J.W. Harris on 738 Wild Skys:
I think everyone who saw this bull in the opening round on Wednesday liked him a lot. Most of the bull riders here were probably hoping to draw him on his second trip, and Harris is the lottery winner. This bull should fit Harris like a glove, but it still won’t be an easy score. Look for Wild Sky’s to have a lot of up and down and get a lot of air. Not much margin for error for Harris here.
Jose Vitor Leme on 801 Big Dutch:
I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve seen enough of this kid to know he’s my pick for at least the rest of this week. Leme doesn’t seem to have problems with any kind of bull, and he couldn’t have drawn a better one here. Big Dutch carried Jess Lockwood to a round win in the opening round. He went to the left and I can’t envision Leme bucking off anything that goes into his hand.
Jess Lockwood on 20A High Test:
This may be the first bull Lockwood will face at these World Finals that will go away from his hand. High Test normally goes to the right out of a right-hand delivery. He isn’t ridden very often, but he’s not really out of Lockwood’s comfort zone. He’s just a speedy spinner. If Leme or Harris make the whistle, it may be impossible for Lockwood to win a fourth straight round because this bull may not produce enough points to get him there. There are several other bulls in the round with more point potential as well.
Guilherme Marchi on 5A After Midnight:
Sometimes bull riding seems almost like a dance, but this particular matchup is going to look more like a heavyweight prizefight. After Midnight is a big, heavy brawler, and so is Marchi. If you don’t like violence, look away when Marchi nods.
Eduardo Aparecido on 423 War Cloud:
This may be the best draw Aparecido has had all week. War Cloud is only a 3-year-old, but he’s potentially one of the stronger bulls in this round. He’s a prototypical pattern spinner. War Cloud won $53,000 last weekend during the Velocity Finals by winning the ABBI’s Lifetime Derby, and he was the 2016 ABBI World Champion Futurity calf.
Cooper Davis on 143 Bad Moon Rising:
This bull threw Cooper Davis off in their only previous meeting, but it was back in 2015, and that Cooper Davis really isn’t the same guy as the Cooper Davis who will show up today. Look for Davis to ride with purpose here. He’s serious about winning a second World Championship, and with Lockwood hogging all the points, he needs to grab anything he can here. Davis is a complete enough rider to handle any bull here, and he won’t go down easy.
Gage Gay on 345 The Rising Sun:
This is a rematch from Springfield, and Gay came through with an 85-point score there. This is one of the more rider-friendly bulls we’ll see tonight, and Gay should get another score easily. Gay hasn’t really had a good Finals in his entire career so far, so this week has to be special for him.
Claudio Montanha on 279 Bottoms Up:
Montanha rode Bottoms Up at THE AMERICAN earlier this year, and he was 89 points on him. This bull has great timing, and every rider has a chance when the bull has good timing.
Luciano de Castro on 761 Bushwacked:
Sage Kimzey rode this bull in Round 1 for 87 points, and Castro has a chance to pick up another decent score here. The catch here is that Bushwacked goes to the right, and he’s never let a lefty reach the whistle. Castro appears to have World Champion-caliber talent, but we’ve mostly seen him make great rides going into his hand. The step up to World Champion contender requires that you handle bulls that go either way. This is a chance to see if Castro can do that.