been riding extremely well.
Aaron Roy on 961 Mac-Nett's Southern Wine
Advantage: Mac-Nett's Southern Wine
Why: Roy is a big right-handed rider, and Southern Wine has only been ridden twice in 36 outs, both times by small left-handed riders.
Ryan McConnel on 5081 Highway 12
Advantage: Highway 12
Why: He would be favored against anyone. You wouldn't guess this from watching him, but Highway 12 has proven to be the kind of bull who only gets ridden once or twice a year even by the best riders in the world. They may figure him out, but they haven't yet.
L.J. Jenkins on 924B Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey
Advantage: Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey
Why: This bull has never been ridden by a right-handed rider. That said, he is one of the better draws in this round, and Jenkins is capable of riding him. The bull is favored but not by much. Second good draw for Jenkins tonight.
J.B. Mauney on 156 Larry the Cable Guy's Git R Done
Advantage: Larry the Cable Guy's Git R Done
Why: Larry's favorite bull is aptly named. He gets it done against everyone. He's only been ridden once in 27 career outs.
Larry's favorite bull is aptly named. He gets it done against everyone. He's only been ridden once in 27 career outs.
Austin Meier on 601 Shepherd Hills
Why: Meier rode him (barely) last week in Portland. He also bucked off of Trapper in February of 2011. This bull is misnamed in my opinion. For those who don't know, Shepherd Hills Cutlery is a knife store, and "Trapper" is the common name of the most popular two-blade pocket knife in America. The knife is designed for general work, skinning, and/or castrating livestock. It can be found in the pockets of honest working men. This bull should be named after a different type of knife, say a stiletto, a switchblade, or a prison shank. Something used to stab people.
Guilherme Marchi on K55 Smackdown
Why: Smackdown is going to spin away from Marchi's hand. This bull is a load, and I think this may be the most interesting match of this round because it is very close to a push. That said, I don't think any right-hander should be favored on this bull, although a right-hander was the last man to ride him. Douglas Ferreira got it done at the World Finals for 91 points.
Valdiron de Oliveira on W1 Buckey
Why: Buckey is strong and flat-out overpowers most riders, but he won't get away with it here. Oliveira typically won't be overpowered by any bull.
Silvano Alves on 781 Asteroid
Why: Alves' greatest strength as a rider is that he can recover from any bad position he is put in, and he can do this better than other riders. We do not see him constantly making dramatic recoveries, but he can. We do see him making the correct adjustments consistently when he is a fraction of a second behind. Asteroid won't allow this, because he can punish even the slightest error. Alves is the best, but even the best make mistakes, and even the slightest mistake will cost him here. Weakness on Asteroid's part is Alves' best chance.
(Slade Long, PBR Web developer and statistician, has been crunching the numbers on bucking bulls for 13 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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