KANSAS CITY, Mo. – There are quite a few solid matchups in the second round, and the leaderboard could change a lot before the championship round. One thing that has been constant all season is that Dener Barbosa is the man to beat. Everyone else is chasing him at the moment, and until he slips no one will catch him.
Dener Barbosa on Y4 Wired Child:
There’s a good chance that Barbosa stays on the roll he’s on at least through this round. This isn’t the easiest bull here, but he is rideable and he’s given up four scores in his last five outs. Wired Child can spin either way and he can have some awkward stretched out jumps when he’s not spinning. He earned a lot of buckoffs throughout his career by simply not doing much to help the rider stay in position. Barbosa will have to work, but he should be able to handle this.
Cody Nance on 100 Nailed:
Nance had this bull twice last year, and rode him for 89.5 points the first time and 7.85 seconds the second time. This is a better draw for right-handed riders, but he fits nearly everyone at this level and he’s 5-12 when he’s faced top-tier riders.
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Brennon Eldred on 247 Mac’s Barbeque:
Eldred has a chance to get back in the game after bucking off last night. This bull threw Stetson Lawrence off in Raleigh, North Carolina, last fall, but he was ridden twice for good scores by right-handed riders in Denver in January.
Keyshawn Whitehorse on 00 Gravedigger:
Whitehorse posted 81.75 points in Round 1, and he has a great draw to go 2-for-2 on here. This is one of the easier to ride bulls you will see at the premier level. He has perfect timing, he’s not too fast or too slow, and doesn’t have any weird moves. He’s the kind of bull most riders have to be able to ride to even reach this level of competition, and his record shows it. He’s 1-10 against the highest-level riders, and he’s 5-11 at the premier level overall.
Claudio Montanha on 206 Luke:
Cooper Davis was 87.25 points on this bull in Chicago, and Luke has struggled to throw right-handed riders off. He’s 1-4 against them. Like Gravedigger, this bull has great timing and usually doesn’t deviate from his pattern. Montanha is having a good season so far. Not quite as good as Dener Barbosa, but he should keep pace in this round.
Marco Eguchi on 1100 Milky Jones:
This is one of the better bulls in this round, but he’s not the best draw for a righty. Eguchi also bucked off him three times last season. He only made it past the 4-second mark once. If you watch Milky Jones closely you can see the difference between him and bulls like Gravedigger and Luke. He’ll make one fast round and then a slower one while he gathers himself, and then a fast one again. Each jump is different, and riders have to work a lot harder on him because there’s less of a groove to fall into.
Silvano Alves on 801 Big Dutch:
This is a great matchup for Alves on paper, but it may not be as promising when you consider the mental game. This bull has thrown Alves off twice before. At the beginning of Alves’ career, that would have been unheard of. But Alves doesn’t have the same approach he did then. The time he takes in the chute indicates that either he’s trying to psych the bull out or he’s worried and overly cautious about his position for the first jump. Bull riding is a sport where you can’t really be cautious, you can’t stay in your starting position for the whole ride, and you certainly can’t be in the state of mind where you believe you need some kind of edge other than your ability to ride, which Alves actually has in abundance. Big Dutch can easily deliver a round win. He has the highest point-potential of any bull in the round, and Alves is more than capable of riding any bull here if he’s in the right state of mind, and that is the most difficult part for him.
Guilherme Marchi on 136 Uncle Tink:
Marchi is 1-for-2 on this bull. He won their most recent match in Thackerville, Oklahoma, last fall. Uncle Tink is a veteran bull who has given up qualified rides regularly, but he’s capable of getting anyone on the ground. He can spin either way, but he went to the right when Marchi rode him and that’s what Marchi will be hoping for here.
Joao Ricardo Vieira on 177 Time Bomb:
Joao was 90 points on this bull in New York two years ago. This is a big, heavy bull that can be hard to ride, but not so much when the top riders have him. He likes to go to the left, and that won’t help him win this match. Joao has a great shot at a second score here.
Chase Robbins on 303 Force Awaken:
This is a pretty vanilla bull that tends to go to the left, and he’s been more vulnerable to left-handed riders. But, if Robbins rides like he did last night he won’t have a problem. He had a bull that was easy to look good on in the first round, but this kid looked like he may be hanging around at this level for a while. This bull won’t help him out as much, but Force Awaken doesn’t have a lot of power and isn’t a noticeably tougher or scarier bull than Robbins is already used to facing at the lower levels.
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