Morning Line – NYC 15/15 Bucking Battle:
Some of the guys in this round could end up getting on five bulls this weekend, with three long rounds, a short round, and this round, and one interesting aspect of this event is whether it will make some guys more or less willing to take a re-ride in any round at this event. Because this is a PBR Major, the average will pay $100,000 to the event winner — or the guy with the most overall points. Winning the average still pays the most points, but winning the average can be hard to do if you keep a low score. The first long round re-ride bull is King Buck, who is almost a guaranteed round points producer, and most guys here can ride him. This is an event where an aggressive approach over the whole weekend could pay off big.
Reese Cates on 045 Seven Dust:
Cates has been in a funk since last August at the Built Ford Tough Series level. At the beginning of last season, he was on a roll but we haven’t seen that guy in a while now. This bull isn’t the toughest in this round, but he won’t be easy. Stetson Lawrence rode him at the Calgary Stampede last summer for 89.5 points But, at the World Finals Seven dust handled Lawrence and Wallace Oliveira easily. This is a bull that can stretch out and take some long jumps before turning back, and that can jerk on a rider’s arm.
Mike Lee on 1237 Walk Off:
This is the hardest working bull in the PBR and the hardest working rider, and it’s a little surprising they haven’t met before. Walk Off had 25 outs at the BFTS level last season. There were only 27 events in the season, so that is something of an amazing feat. He’s an honest bull, but he’s exceptionally strong. He spins to the left, but that hasn’t given lefties any kind of advantage against him. He’s given up six rides in 55 career outs. Lee has a shot, but this won’t be easy.
Cody Nance on 654 Stanley Fat Max:
Fat Max has 66 career BFTS outs and 115 outs overall since 2008. He’s around 12 years old, and he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. He has been ridden just five times in his career, and by the numbers he is in the mix of the hardest-to-ride bulls in PBR history. He has more career BFTS buckoffs (62) than any other active bull, and he’s ninth on the all-time list. There’s a good chance he will catch Bushwacker (64) this weekend if he gets to come back in the short round. By the end of this year, he could climb as high as second on that list. Nance has tried him four times to no avail, and will be the underdog here. There is no bull rider anywhere that would be favored against Fat Max.
Gage Gay on 79 Bootdaddy.com:
These two met here in New York last year in Round 2, and it went the bull’s way, but Bootdaddy is a great fit for right-handed riders and has given up some big rides to them. He will spin to the right and somewhere around the 7-second mark he will reverse it. Gay has a great shot at winning the round here, but he will have to work for it. This bull is strong enough to test him even spinning into his hand.
Valdiron de Oliviera on 96 Fire Rock:
Oliveira has bucked off this bull before, but overall I think Fire Rock fits him well. Oliveira is good at handling bulls that have a lot of up and down, and this one will. Typically Fire Rock will take a few long jumps out to the middle of the arena and go into a spin. Once he gets into it he will get steeper and steeper in the same spot. It’s this transition from covering a lot of ground to blowing up and down in his tracks that gets most guys. If Oliveira can get into the spin a round or two he should make it to the whistle.
Silvano Alves on W37 Cochise:
This isn’t a great draw for Alves for a couple of reasons. He has never given up a ride to a right-handed rider, and he can be a little troublesome in the chute. Alves is one of the best riders of all time in the arena, but in the chute he can be a little delicate. He has trouble getting out on bulls that don’t give anyone else problems. When he has a bull that is known to act up in the chute, there’s a decent chance he will have enough trouble before the gate opens that it will cost either him or the bull.
Eduardo Aparecido on 850 I’m a Gangster Too:
They’ve met twice before, and the bull won both times. Gangster is a very compact bull that kicks extremely high. He can get straight up and down at times. There’s very little margin for error on him. He typically goes to the right, but you wouldn’t know that from his stats. He’s 23-1 against right handed riders, and he’s given up 11 scores to lefties. Really anyone here can ride this bull, but they must be 100% mistake free, and that is hard to do.
Nathan Schaper on RK101 Slinger Jr.
This is the bull that threw J.B. Mauney in the short round last week. He’s 30-1 in his career. Stetson Lawrence is the one who rode him, and that was in Springfield, Missouri, just last fall. Schaper had him at the World Finals and came down, as did Mike Lee, and since then Slinger Jr., has thrown Lee again and Mauney.
Stetson Lawrence on 035 Sheep Creek:
This bull came from Canada just in time for the World Finals where he wrecked Ben Jones in the short round. He hasn’t given up a qualified ride in 18 career outs. He threw Mauney at the Calgary Stampede last year, costing him the event title. This is a bull that can have some back up, like the bull that Markus Mariluch has in Round 1, and he’s going to want the rider down on his head. This is good for riders in a way, and he won’t stay unridden at this level with that bucking style.
Tanner Byrne on 229 Heat Seeker:
This is a great draw for Byrne. Heat Seeker should go to the right, into Byrne’s hand, and he should have very even timing throughout. We haven’t seen him very often at this level, but he’s a solid performer. Mike Lee was 87.5 on him at a BlueDef event in Cincinnati, Ohio, just last month.
J.W. Harris on L10 Like a Boss:
Like a boss made his PBR debut last week, so we have just one out on record for him. Joao Vieira was 88.25 on him in Chicago to win second in Round 2. Harris needs rides, and while this bull should spin away from his hand, that usually isn’t an issue for him.
Fabiano Vieira on 66 Midnight Train:
This is another bull we don’t know much about. No one has ridden him yet. He was in Tucson, Arizona, at the last BFTS event before the World Finals, where he threw off Joao Ricardo Vieira, and he was in Clovis, New Mexico, just after the Finals as well. Obviously this will be his toughest test so far. He’s traveled across the country and into a completely different climate to face the toughest rider he’s gone up against yet.
Joao Ricardo Vieira on 1440 Loose Change:
Neil Holmes is the only man who has ridden this bull in nine career outs, and he went to the right with Holmes. His style will give a lot of trouble to left-handed riders, and while Holmes managed it well, Vieira has noticeably struggled against bulls that go away from his hand — even relatively easy ones.
Kaique Pacheco on 978 Little Red Jacket:
Pacheco was 89.5 on Little Red Jacket in St. Louis, Missouri, last year, and this is obviously an outstanding draw for him. He should be the odds-on favorite to win this round. This bull is another one who likes to back up under the rider at times, and he’s one of the best at it. He gets a lot of riders down on his head. If Pacheco can avoid that he should be fine.
J.B. Mauney on 28 Shaft:
Cody Lambert really likes this bull and sees him as a bull that should be ridden a lot compared to other short-round-caliber bulls, but he isn’t. He has only been ridden twice in 33 career outs. But, Lambert is right. Shaft goes to the left, and has great timing. He’s a high- performance bull with a relatively low difficulty factor. Mauney matches up well with him and could steal this round here. Pacheco has the most favorable matchup only by a slim margin. This could easily be 90-plus points.
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