INDIANAPOLIS - This weekend, all eyes will be on the matchup of
Valdiron de Oliveira and
The perennial No. 2s will go head-to-head Saturday night in the final out of the 15/15 Bucking Battle at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse. It will be broadcast Sunday on CBS at 2 p.m. ET.
Oliveira is ranked second in the world standings - 101.25 points behind J.B. Mauney - while Asteroid is the No. 2 contender for the World Champion Bull title.
Since making his PBR debut a year ago, he's bucked off 85.7 percent of the riders who have tried him, including a streak of 11 in a row. Asteroid has been a perfect 6-0 in 2012, with an average bull score of 45.63 points.
Valdiron de Oliveira has the unenviable task of attempting
Asteroid this weekend.
Asteroid is the second-highest scoring bull behind only last year's World Champion Bull Bushwacker.
Other matchups in the 15/15 Bucking Battle include: Marco Eguche and Highway 12, Silvano Alves and Mulligan Man, L.J. Jenkins and Shepherd Hills Trapper, Renato Nunes and Delco, Austin Meier and Shamoun, Ryan Dirteater and King Lopez, Justin Koon and South Point, Luke Snyder and RMEF Gunpowder & Lead, Guilherme Marchi and Cooper Tires Grey Ghost, Ty Pozzobon and Smackdown, Douglas Duncan and Bad Blake, Kody Lostroh and Jack Daniel's After Party, Fabiano Vieira and Mac-Nett's Southern Wine, and Stormy Wing and Larry Cable Guy's Git-R-Done.
FINGER FIXED: It's been 10 days since Mauney underwent surgery on his left (riding) hand in Dallas. He had an open reduction and internal fixation of the ring finger metacarpal, including a plate and six screws.
Mauney is recovering at home in North Carolina and is expected to have a follow-up appointment with Dr. Hugh Frederick next week, at which time he will have the stitches removed. No decision will be made about a temporary riding-hand switch until then.
In the meantime, Mauney's left hand is in a soft cast. The 25-year-old spent last weekend flanking bulls at an open event near his home, where some of his own bulls regularly compete.
REMATCHES: Three of the 15 matchups Saturday night are rematches from earlier this year. Nunes has twice ridden Delco. He was 91.5 points in New York and 88 points at the Last Cowboy Standing in Detroit.
Renato Nunes rides Delco for 91.5 points in New York.
Vieira, who missed the first five events of the
season, is competing in his first 15/15 Bucking Battle. He recently
bucked off Mac-Nett's Southern Wine in
Albuquerque, N.M. Southern Wine was marked 43.25 points after
putting Vieira on the dirt in 1.9 seconds. Vieira didn't fare much
better a year ago when he lasted 1.8 seconds at an event in Duluth,
Vieira is currently ranked 16th in the world and is replacing Mauney, while Wing replaces two-time World Champion Chris Shivers, who is out with a broken collarbone. Wing gets a second opportunity in as many BFTS events to make the whistle on Larry the Cable Guy's Git-R-Done, who bucked him off in 2.7 seconds in Kansas City, Mo.
TOUGH COMPETITION: The 15 bulls featured in the 15/15 Bucking Battle have combined to produce twenty-six 90-point rides in their careers - nine of which were 92 points or higher. Last year, in back-to-back weeks, Robson Palermo was 93.5 points and 93.25 points on RMEF Gunpowder & Lead. Since his BFTS debut, RMEF Gunpowder & Lead has been covered by 15 riders, and accounts for 11 of the 15/15 pen's 90-point rides.
Robson Palermo and RMEF Gunpowder & Lead team up for 92 points in Pueblo, Colo., in 2011.
Robson Palermo scores 93.5 points on RMEF Gunpowder & Lead in Milwaukee in 2011.
The pressure is on Snyder, who randomly drew
RMEF Gunpowder & Lead. Riders have made the whistle on him an
average of 64.2 percent of the time. However, he has bucked off two
of his past three riders - Jenkins and
Oliveira - and four of his past nine riders.
