NEW YORK – There are already eight guys who are 2-for-2 here, and at least a few of those guys will get a third score. The guys who have one buckoff on the weekend really need to ride in Round 3, while the guys who are 0-2 need a huge score and a lot of luck.
The third round pen of bulls no more or less solid than last night’s group, and we will probably see double digit qualified rides for the third straight day.
Luciano de Castro on 232 Sic ‘Em On A Chicken:
Castro is currently in fourth place here, and he should at least stay there, if not move to the lead with this draw. Sic ‘Em On A Chicken likes to go to the left, and he’s fast. He’s not enough bull to win the round on, but he’s good for a solid score. Castro ended the season in 25th last year, but you should expect him to finish higher than that. He is a Top-10 talent, and the only thing holding him back is lack of success on championship-round caliber bulls. If he can improve himself in that area, he will be a contender.
Cooper Davis on 1339 All the Way Up:
This is the bull J.B. Mauney was 87.25 points on in Round 1. That was the first qualified ride he’s given up in a short career so far. On paper, he’s the toughest matchup so far for Davis, who had extremely good draws in the first two rounds. But you can throw the paper out the window when Davis is riding well. He’s good enough to ride anything here.
Valdiron de Oliveira on 219 Tractor Tippin’
This is as good a draw as Oliveira could have hoped for. Tractor Tippin can go either way, and he’s good either way. He has timing and really doesn’t pull anything dirty. Oliveira has been riding well, and he could easily get a good third score on this bull.
Tanner Byrne on 111 Black Rose:
This is one of the picks of this pen or any pen he turns up in. He can be borderline championship-round quality, but his difficulty level is well below most championship-round bulls. He is likely to go to the left, away from Byrne’s hand, but he can go either way. He’s originally from Canada, so Byrne is probably familiar with him. He likes to try to get riders down on his front end, and that’s not likely to be successful against Byrne, who has enough leg to stick his knees behind this bull’s ears and counter that. Tall guys do have some disadvantages, but getting flipped over the front end of bulls is a short guy thing.
Dener Barbosa on 212 Locke & Loaded:
This will be a tougher test than Barbosa faced in either of the first two rounds. This bull can be fast, and he will be a challenge for Barbosa, who doesn’t always exhibit stellar reaction times. If he can get in time with this bull and stay there he could sneak up and win the round, but it won’t be easy.
Gage Gay on 206 Luke:
Gay is currently in sixth place in this event with two bulls ridden, and he has a good shot at getting a third score with this bull. Luke threw Gay off back in September in Austin, Texas, but not until the 7.9-second mark. Gay probably has a good feel for this bull, and this is a bull he could get a huge score on if he can make the whistle. This is an honest bull, but he’s not easy. He has speed and intensity to spare.
Claudio Montanha on 264 Ram It:
This is the bull Cooper Davis won the opening round on here, and he’s given up seven rides in his last nine outs now. He’s one of the most rider-friendly bulls at the event this week, and he’s still good enough to win something on. Montanha needs to convert here because he only has one score on the weekend, and he’s in 14th place coming into the final day. He will almost certainly be shut out of the championship round if he doesn’t get a score here.
J.B. Mauney on B60 Handsome Jeff:
This is the marquee matchup of this round. This may be the best bull to draw in the round because he tends to produce consistently big scores, and he’s good to ride on top of it. He tends to go to the left, and he looks like the kind of bull that should fit Mauney perfectly. This could be the round win or close to it.
Jess Lockwood on 303 Force Awaken:
This bull doesn’t get ridden a lot, but Lockwood rode him in Tulsa last August. He threw Cody Campbell off in the first round here. In their previous meeting, Lockwood had no trouble walking away with an 85.25. He’ll need more than that here, because he’s posted no points here so far. This may not be enough bull to get him to the championship round on one.
Cody Campbell on Z1 Ozzy:
Campbell looked solid last night, and he has a strikingly similar bull on Sunday. Ozzy is a lot like Roll of the Dice, except he goes to the left instead of the right. He has near perfect timing, and Campbell should be able to handle him. Like a few other guys in this round, Campbell needs a score here to earn a spot in the championship round because he’s 1-for-2 on the weekend.
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