Jones returning to action in Eugene

Ben Jones is currently 25th in the world standings. Photos: Andy Watson / BullStockMedia.com

Highlights

  • Ben Jones will return to competition this weekend in Eugene, Oregon, after recovering from reconstructive shoulder surgery.
  • Matt Triplett, who won the BlueDEF Tour event in Memphis, Tennessee, earlier this week, will also be returning to BFTS action this weekend.
  • They will join World No. 2 Cooper Davis who is also on the comeback trail.

In This Article

PUEBLO, Colo. – Ben Jones continues to redefine what it exactly means to be Australian tough.

Jones returning to action in Eugene (9-28-16)

The 37-year-old from Goulburn, Australia, is set to return to action at this weekend’s Wrangler Long Live Cowboys Classic five months after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his left shoulder on April 14.

“I’m ready to take over and do my thing,” Jones said.

Jones dislocated his shoulder and sustained a “massive” rotator cuff injury during a routine 3.71-second buckoff against Swashbuckler in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, when he was hung up and stepped on under his arm.

Jones had three major ligament tears in his left shoulder, as well as a sliced artery that required a trip to a South Dakota hospital that night.

He was 18th in the world standings at the time.

“It shattered me,” Jones said in April following surgery. “It is one of the hardest things I ever had to deal with.”

Jones spent the majority of his recovery rehabbing at Fit-N-Wise Sports Medicine in Decatur, Texas.

Jones also got on a practice bull Wednesday afternoon.

“My hairs are still standing up and it was a bit bucky,” Jones said. “It was a cool deal and I’m at 100 percent.”

Jones arrives to Eugene still just 25th in the world standings and has a great chance of qualifying for the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals for a second consecutive year.

Jones leads No. 35 Marco Eguchi by 282.5 points with four Built Ford Tough Series events remaining before the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals on Nov. 2-6 in Las Vegas.

Jones has drawn Stray Cat (0-0, BFTS) for Round 1 and Thunder Cloud (0-0, BFTS) for Round 2.

RELATED: Cooper Davis ready to return for 15/15 Bucking Battle; Mauney out

Coincidentally, Matt Triplett is returning to the BFTS for the first time since he underwent reconstructive surgery on his left shoulder in April. Triplett also sustained injuries in Sioux Falls. The 24-year-old had partially dislocated his left shoulder when he landed on his arm after being thrown from Buckle Up in 6.51 seconds.

Triplett earned a trip to Eugene by winning the BlueDEF Tour event in Memphis, Tennessee, on Tuesday with a 2-for-2 performance. He is 72nd in the world standings and clinched the victory with an 87.5-point ride on Blue Gangster.

Triplett could have used one of his BFTS injury exemptions to compete in Eugene, but has decided to save his exemptions for 2017 for the time being.

Instead, he now gets to take on Gatlin Gun (0-0, BFTS) in Round 1 and Blue Rocket (0-0, BFTS) in Round 2 because of his BlueDEF Tour victory.

He is 327.5 points behind Eguchi.

There are four alternates (No. 36 Nathan Schaper, No. 37 Cody Heffernan, No. 38 Fraser Babbington and No. 39 Brant Atwood) competing in Eugene. No. 3 J.B. Mauney (broken rib), No. 28 Tyler Harr (broken rib), No. 34 Ty Pozzobon (personal decision) and No. 35 Eguchi (undisclosed) are all out for this weekend.

World No. 2 Cooper Davis is returning to competition for the first time since undergoing right clavicle surgery. He takes on Curly Bill (2-0, BFTS) in Round 1 and Crazy Days (11-3, BFTS) in Round 2.

World leader Kaique Pacheco has drawn Cherry Bomb (0-0, BFTS) and Copper Star (5-3, BFTS).

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Seven Dust goes full force with Pacheco; World leader injured, but ok (9-25-16)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Here are three things we learned from the Rumble in the Rockies, presented by Cooper Tires, Sunday at Broadmoor World Arena.

Gene Owen knew Seven Dust needed an impressive out, bull score included, if his bovine athlete was going to have a chance at earning one of seven World Champion Bull contender positions for the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals.

On Sunday, Seven Dust gave Owen more than just a good out. Seven Dust came through for a season-high 45.75-point bull score with a 7.55-second buckoff against Kaique Pacheco in what nine-time World Champion Ty Murray called a “heavyweight showdown.”

“That was two heavyweights trading blow for blow,” Murray said. “That was going to be a hell of a ride. That is why I don’t judge. I would have said he was close enough. He was 92.”

Owen said, “He just stayed hooked and the power. He never weakened and never did Pacheco. He would have been 95 or 96 today. He was that good. Pacheco gave him a chance.”

Owen believes the out only solidifies Seven Dust as more than just a dark horse World Champion Bull contender.

“I think he was a dark horse a month ago,” Owen said. “I don’t know how he can’t be a (contender). I am not saying that because he is ours. Video don’t lie.”

The out raises Seven Dust’s World Champion Bull contender average to 44.69 points, which is the sixth-best in the PBR. Seven Dust has been marked 45 points or higher in three of his last four outs.

The end of the out proved to be a scare for Pacheco as the world leader was slammed against the bucking chutes. The 22-year-old was helped out of the arena by PBR sports medicine and was diagnosed with a bruised right knee and forearm by Dr. Tandy Freeman.

Pacheco finished 1-for-3 in Colorado Springs and earned only 10 world points.

He leads No. 2 Cooper Davis by 600.33 points heading into next weekend’s Wrangler Long Live Cowboys Classic in Eugene, Oregon.

“Everything is good,” Pacheco said. “That was a hard bull. He is fierce.”

Vieira wins first non-PBR Major event since February 2014

It had been 2 years and 7 months since Joao Ricardo Vieira won a Built Ford Tough Series event that wasn’t a PBR Major until Vieira teed off on Chad Berger’s Big Cat for 87.75 points Sunday afternoon.

Vieira, who won two PBR Major events last season, used his Built Ford Tough Championship Round ride to win him the Rumble in the Rockies after Luis Blanco and Jess Lockwood both came down before the 8-second mark during the final two rides of the event.

“It is very important for me because I have been trying every week to do my very best,” Vieira said with the help of a translator. “Today, I rode two bulls that were extremely challenging.”

Vieira was the only rider to go 3-for-3 after riding Dirty Little Secret for 84.25 points in Round 1 Saturday night and Crazy Days for 84.75 points on Sunday afternoon in Round 2.

The 32-year-old picked up a monumental 570 points toward the world standings and moved up to No. 4 overall. He earned 400 points for winning the event average, 100 for winning the championship round, and 70 points for his third- and fourth-place round finishes.

Vieira moved up to fourth in the world standings and is within 1,142.83 points of Pacheco.

“My mind and my body are in a really good place right now,” Vieira said. “I am very confident and excited to get to the next event and to really ride my bulls.

“To win an event and to be a champion is the consequence of doing a great job. I am doing my best.”  

Vieira last won a regular BFTS event in 2014 on Valentine’s Day weekend in Kansas City, Missouri.

Coming in behind Vieira, Lockwood and Blanco was Mason Lowe and Ryan Dirteater.

The third-place finish was a career-high for Blanco and he jumped from 34th to 26th in the world standings.

Vieira was riding with a special lucky charm this weekend in his left pocket.

Vieira met a retired member of the U.S. Special Forces at a Bass Pro Shops autograph signing on Saturday. The two broke off into a conversation and the retiree ended up giving Vieira a special coin from his time of service.

The retired Special Forces soldier, David, attended the event on Saturday and, according to Vieira, served in the United States Army for 40-plus years

“It always symbolized success and he passed it on to me so that I can feel I will always have that extra strength with me,” Vieira said. “He always worked very hard for his living, for his country and for his profession. To me, this a symbol of the kind of hard work to preserve.”

Lockwood ties Pacheco’s rookie record

Jess Lockwood isn’t interested in any consolation prizes, but the soon-to-be 19-year-old tied a PBR rookie record by winning his seventh BFTS round.

Lockwood won Round 2 with an 87.25-point ride on Superstition, but wound up losing the event victory when he was bucked off in 7.88 seconds by Catfish John on the final ride of the weekend.

“I didn’t do my job,” Lockwood said. “That is pretty much it. You just have to ride your bulls.”

It was the second time this year Lockwood was bucked off by Catfish John in the championship round.

“Frick, he was just bucking. I was a little behind so I was having to back door him. I finally got so behind that he caught me with that hip and blew me out of there.”

Pacheco set the record last year with seven round wins of his own.

