Dener Barbosa on S533 Major Threat:
Cody Jesus rode this bull early in the season for 88.25 points. Major Threat has a lot of speed and he goes to the left. Jesus is the only lefty he’s faced so far, and the only qualified ride he’s given up. Can’t bet against Barbosa on a fast spinner into his hand.
Jose Vitor Leme on C4 Taco Cat:
Leme may win the round on this bull. That wouldn’t be terribly surprising. Leme has won 21 rounds this year, 12 on the Unleash The Beast, (and two more at the Global Cup), and that constitutes over 40% of his qualified rides either way. He’s won more rounds outright and by percentage than anyone else this year. He rode Taco Cat earlier this year in Albuquerque for 88.25 points.
Derek Kolbaba on 138 M.A.G.A:
This is a money bull. M.A.G.A was 9-3 in 2018, but he’s 3-6 so far this year. Lucas Divino was 88.5 on him in Cheyenne and Ryan Dirteater was 86.75 on him last week in Tulsa. Kolbaba has a chance to cash in here.
Jess Lockwood on 315 Fist City:
Fist City isn’t the most rider-friendly bull here. He covers a lot of ground, and he has a baseball bat on each side of his head. He can be a little unpredictable. Lockwood has been on him three times and is 1 for 3 on him. They met just a couple of months ago in Deadwood, South Dakota, and Lockwood lost that one. Lockwood has ridden 11 of his last 15 bulls. Regardless of previous record, big horns and disagreeable nature, Fist City isn’t safe here. Lockwood may be the toughest opponent any bull could have right now.
Stetson Lawrence on C6 The Tickler:
This is a pretty new bull who broke out this summer at lower level events. Jess Lockwood was 91 points on him in Deadwood. He was ridden twice more at rodeos in July by two left-handed riders. Although he has only seven outs on record, he looks like a great fit for any lefty. Lawrence has a great chance here.
Ezekiel Mitchell on 500 I’m Legit Too:
This may be a tough draw for Mitchell, but because he usually rides with sound fundamentals, he has a chance on every bull. I’m Legit Too may be worth watching. He’s an ABBI Classic bull this year, and he’s been around ABBI bull competitions much of his life. He recently won a Classic competition in Colorado with a 92-plus-point bull score. If he has the same trip here, he’ll be the top bull in this round.
Ezekiel Mitchell on 311 Mason’s Missouri Golden:
These two met in Kansas City earlier this year, and the bull won. Mason’s Missouri Golden is a classy, honest bull who has been really good this year. Colten Jesse rode him early in the season, but he has 14 straight buckoffs since then, many of those against very tough riders.
Cody Jesus on 397A Frequent Flyer:
Like the other bulls in this round, this one is pretty tough to get by. Jose Vitor Leme has been 90-plus on him twice this season, and Brennon Eldred was 89.5 on him as well, but those are the only three rides he’s given up in 40 career outs. Jesus has a chance here, but this won’t be easy.
Mason Taylor on 812 Talking Smack:
Talking Smack is a strong bull with a strong record against right-handed riders (12-1). That said, Taylor rode Canadian Mist last week – a bull with an even stronger record against righties.
Daylon Swearingen on 3314 Mr. Majestic:
Swearingen bucked off this bull rather quickly back in January. Mr. Majestic’s game is a hard corner when he turns back. He gets really low to the ground and pushes off with his front feet. He tends to go to the right, and he’s never allowed a lefty to make the whistle. He’s a pretty daunting opponent away from a rider’s hand and Swearingen will run into major difficulty right out of the chute here.
Claudio Montanha Jr. on 83A Wild Goose:
Wild Goose is 17-0 against right-handed riders, and it’s hard to imagine a righty getting to the whistle on him unless he has a really off day. There’s a mismatch of style here as well. Montanha’s style doesn’t suit this type of big, long, heavy, unpredictable bull that well, and that makes him a big underdog here.
Matt Triplett on 806 Speed Demon:
Triplett bucked off this bull in 2017, but Speed Demon is a little more approachable now than he was then. He gave up three big rides in May and June and he’s been ridden five times in 2019 overall. He’s one of the better draws in this round for a right-handed rider, and Triplett could very well light up the scoreboard here.
Lucas Divino on 41B- Cool Customer:
Divino bucked off this bull back in February. Chase Outlaw rode Cool Customer in January in Glendale, Arizona, and since then the bull has thrown off 13 straight riders including Cooper Davis, Ryan Dirteater, Derek Kolbaba, Cody Teel (twice) and Jose Vitor Leme (twice).
Derek Kolbaba on 93A Struttin’ Stuff:
Kolbaba has to be the underdog here. Struttin’ Stuff was last ridden in March of 2018. Since then, he’s 12-0 at the UTB level and 18-0 overall. He’s been ridden twice in 40 career outs. He’s been around since 2017, and in his two full seasons he’s been to the PBR Finals and the National Finals Rodeo each year.
Luciano de Castro on 23B Fearless:
The ideal rider for this bull would be Valdiron de Oliveira from 2010, but left-handed. Castro comes closer than anyone else to that ideal. He’s 0-3 against Fearless, but he did take it to 7.97 seconds in January of this year.
Cooper Davis on 319 Canadian Mist:
Until last week, Canadian Mist was perfect against right-handed riders, and gave no indication that things would change. Mason Taylor rode him in Tulsa for 90.5 points and, with a near-perfect ride, he became the first right hander to get the job done. The deep dirt in Tulsa may have played a part, but it was proven possible. Davis is as good as anyone going away from his hand. This bull normally brings the speed and Davis will have to keep up with him.
Cody Teel on 362A Heartbreak Kid:
There’s little for any bull rider to like about this bull other than the inherent challenge of taking on the toughest bull in the business. Heartbreak Kid is very, very good at the game of getting riders off his back. He’s bucked off 54 straight riders, 34 of those at the UTB level. Teel is a worthy opponent and he has more of a chance here than some of the other guys at this event, but this is still an extremely hard bull to ride.
Joao Ricardo Vieira on 761 Total Feeds Bushwhacked:
This is more of a right-handed rider’s bull because he goes to the right. He’s pretty tough for any rider though. That said, let’s not count Vieira out. This guy is having a career year when his career should be winding down. It would be wise to assume that Vieira can and will ride any bull at this point.
Jose Vitor Leme on 12 Red Bones:
This is a relatively new bull, so we know little about him. He’s 4-0 over the summer. Leme will be the best rider he’s faced so far. Leme is arguably the most talented rider going right now, and this situation where a new and untested bull goes against the best rider in the game usually results in the rider coming out on top.
Chase Outlaw on 08B Hostage:
Outlaw may hit the jackpot here. Jose Vitor Leme was 91.25 on Hostage last week. That’s the only qualified ride anyone has turned in on this bull, but Outlaw is a threat to ride anything, and he could win this round with a little luck.
Jess Lockwood on 621 Wicked Dreams:
Wicked Dreams is going to go away from Lockwood’s hand with a vengeance. He’s an intense bull with a lot of action and speed. This bull is 20-3 in his career, and he’s a much better matchup for a right-handed rider, but Lockwood is fundamentally sound and riding better than anyone else right now. He’ll be hard to bring down.