BILLINGS, Mont. - Tonight’s action features the remaining 25 riders in Round 1 followed by the 15/15 Bucking Battle. There are only eight qualified rides in the first round from last night, and that is well below the UTB average. The round and this event are still very much up for grabs.
Cody Campbell on 410 Ghost Rider:
Campbell has a decent shot at getting a score here, which is a big deal since few guys stayed on last night. This is the biggest PBR long round in years, but rider talent is spread pretty thin throughout. All of the top ranked riders went last night, and there were still only eight bulls ridden out of 35. This bull has been ridden twice in four outs at this level, so he’s vulnerable.
Jorge Valdiviezo on 203 Saint Joe:
Like a lot of the other bulls in the first round, this one doesn’t have a lot of experience. He has let two riders get by him in just four career outs, and that makes him one of the more likely to be ridden bulls in this group. Valdiviezo has ridden well this year after missing much of last season with an injury. This will be his first out at the PBR’s top level since Arlington, Texas, more than a year ago.
Fabiano Vieira on 303 Force Awaken:
Force Awaken is 0-2 against left-handed riders. Jess Lockwood rode him in New York at the beginning of the season for 87 points, and if he has the same trip here he has zero chance of bucking off Vieira. This is a bull who tends to go to the left with great timing and he doesn’t have a lot of up and down. He’s seriously overmatched unless he has an outstanding trip or Vieira makes a dumb mistake.
Cody Heffernan on 23B Fearless:
This could turn out to be the best bull out in the second part of the first round. Fearless is an ABBI Classic competitor who won the Classic Round in Kansas City with a 45.25-point out. He was the highest marked bull of the entire event in Kansas City. He doesn’t have much experience – just three PBR outs – but he has the potential to be unbeatable if he has his day and Heffernan can ride him.
Cody Jesus on 40Y Chocolate Shake:
Chocolate Shake has been ridden three times in his last six outs, but a longer look at his numbers show he is no day off. Jesus has a shot here, but he will have to weather a storm. This bull has some forward movement, and he can cover some ground before he turns back. Jesus is a solid talent, but a lot of the success he’s had in the PBR has come mostly against bulls that are more rider-friendly than this one.
Dakota Buttar on 1201 Shelley’s Gangster:
Buttar made a solid Round 1 ride to put him in third place so far, and he has what may be the nicest draw in the 15/15 round here. Shelley’s Gangster is 3-6 against left-handed riders, and there isn’t another matchup in the round where the rider has that kind of numbers advantage. Any bull good enough to be in this round that is ridden that often has to have great timing and has to be predictable, and this one is usually both.
Tanner Byrne on 045 Seven Dust:
Byrne has his work cut out for him here. Most riders try to see every bull they draw in a positive light, but it’s really hard to do that with Seven Dust. He’s everything that bull riders dislike. He’s mean, hard to ride, herky-jerky, really strong and unpredictable. He likes to go to the right, and that’s a plus for Byrne. He’s not a terrible fit for a taller rider – Cody Teel was the last man to ride him. But, we’re reaching for good news here. The truth is Byrne knows very well this will be a fight and it will be rough.
Stetson Lawrence on 812 Talking Smack:
Lawrence bucked off this bull just last week in Tacoma. Ramon de Lima is the only man to ride Talking Smack in 15 career outs. The bull has thrown off Jess Lockwood, Luciano de Castro, and Jose Vitor Leme this year as well.
Valdiron de Oliveira on 397A Frequent Flyer:
Frequent Flyer is a former ABBI Futurity Champion, and he’s unridden in his PBR career so far at 14-0. That’s a little surprising, because the top futurity bulls are often pattern spinners and riders tend to get along with them. Not so with this one. Frequent Flyer really blows up as he goes into a spin, he can get stretched out and he throws the rider’s timing off by just enough. Oliveira’s strong suit is powering through any kind of glitch a bull throws at him, so he may be the right guy to break this bull’s unridden streak.
