Meet the opposition

Highlights

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The riders have grabbed most of the headlines leading up to the 2009 PBR World Finals, but it's time to meet the pen of world-class bulls that they will be facing in the coming days.

There are 176 bulls set to appear in Vegas, including the ABBI Classic 3- and 4-year-old contenders.

This set of bulls has been responsible for 118 rides of 90 points or more this season, as well as 1,657 buckoffs.

Sixty-nine bulls out of this year's class also appeared at the 2008 World Finals.

Ten bulls will be competing for the 2009 PBR World Champion Bull title. They are:

Dakota Rodeo's 433 Big Tex: Big Tex appeared at the 2008 World Finals, where he was a contender for the ABBI Classic title. He was known as Tilt-a-Whirl then, and owned by Brian Agnew. Chad Berger and Clay Struve bought him at the ABBI Bucking Bull Sale in what has proven to be a very sound investment. Coming into the Finals, he is riding a streak of 19 consecutive appearances this season with a bull score of 45 points or more. The last time Big Tex was marked less than 45 points was in Round 2 at Winston-Salem in January, where he managed just 44.75 points. He's been ridden only once this season - by Guilherme Marchi for 94 points. With numbers like that, Big Tex has been the big dog in the PBR this season.

Ravenscroft, Boyd & Floyd's 250 Black Pearl: For a bull that has already won $60,000 in the ABBI this season as a 4-year-old, and left last year's ABBI Classic Finals with a $100,000 dollar check as a 3-year-old, Black Pearl doesn't have much left to prove. He's already paid his feed bill, and his owner's feed bill as well. He comes to Vegas with a chance at the ABBI title and PBR World Champion Bull, and could leave as one of the richest 4-year-old bulls of all time.

Teague's 05 Bones: Last year's World Champion Bull is back to defend his title. Statistically, Bones has the third-best round-winning percentage behind Chicken on a Chain and Troubadour. However, he does have fewer miles on him than either of those bulls, and he will be tough to beat in the head-to-head competition in Vegas.

Robinson, Tedesco & Larry the Cable Guy's CC Chicken on a Chain: Aside from having the coolest name of any bull in contention this year, over his long career Chicken has the best round-winning percentage of any bull in the PBR. He has been the high-marked bull in 50 percent of the rounds he has appeared in. He's won 38 go rounds, which is more than many of this year's Finals bulls have even been in. His talent for winning rounds earned him the title of 2007 PBR World Champion Bull, and he is back for another shot at it in 2009.

Walton & Wagoner's 644 Code Blue: Code Blue made his BFTS debut in January at Winston-Salem, was the third-highest marked bull at the event, and hasn't let up since. He has averaged over 46 points this season, and in his career is unridden in 17 attempts by the best riders in the world.

D&H Cattle's 10-5 Crosswired: Much like Black Pearl, Crosswired has a chance to leave Vegas this year as one of the richest 4-year-old bulls of all time. He was last year's ABBI Classic Champion bull in a wild effort that resulted in a 93.75-point round-winning score for J.B. Mauney in Round 4 of the 2008 World Finals. Crosswired is the wild child of the bunch and a crowd favorite.

Teague's 404 I'm a Gangster/Uncle Buck: Already having a reputation as one of the toughest bulls on tour, and Canada's top bucking bull export, I'm a Gangster was renamed Uncle Buck at Springfield - home of Bass Pro Shops. He must have liked it, because he had a career day and won the Salem NationaLease Bull of the Event honors with a 46.75-point effort against Renato Nunes in the short round.

Robinson, Bar None, Segs, SkyHawk Rugs, & Red Knection's K93 Major Payne: Unridden in 26 career outs, Major Payne is one of a long line of large red bulls from the Northwest. Payne has brought the pain to all 21 top PBR riders he has faced this season, putting every one of them on the ground before the 8-second whistle.

Moreno Livestock's T11 Troubadour: Making his third trip to Las Vegas to appear in the World Finals, Troubadour has been one of the PBR's best bulls his entire career. Troubadour has never really had a bad day in the arena, and he is second only to Chicken on a Chain in round-winning percentage, but this season the riders have figured him out it seems, because he has been ridden two-thirds of the time producing five rides of 90 points or more.

AND...

Robinson, Beutler, Bar None, & McNeely's +123 Voodoo Child: Over the course of his career, Voodoo Child may have proven himself the toughest bull to ride in the PBR today. He's been ridden only once in his career - by Justin McBride for 94.5 points in July of 2008. He later got revenge on McBride at the 2008 World Finals, and in 2009 has not been taken past 6.6 seconds.

Newcomers:

Besides Code Blue, there are a few standout bulls making their first appearances in Las Vegas, including Box K's 311 Rio Grande. Rio Grande only has a couple of outs in the PBR, but has carried riders to high scores at Columbus, and at the Prescott, Ariz., Challenger Tour event.

Duncan & Evans Bucking Bulls 599 Mellow Yellow has competed around home in Texas all season, but has remained unridden, throwing off Kody Lostroh and Aaron Roy among others, and has averaged a 44.3 bull score. Will be interesting to see if he can do it away from home as well.

Canadians:

A trio of top Canadian bulls will be appearing at the World Finals: Eno & Kubinchak's Unabomber and Braithwaite's Wrangler's Rock Star –  both of whom impressed judges at the 2008 World Finals, and Braithwaite's  Master Feeds Show Stopper – a bull that competed at PBR Canada events all season and did well.

— by Slade Long

(Slade Long, PBR Web Developer and Statistician, has been crunching the numbers on bucking bulls for 10 years.)

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