LAS VEGAS - This should be an interesting event to watch, and it will certainly be a change of pace from a normal Built Ford Tough Series event.
There is an interesting mix of riders entered here. The obvious headline is that the PBR’s No. 1 rider Derek Kolbaba and the PRCA’s No. 1 Sage Kimzey are both competing.
Kolbaba was smart to enter this because he’s in a virtual tie with Cooper Davis and Eduardo Aparecido. As well as Kolbaba has ridden of late, he’s at a disadvantage against those two guys head-to-head. Kolbaba will get a chance to create some separation at this event because Aparecido and Davis aren’t entered.
Kimzey is without question the best bull rider entered in the Velocity Tour Finals. He’s here on an invite. He came here last year and went 1-for-3, but the atmosphere may be a little different this time around.
Last year it was his first PBR event and the question in everyone’s mind was about whether he was good enough to compete in the PBR in general, where riders get on high end bulls more often. Since then, he won the PRCA bull riding championship for the third year in a row, finished third at the National Finals Rodeo, won RFD-TV’s The AMERICAN in February, rode Pearl Harbor in July and won the 2017 Calgary Stampede.
Those are just the highlights.
Kimzey has won more than twice as much money as anyone in the PBR in 2017. The relevant question now: Is there any other rider here strong enough to keep him from winning the Velocity Tour Finals, getting into the World Finals and winning that too?
There is luck of the draw involved, but it’s not a stretch to imagine Kimzey winning big here this week.
The bulls lined up to buck in the Velocity Tour Finals are an odd mix too. There are four separate bull competitions going in during the three-day event. The opening round features Derby bulls (3-year-olds) we know little about, and older bulls that are likely to be very rider-friendly due to the scoring scheme in their event. Expect to see a lot of qualified rides, at least in tonight’s round.
Round One Matchups
Brennon Eldred on 2259 Ms. Kitty’s Peacemaker:
Chase Outlaw was 88.5 points on this bull here last year to win second in the opening round. The bull goes to the left, but he also has great timing. Right-handed riders aren’t at a huge disadvantage on him. Peacemaker has some speed, but he’s rideable. Eldred should be able to get it done.
Alex Marcilio on 2575-0 Flab Slab:
This bull’s name is really an acronym for ‘Floats Like A Butterfly Stings Like A Bee’. He is more butterfly than bee, however, and he does more floating than stinging. This is a quality bull, but he is as rider-friendly as you will ever see at any higher level PBR event. He’s been ridden 24 times in 48 career outs, and he’s 10-14 against right-handed riders. Marcilio has an excellent chance at a solid score here.
Derek Kolbaba on 1413 (no name) AND Sage Kimzey on 4018 ‘Merica;
Kolbaba and Kimzey drew 3-year-old bulls that are virtually unknown. Both bulls have experience at the futurity level, and both have shown well at derbies this year. Some of the 3-year-old bulls turned in outstanding efforts at this event last year, and one or both of these might be really good. That said, I would take either of these riders against any inexperienced bull.
RELATED: Round 1 daysheet
Cole Melancon on 423 War Cloud:
You may not have heard of this bull, but you are sure to see him if you are around the South Point Hotel this week. He is literally the poster child of the ABBI Finals this year, and he is on several hundred signs around the area. War Cloud is the 2016 ABBI Futurity World Champion, and he hasn’t been to many events with a rider this year. He did go to Springfield, and was impressive there.
You may not have heard of Melancon either, but you will. He’s the current NIRA champion (college rodeo) and he is a solid talent. He’s ridden Bruiser not once but twice(!) over the past two years at PRCA rodeos. He matches up well with War Cloud and could be a sleeper pick to win the opening round.
Robson Aragao on F41 Mo Money:
Mo Money threw Luis Blanco off in Thackerville, Oklahoma, in his only BFTS appearance and turned in an impressive 43.75-point bull score there. He’s an up-and-coming, young bull who is already selected for the National Finals Rodeo this year. He may turn out to be the best bull in this round, and Aragao could exploit that to win or place well here if he can stay on.
Ramon de Lima on 1925 Painkiller:
This bull is almost a free pass for a right-handed rider. He’s 3-8 against them, and he’s been ridden 21 times in 38 career outs. He probably isn’t enough bull to win the round, but Lima is sure to pick up a solid mid-80s score here and start this event off on a good note.
Cody Rodeo Tyler on 319 Dirt Man Do:
Dirt Man Do could be one of the better bulls out in this round. He’s been ridden a couple of times by left-handed riders, but he consistently goes to the right, and Tyler is right-handed. This is a showy bull, and he will be a challenge for Tyler, but the payoff could be big.
Cody Jesus on 407 Buffalo Scott:
This is another 3-year-old bull making his debut at this level. Like the others, he has shown well at a few derbies this year. The real story here is Jesus. This is one of the more promising young bull riders to come along in a while. He was the Native American invitee at Albuquerque this year, and he didn’t do well there, but this guy will not be shut out for long. He has the talent to compete at the BFTS level and he may make some waves this week.
Jesse Tillman on 059 Boomer:
Like some of the other mature bulls in this round, Boomer shows a history of being pretty nice to riders. He’s been ridden in around half of his 44 career outs, and he’s never been to a BFTS event. Tillman doesn’t have a lot of experience, but he has a lot of try. This could be his breakout moment.
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