“Heck, Kaique was a rookie last year and I am trying to do just as good as him or better, of course,” Lockwood said. “That is pretty cool to think.”

Lockwood finished 2-for-3 and second in the event with 400 world points. The Volborg, Montana, bull rider moved up to sixth in the world standings and is only 1,664.5 points behind Pacheco.

Earlier in the day, PBR Exclusive Entertainer Flint Rasmussen, gave Lockwood SpongeBob SquarePants’ cupcakes as an early birthday present. Lockwood turns 19 on Wednesday.

“I didn’t have any when I am staying in shape,” Lockwood said with a smile. “I will save them and take a picture.”

Injury Updates

According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Jorge Valdiviezo did not compete in the championship round because of a bruised right shoulder (riding arm) sustained when he was struck by CRG’s Love Bites’ horn as he was bucked off in 3.65 seconds. He was also competing with an old right ankle injury he aggravated in Round 1 on Saturday. Valdiviezo is probable for Eugene.

Tyler Harr (broken rib) and Nevada Newman (left arm) missed the final day of competition because of injuries sustained in Round 1.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Valdiviezo and Blanco make moves in race to World Finals (9-24-16)

PUEBLO, Colo. – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Rumble in the Rockies, presented by Cooper Tires, on Saturday night at Broadmoor World Arena.

The 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals may be five events away, but time is of the essence for riders on the bubble of the world standings.

Jorge Valdiviezo and Luis Blanco understand that point and made the most of their opportunities in Round 1.

Valdiviezo rode Bad Grandma for 85.75 points to finish the round in fourth place. More importantly, the 27-year-old earned 40 points toward the world standings to move from 37th to 31st in the world standings.

“I definitely needed that one,” Valdiviezo said. “This ride helps me a lot. He went into my hand and I never quit. I just hang on and I tightened my knees. The rest worked.”

Valdiviezo has been riding with a new bull rope since last weekend in Charlotte. The Baja California, Mexico, bull rider has been riding with a new American-style bull rope (MX Bull Ropes) that was made in Mexico.

“I started with a new bull rope because my last one is a little old and I had some trouble with it going opposite (direction),” Valdiviezo said. “Especially at this level, the bulls are so fast. I was having trouble with my free hand. MX Bull Ropes in Mexico has started sponsoring me and they are very good.”

On a night where there were only nine qualified rides, Luis Blanco was the only other bubble rider to come through and hit the 8-second mark. Blanco covered 941 Brown Sugar for 84 points and tied for sixth-place in the round.

Blanco earned 10 world points and is tied for 34th in the world standings. He leads No. 36 Cody Heffernan, who received his PBR Australia champion belt buckle earlier in the day, by 15.84 points.

“Every week when the Built Ford Tough finish, the World Finals begin the next week,” Blanco said. “I am in and out, in and out. It is a lot of pressure for us. We are the last guys. Everybody is trying really hard to make it.”

Blanco is the first rider to cover Brown Sugar in seven outs at all levels of competition.

“When I see my draw, I was worried because when I find the Probullstats standings, nobody stay on that bull,” Blanco said. “I find that video of Jess Lockwood (1.99 seconds) in Thackerville and I said, ‘Wow that bull is rank.’ I talk to him this morning, and he said that bull is ‘strong when he turn right.’ He said, ‘Put your chest up and ride jump for jump.’ That is what I do. I was really focused. In my mind, I am 1 second in front of the bull. I didn’t try to see which way he would go, I just went with him.”

Blanco has drawn Scary Harry for Round 2 and Valdiviezo has a matchup against CRG’s Love Bites (1-0, BFTS).

“I just try to ride each bull that is coming my way and don’t think about how I have to do,” Blanco concluded. “I am leaving it alone and just doing it.”

Dirteater wins round and gains 100 world points; Pacheco still in contention

Ryan Dirteater has as many event wins as world leader Kaique Pacheco, and the Hulbert, Oklahoma, bull rider took a big step toward potentially winning his fourth Saturday night.

Dirteater rode Herbie Husker for 87.5 points to claim the round victory and 100 world points.

“The stock contractor said he would be around to the right, but he didn’t do that,” Dirteater said with a chuckle. “I just rode jump for jump. He made a couple of rounds to the left and it worked out.”

The round win is Dirteater’s fourth of the season.

The No. 7 bull rider in the world standings also gained ground on Pacheco, who placed eighth in the round with an 83.75-point ride aboard Cheap Trick 2. Dirteater is 1,792.83 points behind Pacheco in the world standings.

“Every bull ride is very important with four more events after this one,” Dirteater said. “Coming down to the Finals, it is a good time to be on fire. I just have to keep riding my bulls and do my job.”

Both riders will look to win their fourth event Sunday afternoon at Broadmoor World Arena.

Dirteater will take on CRG’s Native Gangster (0-0, BFTS), while Pacheco has a Round 2 meeting with Bad Moon Rising (4-3, BFTS). Pacheco has seen Bad Moon Rising twice, including a buck off and an 83-point ride.  

“Really, just get a good night’s rest, workout in the morning and be ready to go tomorrow,” Dirteater concluded.

Earlier in the day, Dirteater joined Chase Outlaw and cheered on a group of runners at the Rider Relief Fund Support the Sport 5K at Quail Park. The trail run helped raised money for the Rider Relief Fund.

“It is very important to support the Rider Relief Fund because when we get hurt they are there to help take care of our doctor bills and stuff we have at home,” he said. “It is always great to be there and support. I didn’t run because I have bad knees, but I was there.”

Jess Lockwood took second in the round after an 87.25-point ride on Rebel Yell. The 18-year-old is ninth in the world standings and earned 60 world points.

Cody Nance placed third in Round 1, earning 50 points toward the world standings with an 86-point trip aboard Slash.

Joao Ricardo Vieira rounded out the Top 5 with 84.25 points on Dirty Little Secret. Vieira picked up 30 points toward the world standings for the effort.

Mason Lowe starts a new habit

Mason Lowe may be starting a new habit next week when he returns home to Exeter, Missouri.

Lowe missed last weekend’s event in Charlotte because of a left groin injury and returned to competition by riding Powder Keg for 84 points.

“It feels good when you ride one right,” Lowe said. “He kind of had me leaning back, but once he turned back I got over him and took some pressure off everything.”

Lowe’s new habit is starting a workout regimen.

The 23-year-old went to the gym at the hotel on Saturday morning for the first time since he was 16 years old and was extremely pleased with how he rode and felt during the Rumble in the Rockies.

“I don’t want to get buff, I just want to get in shape,” Lowe said. “This is a new thing. I went when I was 16 for a week, but other than that I never been in a gym. I ran for a few miles and I lifted a little bit.

“I feel a lot better than I have been. I had been feeling kind of weak. I realized that around the house and was just too lazy to do it.”

Injury Updates

According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Tyler Harr broke a right rib when he was stepped on by Flint after the bull bucked him off in 2.81 seconds. He is doubtful for Round 2.

Nevada Newman sustained a burner (brachial plexus neurapraxia) of his left (riding) arm when he landed on his shoulder and the side of his head as he was thrown High Chaparral (2.71 seconds). He is questionable for Round 2.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Big opportunity awaits for Pacheco; Mauney out for Colorado Springs (9-21-16)

PUEBLO, Colo. – Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney will not be competing this weekend at the Rumble in the Rockies as he continues to recover from a rib injury.

Mauney sustained a broken rib last week at the Charlotte Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, when Who Dey stepped on him during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.

“Yeah, ribs are sore as hell,” Mauney told PBR.com. “Taking this weekend off.”

RELATED: Click HERE for the complete Round 1 draw. 

The No. 3 ranked bull rider in the world standings is 860.33 points behind world leader Kaique Pacheco.

Mauney said Wednesday morning it was too early to tell if he would be able to compete on Oct. 1-2 at the Wrangler Long Live Cowboys Classic.  

The 29-year-old is the latest World Champion contender to have to miss time because of injury.

No. 2 Cooper Davis is still home in Jasper, Texas, recovering from surgery to repair a broken clavicle. Davis may be able to return to competition in Eugene depending on how his recovery continues.

Davis is 590.33 points behind Pacheco.

Therefore, Pacheco, who was victorious in Charlotte, has a major opportunity at The Broadmoor World Arena to gain further separation from his two toughest challengers.

Pacheco has drawn Cheap Trick 2 (8-1, BFTS) for Round 1. Cheap Trick 2 hasn’t been ridden on the BFTS level since Guilherme Marchi rode him for 84.25 points in April 2013. Mike Lee (88.5 points) and Silvano Alves (83.5 points) have ridden him at non-BFTS events.

