Ten Fearless Predictions For 2011: Part One

It's crazy to think 2010 is almost over, but everyone will be turning the page to 2011 in a little over a week.  That means a lot of different things to different people, but for me, it means the 2011 CINCH CBR Tour presented by Mahindra Tractors is right around the corner!  That's right, The Real Cowboy Sport will be cranking things back up in Hobbs, NM, the last week of January.  The 2010 season was great, but there is no doubt in my mind 2011 will be even better.  We will be traveling to new historic venues, and the quality of bull riders and bulls gets better every year.

Although the 2011 CBR season has already started with several Horizon Series events, the best is definitely yet to come.  Every new season brings an opportunity for new predictions, and I've taken it upon myself to dish out ten of my own.  I'm sure I'll miss out on some of them, but I'll make sure I grade myself at the end of the season.  I'll be breaking these predictions into two parts, and without further ado, here is part one.  If you have predictions you want to share, please visit our Facebook page and give your input.  Also, you can always email me at:  Enjoy!

Cude Energy Will Return From Injury and Contend for CBR Bucking Bull of the Year
Cude Energy, a bull owned by Benny Cude, has become one of the most well-known animal athletes in Championship Bull Riding.  He is one the riders love to draw or pick, and he is one they ride a lot for 90 points or more.  He was the leading contender for 2010 CBR Bull of the Year going into the last two events this past season, but he was injured in Lubbock the week before the Tour Finale and lost the title to Dakota Magic's Double Scoop.

When I talked to Mr. Cude in Kansas City, he was confident Cude Energy would be healthy and ready to go for the 2011 season.  There is no reason to believe otherwise, and that's why he will be a top contender for the 2011 CBR Bull of the Year title.  It will be one of the many storylines to watch next year, but if the bull is 100% healthy, he will be right in the thick of things again.  While I don't think he will be the 2011 CBR Bull of the Year, I'm confident enough to predict he will end in the top three.  You will have to read part two for my Bull of the Year prediction.

Wrangler Dunda and Chandler Bownds Will Win Big Events
Wrangler Dunda and Chandler Bownds are two of the great up-and-comers in the sport of bull riding.  They both made their mark during their rookie seasons in Championship Bull Riding, and they are going to be contenders for a long time.  Dunda finished the 2010 season 10th, while Bownds finished 22nd after a solid Tour Finale.  They have both tasted victory at the Horizon Series level, but neither one has a victory on the CINCH CBR Tour presented by Mahindra Tractors.

That will change in 2011.  Dunda and Bownds are each going to win televised events next year, and I'll be suprised if they don't end up in the top 10 at season's end.  The future is extremely bright for both talented Texans, and as good as they were in 2010, they should take the next step in 2011.  With a lot of historic events and venues on the schedule next year, could these youngsters get their big win in Cheyenne, Del Rio, Dodge City, etc.?  Stay tuned because it's going to be exciting!

Ednei Caminhas Will Finish the Season in the Top Five

Ednei Caminhas has been a mainstay in the sport of bull riding for a decade, and he is a former World Champion in another organization.  He will be riding in Championship Bull Riding in 2011, and he has already gotten off to a hot start in the Horizon Series.  The Brazilian has a runner-up and another top-10 finish, and he is currently sixth in the standings going into the new year.  

Caminhas has already proven he has plenty left in the tank, and he is going to ride a lot of bulls this season.  The 2011 CBR World Title race is going to be decided by the guys who ride the most bulls, and this guy will be there all year.  Hey may not win the gold buckle in his first full year of CBR competition, but he will right in the thick of it.  After seeing him in Springtown last month, I'm confident enough to predict a top-five finish at season's end.

Thunder Down Under Will Get Ridden at a Televised CBR Event
Thunder Down Under, a bull owned by Shippy Rodeo Bulls, has arguably become the rankest bull in the CBR over the past year.  He was unridden in CBR competition during the 2010 season, and he ended the year with six consecutive trips marked 45 points or more.  In addition, nobody rode him for more than six seconds, and he hasn't been ridden at a CBR event since 2009 in Huron.  He doesn't have the same trip every time, but he doesn't mix in many tricks either.

Will Thunder Down Under make it two consecutive CBR seasons without being ridden?  It's going to be tough for a rider to get by him, but the streak is bound to end sooner or later.  Like I mentioned above, this bull isn't dirty at all and will give a guy the chance to ride him if he brings his A-Game.  I have a good feeling the right guy will pick him at some point in 2011 and make a qualified ride.  It's going to be a televised CBR event, and it's going to be well over 90 points.  Just to spice things up a little, I'll predict Steve Woolsey will pick him again and be 93 points in the process.  If you watched the 2010 Tour Finale, you will know why I'm predicting this.

Luke Kelley Will End the Season in the Top 10

You might read the title to this one and think it's a no-brainer prediction, but keep reading.  Since Matt Austin won back-to-back CBR World Titles in 2005 and 2006, no World Champion has finished better than 10th the following season.  Clayton Baethge finished 10th the year after winning his gold buckle, but the rest of the champs have finished much lower than that the following season.  Between injuries and added pressure, the year following a World Title always seems to be more difficult.  Luke Kelley was clearly the best bull rider in the CBR over the course of the 2010 season, and his gold buckle was well deserved.

In a world of "what have you done for me lately," Kelley will be expected to get back in the title hunt again in 2011.  He will be introduced before events as the 2010 CBR World Champion, and he will be in the spotlight more than he has ever been.  Will he be able to keep his focus at 100 percent or better and put himself in the title chase once again?  I think so.  He suffered a finger injury at the Tour Finale, but he has taken plenty of time off to heal and get his mind right. 

He will be a little behind in the standings because he hasn't ridden at any of the Horizon Series events, but he will be able to make up plenty of ground at the televised events.  There is no reason to believe he can't win back-to-back CBR World Titles because he can.  That being said, it will be tough for all the reasons I mentioned above.  At the end of 2011, I still expect him to be in the top 10.