Every matchup in this round is a good one, so we’ll have to cover them all here.
Brennon Eldred on 806 Speed Demon:
This may be the most interesting matchup of the round. Speed Demon is a tough draw, but he’s vulnerable to right-handed riders and he’s been ridden by the last three guys in a row, all righties. He’s also a uniquely good fit for Eldred. There’s no easy path through this round, but Eldred may be able to light up the scoreboard here.
Keyshawn Whitehorse on 761 Bushwacked:
Whitehorse is a good example of a young rider headed in the right direction. He’s quietly worked to improve his game since his PBR debut in 2016, and that effort is paying off. Like most riders, he didn’t explode onto the scene with exceptional talent like Leme or Lockwood, but like Cooper Davis he’s worked himself into a position where he can compete with those guys and beat them. He has a chance here on a bull that should go into his hand.
Lucas Divino on 511T Stretch:
Stretch is a good fit for a right-handed rider, and Divino has a chance for that reason, but he needs to bring more effort than he did last night.
Aaron Kleier on 323 Legit:
Kleier and Brady Fielder look like they could be the next real deal riders to come out of Australia and are both destined for success at this level. Kleier may be overmatched here simply because Legit is really too much bull for almost every rider on the planet. Jess Lockwood rode him this year, but Legit is really tough. He bucked at the rodeo a couple of days ago and was outstanding.
Cody Teel on 001 Smooth Operator:
This is a rematch from Albuquerque where Teel became one of just five guys to ever get a score on Smooth Operator in over 90 career outs. Teel may do it again here, but this is never an easy bull.
Joe Frost on 14 Big Kahuna:
Big Kahuna is unridden in 18 career outs, and most of those outs have come against top tier riders. Frost bucked off of him early this season in Denver.
Chase Outlaw on 28A Smooth Wreck:
Outlaw was 94.75 points on this bull just last month, and Smooth Wreck was ridden again early in July at a rodeo in Mandan, North Dakota. Smooth Wreck is one of the toughest bulls in the business right now and the slightest mistake will bring Outlaw down here.
Cody Nance on 3314 Mr. Majestic:
Mr. Majestic is 7-0 against left-handed riders in his career, and for good reason. He typically goes to the right, has broken timing and is just a bad matchup going away from a rider’s hand. Nance has a tough task here.
Jose Vitor Leme on B402 Big City:
Leme rode this bull on an off day in Little Rock this year and earned a reride. Big City usually isn’t easy, but he’s one of the nicer draws in this round. Leme is capable of riding any bull, but he’s also capable of coming down when he shouldn’t. He has a load of raw talent, maybe more than anyone else right now, but his mechanics aren’t as polished as Lockwood’s and others’ and it occasionally costs him. He is the gunslinger in the race, he never plays it safe, and that’s why he’s on top right now.
Ryan Dirteater on 34 Soup in a Group:
This is a solid bull with a strong style. He’s a veteran at this level, and has decent timing and a regular pattern, but he still hasn’t given up a qualified ride since January. He has a habit of taking a long jump and dive-bombing into the spin, and it can be tough to handle. He likes to go to the right and is a better fit for right-handed riders, but Dirteater is good going away from his hand.
Stetson Lawrence on 43X Short Pop:
Tough draw for Lawrence. Short Pop is 7-0 against lefties. He’s a little empty and doesn’t kick enough to help the rider out. He makes it tough to stay forward enough on him without going over into the well and onto his head. Lawrence will have to figure all this out to get a qualified ride.
Cooper Davis on 362A Heartbreak Kid:
Davis is riding as well as he ever has right now. He looked nearly perfect last night, but his best chance here is for this bull to take it easy on him. Heartbreak Kid is 62-1 in his career, and he’s working on a streak of 53 consecutive buckoffs overall and 33 straight at the UTB level. He is as close to unrideable as it gets. He’ll turn himself inside out to get a rider on the ground, and the next time he’s ridden will likely be because he had a nice day.
Silvano Alves on 125 Bootdaddy.com:
Bootdaddy.com is unridden in 20 career outs, and Alves is two of those 20. He bucked off this bull twice in 2018 in under four seconds each time.
Dener Barbosa on 313 Zorro:
To get a score here, Barbosa will have to get by a bull that goes all out away from his hand. Zorro is pretty fast, and he likes to go to the right. He hasn’t given up a qualified ride since September of last year.