There are only five BFTS events remaining until the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals on Nov. 2-6 in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena and injuries have become a major storyline, even for riders outside the Top 10.

No. 16 Tanner Byrne is taking a week off after aggravating a hand injury in Charlotte, while Ben Jones has also decided to take another week off after originally believing he would be returning from reconstructive shoulder surgery.

No. 19 Mason Lowe is back in the draw after missing last week with a left groin strain. Lowe takes on Powder Keg (0-0, BFTS) in Round 1.

Meanwhile, Chase Outlaw is returning to competition for the first time since separating his left shoulder in Nashville attempting to ride Cooper Tires Semper Fi last month.

Outlaw has drawn Macho Man (0-1, BFTS).

It will be just his second bull of the BFTS season after missing the first half following left shoulder surgery in November. He had previously had right shoulder surgery in April 2015.

Outlaw used a stellar summer run to rise to 29th in the world standings and is still ranked 31st.

Speaking of injuries, Brant Atwood received good news from Dr. Tandy Freeman when he learned he actually did not break his right clavicle last weekend in Charlotte. Atwood was cleared to return this weekend as an alternate with a mild right sternoclavicular sprain, a bruised shoulder and a sprained neck.

Atwood is 39th in the world and only 35 points behind No. 35 Cody Heffernan. He has drawn Joe’s Over The Top (3-0, BFTS).

There are three additional alternates and one BlueDEF invite competing in Colorado Springs.

No. 36 Fraser Babbington, No. 37 Jorge Valdiviezo and No. 39 Kurt Shephard are all riding and are trying to get back within the Top 35 as they look to qualify for their first World Finals.

Babbington takes on The Rocker (10-4, BFTS) Saturday night. Valdiviezo has Bad Grandma (2-2, BFTS) and Shephard will look for 8 seconds aboard Page Break (9-0, BFTS). Shephard was bucked off by Page Break in 4.91 seconds in Sterling, Colorado, in 2014.

There are only 51.66 points separating Heffernan from Shephard.

No. 46 Emilio Resende won last weekend’s BlueDEF Tour event in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and he has previously qualified for three consecutive World Finals before coming up short last season.

Resende takes on Rusty Spur (0-0, BFTS) in Round 1.

The 29-year-old went 3-for-3 in Allentown. He rode Night Sweats for 81 points in Round 1, Droopy for 85 points in Round 2 and Jake Brake for 81 points in the championship round. 

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Lockwood wins sixth BFTS round (9-17-16)

CHARLOTTE – Here are three things we learned from this weekend’s Charlotte Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Jess Lockwood may have had to deal with some harmless locker room pranks on Friday night, but the 18-year-old got the last laugh Saturday when he won Round 2 with an 88.25-point ride on Billy Bat Skat.

“That bull is cool,” Lockwood said. “He is a big, ole scary rodeo-looking bull. He was real good and right around to the left.”

Lockwood was all smiles following his ride on Billy Bat Skat prior to the championship round even with a tiny chunk of his hair missing after he was pranked on Friday.

An unknown rider put rosin in Lockwood’s helmet prior to Round 1 to the shock of the Volborg, Montana, native. Lockwood spent Friday night cutting the rosin out of his hair with fingernail clippers because he couldn’t find any scissors.

Jess chutes insert

“Oh, just another day being a rookie,” Lockwood said on the back of the chutes.

Lockwood was angrier about being bucked off by Milky Jones in 5.79 seconds during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.

Prior to the buckoff, Lockwood said he has been trying to improve his chute procedure lately.

“My chute procedure leaving the chute has been a little rough recently,” Lockwood said. “We are fixing that. I know what to do, but sometimes bulls throw a little different stuff at you. We are not working on it physically, more mentally. I also have been getting too deep of a hold with my spurs and not enough with my knees. Cody (Lambert) said to try to focus on that if you can, but just ride like you do.”

Lockwood (1-for-3) finished sixth overall (110 points) thanks to his seventh round victory in 10 events.

He is ninth in the world standings heading into next weekend’s Rumble in the Rockies in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at the Broadmoor World Arena.

Pacheco keeps on rolling and extends world lead

World leader Kaique Pacheco turns 22 years old on Sunday and the second-year pro gave himself an early birthday present in Charlotte.

Pacheco went 3-for-3 to win the Charlotte Invitational for a second consecutive season and didn’t waste any opportunities this weekend with the No. 2 rider in the world standings, Cooper Davis, home recovering from surgery to repair his broken clavicle.

Pacheco rode Crazy Horse for 88.5 points win the Built Ford Tough Championship Round and earned a total of 510 points toward the world standings.

“I marked down all of the bulls I wanted to get on, like Who Dey,” Pacheco said with the help of Robson Palermo translating. “Then those guys picked a couple other bulls I wanted. I had the fourth (pick) and he was one I liked. I saw Marco Eguchi and Eduardo (Aparecido) get on the bull. I thought he fit me pretty good and could make a good score.”

Pacheco then watched from the back of the bucking chutes as Guilherme Marchi (6.02 seconds on Machinery Auctioneer’s Little Joe), Mike Lee (1.09 seconds on Kookaburra) and J.B. Mauney (2.83 seconds on Who Dey) all bucked off their championship-round bulls to solidify his victory.

He extended his lead on Davis to 590.33 points.

Pacheco began the weekend with 85 points on I’m Trouble in Round 1 for a sixth-place round finish (10 world points) and 85.5 points on Slick Rick in Round 2 for an eighth-place round finish.

Mauney (2-for-3, 325 world points) finished second in the event to only lose 185 points on Pacheco in the world title race. Pacheco holds an 860.33-point advantage on Mauney in the world standings.

Aparecido finished third in Charlotte to move up to fourth in the standings. He earned 305 world points by going 2-for-3. Aparecido rode Fit to be Relaxed for 86.5 points in Round 2 and Magic Train for 87.75 points in the championship round.

The 26-year-old is 1,516.16 points behind Pacheco in the world standings.

Charlotte was a good bounce back performance by Pacheco after the 2015 Rookie of the Year went 1-for-5 in Springfield.

Pacheco’s championship-round win gives him BFTS round wins in three consecutive events. He began the second half with only three round wins.

The 2015 Rookie of the Year leads the PBR with 38 qualified rides – a new career high – and has the largest lead atop the world standings in his career.

Pacheco knows the CBS Sports Network cameras and the media attention will be focusing more and more on him during the final five BFTS regular-season events, but he doesn’t plan to let that affect his mindset of going after his first gold buckle.

“I know I am in first place and everyone is watching and talking about me,” Pacheco said. “I didn’t pay any attention to that. I have always been like that since I started riding bulls and I am going to continue being the same.

“I am focused.”

Air Time slips up in Charlotte; likely done until World Finals

Jared Allen’s Air Time appeared poised to end his regular season on a high note during the championship round, but the World Champion Bull contender caught his horn in the bucking chute during his 1.41-second buckoff of Stormy Wing.

The slight hiccup caused Air Time to begin his out a little awkward and Wing was unable to last long enough while Air Time began to regain his steam.

Stock contractor Matt Scharping said Air Time was fine following the out and he didn’t sustain any injuries.

“The bull’s fine,” Scharping said. “He is healthy. It was just a bad deal. We really didn’t get to see anything. He hung that horn and Stormy came down early. It was a wasted out, honestly.”

Scharping originally had plans to bring Air Time to Nampa, Idaho, on Oct. 7-8 for the DeWalt Flexvolt Invitational, presented by Wrangler, seeing as his bull didn't finish the regular season as well as he hoped.

“I don’t want him going into the Finals with that,” Scharping said on Saturday. “He needs to go into the Finals with a strong day. That means we are going to load up and go to Idaho I guess.”

Air Time is 8-0 with a 45.63-point average bull score.

However, Scharping said Monday that after mulling things over that he is going to stick with his original plan and now rest his bull until the World Finals. 

"He has nothing to prove," Scharping said. "He just needs to be ready for Finals."

Injury Updates

According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, J.B. Mauney sustained a broken rib when Who Dey bucked him off in the championship round.

Brant Atwood broke his right clavicle (riding arm) when he was thrown hard
on his shoulder by Silver Dollar (2.67 seconds) in Round 2.

Valdiron de Oliveira did not compete on Saturday night after spraining his right (riding) hand during his 3.81-second buckoff against Ante Up in Round 1.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Pacheco answers the call (9-16-16)

CHARLOTTE – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Charlotte Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, at Time Warner Cable Arena.

