NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The bulls set for Nashville are an impressive group overall. The format here is similar to what we’ve seen in Iron Cowboy in the past, which puts riders against each other in a bracket style format. Each match comes down to whoever has the highest score or stays on the longest.
In this format, PBR Livestock Director Cody Lambert sets the bulls for each match in the bracket, and they are as evenly matched as they can be all the way through. The toughest bulls at this event are slotted in the Second Chance Bracket set for Saturday, and in the final four (Round 5) also on Saturday. The first couple of rounds tonight will feature a lot of championship round-caliber bulls as well, so the overall bull power is a big step up from what we saw in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last week.
Luciano de Castro on 00 Set ‘em Up Joe
Brennon Eldred on Big Tex Walk Off
Both these bulls are pretty tough for this round, and both of them have a slight edge on the riders because they both tend to spin away from their rider’s hand. Walk Off is a little better at scoring quick buckoffs, and Castro has a slight edge here because of that. The winner of this round has to face Jess Lockwood and both bulls in that matchup spin to the left.
Ryan Dirteater on 100 Bar Down
Lachlan Richardson on 104 Moto Moto
Bar Down is the easier of these two bulls to ride by a slim margin, but Richardson has ridden Moto Moto twice in as many attempts. The two bulls here are evenly matched, but both are easier to ride than Set ‘em Up Joe and Walk Off. No matter which rider moves on here, they will have trouble getting past Cody Nance in Round 2.
Guilherme Marchi on 441 Animal Kingdom
Koal Livingston on 2125 Wicked Stick
Marchi should have the edge in this round. Animal Kingdom is a less experienced bull, and Marchi will be the best rider he’s ever faced. Wicked Stick is well known for scoring quick buckoffs against the best riders going. Livingston will probably need a qualified ride here to advance.
Fabiano Vieira on 361 Hedoo
Cody Rodeo Tyler on 24 Mar-A-Lago
Vieira has a big advantage here. He will likely get a qualified ride on Hedoo, and it will be tougher for Tyler to do so. Cody Nance has ridden Hedoo twice in recent weeks, scoring 87 points or more each time. Mar-A-Lago can get that kind of score, but the imbalance between the two riders will play a role here. Vieira is by far the better rider in this matchup.
Stetson Lawrence on 99Z Outlaw
Cody Campbell on 58 Raging Fire:
Neither of these bulls have been around the block. Raging Fire is brand new and making his debut here, while Outlaw has been to a lot of rodeos, but hasn’t faced many top-tier riders. Bracket B is full of left-handed riders, but the gatekeeper for this bracket is Chad Berger’s Smooth Operator in the final four on Saturday, and no left-handed rider has ever ridden him. Campbell, Proctor, Lowe and Pacheco have the best chance against him simply because they are righties.
Shane Proctor on 48 Land Shark
Nevada Newman on 901 Sam
We don’t know anything about Proctor’s bull statistically, but 901 Sam is a good draw for anyone. He has good timing and produces good scores. Newman has been on him once before, and bucked off at 7.41 seconds, so he should have a good feel for this bull.
Dener Barbosa on 61Z Simon Says
Ramon de Lima on 2127 Slip Out
Barbosa rode Simon Says easily at the Velocity Tour Finals in Las Vegas last fall. That gives him the edge in this matchup where the other side is full of question marks. Slip Out and Lima are both lesser known and harder to make assumptions about.
Claudio Montanha Jr. on 214 Good Ride’s Jail Breaker
Kurt Shephard on 322 Spooky
This matchup is a push. Montanha is the better rider of the two, but his bull has a high difficulty factor, and he goes away from Montanha’s hand. He’s thrown off the best riders in the world consistently. Shephard’s bull is a complete unknown.
Mike Lee on 251 Slow Ride
Gage Gay on 262 Good Ride’s Jailhouse Jr.
Both bulls in this matchup have impressive buckoff percentages, but don’t be surprised if we see two qualified rides here. If that happens, Gay has a slight edge in that he’s likely to outscore Lee. Of the two riders, Lee has the best odds of a qualified ride.
Cody Teel on 654 Stanley FatMax
Tanner Byrne on 913 Big Benny
Byrne should be a big favorite here. Big Benny, despite being big and scary looking, is not that hard to ride. He’s thrown off a lot of top-tier riders, but I would be surprised if he gets the best of Byrne. His size actually works to Byrne’s advantage. Stanley FatMax on the other hand is one of the hardest bulls to ride in PBR history. He is past his prime, but he still isn’t fun. Teel has a chance here, but Byrne has a better chance.
Silvano Alves on 1031 Vegas Outlaw
Emilio Resende on 59 Dirty Vegas
While both bulls have similar records, Alves is the better rider of the two, and that gives him the edge in this matchup. That said, Alves has not been riding like a three-time World Champion for some time. At one point in his career, it was hard to imagine anyone being capable of beating him in this format, but now it is too easy to imagine him falling in the first round.
