That other title race


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The CBS and Versus cameras were rolling on Saturday night at the Professional Bull Riders World Finals.

So were the bulls.

It was a evening when the rankest bovines in the world took the big stage.

Eight of the 10 bulls who are competing for the 2009 World Champion award were on the card. The other two will be out during the Nov. 1 performance.

There was Code Blue, the spoiled waffle-eating bull who took the lead in the 2009 world title race with a score of 46.75. The bull received the lofty marking after Brazilian Thiago Paguioto gave the unridden animal an honest try, staying on for 4.9 seconds.

There was Voodoo Child, the stalwart spinner who tied for second with a 46. Big Tex, who became famous earlier this year for beating defending World Champion Bull Bones in a $50,000 match, also is tied for second with a 46.

And speaking of Bones, a rookie cowboy named Pete Farley stuck it to the 2008 World Champion and won the round with 93.25 as the PBR 2009 World Finals concluded its second performance at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Bones is ranked fourth in the title race after turning in a 45.75.

And there was Troubadour, the runner-up in last year’s title race. The California-owned bovine helped J.B. Mauney tie for second in Round 2 with a 91.25.

After topping the rapid-fire spinner, Mauney moved up one rung in the world title race, surpassing defending World Champion Guilherme Marchi, who was made quick work of by a bull named Charmed I’m Sure.

After going tit for tat with Troubadour, who is the ultimate in strong and rhythmic bucking and spinning, Mauney is ranked second in the Built Tough Series world title race with 12,062 points, only 126.25 behind No. 1 ranked Kody Lostroh.

The rides of Lostroh, Mauney and Marchi from Round Two will be featured in a CBS broadcast scheduled on Nov. 1.

The first round of the World Champion Bull race concludes during the Sunday, Nov. 1 matinee show. Two other contenders, Crosswired and Black Pearl, are scheduled to buck in that performance because they are competing in a show that features the American Bucking Bulls Inc., Classic Division competition.

During the Saturday night performance, it was Code Blue who stole the show. The yellowish colored bull, owned by Walton & Wagoner/Berger and Struve, improved his 2009 record in the PBR to 12-0. In 11 of his 12 trips this season, he’s turned in a score of at least 46.

“He’s a bull who never does the same thing,” said Rick Wagoner, a co-owner. “He’s going to come and he’s going to buck. He’ll never let you down. He’ll buck 110 percent and he loves it.”

Code Blue has been a big hit throughout the season as he has maintained an unblemished record. And he commands the respect of former World Champion Michael Gaffney.

“He’s very athletic, and he has all of the attributes of a rank bucking bull,” Gaffney said. “He leaves (the chute) really hard and he leaves there with a lot of authority.”

Meanwhile, Big Tex threw his challenger so fast that there wasn’t all that much for judges to view. Yet he received a 46 after tossing veteran Sean Willingham in 1.8 seconds.

Big Tex, owned by Dakota Rodeo/Clay Struve, has been ridden only once in 21 attempts in 2008 and 2009. His record this year against the cowboys is 15-1.

This season, Big Tex became a big star when he defeated the defending World Champion Bull in a match in March in Birmingham, Ala. It was the a first-of-its-kind $50,000 match between Bones and Big Tex. In a nail biter, Big Tex edged Bones, 46 to 45.5.

Tom Teague, the owner of Bones, and Berger, who is a co-owner of Big Tex, made a bet that each man owned the best bull. The losing stock contractor had to pay the winner.

The judges scored each bull during the final round. Veteran Zack Brown faced Big Tex and 2004 World Champion Mike Lee mounted Bones. Both men were bucked off.

Since then, Big Tex has been taken very seriously.

“I’m so proud of that bull,” Berger said of Big Tex. “He’s like a son to me. I guess I’ve never been so proud of an animal in my lifetime.”

The only rider who has stayed on Big Tex this season was Marchi. He turned in a 94 aboard the bull in Nampa, Idaho.

Meanwhile, Voodoo Child, who is co-owned by Jeff Robinson/Beutler and Sons/Bar None/Cathy and Jason Neely, also turned in a 46.

Over the past three seasons, Voodoo Child has been ridden once in 24 tries in the PBR. His 2009 record is 13-0.

Justin McBride is the only cowboy who has made a qualified ride aboard Voodoo Child. He conquered the bull last year in Tulsa, Okla., and turned in a 94.5.

“He’s one of the strongest bulls that I’ve ever been on,” said McBride, who won PBR world titles in 2005 and 2007. “He’s a really strong bull who breaks in a lot of different places when he’s bucking and that makes him really hard to ride.”

— by Brett Hoffman

Reminder: The final 15 rides of Round 2 will air on CBS today, following NFL coverage. Check local listings.

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