LAS VEGAS – The drama continues to unfold with the 2017 PBR season coming down to its final day of competition.
With a chance to try and eliminate Eduardo Aparecido and Kaique Pacheco from the world title race, Jess Lockwood bucked off High Test in 6.81 seconds during Round 4 of the 2017 Built Ford Tough World Finals, capping off another unexpected twist this week inside T-Mobile Arena.
The top three riders in the world standings – Lockwood, No. 2 Derek Kolbaba (2.25 seconds on Stretch) and No. 3 Cooper Davis (1.81 seconds on Bad Moon Rising) – all bucked off on Saturday night, while No. 4 Aparecido (84.5 points on Udder Lover) and No. 5 Pacheco (87.5 points on Mr. Majestic) picked up qualified rides to keep their slim hopes alive.
“That bull was up a lot in front and I had a hold of him and I was trying to cut him off,” Lockwood said. “I was trying to get to the front and he beat me.”
Heading into Championship Sunday here is how the standings look:
- Kolbaba (-322.5)
- Davis (-454.17)
- Aparecido (-575)
- Pacheco (-840)
How points are awarded at the World Finals:
Event Average (1,500-720-540-300-200-125-100-50-40-25)
Lockwood and Davis can earn potentially 2,100 world points on Sunday if they can rally from behind to win the event average (1,500 points) and the last two rounds of the Finals.
Meanwhile, event leader Jose Vitor Leme’s 4-for-4 start has eliminated Kolbaba, Aparecido and Pacheco from the event average title, but if the chips fall in their direction the trio could still ride their final two bulls of the season and potentially finish second in the event average for (720 points) and earn a maximum of 1,320 points.
The problem for them, though, is that 14 riders are ahead of them for second-place in the average, including Davis. Five riders are 3-for-4 and nine riders are 2-for-4.
It will take a miracle for Kolbaba, Aparecido, Pacheco to finish second in the average, but if they can get two qualified rides and then two buckoffs from Lockwood and Davis the door may end up slightly open depending on where they place in Rounds 4 and 5.
“I’m not really thinking about that right now,” Pacheco said with the help of Paulo Crimber translating. “I’m just riding my bulls, and doing my job and be happy with that.”
Pacheco was the only rider of the group to earn any world points in Round 4. He rode Mr. Majestic for 87.5 points and tied for fourth-place in the round (85 points).
“I’m really happy to ride that bull, and he’s really hard,” Pacheco said. “I’ve watched him buck before and he tried to pull me over to the front end. I almost went, but I got to stop and finish a great ride.”
Lockwood is in control of his destiny on Sunday.
He is the world leader and only world title contender to have ridden three bulls. The 20-year-old is still only one ride behind event average leader Jose Vitor Leme and the 1,500 points available for winning the average.
“I am not really paying attention,” Lockwood said when asked if he watch his good friends Davis and Kolbaba attempt their bulls in Round 4. “I can hear what is going on, but I am focusing on myself.”
Davis is next in line in terms of best odds after going 2-for-4 through four rounds of competition. He will need to ride both of his bulls and have Leme go 0-for-2 to have a shot at the aggregate.
The defending champion will also likely need Lockwood to go 0-for-2 as well because he trails Lockwood by 95 points in the average.
What also could play into Davis’ favor against Lockwood is if Lockwood were to start getting passed over in the event average as he tries to work his way up from the eighth position.
It may be asking a lot, but it isn’t impossible.
Round 5 Preview
Lockwood selected Lester Gillis (22-2, BFTS) with the 15th pick of the draft and consultation from PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert.
“He is a good bull right there to the left,” Lockwood said. “He bucks damn hard, but I have to stay on him. I have been on him with a torn groin. J.B. got on him and he is going to buck right there. He might go right too. Either way, he is going to buck dang hard."
Lockwood only lasted a couple jumps on Lester Gillis at THE AMERICAN before missing five weeks to rest a torn groin he sustained 24 hours earlier at Iron Cowboy.
Lester Gillis bucked off two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney in 4.31 seconds in Round 3.
Pacheco is the only rider to have made the 8-second mark on Lester Gillis, doing so twice, in the bull’s 30 outs at all levels of competition.
Meanwhile, Davis was extremely disappointed with being left with Losing My Religion (18-1, BFTS).
“That may have been the worst possible outcome,” Davis said on his way out of the locker room.
Guilherme Marchi (88.75 points last year in Thackerville, Oklahoma) is the only rider in 29 outs at all levels to ride him.
Not only did Davis’ 1.81-second buckoff against Bad Moon Rising severely hurt his world title aspirations, it also resulted in him having the last pick of the 40-man draft.
Losing My Religion bucked off Luciano de Castro in 2.48 seconds in Round 3, which Davis said appeared to be a good out by the bull.
Kolbaba gets a rematch against Slinger Jr.
The 21-year-old is 0-3 against Slinger Jr. The longest Kolbaba has lasted on Slinger Jr. was 5.48 seconds. The good news for Kolbaba is that he has continuously lasted longer on Slinger Jr. each time (2.01-4.96-5.84).
“Shoot, I have been on him three times and every time I have been a little bit closer,” Kolbaba said.
Kolbaba added that he knows he needs to ride both of his bulls to have any shot at a gold buckle.
“Oh yeah,” he said.\
Aparecido selected Uncle Tink.
The No. 3 man in the world standings is 1-1 against Uncle Tink, having last ridden him for 84.25 points in Nashville last year.
"I have rode this bull before," Aparecido said. "I think I have a chance to get to the short go and get a lot of points. We will see what happens."
Pacheco selected Stunt Man Ray (1-0, BFTS) with the fourth pick.
“I saw him buck the first day with Dakota (Buttar),” Pacheco said. “Fabiano rode him in Canada. I saw two videos where he looked like a good bull into my hand.”
Buttar lasted 7.77 seconds on the bull, while Vieira rode him for 88 points at a Calgary Touring Pro Division event.
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