LAS VEGAS – One is a reigning World Champion Bull that riders have won close to $1.5 million on. He is a bull riders say is a dream to ride. The other is a 1,900-pound superstar that has made life living hell for the majority of bull riders that have found the courage to attempt him.
Regardless, only one bull will be able to take home the 2017 World Champion Bull title this year inside T-Mobile Arena.
2016 World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Bruiser and Pearl Harbor head into the 2017 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals neck and neck in the race for bull supremacy.
Pearl Harbor edged past Bruiser for the regular-season bull championship and $25,000, but the two bulls are basically tied heading into Round 2 of the 2017 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals.
Pearl Harbor leads Bruiser 46.38 to 46.34.
The 2017 PBR World Champion Bull is determined based on the Top 8 outs during the Built Ford Tough Series regular season plus two outs at the World Finals. The bull with the highest average bull score across those 10 outs will be crowned the World Champion and earn the $100,000 bonus.
Bulls drop their lowest bull scores if they have more than eight outs on their record.
Pearl Harbor has drawn Lachlan Richardson for Thursday night, while Bruiser will dance with Emilio Resende.
Richardson and Resende both bucked off their Round 1 bulls on Wednesday night.
“I know he is probably the rankest bull here,” Richardson said. “He is really good. He blows up and bucks really hard. He is definitely not the hardest to ride. I feel good and decent.”
Resende took his praise of Bruiser one step further.
“I have hoped to ride him for a long time,” Resende said. “He is the best bull in the world. He is the best bull I have seen in my life because he is a good bull in the bucking chute. He will buck to the outside, but is easy in the bucking chutes. He bucks a lot. He never bucks for 43-44 points. Every time he is 45.5 or more.”
While other bulls such as TLW’s Big Cat, Seven Dust, Jack Shot and Spotted Demon have poked their heads into the World Champion Bull race, they simply have been no match for the two star-studded, 6-year-old bulls.
However, if Bruiser or Pearl Harbor get called for a foul or re-ride, they will be eliminated from the world title race this week in Las Vegas and open the door for outside contenders.
Bruiser and Pearl Harbor have been the cream of the crop in regards to bull power in the PBR since the beginning of the season.
In fact, the top 10 bull scores of the year have been posted by either Pearl Harbor, who was marked 47.5 points for a 1.98-second buckoff of Matt Triplett in Billings, Montana, or Bruiser, who picked up a career-high 47.25 points when he knocked out Jess Lockwood in Springfield, Missouri.
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert said the World Championship is likely going to come down to one bull or the other at the Finals barring an injury or unexpected foul.
“No doubt,” Lambert said last month. “The rest of the bulls are great, but Pearl Harbor and Bruiser are the elite class. The very top class is just two bulls deep. All of the bulls buck and kick and jump high and spin, but they do it just better than the rest.”
Bruiser was 10-4 on the BFTS and averaged 45.95 points per out, while Pearl Harbor was 11-1 with a 46.02-point average.
Pearl Harbor and Bruiser are rank bulls in their own right, but they are both very different.
Bruiser is the bull every rider knows they can be 90-plus points on for a big-time payday.
On the flip side, Pearl Harbor is a bovine beast that can strike fear in his opponents that can make a potential victory go south quickly.
“That is exactly right,” Lambert said. “They are two different bulls. Pearl Harbor is harder to ride. Bruiser is better. Pearl Harbor has more whip to the outside and can be a little stronger than Bruiser. Bruiser is the most predictable bull in the world. He does exactly the same thing every time, but he does it as well as any bull has ever done it. He kicks the back of the bucking chute every time leaving the chute. He jumps really high out of the chute and kicks hard and he starts out spinning to the left.”
Bruiser has been ridden nine times by five riders (J.B. Mauney, Joao Ricardo Vieira, Mason Lowe, Derek Kolbaba and Stormy Wing) in 44 BFTS outs over the course of his four-year career.
Those five riders have won over $1.5 million on the back of Bruiser, which includes Mauney’s $1 million World Champion bonus for his world title-clinching 92.75-point ride on Bruiser at the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
Pearl Harbor has only surrendered three rides to Shane Proctor, Mauney and Matt Triplett in 32 BFTS outs in four years.
The owners of Bruiser and Pearl Harbor have the utmost respect for their stiffest challenger at the World Finals.
Reigning Stock Contractor of the Year Chad Berger said, “There is only one problem with Bruiser, and that is he is not mine. That is the only problem. He is just so damn showy. He is electric and showy and is a great bull. As far as power and rank, I think Pearl Harbor is more than Bruiser, but Bruiser is showier. He has that leaping ability and is just really neat.”
H.D. Page said, “Pearl Harbor is a big, bucking sucker. I remember seeing him as a 2-year-old. He is everything you can be as a bucking sucker.”
Bruiser is attempting to become only the fourth bull in PBR history to repeat as World Champion Bull and the second bull all time to win the PRCA Bull of the Year and PBR World Championship in the same season.
“That is a really big accomplishment,” Lambert said. “Their careers are a lot shorter than bull riders. Bull riders careers are short, but bucking bulls lives are short. Their prime is usually only two to three years, and both of them have been on the radar since they have been 3 years old.”
D&H Cattle Company has raised the last two PBR World Champion Bulls and taken home six Stock Contractor of the Year titles.
However, Dillon Page, H.D.’s father, says its time the stock contracting family gets their first back-to-back World Champion.
“I would love for him to win it again,” Dillon said. “I think he’s got one more shot, maybe. We have never had one. Never. It just don’t happen very often. Bushwacker, Dillinger and Little Yellow Jacket are the only ones to do it.”
Meanwhile, Berger, who won his seventh Stock Contractor of the Year title in 2017, is trying to win his first World Champion Bull title since 2009 (Code Blue).
“It would really cap the year off,” Berger said. “I know that. Yeah, it is a little bit (frustrating), but it comes down to how good they do. They need to do their thing at the World Finals. I am going to bring him there and hopefully he does the best he can.
“If you don’t win, you don’t win, but I sure want to win. It sure would feel good to win it.”
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