2011 CBR World Title Preview

The 2011 CBR season has been underway for a couple months with several Horizon Series events, but the CINCH CBR Tour presented by Mahindra Tractors begins in a little over two weeks!  A new season of The REAL Cowboy Sport is right around the corner, and it's going to be the best in Championship Bull Riding history.  We will be going to new historic cities like Cheyenne and Dodge City, and we will be returning to annual stops Del Rio, Fort Worth, etc.

The 2011 CBR World Title race is also going to be exciting!  It's going to be extremely wide open this season because there are several bull riders capable of winning it all.  Several World Champions are going to be in the mix, and there are plenty of young guys ready to contend for the gold buckle as well.  There will be a great mix of bull riders competing for this year's CBR World Title, and it's probably going to come down to the last event.

Before I go any farther, I want to give a quick explanation of this year's points system.  At the Friday night Fort Worth Horizon Series events, riders will get equal points for their ride score (a 90-point ride will give them 90 points in the standings).  At regular Horizon Series events, the riders' point total will be doubled (a rider who ends an event with 90 points will get 180 towards the standings).  At the CINCH CBR Tour presented by Mahindra Tractors events, the riders' point total will be tripled (a rider who ends an event with 90 points will get 270 towards the standings).  The riders who ride the most bulls in 2011 will be serious contenders, and that's the way it should be.

I've put together a preview for this year's World Title race.  Keep in mind every rider mentioned in this article is more than capable of winning it all in 2011.  In addition, there is a great chance other riders not listed will enter the title conversation as well.  If you have anything to add, please visit our Facebook page and voice your opinion.  Also, you can always email me at:  Enjoy!

The Favorites
Luke Kelley is defending CBR World Champion, and no preview would be complete without his name.  He rode more bulls in the CBR than anyone last season, and he deserved the gold buckle.  He took a couple months off after winning the title, and it will be interesting to see how long it takes him to get back into a groove.  Once he does, he will be tough to beat.

Bonner Bolton won the CBR World Title in 2007, and after a couple down seasons, he has started the 2011 season on fire.  He is currently fourth in the standings, and he has placed a number of times already.  Bolton's issue has always been consistency, and that will be his biggest question mark in 2011.  If he keeps his mind right, he is going to be a serious contender.

J.W. Harris is arguably the best bull rider in the world, and he is coming off winning a third consecutive PRCA World Title.  He is expected to ride in Hobbs in two weeks, and if he enters enough CBR events in 2011, he will be one of the heavy favorites to win the gold buckle.

Wesley Silcox is another former PRCA World Champion, and he is also one of the best bull riders in the world.  He is coming off a down year in the CBR (finished 38th), but he is planning on entering more events in 2011.  Like Harris, Silcox will be a major favorite if he gets on a lot of bulls this season.

Ednei Caminhas won a World Title in another organization, and he has the talent to contend for a CBR World Title as well.  He has ridden in a few Horizon Series events already, and he didn't waste any time climbing the standings.  The Brazilian is already in the top 10, and he will probably be a mainstay there this year.

The Contenders
Steve Woolsey finished the 2010 season with a win on night two in Kansas City, and he also finished second in the final standings.  He has become one of the most consistent bull riders in the CBR, and that is going to pay off for him in 2011.  If he stays healthy, he will undoubtedly be in the running for the gold buckle.

Wrangler Dunda finished his first full season in the CBR 10th in the standings, and he will be looking to improve on that in 2011.  He can be a little streaky, but when he is on his game, he doesn't buck off very often.  He is one of the bright stars of the CBR, and he is going to be a top-10 rider for years to come.

Clayton Williams is coming off the most consistent season of his career.  He finished 15th in the CBR and made his first trip to the WNFR.  He is almost unstoppable riding away from his hand, but he needs to find more consistency into his hand.  If he can accomplish that, there won't be many guys who can beat him.

Ardie Maier has quietly put together a couple great back-to-back CBR seasons.  He finished fifth in 2009, and he backed that up with a fourth-place finish in 2010.  Injuries slowed him down towards the end of last season, but he has already ridden in some Horizon Series events.  One way or the other, he will find a way to get inside the top 10 again in 2011.

Cooper Kanngiesser has been on the road as much as anyone so far this season, and it started paying off last weekend.  He has been a mainstay in the CBR the last few years, and when he is on his game, he is extremely exciting to watch.  If he can stay consistent throughout the course of 2011, he is going to be in contention down the stretch.

The Sleepers
Ryan Shanklin has been one of the pleasant surprises of the 2011 season.  He already has a Horizon Series win and has placed a few more times.  He is currently second in the standings, and it looks like CBR fans will be seeing him a lot this year.  He is entered in Hobbs, and if he rides as well at the CINCH Tour events as he has ridden at other events, he is going to be a contender.

Chandler Bownds finished the 2010 season very well, and he started the 2011 season on fire.  He has slowed down a little the last couple events, but he is still seventh in the standings.  He has the ability to make a ride look better than anyone, and that will help him this season.  After a full year in the CBR in 2010, he should be much more comfortable this year.

Clayton Foltyn didn't really end the 2010 season like he had hoped, but he has made up for it so far in 2011.  After another high finish last weekend, he moved to the top of the season standings.  His downfall has always been consistency issues, but it looks like he is ready to contend and win this season.  It will be interesting to see how he starts the CINCH Tour in a couple weeks.

Aaron Pass has been on my radar for a few months, and after missing a couple months due to injury, he is ready to go for 2011.  He has a ton of talent, and he has already made his way to 22nd in the standings.  If he can start making the kind of rides in the Championship Round that he makes in the long round, he will definitely take that next step.

Bradley Harris made a number of great rides in 2010 before having his season cut short due to injury.  He has entered a couple events so far this season, but he hasn't had much luck.  Once he finds his groove, however, he is going to be a good one.  He makes things look extremely easy at times, but he also needs to figure out the Championship Round.  Nonetheless, keep an eye out for this guy.

Don't Forget These Guys
Jake Littlefield started last season very well before going through a minor slump.  He figured things out the last few weeks of the season, however, and ended fifth in the standings.  He has taken some time off the last couple months, and that's why he isn't higher on my list.  If he picks up where he left off in Kansas City, he will be in the thick of things again.

Clint Craig had a feast or famine kind of year in 2010, but he still finished eighth on the strength of two huge wins (El Paso #2 and Del Rio).  That being said, he didn't make a lot of qualified rides outside those two events.  Injuries were a major reason for that, and it will be interesting to see how healthy he is to start the new season.  When he is on, he is one of the most exciting guys in the CBR.

Kenny Westrope always seems to ride under the radar, and this season may be much of the same.  He finished 13th in 2010, and he is already sixth in the 2011 standings.  He has already entered several events, and if he keeps riding like he has, he is going to stay near the top of the standings all season.

Cody White had a tough stretch towards the end of 2010, but he still put together another pretty solid season.  In addition, he is already ninth in the 2011 standings after a consistent start to the new year.  This guy is one of the toughest out there, and he is going to enter as many events as anyone.  In a year where rides count so much towards the standings, White could be a major sleeper in the World Title race.

Neil Holmes was near the top of the standings in 2010 before his nasty wreck in Huron, SD.  After finishing third at a Horizon Series event early this season, he has struggled.  Once he figures things out and gets back into a groove, he has the potential to climb the standings in a hurry and contend for a World Title.  He needs to get his swagger back.