World leader Kaique Pacheco is going toe-to-toe against two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney for the second year in a row and Pacheco is showing that, this year, he wants to write a different ending than last October.

Pacheco responded to Mauney’s 88-point Round 1 winning ride with his own 85-point ride on I’m Trouble to finish Round 1 tied for sixth-place and keep pace with the hometown favorite.

“That is an excellent bull,” Pacheco said with Guilherme Marchi translating. “I rode him for 86 points in New York. Thank God I rode that bull again. I got my job done today.”

The 21-year-old earned 10 points toward the world standings. Not to be outdone, Mauney gained on Pacheco by 90 points with the 100 points from his round win.

Pacheco extended his lead on No. 2 Cooper Davis by 90.33 points, while No. 3 Mauney is 585.33 points behind Pacheco. 

Pacheco said he wasn’t fazed by Mauney’s ride, nor the raucous ovation the Charlotte crowd gave the Mooresville, North Carolina, cowboy.

“For me, this is good,” Pacheco said. “It makes the race strong, but I need to focus on my rides and get my job done. I need to focus on me. I don’t care about the other guys. I need to ride three and make points.”

It was the second time in the past two months that Pacheco countered a PBR World Champion with a qualified ride. In Nashville, Pacheco eliminated three-time World Champion Silvano Alves from the Music City Knockout with an 85-point ride on Legal Tender after Alves’ had ridden Mojo Bone for 83.75 points.

The ride was also Pacheco’s PBR-leading 36th.

Pacheco has drawn Slick Rick (13-5, BFTS) for Round 2. 

Mauney said Pacheco’s poise reminds him of the rider he sees in the mirror.

“He doesn’t let anything bother him,” Mauney said. “He don’t care what I do or what the other guys do. He looks at it pretty much the same way I do. He has a job to do and he goes out and does it.”

Mauney wins Round 1; puts left shoulder injury in rearview mirror

Mauney quickly put to bed any talk that his dislocated left shoulder from Springfield was going to be a hindrance in Charlotte.

Mauney rode Ram It for 88 points to win Round 1 – his PBR leading 13th round win of the season.

“That was a good bull,” Mauney said.  “Kenny (McElroy) told me before he was a big black bull and if he has his trip you could win the round on him. I knew what I had under me and all I had to do was do my job.”

Mauney was riding in Charlotte after getting banged up in Springfield, Missouri, when Pearl Harbor gave him a concussion, a dislocated left (riding) shoulder and a stretched nerve.

“It is alright,” Mauney said of his shoulder. “I kind of stayed up where I was supposed to on that bull. I stayed out over him and felt like if I ride them like I am supposed to – out over the front – I won’t ever feel it. I feel pretty good. I will probably be pretty sore tomorrow, but that is part of it.”

Mauney didn’t get his shoulder taped like he did when he tried to ride in Springfield on the final day of competition.

“I told them I was going to try it without that tape,” Mauney said. “The worst thing in the world for me is I hate having things taped. I really don’t like braces. I have to wear one (on my elbow) to keep things together, but if I don’t have to tape it I am absolutely am not going to.”

Pacheco may lead the PBR in qualified riders, but Mauney is leading the way in terms of riding percentage (56.6 percent).

Mauney takes on Tom Horn (6-1, BFTS) in Round 2 on Saturday night.

Marchi becomes first righty to conquer Rocco

2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi finished tied for second-place with Stormy Wing by riding Rocco for 87 points.

Marchi is the first right-handed bull rider to make 8 seconds on Rocco in 12 professional outs and is the third rider to make a ride on Rocco at the BFTS level.

“That is a great bull,” Marchi said. “He had a lot of movement and was really strong away from my hand. He turned to the right and I got into position. I feel good. I feel happy. I am strong. I am glad to have rode that bull.”

Marchi earned 55 world points to move to 16th in the world standings.

Wing rode Hard Times for 87 points and is 22nd in the world standings. He takes on Jailbreaker (9-0, BFTS) in Round 2, while Marchi will try for 8 seconds aboard Fast Tracker (2-2, BFTS).

Marchi continues to ride an exercise bike 14 miles a day during the week and also posted a video to Instagram this past week of him doing hanging crunches.

The 34-year-old currently weighs around 185-190 pounds and said he ideally wants to get to 175-180 pounds before the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals on Nov. 2-6.

“I am doing a lot of cardio and a lot of stretching,” Marchi said. “The crunches are helping me stay strong. In my head too. I feel strong and healthy to ride those bulls. I am ready. I want to lose more weight and get on more bulls at home during the week.

“My goal is to be strong for the Finals and even stronger for next year.” 

Fraser Babbington earned an important 40 world points with an 86.5-point ride on Whiteout to move to 34th in the world standings. Babbington is attempting to become the first New Zealand bull rider to qualify for the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas Nov. 2-6.

Mike Lee continued his strong riding of late with a fifth-place finish. Lee rode Mr. Big Stuff for 85.5 points and broke out a new celebration in the arena. Instead of breaking into a spring, the 2004 World Champion busted out a powerwalk to the pleasure of the Charlotte crowd.

He picked up 30 world points and has now earned 560 points in the last three events. Lee has ridden five of his last 11.

Babbington takes on Blues Man (0-7, BFTS) in Round 2 and Lee has drawn Crackerjack (5-4, BFTS). Lee was bucked off by Cracker Jack in 2.98 seconds in New York. 

INJURY UPDATES

A week after a series of riders were injured in Springfield, there were no major injuries in Charlotte during Round 1.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Mauney and Proctor good for Charlotte. (9-14-16)

PUEBLO, Colo. – Two-time World Champion and North Carolina native J.B. Mauney has confirmed to the PBR competition department that he will be riding at the Charlotte Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, this weekend after sustaining multiple injuries last weekend in Springfield, Missouri.

Mauney was unable to finish the event after being hurt inside the bucking chutes in two separate occasions within a 24-hour span. First, Mauney sustained a concussion, possible jaw fracture, separated and dislocated his left shoulder and stretched an axillary nerve, when Pearl Harbor rocketed him forward inside the bucking chutes during the 15/15 Bucking Battle Saturday night.

He then aggravated his shoulder injury on Sunday when Paradise City Slinger yanked Mauney forward inside the chute in a close-to-identical situation.

The Mooresville, North Carolina, native is slated to face KA264 (2-2, BFTS) in Round 1.

RELATED: Click HERE for the complete Round 1 draw.

Fellow North Carolina resident Shane Proctor is also returning to competition after sustaining a concussion and chest laceration when Wicked fell on him during the 15/15 Bucking Battle in Springfield.

“I just got the concussion and I’ll be back next week,” Proctor said Sunday. “I will get my (clavicle) checked up, but I should be alright. It is a little swelled up, but it isn’t too bad. I feel pretty decent. I went to the hotel and got some good sleep. It is part of bull riding. There is nothing we can do about it.”

Proctor has drawn Going Fast (4-4, BFTS) for Round 1.

Staley, North Carolina, native Gage Gay arrives in Charlotte after winning Round 3 last weekend with an 88.25-point ride on Flight Plan. Gay has won four BFTS rounds.

“I knew that bull,” Gay said. “I got on that bull in Albuquerque and he bucked me off in 4 or 5 seconds. He does the same thing every time so I just tried to stay out over him as long as I could so he didn’t get my head back and it worked.”

Gay takes on Maxwell House (0-0, BFTS) Friday night.

World No. 4 Fabiano Vieira was also pretty banged up in Springfield, sustaining a concussion and a lacerated forehead when his head struck the gate post as Swamp Wreck left the chute.

Vieira has a Round 1 showdown against Scratch Off (1-1, BFTS).

Meanwhile, No. 16 Robson Palermo is returning to competition after missing Springfield because of a concussion.

Palermo has drawn Filthy Animal (2-0, BFTS) for Round 1.

There are four alternates in the draw – No. 36 Fraser Babbington, No. 37 Kurt Shephard, No. 38 Brant Atwood and No. 39 Luis Blanco – to replace No. 2 Cooper Davis (clavicle surgery), No. 19 Mason Lowe (groin), No. 24 Ben Jones (reconstructive shoulder surgery) and No. 30 Chase Outlaw (separated shoulder).

Babbington and Shephard are trying to qualify for the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals for the first time.

Babbington is only 20 points behind No. 35 Aaron Roy, while Shephard is a mere 22.5 points behind Roy. Babbington has drawn Whiteout (1-0, BFTS) and Shephard will see Super Cell (0-0, BFTS).

No. 44 Brady Sims is this weekend’s BlueDEF Tour invite thanks to his victory last weekend in Rochester, New York. Sims captured the victory with an 87.5-point ride on Slim Ice. The 23-year-old has ridden five of his last six on the BlueDEF Tour.