Fourteen of the 15 bulls have an average bull score of 43 points or higher. The only bull under that mark is Southern Wine, who comes into the competition with an average of 42.96 points. He has an average buckoff rate of 85.7 percent, which is equal to Asteroid's.
IN RESERVE: In the event that a re-ride bull is needed in the 15/15 Bucking Battle, the first two bulls on the list are Party All the Time and Gas Tank, who are both owned and hauled by two-time Stock Contractor of the Year Jeff Robinson.
BETTER DAYS: Eguche, Koon, Pozzobon and Wing have never finished a season ranked in the Top 20, while Duncan was cut from the BFTS earlier this year before riding his way into the Top 15.
MAKING THE DRAW: The draw for this week's Built Ford Tough Invitational features 21 of the Top 25 riders in the world, the Top 5 money earners from the Touring Pro Division, TPD event-winner Markus Mariluch, two riders competing with injury exemptions (Palermo and Skeeter Kingsolver) and six alternates.
Markus Mariluch, winner of last weekend's Spring Fling, will be in Indianapolis this weekend.
This week's alternates are Nathan Schapper, Billy
Robinson, Chad Besplug, Emilio Resende, Sevi Torturo and
Jared Farley. There are five other alternates who
are within $600 of Farley's final alternate spot in the draw:
Rubens Barbosa, Brendon Clark, Bonner Bolton, Lindomar
Lino and Devon Mezei.
There are two TPD events this weekend that could significantly change the alternate listing for next week's BFTS event in Des Moines, Iowa. The next cut will come after the BFTS event the following week in Uncasville, Conn.
WINNERS: The current Top 5 riders - Mauney, Oliveira, Eguche, Alves and Jenkins - account for eight of the 13 BFTS event wins in 2012, while two of the past winners - Mauney and Shivers - are out of competition with injuries. Only two of the 10 riders who account for those 13 wins are ranked outside the Top 20 - Cody Nance and Chase Outlaw. Nance is 22nd and Outlaw is 27th.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Only the Top 10 ranked riders in the world standings have earned a point total larger than the margin by which they currently trail the No. 1 rider. The 10th-ranked rider is Snyder, who has scored 2,755.25 points and trails Mauney by 2,607.25. By comparison, Marchi is ranked 11th with 2,596 points, and trails Mauney by 2,766.5 points.
PASTURE ROPING: This weekend, J.W. Hart will be hosting his annual Tie Down Pasture Roping in Marietta, Okla., at the Hart Cattle Co. pens. The event is Saturday, April 14, at 11 a.m. The cost to enter is $225 per three-man team with saddles being awarded to the winning team (with 100 or more entries). For more information, log onto Facebook.
J.W. Hart will take a break from the broadcast booth to host
his annual pasture roping on Saturday.
PROFESSOR COLEMAN: The first-ever Ross Coleman PBR Bull Riding School will take place June 2 and 3 in Henrietta, Texas, at the Brad Fudge Arena. Coleman will be joined by Pistol Robinson, and students will receive one-on-one instruction.
There will be bulls for all skill levels, and rides will be filmed for playback. The event will coincide with the SAYiWON'T Rope-N-Ride. The cost is $400 per student and a deposit of $100 is due by May 18. For more information, call 940-224-1244.
CAROLINA CLASSROOM: The PBR will be hosting a bull riding school in Asheville, N.C., on June 1, 2 and 3 in conjunction with the TPD event there. Two-time World Champion Shivers and Mauney will serve as instructors.
The cost is $400 per student and a deposit of $100 is due by May 18. Students will also receive two tickets and passes to the TPD event that takes place June 1 and 2. To register, contact Arlene Frihauf at 719-242-2800 ext. 3235.
WATCH the Built Ford Tough Invitational presented by Super Duty live Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on YouTube. The 15/15 Bucking Battle will be broadcast on CBS at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, and the final day of action from Indianapolis will be shown Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.
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