ANAHEIM, Calif. – Look for the riders to do a little better here than they did last week in Sacramento, California. They rode 34.3 percent of the bulls there, but the pen of bulls here is a little easier top to bottom. However, quite a few higher-ranked riders are out this week due to injury, so the talent pool may be thinner than usual.
Round 1 Matchups:
Brennon Eldred on -99 Lil’ America:
We haven’t seen this bull at this level before, but he’s not a new or unknown bull. He’s been around pro rodeos for a number of years and went to the NFR in 2015 where Eldred was a contestant. Lil’ America has been ridden just five times in 24 career outs, which is respectable, but he’s noticeably vulnerable to right-handed riders. Just about every top-tier righty he’s faced has come away with a score.
Mason Lowe on 248 Squirrel:
Lowe was hurt last week, and there was some question as to whether he would be cleared to compete in Anaheim, but that worked out in Lowe’s favor. He’s fortunate that it did because he has a great draw to start the event off here. This bull can be a little erratic before he goes into a spin, but once he locks in, every rider here should be able to handle him.
Jess Lockwood on 33/2 Hawaiian Bond:
This colorful bull threw Cody Teel and Eduardo Aparecido off last week in Sacramento, but Lockwood stands a better chance of getting a score on him because he’s left-handed. Hawaiian Bond has been a better fit for left-handed riders in his career, and he should be well within Lockwood’s comfort zone.
Valdiron de Oliveira on T16/1 Reindiction:
Jose Vitor Leme was 87.25 points on Reindiction in Sacramento, so this is a rideable bull. Oliveira has been difficult to throw off this year. Despite going two for five in Sacramento, he has one of the most impressive short term runs in PBR history. His riding percentage at his last five events is 84.6 percent and his riding percentage at the premier level is 73.3 percent for 2018.
Kaique Pacheco on 106 Sosa’s Allie Cat:
In every round it’s worth figuring out who has the best bull, because that rider has a great chance at a win. Allie Cat may be the best bull in this round. He was in the short round in Sacramento where he threw off Dener Barbosa. He’s 20-1 in his career, 10-1 at the premier level, and the one ride he’s given up was to Luis Blanco here in Anaheim a year ago. Pacheco won’t have a day off, but this is a solid bull he could get a big score on.
Marco Eguchi on 2-1 Mortimer:
Mortimer went up against two left-handed riders in Sacramento. Derek Kolbaba rode him, and he bucked Dakota Buttar off. Mortimer likes to go to the right, and he’s a better draw for a right-handed rider. Eguchi has a great chance at riding him, and he could get a big enough score to place high or even win the round.
Silvano Alves on 15 Hit Man:
This could be the best overall draw in the round. Hit Man has a lot of speed, great timing, and he’s exactly what most riders want to draw every time. The downside for Alves is that the bull tends to go to the left, but Alves is more than capable of riding bulls that go away from his hand.
Cooper Davis on 33 Living Large:
Davis didn’t have a great week in Sacramento, but he could get off to a good start here. Ramon de Lima rode this bull last week en route to an event win. Living Large tends to go to the left, but he doesn’t have a lot of power or drop, and Davis should be able to handle him.
Eduardo Aparecido on Southern Style:
This bull is one of the more rideable bulls in the round, but he may not be strong enough to help Aparecido place in the points. Southern Style has a habit of slinging his head around, which can make a bull hard to track, but he puts so much effort into it that it detracts from his performance at times. If Aparecido can ignore the head slinging and stay in the middle he should get an easy first round score.
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