Luciano de Castro on 567 Lester Gillis:
This bull has the highest difficulty rating in the round, but Castro has ridden him once and nearly rode him twice this season. They’ve met three times in all and the bull won two of those, but there’s more to that number than meets the eye: one of those buckoffs came at 7.54 seconds. Lester Gillis is a rare bull who is truly difficult despite having a regular pattern and good timing. The speed of his spin and the speed of his bucking motion are slightly out of sync, and he’s hard for riders to stay in time with him because of this. That said, Castro has a better shot at a big score on this bull than almost anyone else here.
Derek Kolbaba on B60 Handsome Jeff:
This is a great opportunity for Kolbaba. Handsome Jeff has been ridden in his last five outs, he’s a great fit for lefties and he can be good enough to win a round on. Dakota Buttar won the opening round in Little Rock on him earlier this year.
Stetson Lawrence on 319 Dirt Man Do:
Lawrence bucked off this bull two years ago, but he should get the job done here. Dirt Man Do is under 50% buckoff against both right and left-handed riders. He’s as nice a draw as there is in any long round. He does like to go to the right, away from Lawrence’s hand, but Lawrence still has an edge in this match. Dirt Man Do probably isn’t enough bull to win this round on, given some of the other pairings.
Chase Outlaw on 4860 Bandit:
Bandit has a respectable buckoff record, except when he’s faced the better riders. He will probably go away from Outlaw’s hand here, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Outlaw may come across as a wild man, but when the chute opens, he’s very disciplined and can deal with anything the bull might throw at him.
Joao Ricardo Vieira on 514 Bottoms Up:
Bottoms Up is 2-1 this season, but he could easily be 0-3. Both buckoffs came after the seven second mark. This bull likes the left, and Vieira loves bulls that like the left.
Cody Nance on 4101 Prayer Warrior:
Jess Lockwood was 91.75 points on this bull to win the short round in New York early this season. Prayer Warrior can be a 44-plus-point bull at times, and that means he’s a bull Nance can be 90 points on if he can hang in.
Daylon Swearingen on 408 Big Boss:
With just one qualified ride allowed in 12 career outs, Big Boss doesn’t look like a promising pick on paper, but he hasn’t faced many high-level left-handed riders. Swearingen hasn’t done much since arriving at this level just last month, but this kid has talent and can dominate bulls. It’s only a matter of time before he makes headlines here.
Ezekiel Mitchell on 1448 Last Chance:
Mitchell was 88 points on this bull in Colorado Springs last fall, and his cousin Ouncie Mitchell was also 88 points in Last Chance at a lower level event this season. Last Chance is one of the nicest draws at this event. He’s given up a score in seven of his 11 career outs.
Ruger Piva on 1206 Cut the Cord:
In most UTB long rounds, riders need a bull that can get them to at least an 87-point score. That’s the point at which qualified rides deliver meaningful points and money in the context of one round of competition. Cut the Cord is the perfect machine to get there on. He’s never the easiest bull in the round nor the hardest, but he can get any rider who brings a solid effort to or beyond the 87-point mark. Piva has a great opportunity here.
Jess Lockwood on 3 Stunt Man Ray:
If you are arguing with your friends over who will win this round, you should be arguing for Jess Lockwood and not against him. This is the best draw in the round and he’s too honest to beat Lockwood outright. Going back to September of last year, Stunt Man Ray has been ridden successfully in 10 of his last 15 outs for scores of 88.25 to 91 points. Lockwood was 89.75 on him in Oklahoma City earlier this year. This matchup should be the round win favorite by a good margin.