PUEBLO, Colo. – Brennon Eldred had been thinking about 2012 World Champion Bull Asteroid all Saturday afternoon.
While making the short trip to the Bismarck Event Center from their hotel, Eldred chatted with 2012 PRCA champion Cody Teel about his desire to attempt to ride Asteroid later that night during the Dakota Community Bank PBR Bull Riding Challenge in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Eldred seemed set to do just that before Jess Lockwood selected the 10-year-old one pick before Eldred was set to select during the championship round draft on Saturday night.
Immediately, Eldred hollered, “Really!?”
Lockwood turned with a grin, “Sorry.”
In some ways, Eldred was the last one laughing after the rookie rode Cooper Tires Brown Sugar for 91 points, which held up as the event-winning ride on the final night of competition in Bismarck.
“That is what it is,” Eldred said while glancing at his event belt buckle. “It may have been a good thing I didn’t get Asteroid. Jess got him rode. It might have been ugly, but he got him rode. He got his payback.”
Eldred also got payback in Bismarck.
Brown Sugar previously bucked off Eldred during the 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
A little under two years later, Eldred was able to cap off his best weekend to date in PBR competition by handling Brown Sugar into his hand and teeing off for his second 90-point ride in as many nights.
“That bull is tough,” Eldred said. “He got me down at the NFR a few years ago, and I had been wanting to get back on him ever since. He went left the first time. My hat is off to that bull. That is a great bull. He has been around for a long time. He brings it every time. You can’t stub your toe at all.”
Eldred added he would have picked the bull first overall if came back in the No. 1 position.
“I was really surprised he went that far,” Eldred said. “I needed to get some revenge on him. That is a great bull. I wish they were all like that.”
Bismarck may end up being the 22-year-old’s coming out party in the PBR.
The three-time NFR qualifier is amidst his first season in the PBR, and he earned 100 points toward the world standings with the victory and fourth-place finish on Friday night.
Eldred is now ranked 27th in the world standings
He only went 2-for-4, but his rides on Cooper Tires Brown Sugar and Deep Water was the rankest of Eldred’s brief PBR career.
Eldred joined PRCA champions Teel and Sage Kimzey as the only riders to ever reach 8 seconds on Deep Water with his emphatic 90.5-point ride into his hand.
“I saw my good rodeo buddies Sage and Cody had been all of them points on him,” Eldred said. “I thought he would fit me and he did. I had seen that bull for a while and I had been wanting to get on him. He is a great bull. He was pretty honky the first couple of rounds. After that, it got pretty fun.”
The two rides really stood out to reigning Stock Contractor of the Year Chad Berger.
“I was proud of Brennon,” Berger said. “That was a great ride on Brown Sugar. He got in there with him and kept grabbing and did what he had to do to ride the bull. That was a great bull. He stuck it all over him on Deep Water. That is two great rides. If he could just have put it together in the long round, he would have come home with a lot, a lot of cash and the rifle.”
Eldred concluded the first half of the Built Ford Tough Series ranked 35th in the world standings after going 3-for-7 in three events.
He made his BFTS debut in Billings, Montana, after a 90-point ride on White Smoke at the West Plains, Missouri, Touring Pro Division event.
Berger was impressed with Eldred’s instincts and fluid movements on two championship-round bulls.
“He has a great sense of balance and rides with a lot of natural ability and a lot of natural reflexes,” Berger said. “He is a great little rider. You are going to hear a lot from Brennon. If he don’t get hurt, he is going to be playing a long with the big guys. “
The Sulphur, Oklahoma, native is 23-for-43 (53.49 percent) at all levels of PBR competition.
Eldred is beginning to no longer feel like a rookie, but more as a bull riding veteran.
“I am finally starting to get comfortable and come into my own here,” Eldred said. “That is just anywhere you go. Rodeoing, it is a whole different atmosphere coming over here. It is tough to pick it up, I am pretty comfortable to where I am at. I am looking forward to it.”
Berger believes this weekend is an example that Eldred has what it takes to one day be a Top-10 or even Top-5 contender in the PBR.
“Everybody is underestimating Brennon Eldred,” Berger said. “He has just come around here now. Everybody has to get used to getting on this caliber of bulls. He has rode some great bulls already. I think he is a Top-10 guy. Next year you could see him as a Top 5-10 guy and maybe going for a world title.”
Bismarck was the capper on a strong week for Eldred, who had finished second at the Reno Rodeo Xtreme Bulls event with 87.5 points on Tiger Shark.
The second-place performance pushed Eldred to 10th in the PRCA bull riding standings.
Eldred is planning on making a big summer run to try and qualify for the NFR for a sixth consecutive season.
Now that he is 123.75 points ahead of the BFTS cutline, he can breathe slightly easier.
“I have only been to 17 rodeos and I have to get to 40,” Eldred said. “I am going to both (PRCA and PBR events). Probably rodeo during the summer and go to a couple more of these and see where I am at. I don’t want to get on that BFTS bubble again.”
The Built Ford Tough Series resumes on Aug. 12-13 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with the PBR Express Employment Professionals Classic.
“I definitely am looking forward to the first BFTS coming back,” the Oklahoma bull rider concluded.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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