Because of its proximity to many great bucking bulls, the Built Ford Tough Series event here generally features one of the strongest bull pens of the year.
This weekend’s event is no different. The top two contenders for World Champion Bull – Bushwacker and I’m a Gangster – will be featured in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
However, Tulsa has historically not been kind to the top-ranked bull of 2011.
Last year, Bushwacker was outscored in the ABBI Classic competition by Moon. In his weekly Podcast, PBR Livestock Director Cody Lambert said sometimes bulls buck off their riders before they’re able to show what they are capable of.
He added, “They’re not as flashy as other times, and Moon was just amazing.”
Lambert records “In the Bull Pen” every Thursday prior to each BFTS event, with PBR statistician Slade Long. This week’s entire conversation can be heard here.
Long wondered if the same thing could happen this year with Asteroid.
Lambert said it could, but there is a distinct difference between the two bulls.
Asteroid has the jump, kick and spin needed to score as high as Bushwacker, but what separates the two is that Bushwacker is much stronger.
Last weekend, in Billings, Mont., Fabiano Vieira made a qualified ride on Asteroid, but by the time the whistle blew, he was hanging off the side.
“He doesn’t have the whip,” said Lambert, who added that Asteroid has been covered twice in the five outs he’s watched. “He doesn’t have the extreme drop that Bushwacker has in the front end.”
Lambert said both Bushwacker and I’m a Gangster are so strong they would “sling them out of there.”
This year’s opening round is also an ABBI Classic round, but will feature a significantly different pen of 3- and 4-year-old bulls than the Classic pen used two weeks ago in nearby Thackerville.
One bull that will return, however, is Bad Blake, who is the leading contender in the Classic competition this year. V5, who hasn’t even been named yet by his owner Henry Wilson, wasn’t in Thackerville, but looked great earlier this year when he bucked off J. B. Mauney at an event in Oklahoma City.
Two Classic bulls were drawn out of the opening round by their owners for unknown reasons.
Lambert replaced them with a pair of 5-year-olds – Copp Hou and Wine Hou – because he believed they would be evenly matched with the remaining pen for Round 1.
Copp Hou won the ABBI Futurity as a 2-year-old and the Classic wildcard round as a 3-year-old, and although he didn’t win the Classic title last year, he did earn a significant amount of money for his owner. Lambert estimated Copp Hou has earned nearly $300,000 in his short but successful career.
“He’s been around,” Lambert said. “He was a veteran when he was a 4-year-old.”
— by Keith Ryan Cartwright
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