LAS VEGAS - Tonight's round features the best of the ABBI Classic bulls from Round 2 competing for the World Champion 3- or 4-year-old bull, along with a group of bulls that we haven't seen yet at the Finals. Tonight will be Chicken on a Chain's final PBR out, and fittingly, Chris Shivers, who is also retiring after this event, will be aboard.
Luke Snyder on U2 Prince Albert:
This bull is probably going to spin away from Snyder's hand, but that doesn't really matter to Luke. He's riding as well as he ever has. Right-handed riders have had plenty of success on Prince Albert, and this is a bull with an average ride score of 89.44 points in nine qualified rides.
Robson Palermo on 694 Dark Shadow:
Palermo has earned a score on this bull twice in the past month, and won Round 2 at Greensboro, N.C., on him. Dark Shadow is a near-perfect match for Palermo's style, and this ride should help Palermo keep the pressure on Snyder going in to the last day of competition.
Chris Shivers on CC Chicken on a Chain:
Believe it or not, these two have never met before. This will certainly be the fan favorite and possibly the matchup of the year, and Shivers will probably get another big score here. It's a little surreal for me to watch Chris competing at his last event. I met Chris when he was 16, and he was ready for Chicken on a Chain then. I thought he was the best rider I'd ever seen. A lot can happen to sidetrack young talented riders, but Chris managed to avoid all that and fulfill the great potential he showed as a young kid. When I see him now, although he is a two-time World Champion, and the consummate veteran of this group of riders, I can't help but think of him as the young man I met almost 20 years ago who could spur bulls like there was nothing to it. Talent like his is rare, and it was obvious to everyone who watched him back then that we were seeing something special.
Austin Meier on 8447 Chainsaw:
This is a relatively inexperienced bull. He appeared at Greensboro, N.C., last month and was ridden by Fabiano Vieira and threw Emilio Resende off. This has been a long week for Austin Meier, I'm sure, and there are two days of pain left, but winning makes it hurt less.
Emilio Resende on 1423 Wipeout:
Dakota Beck had this bull in Greensboro, N.C., in the short round, and Wipeout posted a bull score of 44.75 points. Only four men have earned a score on him in 22 career outs, all four of them right-handed.
Mike Lee on +2/7 Red Man:
Lee was 87 points on Red Man in Baltimore early this season. This bull has one of the lowest buckoff percentages in the PBR. He's been ridden 13 of 17 times on tour, and he's never bucked off a left-handed rider.
Edevaldo Ferreira on 10 Carney Man:
This is the bull that got Emilio Resende right at the whistle in Round 2. Guilherme Marchi was 88.75 points on him in Springfield, Mo. Ferreira has the talent to get the job done here.
Cody Nance on BB88 Woody:
Brendon Clark got on this bull in Round 2 and came down. Woody is 9-0 for his career, and 2-0 at Built Ford Tough Series events.
Renato Nunes on 833 Hammerhead:
This bull should spin into Nunes' hand and we should see a good score here. J.B. Mauney was 87 points on Hammerhead in Round 2. Nunes could beat that score if the bull does the same thing.
Top 5 riders
Silvano Alves on 0-1 Bono:
Bono has been ridden just twice in 12 outs, both times by right-handed riders, and for 86.5 and 87 points. Ben Jones was 87 on him in Springfield, Mo. Any score 87 points or less sure doesn't hurt Alves, but it won't win this round and may not place in the round, and his closest competitor has a bull with some potential.
Valdiron de Oliveira on 823 Wilson:
Zane Lambert had this bull in Round 2, and he was the 5th-highest marked bull in the round. He posted a bull score of 44 points, and that is enough for Oliveira to convert on a 90-point ride if things go as well as possible. Wilson doesn't always score that high, but riders have earned two scores of 88 or more on him this season. Oliveira doesn't need to just stay on - he needs to stay on and win.
L.J. Jenkins on 818 Smiling Bob:
Justin Koon had Smiling Bob in Round 2, and came down at the 5-second mark. Overall, PBR riders are 2 for 5 on him. The last score earned on him at a Built Ford Tough Series event was only 84 points, but in Tulsa and on Thursday night here his bull markings were good enough to project an 87-88 point score.
Guilherme Marchi on 821 Super Cool Cat:
Ben Jones had this bull in Round 2 and came down. Right-handed riders are 3 for 6 on him, while lefties are 0 for 2. Good bull, but may not be enough to win the round. Marchi should get a score here.
J.B. Mauney on 20U Shepherd Hills Tested:
Luck of the draw has some nostalgia going for it, but to be honest, luck of the draw in the old days was bad luck more often than not. Mauney certainly hasn't drawn that well here, but thanks to the draft, we are probably about to see him win a round. The other riders let this bull slide down in the draft order because he is difficult to ride, but in doing so, they may have handed Mauney the round. Sooner or later riders in the draft are going to need to think about the bulls they are leaving on the table as much as the bulls they pick for themselves.
Follow Slade Long on Twitter @probullstats.
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