PUEBLO, Colo. – 2016 World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Bruiser grew up roughly 100 miles south of Oklahoma City at the D&H Cattle Company ranch in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
Bruiser will make the easy trip north on Interstate 35 for his 2017 season debut at the Express Employment Professionals Invitational this coming weekend.
While Chesapeake Energy Arena is home to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the real noise taking place on Saturday and Sunday will be close to 2,000-pound animals tossing and slamming the PBR’s best cowboys.
That will especially be the case during Sunday’s Built Ford Tough Championship Round where some of the rankest bulls in the PBR will be competing: Bruiser, 2015 World Champion SweetPro’s Long John, Pearl Harbor, Jared Allen’s Air Time, Stone Sober, Hey Jack, Seven Dust and Cochise.
Bruiser is believed to be the favorite for the 2017 World Champion Bull title.
The 5-year-old is coming off a 14-1 season in which he won the 2016 title in a tiebreaker over 2015 World Champion SweetPro’s Long John and Pearl Harbor.
The last time he was ridden at the BFTS level?
Well, that came right here in Oklahoma City last year when Mason Lowe made the 8-second mark for 91 points during Bruiser’s 2016 season debut.
However, Bruiser was recently ridden by Brennon Eldred for 94.5 points at the 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Oklahoma native J.W. Hart will be handling color commentating duties alongside Craig Hummer for this weekend’s CBS Sports Network broadcast.
Hart said before the season that Bruiser is a leading contender for World Champion Bull.
“I think Bruiser is going to be the favorite going in because he is so consistent,” Hart said. “He is going to be 45-46 every single time. He will be in the running without a doubt and has a real good chance to win it.”
Consistency and Bruiser are synonymous.
Bruiser averages 45.18 points per out on the BFTS and is 25-5 on the PBR’s highest-tour in three years of action. He has been marked 45 points or higher in 18 of his 30 BFTS outs (60 percent).
Bruiser’s 2016 World Championship and 2016 Bull of the Finals title were the latest in a slew of accolades that have quietly begun to put Bruiser in elite company.
According to the ABBI, Bruiser’s $462,782 career earnings is an ABBI record.
Bruiser won the 2015 ABBI Classic Championship as a 3-year-old and finished runner-up to Long John in the 2015 World Champion Bull race.
The bovine athlete is also one of only three bulls to win the ABBI Classic title and the PBR World Championship. Three-time World Champion Bushwacker and Long John are the other two.
Bruiser is attempting to join Bushwacker as the fourth bull in PBR history to win back-to-back World Championships.
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert said before the season it is quite amazing when you look at all of Bruiser’s accolades in the PBR, ABBI and PRCA.
“He is going for another PBR title,” Lambert said. “He can wind up as one of the most decorated bulls in PBR history with all of the money he has won in the ABBI. He was the top bull at the NFR (in 2015) and he crossed over into rodeo and should have been the PRCA champion.”
WORLD CHAMPION BULL RACE UPDATE
Oklahoma City will be the first weekend where the PBR’s star-studded bulls are all on the same stage with the new World Champion Bull rule changes.
The World Champion will be determined based on the Top 8 outs during PBR Built Ford Tough Series regular-season events plus two outs at the PBR World Finals. The bull with the highest average bull score across those 10 outs will be crowned the PBR WCBB and earn the $100,000 WCBB bonus.
The World Champion Bull title will now mathematically count regular-season performance across the Built Ford Tough Series.
Through two events in 2017, only one bull – Hey Jack – has eclipsed the 45-point threshold.
By Sunday afternoon, Hey Jack will almost definitely have some company in the 45-plus point club.
Hey Jack will be bucking during the championship round in Oklahoma City.
The dark horse contender for the World Championship bucked off J.W. Harris in New York in 2.85 seconds for a 45.5-point bull score.
“If you keep your feet down, he rides like a freaking dream,” Harris said. “He is just kind of up underneath so when he hits he pushes back and comes back to you. Them shoulders push your feet back. If you keep your feet down, he would probably ride good. There is no power to him. He is coming back to you the whole time. Just keep your feet down.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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