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The Morning Line – Billings Round 3
The Morning Line – Billings Round 3

There are more juicy matchups in Round 3 than the first two rounds combined, which means we should see some serious battles and great rides on championship Sunday.

For the guys who make it through to the short round, the pen is seriously stacked. Nearly all the bulls in contention for World Champion bull are set to go. Bruiser, Smooth Operator, Fearless and Smooth Wreck will go head to head. Qualified rides will be hard to come by in the short round.

Alisson de Souza on 02 Beaver Creek Beau:

These two met at a lower level event in Big Sky, Montana, last year. Beau won the match, but he is a career winner. Beau has logged 128 outs in his career, 84 of those at the UTB level. Compare that to a bull already world famous for his longevity, 2007 world champ Chicken on a Chain, who finished his career with 127 outs overall and 80 UTB outs. He’s also one of the two most difficult bulls to stay on in this round. In a sport where 0.2 percent of all bulls ever make it to 100 career outs, Beau has 113 career buckoffs. This will be a tough hill to climb for Souza, but because he is right-handed, he has a shot.

Cannon Cravens on 465 Happy Camper:

Cravens has one score on the board from last night, and he should have two. He bucked off a former Canadian bull in Round 1 that should have been a slam dunk for him, and he has another can’t-miss matchup with a Canadian bull here. Happy Camper is one of the best bulls going north of the border right now, and he’s honest and reasonably rider friendly. You can think of Camper as the mini-bull version of Bruiser. He doesn’t have Bruiser’s size, high leaps and air time, but he’s a straight-shooting, high-performance bull that most riders love.

Danilo Carlos Sobrinho on W403 Freckles Brown:

Sobrinho doesn’t have a score on the board yet, but you can’t overlook the fact that he has Freckles Brown here. This bull threw off Keyshawn Whitehorse in Round 1, but he’s delivered two 90-point rides this season in just four outs. Even going into his hand, Sobrinho is an underdog in this matchup, but the big score potential is there.

Cody Teel on 545 Timber Jam:

Great matchup here. Timber Jam is the Hereford looking bull that Bryan Titman had in round one. The judges marked him 44.25 points, and he went to the right. This is an honest bull with a solid pattern who can deliver a round win if he’s as good as he was Friday night. Advantage goes to Teel here.

Mason Taylor on 761 Bushwacked:

Taylor has ridden his last six bulls in a row, but this one will be a test. Bushwhacked is the bull who wrecked Colten Jesse last night. If you imagine Taylor as a video game character on a win streak, defeating enemy after enemy, about to reach the end of a level when all of a sudden he’s ambushed by a monster wielding a giant weed whacker that seems to be spinning baseball bats instead of string, that’s what this matchup will be like. He will have to be quick, precise, and above all – avoid the whirling baseball bats.

Kaique Pacheco on W604 Big Show:

Pacheco has two scores here, but he turned down a reride in Round 1 and has essentially ridden two practice pen caliber bulls here so far. His strategy is to ride all four, and if he does, he is likely to finish higher than seventh place where he sits now. Statistically few guys are likely to ride all four. The problem is that it’s impossible to draw four dinks in a row. He will get tested today in the short round, and probably in this round as well. Big Show will probably go away from his hand, and Pacheco will have to grind to get a qualified ride here. This bull isn’t going to set him up perfectly every jump. The Pacheco we saw down the stretch last season would eat this bull for brunch, but his mental game isn’t quite in the same place right now and he’s trying to ride with a knee brace that is probably a big hindrance to him. He’s used to using his knees to keep himself right and the brace may cause everything to feel very different.

Ruger Piva on 366 All Access:

Cooper Davis won the first round on this bull, but it wasn’t a walk in the park even into his hand. Piva is a lefty, so he will be at a further disadvantage here. All Access is 11-0 against left-handed riders in his career.

Derek Kolbaba on 111 Black Rose:

Kolbaba was 89 points on this bull a couple of years ago in Nashville, and Black Rose is one of the better draws in the round for a left-handed rider. Cody Jesus was 88.5 on him at the Iron Cowboy in Arlington, TX back in February.

Matt Triplett on 420 Swayze:

Swayze is a fairly new bull, but he’s rider-friendly. He’s given up two rides in three career outs, and one of those was an 87.75-point score to Triplett in Tacoma, Washington, a couple of weeks ago. The one buckoff was Ezekiel Mitchell at 7.33 seconds. Triplett will probably get a second score here and get to the short round with two on the board.

Dakota Buttar on 812 Talking Smack:

Buttar bucked off this bull last season, but he lasted 6.1 seconds. Taylor Toves was 89 on Talking Smack in Sioux Falls last week, but this is one of the tougher bulls in the round to get a score on. There are three bulls in the long round with short round caliber difficulty, and this is one of them. His buckoff percentages are solid across the board against every subset of riders and at every level of competition. He’ll be the hardest bull Buttar has faced here so far.

Stetson Lawrence on 4298 Just Blaze:

This bull doesn’t have a long history, but he’s unridden in four career outs. He threw Dakota Louis off last night. Lawrence may have his work cut out for him here, but there is a mystical angle to this matchup. They like to call Lawrence ‘Firewalker’ and his bull is named Just Blaze. Coincidence?

Chase Outlaw on Z8/8 Losing My Religion:

On paper, Losing My Religion is the toughest bull to ride in this round, especially for a left-handed rider. He is 46-5 in his career, 35-5 at the UTB level and 22-0 against lefties. He’s a handful for anyone, but Outlaw is a pretty tough customer himself, so this will be a short round type battle in the long round.

Joao Ricardo Vieira on 42 Leona’s Pet:

Viera made a good ride in Round 1, a perfect ride in Round 2 and will probably handle this bull as well. Leona’s Pet threw Jose Vitor Leme off in Tacoma by going to the right, but he is 1-3 against left-handed riders overall. Vieira couldn’t be more on his game this weekend.

Cooper Davis on W43 War Cry:

Davis rode this bull rather easily a couple of years ago, and War Cry is 3-4 against right-handed riders in his career. This is a big, slow bull with a style like Beaver Creek Beau, but not as strong. Davis should pick up a third straight score here and he has a good chance to carry his lead into the short round, choose Stretch in the draft and win the whole event. Davis has a decent chance at getting on Stretch in the short round regardless of whether he has the lead or not, because most of the riders who have a chance to pass him are lefties.

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