ST. LOUIS, Mo. ― When the Kawasaki Invitational kicks off Friday, PBR Livestock Director Cody Lambert will already have 14 of the 15 bulls for Sunday's Built Ford Tough Championship Round chosen. At a three-day event, it's not uncommon for five or six short round spots to be left open, and the fact that the short round pen is nearly complete before the event begins indicates that we will see an exceptionally strong group of bulls Sunday.
"We'll have Bushwacker, Smackdown, Shepherd Hills Tested, King Lopez, Jeff Robinson's New Holland PowerStar, and Stanley FatMax," Lambert said. "We've got Southpaw, who has been rank lately, and Rock & Roll, who is still unridden. I think 20T Train Wreck and 708 Delco may be the two best draws in the short round, if you're thinking of an easier one, and they really aren't that easy."
Lambert added that the long round bulls in St. Louis should be pretty strong as well.
"With D&H Cattle, Chad Berger, Gene Owens, New Frontier, and K Bar C coming, there's a lot of depth," Lambert said. "Kent Cox will have a few bulls. There's a new contractor, who happens to be an 18-year-old girl from Weatherford, Texas, ― Paige Stout ― who will have five bulls in Round 1, and they are all good looking bulls we haven't seen before. We'll have to see how well they deal with the step up to the Built Ford Tough Series level, because it's usually quite a bit different environment for bulls, with all the lights and the noise."
D&H Cattle will bring a full load of bulls to St. Louis, nearly all of them borderline short round-quality bulls. We'll see 48U Rockie Smooth, who Sean Willingham rode en route to winning the event in Oklahoma City. 33W Western Show, a new bull Lambert is impressed with, is making his debut here.
"Their program is about 30 years old now, and they just keep producing numbers of great bulls," Lambert said. "They have the numbers working in their favor ― they produce more bull calves than just about anyone, and their program is a big influence on other contractors. They sell bulls, heifers, and retired bulls to other people for breeding purposes, and those genetics have produced great PBR bulls for other programs. They also compete with their younger bulls in the ABBI, and if they see a bull from another breeder's program that they like, they will try to buy him, and use him in their breeding program as well."
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