CHICAGO - The riders ended up with a respectable 41-percent riding percentage in New York last week, and we should see around the same level of bulls here in Chicago for the most part.
Chad Berger Bucking Bulls and Phenom Genetics are starting their seasons here, and that means we will see Pearl Harbor and Bad Beagle here. That will make the championship round a little stouter than last week.
Brennon Eldred on 803 Red Sails in the Sunset:
Red Sails can spin either way, but he usually likes the left. In spite of that, he’s delivered a lot of right-handed riders to the pay window. He has fantastic timing, and he’s 4-9 at PBR premier series events. Eldred should do well here on one of the best long-round bulls available this weekend.
Fabiano Vieira on 3 Stuntman Ray:
This is a rematch from last summer when Vieira was 88.5 points on this bull at a PBR Canada event in Calgary. It wasn’t a day off for Vieira. Ray likes to go to the right, and he has a lot of snap. He’s not easy for anyone, but he’s a bull that the top tier riders should handle.
Troy Wilkinson on 243 Breaking Bad:
Breaking Bad was ridden twice in New York, by J.B. Mauney in Round 1 and by Dener Barbosa in the championship round. Wilkinson has had some big moments on tour, but he didn’t have a good World Finals. He could turn things around with a draw like this.
Dakota Buttar on Z26 Acting Crazy:
This is one of the strongest bulls in the round. He has enough of a difficulty factor to challenge even the best riders. He can be ridden, but he’s been kryptonite to lefties. He’s 10-0 against them. Buttar has a big opportunity here, but he will have to work for it.
Guilherme Marchi on 100 Nailed:
This is one of the best matchups in this round, and Marchi is a huge favorite here. Nailed is 5-9 against right-handed riders in his career, and was ridden just last week by Valdiron de Oliveira in the championship round in New York. Marchi has ridden well over the past five events going back to last season, and this bull is tailor made for him.
Valdiron de Oliveira on S232 Red Rocket:
Oliveira went 4-for-4 in New York and finished the event in second place. That’s not a bad start to a comeback season. He’s got a bull here he should be able to handle. Red Rocket is a quality bull, and he has a respectable buckoff percentage except when he faces the best riders. He can spin either way, but he’s been ridden by both righties and lefties.
Jess Lockwood on 27 Road Rage:
Lockwood can’t be pleased with just one qualified ride and three buckoffs in New York. He has a chance at an 87 or better score here. Road Rage is a bull who can spin both ways, and Lockwood will make him look good. He isn’t ridden often, but he is rideable, and the reigning world champ is more than capable of getting the job done.
Kaique Pacheco on 143 Bad Moon Rising:
Pacheco has been on this bull three times. He scored 83 points the first time, followed by two buckoffs. All three matchups happened in 2016. Bad Moon Rising typically goes to the left, but he’s not too difficult for Pacheco or any other right-handed rider to handle. Derek Kolbaba was 90 points on him back in October, and he had a 44.25-point out with Cooper Davis at the World Finals, so there’s a potential round win on the line here.
Dener Barbosa on 345 The Rising Sun:
Barbosa is coming off a good showing in New York where he finished sixth, and rode 3-of-4 bulls. The Rising Sun isn’t likely to slow his roll. This bull has great timing once he gets into a spin, and he has a lot of action without much real power. He looks like a bull that should fit Barbosa very well.
Cooper Davis on 206 Luke:
Luke is one of the best draws in this round, if not at the whole event. Gage Gay was 85 on him last week, and Davis should not have a problem with him. Davis had some success in New York and ended up seventh overall, but he’s probably not very pleased with that. Cut the Cord got him right at the whistle and cost him a 15/15 Bucking Battle win, and he bucked off his last two bulls there.
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