Sims will look to carry over his BlueDEF Tour success on Friday against Ace (0-1, BFTS).

World leader Kaique Pacheco has a rematch against I’m Trouble (10-4, BFTS). Pacheco rode I’m Trouble for 86 points earlier this season in New York. 

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Lee continues hot streak in Springfield (9-11-16)

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Here are three things we learned from the PFIWestern.com Invitational, presented by Bass Pro Shops, this weekend at JQH Arena.

Mike Lee may not have any event wins on his resume in the past two weeks, but the 2004 World Champion has made a significant move in the world standings.

Lee rode Red Moon for 85.75 points to finish second in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round and second overall with a 2-for-4 showing in Springfield.

“That bull has a little bit of forward (action),” Lee said. “The closer it gets to the whistle, he tries to lean out. I got behind, but I didn’t quit him and got the job done.”

Lee earned 400 points to the world standings. He picked up 240 points for finishing second in the event average, 100 for winning Round 1 with his 87.5-point ride on Organized Crime and 60 for his championship-round ride.

The 33-year-old is up to eighth in the world standings after earning 530 points in the last two weeks. He is 5-for-10 during that stretch and had begun Thackerville, Oklahoma, last week 10th in the world standings.

“I made a mistake on them other bulls, but God showed me the mistake I made,” Lee said. “I was real stiff and I had my head down and my hips weren’t really quick. I lost my snappiness.

“You fix your problems and keep your mind focused on the goal. You can’t quit. You can’t get down on yourself.”

He trails world leader Kaique Pacheco by 1,546.17 points with six events remaining until the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals on Nov. 2-6.

Regardless, Lee has no plans about putting too much thought into his position in the world title race.

“No and I am not going to either,” Lee said with a smirk. “When I won it the first time I wasn’t thinking about it either. I was just thinking about how much fun I was having. ”

Dirteater caps BFTS-best third win with 86.75 points on Jack Daniel’s After Party

Ryan Dirteater already had his PBR-high third BFTS victory clinched on Sunday when he slid onto the back of Jack Daniel’s After Party during the championship round.

The newly ranked No. 7 rider in the world standings didn’t bask in the glory of victory too soon and capped his perfect victory with an 86.75-point ride on Jack Daniel’s After Party.

It was best ride of the weekend for the Hulbert, Oklahoma, cowboy and his championship-round victory earned him an extra 100 points toward the world standings.

“It was pretty special to me because I had been on After Party four times – and that was five years ago,” Dirteater said. “Then he came out of retirement and I had been wanting to get on him since Chad got him. I finally got the opportunity and that was my first pick if I was coming back first regardless.”

Dirteater had the top pick in the draft by being the only rider to have gone 3-for-3. He rode Gear Jammer for 84.5 points in Round 1 Friday, Shattered Dreams for 84.25 points Saturday in Round 2 and Double Doze for 80.25 points in Round 3.

The 27-year-old has successfully ridden After Party in four of their five meetings.

Sunday was only Dirteater’s third round win of the season.

“That was a great ride,” said stock contractor Chad Berger “Ryan has rode him before and that bull still bucks good.  I thought he should have been a little more. The bull bucked good and Ryan rode him. It worked out perfect.”

Dirteater earned 725 world points in Springfield and is 1,382.83 points behind Pacheco for the world No. 1 ranking.

He began the weekend 13th in the world standings.

“I am seventh in the standings and there are six events left before the Finals,” Dirteater said. “It is looking pretty good for me this year.”

Pearl Harbor posts 45.5-point bull score

Pearl Harbor continued his march toward qualifying for the 2016 World Finals as a World Champion Bull contender by bucking off Cody Nance in 3.98 seconds during the championship round.

The 5-year-old used his brute strength to whip Nance off the side of him for his seventh consecutive bull score of 45 or more points.

“I thought he was really good,” Berger said. “Big Cat was a little better this weekend, but he is definitely one of the rankest bulls in the world.”

Pearl Harbor was competing in the championship round after J.B. Mauney was unable to attempt him on Saturday night during the 15/15 Bucking Battle after Pearl Harbor rocketed Mauney forward and into the steel bars inside the bucking chutes.

Berger’s Big Cat was the high-marked bull of the weekend. Big Cat was marked 46 points for a 1.85-second buckoff of Wallace de Oliveira in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

Pearl Harbor’s successful out against Nance brings Pearl Harbor’s World Champion bull score qualifier average bull score to 45.69 points per out. He has firmly solidified his positioning for one of the seven World Champion Bull contender spots.

Still, Berger said he may opt to buck Pearl Harbor in one or two more BFTS events before the Finals.

“We might see him once or twice” Berger said. “It just depends how our schedule works for me. That bull is alone in Texas so it is a little bit harder for me to get him with my other bulls. We will try to get him to Colorado Springs maybe. Then we will see what happens.”

Injury Updates

Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney attempted to compete during Round 3 on Sunday afternoon following his multitude of injuries from the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

However, for the second consecutive day, trouble inside the bucking chute got the best of Mauney.

Paradise City Slinger yanked Mauney forward in a close-to-identical situation that Mauney had with Pearl Harbor on Saturday night as he was preparing to nod for the gate.

Longtime friend Kasey Hayes pulled Mauney out of the chute as the 29-year-old leaned over in pain, clutching at his left shoulder.

Mauney eventually was unable to attempt Paradise City Slinger and did not finish the event.

According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Mauney aggravated his left shoulder injury and is questionable for Charlotte.

There were only 11 riders in the championship round because of a series of injuries.

World No. 5 Fabiano Vieira sustained a concussion and lacerated his forehead when his head struck the gate post as Swamp Wreck left the chute. He is questionable for Charlotte.

Jorge Valdiviezo aggravated a left groin injury attempting to ride Cut the Cord (2.42 seconds) in Round 3. He is questionable for Charlotte.

Mason Lowe did not compete in the championship round because of a left groin strain he sustained attempting to ride Mr. Deeds Jr. (7.72 seconds) in Round 3. He is questionable for Charlotte. 

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Pacheco responds with Round 2 victory; injury updates on Davis/Mauney (9-10-16)

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Here are three things we learned following Round 2 and the 15/15 Bucking Battle at the PFIWestern.com Invitational Saturday night at JQH Arena.

Kaique Pacheco was not pleased one bit about being ruled to have slapped Swamp Wreck during Round 1 on Friday night.

Well, the 21-year-old channeled his frustration on Saturday evening. A focused and determined Pacheco rode Wired Child for 86.5 points to win Round 2 and regain the No. 1 ranking in the world standings.

“I was not happy last night because I am positive I didn’t slap,” Pacheco said with the help of Valdiron de Oliveira translating. “I am very happy that I did a good job tonight. I am putting the pressure on.”

Pacheco earned 100 points toward the world standings and was able to overtake previous world No. 1 Cooper Davis after Davis withdrew from the event following a meeting with Dr. Tandy Freeman.

Davis woke up Saturday morning with discomfort in his right shoulder, which he previously separated in Tulsa, Oklahoma, during his get off against Psycho Path two weeks ago. The Jasper, Texas, bull rider met with Dr. Tandy Freeman before Round 2 Saturday and was diagnosed with a possible right clavicle fracture.

Davis is scheduled to get X-rays on Monday.

There is no timetable for Davis’ return at the moment, but Davis did say he would take the necessary time off to make sure he was 100 percent for the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals on Nov. 2-6.

“We don’t know yet,” Davis said. “He wouldn’t tell me because he said it could be rest or it could be a lengthy thing. We will see. Heck, I don’t know. We won’t know until Monday. It is just a waiting game. It is a bummer, but, heck, you are going to get hurt in this sport. That is just part of it.”

Pacheco took advantage of the situation with his sixth round win of the season and now leads Davis by 35.33 points in the world standings.

“I had seen this bull buck before and I was ready,” Pacheco said. “I just need to ride bulls. That is what matters.”

Pacheco has drawn Rise and Shine (2-0, BFTS) for Round 3.

Injuries became a theme of the night as two World Champion contenders went down with injuries during the 15/15 Bucking Battle.  

Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney sustained multiple injuries inside the bucking chute preparing to ride Pearl Harbor.

According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Mauney sustained a concussion, possible jaw fracture, separated and dislocated his left shoulder and stretched an axillary nerve. The injuries occurred when Pearl Harbor rocked the No. 3 ranked bull rider in the world standings forward and then out of the bucking chutes.

