After two weeks in California with roughly the same bull pen, the Built Ford Tough Series will feature a completely different set of animal athletes at the Jack Daniel’s Invitational.
But that doesn’t mean the West Coast won’t be represented at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Five of the 50 bulls bucking on Saturday night, including Yellow Jacket Jr. and Super Duty, were raised by Steve Katich along the Columbia River in northeastern Washington. Two other Katich-raised bulls in the opening round are Cooper Tires Wild & Out and Bando’s Wild & Wreckless.
Wild & Out has been in and out of the short round at various BFTS events largely because he, like K66 Rapid Fire, likes to buck right out of a left-handed delivery, and at times, gets himself into the fence.
“That’ll cause a problem,” said PBR Livestock Director Cody Lambert, who said five more of the Katich bulls will used next week in Portland, Ore. “I don’t really think he gets sluggish, but jumps out of the spin every now and then because he gets hung up in the fence. If you look at his record, he hasn’t been ridden since May of last year.”
Guilherme Marchi was the last to ride Wild & Out when he covered him for 90.5 points then, after doing so a month earlier for 89.25 points.
However, in his weekly Podcast with Slade Long, Lambert said it’s Wild & Wreckless who really reminds him of Rapid Fire. He said the two bulls look similar in stature and bucking style. Long called his Round 1 matchup with Valdiron de Oliveira one to watch.
Another bull to keep an eye on in Indianapolis is Gray Squirrel, who is being hauled by Jimmy Crowthers from New Frontier Rodeo. He bucked off Ednei Caminhas last year at a BFTS event in Wichita, Kan., and while Lambert said “he looked good, but he didn’t shine,” he was marked 46 points at a pro rodeo.
“We’ll just have to wait and see,” Lambert said, “but he could be something special. He sure bucked a lot of guys off.”
Long added that Gray Squirrel hasn’t been ridden since 2008, when he was only 3 years old.
This weekend the pen will be highlighted by the likes of I’m a Gangster, Voodoo Child and Chicken on a Chain, who is one of the few bulls to have reached 100 outs in his career. The 10-year-old has spent his entire PBR career bucking at BFTS events.
“I’ve explained this before to people,” Lambert said, “but it’s not just the 40 best bull riders in the world. He’s in the short go, so – in our old format – he’s up against the best 15 riders out of the Top 40 in the world every week. The best 15 of that weekend were the ones getting on him.
“[He has] that type of longevity and he’s still a bull that they’ll score 90 points on if they ride him.
“He’s not as rank as I’m a Gangster – hardly anything is – but he’s still one of the Top 10 bulls of this event, so that’s saying something really impressive,” Lambert said. “He’s a World Champion and he still bucks like a champion.”
Lambert’s and Long’s entire Podcast can be heard here.
— by Keith Ryan Cartwright
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