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In the bull pen: Tampa

Three World Champion Bulls head to Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (January 28, 2010) - This weekend’s Built Ford Tough Series event in Tampa, Fla., is a veritable who’s who.

Code Blue will be there. Voodoo Child will make an appearance, as will Bones, Uncle Buck, Chicken on a Chain and 10 other top-ranked bulls.

And, of course, PBR fans will recognize Tater Porter, who will be on hand to work as chute boss at the St. Pete Times Forum.

PBR Livestock Director Cody Lambert received a phone call from Porter, who from time to time helps out with various tasks, prior to the start of the season.

Porter called to say that if Lambert needed a hand, the 38 year old retired fan-favorite was available.

“I told him there’s something I’ll need in Tampa,” said Lambert about the chute boss position. David Fournier, J.W. Hart and most recently, Adriano Moraes have filled the role in the past.

“It’s really good for the fans to get to see some of these guys that they enjoyed watching ride for so many years.”

In Round 2, fans might want to pay close attention to Skyhawk Cut-a-Rug.

The soon-to-be 6-year-old bull showed a lot of promise last year, but had a pair of uncharacteristic back-to-back outs in New York. While he bucked hard with J.B. Mauney in the opening round, he didn’t start spinning until right at the whistle. Later that weekend, he got up in the air with Chris Shivers, but didn’t spin at all, and the two-time World Champion was awarded the option for a re-ride.

Lambert said owner Jeff Robinson called to ask his advice about “having a bullfighter step in and turn him back. I said, ‘I would try it on him.”

Just last week, Robinson hauled Skyhawk Cut-a-Rug to a Touring Pro event in Augusta, Ga., where Darrell Diefenbach stood about 10 feet out from the chutes, let the bull see him and then stepped back out of its way.

“Everybody that was there said he was amazing,” Lambert added. “They said he was way up in the air and looked like he would be as good as any bull out there, so we’re going to do that again this week. We’re going to let the bullfighter step in and help him, but we’re not going to have the bullfighter let him chase him around in a circle for 8 seconds.”

This particular practice pre-dates the PBR, and was common during the era of rodeo when most bulls hadn’t developed a pattern of spinning and bucking. Lambert said the bullfighters used to help out “because a lot of the bulls weren’t that good.

“Step in, get his attention, get him to spin in a circle and hopefully the bull would keep spinning.”

Because of some recent inconsistencies, Red Devil, who has been in past short go rounds, will be used in the opening round of the Tampa invitational. He’s known for slow starts, but according to Lambert, he gets stronger and tends to turn to the right.

“He’s fresh, so I expect him to get the job done,” said Lambert, who also noted that Red Devil “got the job done” his last time out, “but wasn’t special.”

Lambert also mentioned Red Ranger, who is owned by Chad Pennington, and Wolverine as two other bulls to watch for Saturday night.

Red Ranger shoots forward as he spins, which makes him more difficult to ride, and Lambert added that “he could be a potential high 80s to low 90s score.”

As for Wolverine, he’s been bucking in the amateur ranks in and around North Carolina. His co-owner Rick Wagoner told Lambert that after he sees him one time he’ll “be wanting to put him in the short go.”

The last time Wagoner made such a proclamation, Code Blue became the 2009 World Champion Bull.

However, Wagoner also said Code Blue would never be ridden, and Mauney made the whistle on him in New York. The Carolina cowboy was nearly upside down, though,  and scored a mere 76.25 points.

NEWS and NOTES

TV Guide:
The final two rounds of the Tecate Light Invitational, which took place this past weekend in Anaheim, Calif., will be broadcast Saturday, Jan. 30 on NBC at 4:30 p.m. ET. The Tampa Invitational will be seen this weekend on Versus at 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday night.

PBR NOW on RFD-TV: Hosted by J.W. Hart and Justin McBride, “PBR NOW” is a weekly live one-hour TV series that airs every Thursday on RFD-TV at 10 p.m. ET. Fans are encouraged to call in with questions at 866-547-9696, or email them to pbr@rfdtv.com.

Event Center: Follow all the action from Tampa, Fla., by logging on to www.pbr.com and entering the “Event Center,” which is accessible from the tab located at the top of the main Web page. The Event Center provides live scoring, live blogging and event-related Podcasts and interviews.

—by Keith Ryan Cartwright