Mauney’s face slammed onto the inside edge of the bucking chutes as he was being flung out of the chute.

Freeman has listed Mauney as doubtful for Round 3, but Mauney said following the event he had plans to attempt to ride in Round 3 if he felt OK in the morning.

“Hell, that is what they make tape for,” Mauney said.

It was the second year in a row that Mauney sustained an injury in Springfield with Pearl Harbor inside the bucking chutes.

Last year, Mauney bruised his left leg and ankle, and also sprained his left MCL, when his leg got hung in the slates of the chute as Pearl Harbor jerked forward.

Mauney was bucked off by El Diablo in 4.84 seconds in Round 2 earlier in the evening. The 29-year-old is sitting tied for third in the event standings with Pacheco and has drawn Paradise City Slinger (0-0, BFTS) for Round 3.

Meanwhile, Shane Proctor, who is ninth in the world standings, sustained a concussion when Wicked fell on him in 2.18 seconds. Proctor then sustained a chest laceration and a possible clavicle fracture when Wicked got up and stepped on him.

According to Freeman, Proctor is also doubtful for Round 3.

Aparecido wins 15/15 Bucking Battle

Eduardo Aparecido won his second career 15/15 Bucking Battle with an 88-point ride on Little Red Jacket to earn 150 points toward the world standings.

“The bull was pretty quick,” Aparecido said with the help of Valdiron de Oliveira translating. “On his first spin, he put me to the outside. Once the bull went forward I was able to get back into better position.”

Jess Lockwood placed second with an 86-point ride on Cooper Tires Semper Fi. Lockwood notched 90 points toward the world standings and moved up to seventh in the rankings.

Aparecido previously rode Little Red Jacket for 88.5 points at the Ty Murray Invitational.

The 26-year-old joins Pacheco as the only two riders ranked inside the Top 6 of the world standings not nursing an injury with six regular-season events remaining following Springfield.

Aparecido is 1,261.17 points behind Pacheco in the standings.  

“I flex and everything is good right now,” Aparecido said. “My body is in shape and nothing hurts right now.”

Dirteater one up on the field in Springfield

Ryan Dirteater is tied for the PBR lead with two event wins and he is in a strong position to pick up win number three on Sunday afternoon.

Dirteater is the only rider who has gone 2-for-2 in Springfield following his 84.25-point ride on Shattered Dreams in Round 2.

“He was right around the left and that is just you want for a left-hander,” Dirteater said. “He is real solid and I got it done. I was trying my butt off and it worked out.”

Dirteater placed third in the round for 50 world points. The No. 12 rider in the world standings rode Gear Jammer for 84.5 points in Round 1 Friday.

The Hulbert, Oklahoma, bull rider spent this past week going to gym classes at the Cherokee Nation Gym in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Part of his exercise program involved trying to climb across an entire basketball court on his hands.

“I’m going to keep trying to make it all the way,” Dirteater said.

Inside the arena, Dirteater knows it is important to get his first bulls covered during a three-day event.

“Coming into a three-day event, it is a marathon,” Dirteater said. “You have to take your bulls one at a time and make it 8.”

Dirteater is having a career-year and is only 166.66 points out of the Top 10. The 27-year-old’s best finish came in 2014 when he placed 11th in the world.

There is a good chance the Hulbert, Oklahoma, bull rider will finish inside the Top 10 for the first time in his eight-year BFTS career.

“The fans are behind me 100 percent,” Dirteater said. “I don’t need the spotlight. I am the quiet type.”

INJURY UPDATES

Mason Lowe replaced Davis in the 15/15 Bucking Battle after Guilherme Marchi bruised his right knee when he was struck by No Regrets’ horn in Round 2. According to Freeman, Marchi is probable for Charlotte.

Lowe was bucked off by Hey Jack in 5.53 seconds.

Tanner Byrne sustained a facial laceration in the 15/15 Bucking Battle when he collided heads with Big Cat. Byrne lasted 1.66 seconds in the matchup.

Tyler Harr returned to competition in Round 2 after sustaining a concussion Friday night. Harr rode Gallo Del Ciello for 78.25 points before bucking off his re-ride bull (Gentleman Jim) in 7.87 seconds.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Mauney returns from injury with second-place finish (9-10-16)

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the PFIWestern.com Invitational on Friday night at JQH Arena.

If there were any concerns about J.B. Mauney being rusty following a week off, the two-time World Champion put them to rest quickly. Mauney rode Flat Top Pete for 86.5 points and a second-place finish in Round 1.

“That bull is really good,” Mauney said. “Riley (Samford) told me before I got on him he could go any way and, shoot, it worked out.”

Mauney finished second in the round for 60 world points, but the bigger takeaway was that Mauney felt no lingering effects from his left hip pointer/abdominal contusion that kept him out of last weekend’s event in Thackerville, Oklahoma.

“I feel good,” Mauney said. “Nothing is hurting. I felt like I rode him like I am supposed to and made a decent dismount.”

Mauney is third in the world standings and trails world leader Cooper Davis by 640 points. The Mooresville, North Carolina, cowboy is trying to become the second rider in PBR history to win back-to-back world titles.

Mauney fell behind in the world title race by 302.7 points last weekend in Thackerville after Davis and Kaique Pacheco finished in second and third-place. He explained Friday night that was the least of his concerns.

“It don’t matter who is sitting first, second, third or whatever,” Mauney said. “I know as long as I do my job the rest will take care of itself. I really don’t worry about the standings or who is first or third or where you are sitting. You have a job to do and that is to show up and ride your bull.”

Mauney has drawn for El Diablo (1-0, BFTS) Round 2 on Saturday night before a monster rematch against Pearl Harbor during the 15/15 Bucking Battle. Mauney bested Pearl Harbor (15-2, BFTS) for 94.25 points earlier this season in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

“I was joking with someone the other day that two weeks ago there was a $75,000 bounty on him if you rode him and I said I would just wait until I can ride him for $7,500,” Mauney said. “I don’t care that I got him. He is a good bull. That is what I am looking forward to. Getting on the buckers.”

Davis extends world lead on Pacheco with tie for third-place

It wasn’t anything special, but Davis’ 84.5-point effort on Cool Hand Luke helped him extend his world lead to 64.67 points on Pacheco.

Davis tied with Ryan Dirteater (84.5 points on Gear Jammer) for third place in the round and earned 45 points toward the world standings.

“That is just a really good bull and I was 86.5 on him last week,” Davis said. “It is just one that you want. Heck, it is good one to get a first ride down on.”

Pacheco had a qualified ride wiped off the scoreboard after a judges’ review ruled the 21-year-old had slapped Swamp Wreck at the 0.97-second mark. It was the fastest buckoff of Pacheco’s career.

Pacheco was not happy with the call and shook his head on his way to the locker room. He then pointed at his head, signaling it was a crazy call.  

Davis said he wasn’t fazed by Mauney’s 86.5-point ride moments earlier or by Pacheco’s lack of a qualified ride.

“You know those guys are going to stay on their fair share of bulls and I have to do the same,” Davis said. “It is the same gameplan that we have had. That is staying on bulls. That is all of our gameplans.”

Davis will take on Line Me Up (0-0, BFTS) in Round 2 and Hey Jack (4-0, BFTS) in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

It wasn’t all good news for Davis. Following Round 1, he was in the PBR Sports Medicine room icing the shoulder he injured in Tulsa.  

“I mean I just kind of got strung out just a touch,” Davis said. “Heck, it is just bothering me a bit.”

Lee wins Round 1; bucks off $5,000 bounty bull

2004 World Champion Mike Lee came within milliseconds of winning last weekend in Thackerville, Oklahoma, before Buckle Up tossed him to the ground at the 7.26-second mark.

Lee didn’t waste any time in Springfield and built off his 2-for-3 performance in Thackerville by winning Round 1 with an 87.5-point ride on Organized Crime.

“Man that was wild,” Lee said. “He nearly threw me into the fence. Ah, H.D.’s bulls are kind of hot.”

Lee then paused and headed off to get his rope ready for his $5,000 bounty bull matchup with Bootdaddy.com. Lee was bucked off in 2.97 seconds.

The Decatur, Texas, cowboy’s ride on Organized Crime was his third highest this season. Lee earned 100 points toward the world standings courtesy of his second BFTS round win this year.

Lee has now ridden three of his last five after bucking off 10 in row since reaching the 500 career rides mark. He will face Snoball (0-0, BFTS) in Round 2 and Stone Sober (33-1, BFTS) in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

There were a total of 10 rides in Round 1.

