The 2011 PBR Built Ford Tough Series is coming off a great weekend in St. Louis and will now turn its attention to Chicago, IL. Guilherme Marchi and Shane Proctor were the only two riders to ride all five bulls in St. Louis last weekend, and Marchi squeaked out the victory by one point. The 2008 PBR World Champion has already won two events this season, and he is clearly going to be a factor in this year’s World Title race. Proctor has been on fire the last few weeks, and his strong finish moved him into the top five in the season standings.
Valdiron de Oliveira still leads the 2011 BFTS Standings, but his lead has shrunk to 30.75 points over Austin Meier. The race is definitely heating up, and it’s going to be interesting to see how things go in Chicago. I’ve put together five predictions for this weekend’s Chicago Invitational. If you have anything to add, please comment below or email me at: email@example.com. Thanks for reading, and enjoy the article!
Valdiron de Olveira Will Still be On Top of the Standings After Chicago
Valdiron de Oliveira has ridden 75 percent of his bulls this season, and that’s one of the main reasons he is leading the BFTS Standings going into this weekend’s event. Austin Meier has been chipping away at the lead the last couple weeks, but that will come to an end in Chicago. VDO will more than likely get on four bulls in two days, and he will more than likely ride at least three of those four. All the riders currently in the top five are riding extremely well, so there could be some shifting in the standings this weekend. That being said, there won’t be a shift at the top.
Travis Briscoe Will Ride His Way Back Under the Cut Line
Has there been a bigger disappointment than Travis Briscoe so far this season? Briscoe usually starts the season on fire before struggling down the stretch. Maybe the opposite will happen this year, but he needs to get things going before the next cut. He is currently 33rd in the BFTS Standings, and he has ridden only 25 percent of his bulls in 2011. He is obviously struggling with his confidence and has recently written the letters “CHIN” on his glove to remind him to keep his chin down during his rides. The only thing more surprising than Briscoe’s slow start will be him getting cut from the tour in a couple weeks. That’s not going to happen, however, and he will show some desperation in Chicago this weekend and get back on track.
Smack Down Will Continue His Recent Domination
Smack Down, a bull owned by Dakota Rodeo/Berger/Struve/Rosen, has been one of the most impressive bulls the last few weeks. I thought he was the second-best bull behind Bushwacker at the Iron Cowboy Invitational two weeks ago, and he was the highest-marked bulls last weekend in St. Louis. He hasn’t received the attention Bushwacker and I’m A Gangster have received so far this season, but let me be the one who starts the hype machine for Smack Down. He has been outstanding in 2011, and that will continue this weekend in Chicago if he makes an appearance.
Voodoo Child Won’t Be in the Final Championship Round
This prediction is a little more far-fetched than my others so far, but it’s a gut feeling I have. Voodoo Child hasn’t been the same bull he was at the beginning of last season, and that’s just part of the business. He is one of the best bulls of all time, and his career and longevity has been outstanding. That being said, his time in the spotlight is slowly coming to an end. He still has the potential to be a short-go bull, and he will probably be a part of the short-go on Saturday night. He has been marked under 44 points two out of four BFTS outs this season, and that’s probably not going to be good enough to be a part of the Championship Round Sunday afternoon. Let’s see if Cody Lambert agrees with me.
Shane Proctor Will Win the 2011 Chicago Invitational
No rider has been hotter than Shane Proctor the past few events. Since Oklahoma City, he has ridden 10 out of 11 bulls. I mentioned above he went 5-for-5 and finished second last weekend in St. Louis, and that hot streak will continue in Chicago. I haven’t seen a copy of the draw yet, but it doesn’t matter. Proctor is riding well enough to make the whistle on long-round and short-go bulls, and when the dust settles Sunday afternoon, he will be in the winner’s circle. He won’t be able to jump to the top of the BFTS Standings, but he will continue moving up the list.
Keep an eye on Sean Willingham, L.J. Jenkins, and Kody Lostroh as well. Willingham went 4-for-5 in St. Louis, and he has been riding with much more confidence lately. He has moved up to 13th in the standings. Jenkins has ridden over 57 percent of his bulls this season, but he just hasn’t figured out the first round. If he gets a score on his first bull Saturday night, look for him to be a factor in Chicago. Lostroh returned last weekend after several weeks off because of an elbow injury. He went 3-for-5, including a long-round win Sunday afternoon. The 2009 PBR World Champion looked healthy, and it won’t be long before he moves into the top 10.
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