Chase Outlaw on 1339 All the Way Up:
All the Way Up threw Outlaw off at the 2017 World Finals, but that was a much different Chase Outlaw. Over the past couple of years, this bull has been ridden by more left-handed riders than he’s bucked off. Outlaw should win this matchup, but the bull may not be quite enough to win the round on.
Daylon Swearingen on 301 Show Me Homie:
Swearingen is making his debut at the UTB level, but he’s probably going to become a regular here soon if not starting right now. He is a talented kid who is hard to get on the ground. He can be thrown off, but this bull probably isn’t strong enough to do it.
Jose Vitor Leme on E5 Big Black Cat:
Leme bucked off this bull in Albuquerque about a year ago, but not until the 7.84 second mark. Leme should be a heavy favorite here, but two factors come into play. One, Leme has bucked off a lot of bulls recently that are beneath him. Two, Big Black Cat is harder to ride now than he was 3-4 years ago, which should have been his prime. He’s 9-0 at the UTB level this season, and this is a bull that should be ridden roughly once out of every five outs.
Kaique Pacheco on 40Y Chocolate Shake:
Pacheco is 1-3 against Chocolate Shake, but their last matchup was over two years ago. This is a veteran bull who is a reasonably good draw for right-handed riders, but he’s not easy. He’s been ridden in three of his last four outs.
Stetson Lawrence on 77B Medicine Man:
This is prime opportunity for Lawrence. Medicine Man has been ridden ten times in his career, four of those for round wins. Jose Vitor Leme won a round on him in Sioux Falls with a 90.25-point ride. The catch for Lawrence is that this bull is a much better fit for right-handed riders. Leme is the only lefty to even get a score on him.
Ruger Piva on Z26 Acting Crazy:
This bull has been around for a long time, and he’s not going to surprise any rider tonight. Piva should know exactly what to expect here. Acting Crazy is going to go to the left and do his dead-level best to get Piva down on his head. Every rider knows exactly how to counter this, and riders in general prefer this to a bull that is always running away or moving forward. That said, Acting Crazy has been pretty rough on riders this year. He’s responsible for several injuries to high-level riders.
Eduardo Aparecido on 169 Peep Show:
This is a good matchup for Aparecido to make a comeback on. He was knocked out of action by the above-mentioned Acting Crazy in Sioux Falls. Peep Show is a good draw for right-handed riders, and Aparecido rode him at the World Finals for 87 points last November.
Cooper Davis on C05 Honey Man:
This is a relatively new bull, but he has some numbers that make this look good for Davis. Honey Man has ridden twice in seven career outs, both times by right-handed riders and for 88-plus points.
Alisson de Souza on 397A Frequent Flyer:
Last time I wrote about this bull, J.W. Hart disagreed with me, so let’s address that. I said this bull doesn’t kick enough to help the rider. I’ll admit that’s a little misleading. This is how many weaker bulls are described, and it’s not fair to the bull here. Frequent Flyer is not weak, and he does kick. He’s also very difficult to ride because he tends to cover a lot of ground, move forward and he wants to rip every rider out the back. Staying on him for eight seconds is a grueling task for the same physical reasons a weaker bull with no kick is hard to ride – the rider is in a constant battle to keep his weight forward. Bulls can kick in a way that sets the rider up for the next jump, but this one does not. Souza will have to do the work to get a score here.
Rubens Barbosa on 319 Canadian Mist:
This bull typically lights it up to the left. He’s never been ridden by a right-handed guy yet, and Barbosa isn’t well equipped to break that streak. It will take a rider who has near perfect mechanics to counter this bull’s extreme centrifugal force. Barbosa is often out of control and compensates for it with great balance, but that’s not likely to work here.
Derek Kolbaba on 511T Stretch:
Kolbaba is 0-1 against this bull, but they last met in 2017. Stretch is similar to Canadian Mist, but he usually goes to the right and is a better fit for right-handed riders. He’s not as fast as Mist, and Kolbaba is pretty good away from his hand, but this will still be a challenge for him.
Claudio Montanha Jr. on 518 Bad Decisions:
This bull is 11-1 in his career. Danilo Carlos Sobrinho rode him at a lower level event in Denver early this season. Bad Decisions is largely untested, though. He threw off Jose Vitor Leme and Joe Frost, but aside from that he hasn’t faced many top-tier riders. This will be tough for Montanha, but half the bulls in this round have a higher proven difficulty rating.
Ezekiel Mitchell on 553C Hard to Twist:
The Pages have been using this bull on the rodeo trail up until Sioux Falls earlier this year. He is unridden so far, and he’s thrown off Alisson de Souza, Scottie Knapp and Daniel Tinsman at this level.
Matt Triplett on 809 Old Fort Days:
Old Fort Days is unridden in 27 career outs, and for good reason. He has some forward movement and a lot of up and down. He likes to go to the right, and several right-handed riders have come dangerously close to breaking his unridden streak already this season. Triplett is more than capable of getting the job done.
Cannon Cravens on 28A Smooth Wreck:
This is one of the more interesting bulls to watch because he has the talent to make the World Champion Bull race interesting. He can be as good as Fearless and Heartbreak Kid, but at times he looks more rideable. He will be a serious challenge for Cravens.
Mason Taylor on 362A Heartbreak Kid:
This is probably the most difficult bull to ride in the PBR right now. He has the bucking ability of the other top bulls, but he appears to hate having a rider on his back worse than other bulls do and will do anything to get rid of one. If whatever he’s doing doesn’t work, he will try something else.
Cooper Davis on 83A Wild Goose:
Davis can’t be looking forward to this. We’ve seen Wild Goose several times this year, and he has looked downright miserable, especially in the first couple of jumps. This is the bull that broke Jess Lockwood’s collarbone in Arlington earlier this year.
Ryan Dirteater on B1 Mind Freak:
These two met in Duluth last month and the bull won easily. Stetson Lawrence rode him a week prior, and he’s the only rider to get a score on Mind Freak in 33 career outs. This bull likes to spin to the left, but his timing can be a bit weird, which accounts for his difficulty.
Cody Teel on 23B Fearless:
Fearless is 28-0 in his career, and he threw Teel off at the World Finals in the opening round. This bull has a classic style. He doesn’t really have a lot in the way of tricks – he’s just stronger and bucks harder than most bulls.
Luciano de Castro on 155 Hammerhead Blu:
This is the least experienced bull in the 15/15 round, and that may benefit Castro. Blu is in this round because he had a great out in Kansas City, but a newer, greener bull is usually at a disadvantage against a veteran, Top 10-caliber rider.
Joao Ricardo Vieira on 537C Air Assault:
Air Assault has the lowest difficulty rating in this round, but the bad news for Vieira is that he’s 4-0 against lefty riders. He goes to the right, and while he’s been rideable for right-handed guys, he will be a test for Vieira.
Chase Outlaw on 32Y SweetPro’s Bruiser:
Outlaw drew well here, and significantly better than Leme, who he is chasing in the World Standings. He’s never tried Bruiser before, and he’s probably overjoyed to have a chance at him. Bruiser is exactly as rideable as he was his first day on the job back in 2014, but he demands perfection from a rider. Any mistake on Outlaw’s part could cost him a score.
Jose Vitor Leme on 001 Smooth Operator:
Any other bull would have been a better draw for Leme than this one. Smooth Operator is 31-0 against left-handed riders, and although Leme is one of the best, the odds are stacked against him making the whistle here.