World No. 6 Eduardo Aparecido earned 30 world points with a fifth-place finish, and Fabiano Vieira rode Face The Time (82.75 points) for a seventh-place finish and five world points.

Vieira had to grit his way through his left shoulder injury and joined Davis in sports medicine following the round to receive ice and treatment.

Exeter, Missouri, native Mason Lowe rode Alabama Slammer for 79.5 points and a huge ovation.

“It is better than falling off like I had been,” Lowe said. “I had been telling myself I was either going to hang up or ride one.”

Lowe wasn’t sure how many friends and family were in attendance:

“I don’t really have a clue. I just heard a bunch of them hollering.”

The 22-year-old finished second last year in Springfield and would love to celebrate his 23rd birthday Monday knowing he was victorious inside the JQH Arena this weekend.

“They try to say it is the toughest to ride when you are closer to home, but I have always done good here in Springfield,” Lowe said. “I have won a bunch of amateur bull ridings here.”

INJURY UPDATES

You could hear a pin drop in JQH Arena on Friday as Tyler Harr lay unconscious on the arena dirt after taking a massive shot to the head from Little Tim’s All Nighter. Harr was diagnosed with a concussion by Dr. Tandy Freeman and is questionable for Round 2.

Cody Nance is probable for Round 2 after sustaining a chest wall contusion when he was stepped on by Pale Rider after Nance reach the 8-second mark for 83.75 points. 

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Springfield Draw notes (9-7-16)

PUEBLO, Colo. – Cooper Davis’ first event as the new world No. 1 bull rider will come against a familiar foe Friday night at the PFIWestern.com Invitational, presented by Bass Pro Shops.

Davis has drawn Cool Hand Luke (0-2, BFTS) – the same bull in which he rode for 86.75 points last weekend in Thackerville, Oklahoma, to take over the world lead – for Round 1.

Davis heads into Springfield having ridden eight of his last 13 and leads No. 2 Kaique Pacheco by 19.67 points in the world standings.

The 22-year-old takes on Line Me Up (0-0, BFTS) in Round 2.

 “When I have a chance to spur one, I am always cool with that,” Davis said. “That is something I have always done. Something that has helped me a lot is getting bucked off a lot or getting strung out at 6 seconds. (Cody) Lambert came up to me and told me, ‘Hey, get tough around that 6- or 7-second mark and act like you have a few more seconds to ride,’ and that is what I have been doing. Even though I have been getting slammed right at 8 seconds, I am still riding for 10. I think that is helping a lot.”

Pacheco has drawn Swamp Wreck (3-2, BFTS) and Wired Child (14-2, BFTS) for the first two rounds. Swamp Wreck bucked off Aaron Roy in 3.92 seconds two weeks ago in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Wired Child has bucked off 10 riders in a row, including Silvano Alves in 7.87 seconds last week.

Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney is also right in the mix and is making his return to competition after taking a week off to rest his left hip pointer and abdominal contusion injury.

The 29-year-old is 655 points behind Davis in the world standings.

RELATED: Mauney and Pearl Harbor to square off in Springfield 15/15 Bucking Battle

Mauney has drawn Flat Top Pete (2-0, BFTS) in Round 1 and El Diablo (1-0, BFTS) in Round 2. Flat Top Pete bucked off Valdiron de Oliveira in 2.94 seconds last weekend in Thackervile. El Diablo debuted in Thackerville with a 3.25-second buckoff of an unhappy Davis.

Three-time World Finals event winner Robson Palermo is not competing in Springfield because of a concussion and chest wall injury sustained last weekend. He has been replaced in the draw by No. 36 Fraser Babbington.

Babbington has a first-round matchup against Rock Bottom Blues (0-0, BFTS) and then takes on Mister Mean in Round 2. The New Zealand bull rider is 20 points behind No. 35 Roy.

There two additional alternates competing in Springfield – No. 37 Brant Atwood and No. 38 Luis Blanco. They are replacing Ben Jones (reconstructive shoulder surgery) and Chase Outlaw (shoulder separation).

Atwood is competing in only his second event of the 2016 season. He is 23-for-79 at all levels of PBR competition this year. Atwood trails Roy by 25 points and will look for his first BFTS ride of 2016 against Locked and Loaded (0-1, BFTS). He then takes on Springer Mountain (3-3, BFTS).

Silvano Alves rode Locked and Loaded for 88.5 points last weekend.

Blanco is trying to crack the Top 35 and two of his opportunities this weekend will come against Cut the Cord (6-0, BFTS) and All Shook Up (2-3, BFTS).

Zane Cook is competing as a Native American invite. He will be challenged by Jack Shot (5-0, BFTS) and American Hustle (23-1, BFTS). Jack Shot bucked him off in 4.28 seconds at the Wichita, Kansas, BlueDEF Tour event.

Thackerville winner Guilherme Marchi faces Flight Plan (6-1, BFTS) and No Regrets (21-6, BFTS). Marchi previously rode No Regrets for 87.5 points at the 2015 Oklahoma City event.

Fans can catch Round 1 of the PFIWestern.com Invitational Friday exclusively on PBR LIVE beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Pacheco and Davis continue to jockey for world No. 1 ranking (9-4-16)

THACKERVILLE, Okla. – Here are three things we learned from the WinStar World Casino and Resort Invitational Sunday night.

Kaique Pacheco showed the poise of a potential World Champion Sunday night. Pacheco bounced back from two buckoffs on Saturday with two qualified rides in Round 2 and the Built Ford Tough Championship Round in an effort to keep pace with world leader Cooper Davis in an ever-so-close World Championship race.

Pacheco finished the weekend in third place with 282.5 world points, but it was his 87.25-point ride on Kill The Lights to win the Built Ford Tough Championship Round and his 85.5-point ride on Recovery Time in Round 2 that has him still on the heels of Davis.

The 2015 Rookie of the Year trails Davis, who finished the Built Ford Tough Series event in second place, by only 19.67 points in the world standings.

“It helps a lot tonight because I have been riding really good since the break,” Pacheco said with the help of Silvano Alves translating. “It is very important to ride good because I have to keep getting points. I know I need to ride my bulls and get my points. I need rides and points every day.”

Pacheco is 7-for-13 since the BFTS resumed in Nashville with the Music City Knockout.

Pacheco’s championship-round win was his fifth BFTS round win of the season and 12th of his career.

“I rode him before at the Finals, but he didn’t buck really good and I fell off (7.65) seconds,” Pacheco said. “I am very happy because tonight he had good spin and I rode really good in front of the bull the whole time. I rode perfect.”

Pacheco earned 142.5 points of his world points in Thackerville by tying with Jess Lockwood for third in the event average.

The 21-year-old admitted he made a poor decision during the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Saturday attempting to ride Hammer It Again. Pacheco decided to move his bull rope closer to the middle of Hammer It Again, instead of leaving it in his normal position to the side.

 “The first bull (Kongo) last night I knew was a good bull,” Pacheco said. “He jumped forward and I wasn’t good. My second bull was a really good bull and I watched the video of him all the time from me in the 15/15 (in Tulsa). I put my rope in the middle this week and I moved it to much. I should have went inside.”

Pacheco appeared on track to leave Thackerville once again as the No. 1 bull rider a night after Davis passed him, but Davis also showed the poise of a champion and put forth a rebound performance in the championship round.

Davis, who finished second overall, responded to his 3.25-second buckoff against El Diablo in Round 2 by riding Red Cloud for 86.75 points in the championship round. He earned 60 world points for the second-place finish in the round and 240 world points for placing second in the event average. 

The Jasper, Texas, bull rider rode Cool Hand Luke for 86.5 points and a fifth-place tie in Round 1 (22.5 world points).

Davis said he tried not to worry about what happened in Round 2 or the world title race.

“You have to block all of that out,” Davis said following his ride on Red Cloud. “You have to fight through it.”

No longer a house of horrors

2008 World Champion Guillerme Marchi’s career was nearly ended in Thackerville last season when he tore his left MCL/PCL attempting to ride Cut the Cord.

One year later and Marchi is celebrating his first event victory in over 16 months despite never getting surgery to repair the torn ligaments.

Marchi became the first rider to successfully cover What’s Under Your Hood with an event-winning 86.5 points in the championship round.

“This means a lot to me, especially because I hurt my knee last year,” Marchi said. “I came back this year and there were a lot of things in my head.”

What’s Under Your Hood had bucked off five in a row on the BFTS and 21 overall.

“I picked that bull because I saw that bull last week,” Marchi said. “I was supposed to pick that bull and Marco (Eguchi) picked that bull. This week I said I need to pick that bull. It worked good for me. This last bull was right there to the right. When they kick fast, they are better for me and I find my position.”