Marco Eguchi on 1100 Milky Jones
Dakota Buttar on 315 Holy Roller
While Holy Roller is a debut bull with no history, I believe Buttar will advance here. Buttar is a hard guy to get on the ground. Eguchi has been on Milky Jones twice before and 2.59 seconds is the longest he’s lasted. Buttar can stay on any bull at this event for 2.59 seconds.
Jess Lockwood on 226 Pneu-Dart’s Doomsday
Luciano de Castro or Brennon Eldred on 1148 Funky Junk
These two bulls are almost carbon copies of one another, and both of them go to the left. Lockwood will likely get a qualified ride here, and he will be tough to beat. He’ll face Castro or Eldred, and he’s likely to outscore either of them if it comes to that.
Cody Nance on 00 Captain
Lachlan Richardson or Ryan Dirteater on 265 Drifter
Nance scored 87 points on Captain earlier this year, and that gives him the edge in this match no matter who advances to face him. Drifter is a less experienced bull, and neither Richardson nor Dirteater have been on him before.
Chase Outlaw on 07 Sarge
Guilherme Marchi or Koal Livingston on 705 Well Hello
Outlaw will face Marchi or Livingston here, and either way it will be an even match. Both bulls are largely unknown, although Sarge is the easier bull to ride by the numbers. Outlaw has World Championship aspirations, and the only thing that might keep a gold buckle out of reach is consistency. He’s been something of a homerun or strikeout hitter, and he needs to just convert some of the strikeouts to singles.
Joao Ricardo Vieira on 747 Pink Cadillac
Fabiano Vieira or Cody Rodeo Tyler on C001 Lab Rat
Pink Cadillac is unridden in eleven career outs, while Lab Rat is 19-2 overall. This could turn into the match of two Vieiras if Fabiano advances to face Lab Rat. If that happens Fabiano may have a slight edge. If not, Joao should be able to win this.
Kaique Pacheco on 24 Mud Duck
Stetson Lawrence or Cody Campbell on 700 Fire Bender
Mud Duck has never been ridden by a right-handed rider, but Pacheco is likely to be the first. There’s a great chance we could see two qualified rides in this match, as both bulls are more rider friendly than others in this round. Whoever advances to face Pacheco will need a qualified ride, because Pacheco will probably get a score here.
Mason Lowe on 200 Showdown
Shane Proctor or Nevada Newman on 084 The Don
Both of these bulls are hard to ride. Showdown is unridden in eleven outs, but he hasn’t faced many top riders. The Don is more experienced, has been thoroughly tested, and has only given up three scores in thirty outs. Lowe has the best chance of anyone in this bracket to get past Smooth Operator in the final four, but he has to get there first.
Derek Kolbaba on 111 Black Rose
Dener Barbosa or Ramon de Lima on 308 Charge
Charge is a debut bull and we know nothing about him. Whether it is Barbosa or Lima who advances to face him, they will need to get a score, because Kolbaba is almost a lock to ride Black Rose – a bull coming out of Canada who has looked pretty nice for left-handed riders.
Stormy Wing on X223 Pit Bull
Claudio Montanha Jr. or Kurt Shephard on X232 I’m a Hustler
Wing has a big advantage in that he should definitely ride Pit Bull. The bull fits his style, and Wing has been riding well this year. On the other side of the bracket, Montanha or Shephard will have a tougher time with I’m a Hustler
Eduardo Aparecido on Z50 Bugle Boy
Mike Lee or Gage Gay on V3 Shark Bait
Both sides of this match are tough, and Aparecido is in real danger of being one and done here. Bugle Boy can have a lot of up and down and won’t be easy to ride. Both riders who have a chance to fill this slot, Lee or Gay, are worthy opponents who won’t be easy to get on the ground.
Rubens Barbosa on 219 Tractor Tippin
Cody Teel or Tanner Byrne on 36Z Rebel Yell II
This is the easiest pair of bulls in this bracket and round, and it could come down to who outscores who. Tractor Tippin could go either way, and if he goes to the right, expect Barbosa to win this match. If not, Teel or Byrne could easily take it.
Cooper Davis on 1994 EHV’s Itchy
Silvano Alves or Emilio Resende on 0X50 Hot Spot
Either Alves or Resende will end up facing off with current World Champion Davis, and while it would have seemed silly to say this just a couple of years ago, Davis is easily the strongest rider of the three. His bull is statistically easier to ride as well, but not by much, and neither of these bulls have seen much high level competition.
Matt Triplett on 3X1 Zacchaeus
Dakota Buttar or Marco Eguchi on 0208 Hornet’s Nest:
Hornet’s Nest is the better known of these two bulls, and he’s not prohibitively difficult to ride. Either Buttar or Eguchi will have him, and of those two Buttar has the better chance to beat Triplett – who hardly ever comes down quickly. This is a very even matchup and will be hard fought.
Follow Slade Long on Twitter @probullstats
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