Morning Line - 2016 World Finals Round 2
This is one of the easiest and hardest rounds of bull riding to write about every year. It’s easy because most of the matchups are interesting in some way, and it’s hard because there’s not enough time and space here to cover them all.
The second round of the Built Ford Tough World Finals traditionally consists of the best bulls that PBR livestock director Cody Lambert can muster. They are the cream of this year’s crop. This group of bulls will be a noticeable step up in performance and difficulty from what we saw last night, and the riders as a group didn’t look like they need any extra difficulty.
All nine of the World Champion bull contenders are out in this round, and this will set the stage for a Sunday showdown in that race. The World Champion rider contenders coasted last night, but someone will make a move tonight because it’s highly unlikely that they will all get a score in this round.
Ty Pozzobon on E5 Big Cat:
Having a good draw is key in this round, and Pozzobon got one of the best. There are two bulls here named Big Cat - this is Chad Berger’s black bull. He’s by far the nicer of the two to ride. He has great timing, and tends to go to the left into Pozzobon’s hand. He was ridden a couple of times down the stretch by Cooper Davis and Joao Ricardo Vieira for big scores, and he was probably the most coveted draw for every rider here, at least the left-handed ones. Pozzobon has an injured riding hand, but if he can keep it closed he should get along with this bull.
Jorge Valdiviezo on X22 Hammer It Again:
Valdiviezo is stepping in here for Aaron Roy who was injured last night, and he’s stepping into a good situation with this bull. Hammer It Again is one of the most athletic bulls you will see tonight, but he’s not one of the most difficult to ride. Valdiviezo will be the underdog here, but every rider has a fair chance against this bull, and if Jorge can get a score it will be a big one.
Cooper Davis on L704 David’s Dream:
Davis won the World Finals last year by riding four out of six bulls, and David’s Dream is one of the two that bucked him off. They met in the short go, and Davis was down in under four seconds. This is one of the more difficult to ride bulls in the PBR. He’s been around for a long time, and he’s 60-5 in his career. Davis is a better rider than he was a year ago, and he has a chance here, but getting a score on David’s Dream is a tall order for anyone.
Fabiano Vieira on 904 Fire & Smoke:
Not many riders like this bull, but Vieira loves him. They’ve met four times and Viera won three of those matches. Fire & Smoke is primarily a spinner, and he’s not that difficult for left-handed riders, but he is very fast, and there is very little margin for error on him. This could go either way, but Vieira is probably pretty happy to have this bull considering everything else he could have drawn in this round.
Silvano Alves on 944 Red Rover:
Alves turned down a re-ride option last night and kept a low score. He’s looking to stay steady throughout the event and place high in the average. To do that he needs to ride all his bulls, and this one could thwart his plans. Red Rover isn’t talked about much, but he’s one of the more difficult bulls going right now. He’s unridden in 12 career outs, and he can be downright nasty at times. He’s not the kind of bull that riders like or want to have, and Alves will have his hands full trying to get a score on him.
Zane Cook on 927 Air Time:
Air Time is the rankest and most talented bull going in the PBR right now, and if he has his best trip two times here in Vegas he will walk away with the World Champion Bull title. He’s a huge favorite in this matchup - and maybe too much so. Air Time needs a rider to stay on him for a few jumps to really show his stuff and earn the highest possible score. Cook has nothing to lose here, and he’s severely overmatched, but that could work out in his favor. There will be no mental games for Cook to play here - just get on and let it all hang out.
Kaique Pacheco on 1149 Pearl Harbor:
Pearl Harbor is another World Champion Bull contender and one of the three favorites going in. SweetPro’s Bruiser and Air Time being the other two. The odds are that the title will go to whichever of these three bulls has the best week. Pearl Harbor has been off duty and resting up for this week since Springfield, Missouri, in early September. As good as Pacheco rides, he’s a slight underdog here. Pearl Harbor isn’t the best fit for him or any other right-handed rider. They met in the 2015 season and Pacheco lasted about four seconds.
J.B. Mauney on 08 Margy Time:
Mauney may have a better shot at getting out of this round with a score than Davis or Pacheco, but he won’t be on cruise control. Margy Time is a serious bull with serious power. He doesn’t have any set pattern and he is strong enough to test any rider. Mauney bobbled in the first jump or two last night, but was able to right himself. A similar mistake could cost him here. There is less of a window to recover from a bad position on this bull.
Mike Lee on -127 Cooper’s Comet:
There are a significant number of Canadian bulls in this round. Hey Jack and Seven Dust both recently came out of Canada and both are contending for PBR World Champion Bull tonight. Cooper’s Comet is making his BFTS debut here, and he’s arguably the top Canadian bull right now. He’s an honest bull, and he’s rideable, but the odds are he will have his way with Lee here. He can go either way, but he likes the right, and that’s really his best trip.
Gage Gay on 913 Big Benny:
Big Benny is a really big, old school looking rodeo bull. He looks a little more intimidating than most bulls, but in this group he’s one of the better draws. He’s been ridden three times over the past year, all by right-handed riders. Gay had the top scoring Classic bull last night and didn’t get the job done. This bull may be a slight step down in difficulty for him, and Gay has a good chance to do well in this round.
Guilherme Marchi on 001 Smooth Operator:
Marchi is the only man who has ridden Smooth Operator in 45 career outs, but he did it on the bull’s weakest day. They had a rematch at last year’s World Finals in this same round, and Smooth Operator got his revenge. When he’s at his best, Smooth Operator is as close to unrideable as a bull can get. He typically throws a big fake to the left, and basically turns inside out going back to the right. It’s a tough move for any rider to get past, and plenty of very good right-handed riders have flunked the test.
Chase Outlaw on 43X Magic Train:
Outlaw is without question the hottest rider going right now, and that’s mainly because he’s had a series of very good draws. He’s had bulls with good timing and no tricks, but that’s changed tonight. Magic Train is wild and unpredictable. He’s 22-1 against left-handed riders in his career, but the riding hand really doesn’t matter. The real issue with Magic Train is that every jump is different from the one before, and it will be a battle from start to finish.
Mason Lowe on 32Y SweetPro’s Bruiser:
This will be the third match between these two this season. Lowe was scored 91 points on Bruiser back in January, but Bruiser struck back in Nampa, Idaho, just last month, getting rid of Lowe in under three seconds. Bruiser is the most polished of the World Champion bull contenders. He always has a great trip and always brings home a good score. He is honest and rideable, but he is far from easy.
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