Marchi then watched on with a contingent of friends, including Alves and Pacheco, as 2004 World Champion Mike Lee failed to win Thackerville for the second time in three years when he got bucked off by Buckle Up in 7.26 seconds.

Alves also had a chance for the victory before bucking off Wired Child in 7.87 seconds after Marchi had ridden What’s Under Your Hood.

Marchi finished third in the round for 50 world points.

The 34-year-old began the weekend with a Round 1-winning 88.75-point ride on Losing My Religion and kicked off Sunday with an 82.5-point ride on The Jungle.

“Both bulls (What’s Under Your Hood and The Jungle) come on the right and into my hand,” Marchi said. “Just good bulls. Jungle kind of a little bit more hard for me. He was kind of slow and moved forward. Because I am a little heavy, he made me sit on my pockets a little bit.”

Marchi earned 550 world points and is now 17th in the world standings.

Coming in behind Marchi, Davis and Pacheco was Jess Lockwood (205 world points) and Eduardo Aparecido (150 world points). Lee finished in sixth place with 130 world points.

Aparecido quietly wins Round 2

Aparecido is trying to keep himself in the world title race, but the success of Davis and Pacheco has made it hard for him to gain ground on the top two riders in the world.

The 26-year-old tied for second in the 15/15 Bucking Battle Saturday and finished the regular-formatted event in fifth place with 150 world points.

Like the two young guns, Aparecido also found a way to bounce back from adversity in Thackerville.

Aparecido responded from his 7.88-second buckoff against Crazy Cross in Round 1 to finish Thackerville with three consecutive rides, including his 88-point ride on Jump Street in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

The sixth-ranked rider in the world standings won Round 2 with an 87.25-point ride on Mustache Sally and then ended his night with an 84-point ride on Sheep Creek for a fifth-place finish in the championship round.

“I was very happy because I am riding really good,” Aparecido said through Alves. “My movement has been really good. This is good momentum. These were not rank bulls, but they were really good bulls.

“(Jump Street) was a rank bull and I had to stay in perfect position to stay on. He went left, right and kicked. I had to use good movement.”

Aparecido is 1,360.84 points behind Pacheco.

Gage Gay placed second in the round for 60 world points with his 86.5-point ride on Come On Baby. The problem for Gay was he sustained a concussion during the ride and had to miss the championship round.

Cody Nance was third with an 85.75-point ride on Johnny B and 50 world points, while Shane Proctor rode Find Jesus for 85.25 points and a fifth-place finish (30 world points).

This weekend was Proctor’s first two-ride weekend since winning Iron Cowboy in February.

2004 World Champion Mike Lee placed sixth with 85 points aboard Johnny Bones Jones. Lee picked up 15 world points.

Tyler Harr, who is trying to qualify for his first career World Finals, notched five points with an 84.75-point ride on Blue Moon.

Injury Updates

According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Paulo Lima did not compete in the championship round after aggravating an old left knee injury during Round 2. Lima is probable for next weekend’s event in Springfield, Missouri.

Robson Palermo did not compete Sunday after sustaining a chest injury when he was bucked off by Midnight Train (4.21 seconds) in the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Saturday. Palermo is questionable for Springfield. 

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Marchi gets invigorating Round 1 victory (9-3-16)

THACKERVILLE, Okla. – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the WinStar World Casino and Resort Invitational Saturday night.

Guilherme Marchi pumped his chest, turned toward the packed grandstands and let out an emphatic roar on Saturday night. 

Marchi had just ridden Losing My Religion for an eventual round-winning 88.75 points after having flashbacks to tearing his left MCL/PCL attempting to ride Cut the Cord last year in Thackerville.

“Oh, this is hard to explain everything,” Marchi said. “Everything came to my head before I got on. Last year, I hurt my knee here. Today I tried to change everything and just prayed to God for saving me in this arena. I know I had a tough bull.”

Marchi increased his training regimen this week with the help of Paulo Lima. The two Brazilian bull riders spent the week at Marchi’s Ferris, Texas, ranch participating in various workout programs. The two biked 14 miles a day and jump roped together.

The 2008 World Champion also attempted four practice bulls this week.

“I had been working so hard during the week,” Marchi said. “I have been riding my bike and jumping rope. I am doing a lot of hard things to get healthy. Everything I start to do now has helped me a lot. I was very focused and very concentrated.”

Lima also had success in Round 1, riding Valedictorian for 85 points and a ninth-place finish.

“Guilherme helped me this week,” said Lima, who was also bucked off by Cochise in 1.85 seconds during the 15/15 Bucking Battle. “I didn’t get on any practice bulls. Just rode the bike and jumped rope.”

Marchi earned 100 points toward the world standings and moved from 22nd to 19th.

The 34-year-old credited Lima for helping him focus in on his training this week in preparation for an event that would clearly strike a chord with him following his 2015 injury, which cost him the remainder of the 2015 regular season.

“It helps a lot too because he is a very, very close friend of mine,” Marchi said. “He is very determined to work out. He helped me by trying to push me every day.”

Davis takes over world lead despite shoulder injury

There is a new sheriff in the PBR following Cooper Davis’ tie for fifth-place in Round 1.

Davis, who later bucked off Wicked for the fifth time on the BFTS in 5.86 seconds during the 15/15 Bucking Battle, used his 86.5-point ride on Cool Hand Luke to earn 22.5 points toward the world standings and surpass Kaique Pacheco for the world No. 1 ranking.

Davis was happy to be atop the world standings for the first time in his career, but the 22-year-old was also very much aware that the $1 million World Champion bonus isn’t paid out until the conclusion of the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals.

“That is good to look at right now, but all of that doesn’t matter until Nov. 6,” Davis said.

Davis leads Pacheco by a slim 2.17 points heading into Round 2 on Sunday. Davis took over the lead after Pacheco failed to ride Kongo (5.14 seconds) in Round 1 and Hammer It Again (3.16 seconds) in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

RELATED: Click HERE for the complete Sunday daysheet 

Davis was competing with a right shoulder separation that he sustained in Tulsa last weekend.

“I didn’t put a whole thought into the shoulder and I just went at it,” Davis said. “It felt good. No pain. The only thing that bothers me is getting off. If that is the least of my worries right now then we are in good shape.”

Mike Lee and Joao Ricardo Vieira were the only other Top 10 riders in the world standings to earn points in Round 1.

Vieira placed seventh for five world points with his 86-point ride on Flight Plan. He is fifth in the world standings and 777.5 points behind Davis.

Lee rode Sketchy Bob for a third-place finish and 50 world points, but the 2004 World Champion actually fell to 11th in the standings because of Jess Lockwood’s strong performance in Round 1 and the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

Lockwood earned 105 points to move up to ninth in the world standings and take over the lead in the 2016 Rookie of the Year Race.

The 18-year-old rode Shake It Up for 86.5 points to tie with Davis for fifth place in Round 1 and followed that up that ride with an 88-point performance on Margy Time for a second-place finish in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

No. 6 Eduardo Aparecido earned 82.5 world points by tying with Lockwood for second in the 15/15 Bucking Battle. Aparecido rode his re-ride bull, Jump Street, for 88 points.

Margy Time was competing for the first time since sustaining a broken leg at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo last year.

“You have to give that bull a lot of credit,” Lockwood said. “A broken leg on a bull 99 percent of the time means that is the end of their career. They will never buck again. For him to come back and buck at this level, heal from a broken leg, is pretty incredible.”

Richardson earns emotional 15/15 Bucking Battle victory

The money, the 150 world points, his first 90-point ride and his first 15/15 Bucking Battle victory were far from Lachlan Richardson’s mind Saturday night as he accepted his event-winning belt buckle on top of the shark cage.

Instead, Richardson couldn’t help but think about 23-year-old Blake Hallam – a rising star in the Australian Professional Rodeo Association – that had passed away Thursday in a car crash.

“My buddy got killed in a car crash this week,” Richardson said. “We grew up together and he was a pretty good buddy. I hadn’t seen him in a while because I had been over here.”

Richardson won the 15/15 Bucking Battle with a career-high 92.25-point ride on Seven Dust. It was the first 90-point ride of his career.

“I knew it was a good bull and really tough,” Richardson said. “It is really special. It is the next biggest to (winning) an event. I hadn’t won one before. I don’t think I even stayed on a bull before, so I can’t describe it.”

Injury Updates

According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Robson Palermo is questionable for Round 2 after sustaining a concussion and a possible rib fracture when he was slammed to the ground by Midnight Train in 4.21 seconds.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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