Derek Kolbaba on 362A Heartbreak Kid:
This bull is something of a hidden talent. He is one of the best bulls in the business, but he’s in a zone where he gets little mention in PBR media because he’s not quite as strong as Bruiser and Pearl Harbor, and he never appears in event highlights or PBR video clips because he’s 37-1 and 16-0 at this level. No one ever rides him. Heartbreak Kid is strong. He can have some long jumps leaving the chute, and Kolbaba is in for a rough day at work. He’s a big underdog in this match.
Ryan Dirteater on 209 Bad Beagle:
Beagle has been ridden twice in his last three outs, and Cooper Davis took him 7.37 seconds the other time. In the big picture, this is a bull that riders obviously like, but it is debatable whether they should like him. He’s been ridden just three times in 30 career outs, and he’s cost quite a few riders the event win when they pick him in the championship round and fail to stay on. Dirteater is a well-rounded, veteran rider and he’s a fair match for any bull, but this one often turns out to be harder to ride than guys think he is.
Brennon Eldred on 33 Living Large:
This is a debut bull who wasn’t really supposed to be in this round. Eldred originally had Pearl Harbor dramwn here, but Pearl Harbor had to bow out with a neck strain and this is the re-ride bull. Eldred was bucked off by Living Large in 2.83 seconds during last week’s championship round in Tacoma.
Cooper Davis on 361 Hedoo:
This bull is the perfect match for Davis in this round. Hedoo is strong enough to produce a big score, even 90 points or more, and he’s weak against right-handed riders. Davis has a very good chance to win the round here because this bull really fits his style. Davis has won a ton of money on bulls just like this one.
Kaique Pacheco on 57Z Jack Shot:
If this were a draft round, Pacheco probably would have picked this bull above all the rest. They’ve met six times before, and the series is tied at 3-3. Jack Shot has only been ridden six times in 53 career outs, and Pacheco is responsible for three of those. Pacheco is riding well right now, this is a bull he’s confident he can ride, and this will probably end up being a 88-90 point score.
Jess Lockwood on 1100 Milky Jones:
Lockwood bucked off this bull in Charlotte, North Carolina, two years ago. Milky Jones is probably going to spin to the left. He looks like a bull who should be ridden fairly often, but he throws off better than 80 percent of the guys who try him. If you watch him closely, he’s fast, and he doesn’t kick the same way every jump. Sometimes he can make a round without kicking much at all and then go back to it. This creates a slight break in his timing, it hurts the rider by making it hard to stay over his front end, and it accounts for 100 percent of the reason riders have difficulty with him. The key battle here is Lockwood trying to keep his upper body forward vs. the bull trying make him sit up and spin him off with centrifugal force.
Claudio Montanha on 32Y SweetPro’s Bruiser:
With Pearl Harbor out, Bruiser is far and away the favorite to be the top bull in the round and probably at this event. Bruiser is always somewhat rideable, but as the ride goes on he usually amps up the intensity. Montanha has a chance, but he has to do everything right and fight like a warrior besides.
Eduardo Aparecido on 567 Lester Gillis:
Lester Gillis is a pattern bull, but he’s a little different than most. He puts a lot of effort into spinning, and he can spin slightly faster than he bucks, which probably makes him feel like a loopy carnival ride. This may not bother Aparecido too much, as he’s been on this bull twice before and ridden him once.
Luciano de Castro on -147 TLW’s Big Cat:
Big Cat is a heavy load, and he’s strong enough to manhandle most riders he faces. He can be ridden, but not without a fight. Castro will have to scratch and claw and overcome adversity to get the job done on a bull who is 28-3 at this level.
Cody Nance on W37 Cochise:
Nance on 0-1 against Cochise, but this matchup really comes down to what the bull does today. Cochise can be really heavy and hard, or he can have a somewhat lighter trip where he goes to the left and is significantly easier to ride. Every left-handed rider has a decent chance against him, and Nance could easily make this his second profitable 15/15 round in as many weeks.
Ramon de Lima on 35 Desperado:
This is a newer bull we don’t know too much about, but we do know that Lima’s days as the World Standings leader are numbered if he doesn’t change his current trajectory. He barely has the stats to carry him through to a World Title, and over the past five events they’ve dipped well below what he will need.
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