Marco Eguchi on 2125 Wicked Stick:
Wicked Stick was the 2016 ABBI Classic Champion, and he’s been consistently tricky to ride his entire career. He’s essentially a way better version of the bull that easily bucked Eguchi off last night.
Matt Triplett on 319 Canadian Mist:
Triplett is in the same boat as Dener Barbosa in this round. He’s got a bull that is going to hit warp speed away from his hand. No right-handed rider has been able to keep pace with Canadian Mist in 15 attempts, but Triplett has turned in some big rides in his career on bulls going away from his hand.
Joao Ricardo Vieira on 437B Lil 2 Train:
Vieira is one of the best ever at Majors, and he’s always in the discussion, but he’s going to have a tough time here. He came down last night, and this bull isn’t the best draw for any lefty. Lil 2 Train has thrown Chase Outlaw off three times this year, and he’s taken down Jose Vitor Leme as well. He is 8-0 against left-handed riders in his career.
Daylon Swearingen on 12 High Chaparral:
In just one week earlier this year I heard two different stock contractors and three pro bull riding judges mention, on separate occasions, that this kid looks like a future superstar. He’s definitely turned a lot of heads this season. If he has a weakness, it’s this kind of high-performance, high-difficulty bull. High Chaparral is unridden in 26 outs. Sage Kimzey came close to riding him at the 2017 World Finals. The best riders in the world will get by two or three in 10 bulls of this caliber, and Swearingen will get to that level, but it may not be today.
Luciano de Castro on 83A Wild Goose:
Castro is 0-for-2 against Wild Goose and everyone at the UTB level is 0-for-9 this season. This is the bull that broke Jess Lockwood’s collarbone earlier this season, and he looks like a nightmare to try to ride. Castro has the right style to take this bull on, but it’s going to take something like a healthy 26-year-old J.B. Mauney to take the wild out of this one.
Derek Kolbaba on 08B Hostage:
Yet another unridden bull here. Hostage is 15-0 since debuting in April of 2018. This bull just plain doesn’t like anyone on his back. He can be bad in the chute, and he’s had a number of rerides due to fouls or guys couldn’t get out on him. Hostage shows a lot of wildness. Sometimes he looks rideable and other times he looks impossible. Kolbaba’s chances largely depend on what version shows up tonight.
Jess Lockwood on 2205 Chico Stick:
Eerily similar to last night, Lockwood has a relatively new bull that has been ridden once – at the same event in the same round in Rocksprings, Texas. In fact, Dalton Kasel was 89.5 on Chico Stick, narrowly beating Taylor Toves on Spectacular – the bull Lockwood had in Round 1 here. We don’t know much about Chico Stick, other than he’s the color of a Chico Stick and he doesn’t cover much ground. He will have a hard time shaking Lockwood, who is the toughest rider any bull could face right now.
Cody Jesus on 311 Mason’s Missouri Golden:
Colten Jesse rode this bull back in February for 88.75 points. He’s the only guy to get that job done so far. Mason’s Missouri Golden has racked up an impressive string of buckoffs since then. This is a strong bull who plays with more power than finesse, and he’s stout enough to present a challenge to anyone. He does have decent timing, and that gives Jesus a fair chance here.
Mason Taylor on 43C- Chiseled:
Taylor has a shot here because he’s right-handed. Chiseled is all out to the right. He is all intensity and relies on speed and athleticism more than power and kick. If Taylor can find the sweet spot, he could pull off a big win here, but it won’t be easy.
Ezekiel Mitchell on 41 Lonesome Fugitive:
Fugitive is unridden in 11 career outs. He’s thrown off J.B. Mauney, Joe Frost and Jose Vitor Leme in his most recent outs. Video from Milwaukee last fall shows him looking remarkably similar to Smooth Operator – a big fake to the left and back to the right, throwing off Mason Taylor. If this is his normal pattern, Mitchell has a chance, but this bull is no pushover.
Claudio Montanha Jr. on 23B Fearless:
Fearless is a pretty tough draw for a right-handed rider. Montanha has been on him twice and failed to make it to 3.5 seconds either time. Ryan Dirteater became the first man to ride this bull in Albuquerque, but Fearless was unusually good to ride there. He’s normally around to the left in no more than three jumps and looks nearly unrideable for a right-handed rider.