Tonight’s round features the strongest bulls in the PBR. Qualified rides will be hard to come by, and most of the guys here were hoping to draw in the easier half of this pen of bulls. Jess Lockwood won this round last year with an 89.75-point ride on a strong bull, but we could easily see a mid-90’s or higher score if any rider rises to the challenge offered by these elite bulls.
Kaique Pacheco on 28A Smooth Wreck:
Pacheco looked strong last night, but this bull will be more of a test. Smooth Wreck is good enough to score big at this level, but he has big difficulty too. He can be touchy in the chute, and he can leave the chute like he was shot out of a cannon, and that combination makes it hard for riders to get started on him. Pacheco has the talent to match any bull move for move, but this one will not be easy.
Jess Lockwood on Z26 Acting Crazy:
Coming back off his injury in August, Lockwood looked as sharp last night as he ever has. He was aggressive, in control, and his reaction time was perfect. Although Lockwood bucked off this bull at the 2016 World Finals, don’t expect a repeat of that tonight. Acting Crazy is one of the better draws in this round. He’s not the strongest bull here, and he’s not a guaranteed round win, but look for Lockwood to pick up a second straight qualified ride here.
Silvano Alves on 02 Beaver Creek Beau:
This is a veteran bull and he’s a relatively good draw for any right-handed rider in the rank pen. Beau has a five-year unridden streak against lefties, but he’s easier for right-handed guys, and he’s been ridden a couple of times down the stretch of this season. He may not be the best possible draw for Alves here. Alves is 0-3 against him. Part of the reason for that is that Beaver Creek Beau is big, strong, and he’s been around long enough that he’s pretty much immune to any bucking chute games or stalling tactics and won’t be intimidated by them. This takes away the main tactic Alves has focused on for the past several years.
Francisco Garcia Torres on 32Y SweetPro’s Bruiser:
Bruiser is a big favorite here no doubt, but the big story is that Bruiser has been conspicuously absent from competition since the summer. He needs two solid outs here to win another world title, and if he’s on his normal Las Vegas game he will walk away with it.
J.B. Mauney on 138 M.A.G.A:
Like every other bull here, M.A.G.A is not easy to ride. He’s been ridden twice in thirteen career outs, and Mauney is responsible for one of those – in Fort Worth, Texas, in January of this year.
Jose Vitor Leme on 209 Bad Beagle:
This may be the marquee matchup of the round. Although Leme has only been around for a year, he’s faced Bad Beagle four times and has one 91.5-point score to show for it. This isn’t the easiest matchup available for Leme, but it’s one that could earn him a round win.
Tanner Byrne on 5A After Midnight:
Byrne has had this bull twice before and made it to around the five-second mark each time. After Midnight slam dunked the top two riders in the world this fall, and he’s only been ridden once in 28 career outs. But if there is a bull here in Vegas who is a better fit for a tall rider than a short rider, this is the one.
Fabiano Vieira on 001 Smooth Operator:
Smooth Operator drew well here, and Vieira did not. Vieira will try this bull, but he’s almost certain to come down early and help the bull get a big score. Smooth Operator is 30-0 against left-handed riders in his career, and he may reach retirement without ever allowing a lefty to make the whistle. He’s an incredibly difficult bull to ride away from the rider’s hand. Of the bulls in the World Champion Bull race, he has the best chance to catch Bruiser, but he needs a big bull score here.
Marco Eguchi on 35 Spotted Demon:
This is a rematch from Nampa a few weeks ago where Eguchi took this bull to 6.59 seconds before coming down. Spotted Demon has world class difficulty, but right-handed riders do have a slight advantage on him compared to lefties. This is a challenge for Eguchi, but he is capable of getting the job done.
Matt Triplett on 809 Old Fort Days:
Triplett pulled off a big win last night, and if he can get by this one it will be much bigger. No one has had an answer for Old Fort Days yet. He’s faced and defeated a number of top tier riders, most of them right-handed. We’ve seen Triplett knock off more than a few bulls like this in his career.
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