By: Justin Felisko
January 09, 2016
ROSEMONT, Ill. – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Chicago Invitational on Saturday night at Allstate Arena.
ALVES TAKES RE-RIDE; FINISHES SIXTH IN ROUND 1
It is a new year and a new season for three-time World Champion Silvano Alves, and the 28-year-old was jovial and comical after riding Imagine That for 84.5 points and a sixth-place finish in Round 1.
Alves made the surprising decision earlier in the night to accept his re-ride option after covering Full Throttle and jokingly said it was his “New Year’s resolution.”
“Everyone asked, ‘You took the re-ride?’ I said, ‘Yes. It is a new year,’” Alves said with a big grin.
When asked if this was a new strategy in 2016, Alves smiled again.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Maybe I will (when given) the option. I was very happy. I had seen this bull before. I was happy to ride good and be in a good position.”
Under the PBR’s recently unveiled rule changes, Alves earned 15 points toward the world standings. In 2016, riders placing first through seventh in a round will be awarded world points. Last season only the Top-5 riders earned round points.
Alves, who struggled in 2015 following hip surgery, said it was good to start the season off on the right track.
“The first bull (Full Throttle) was laying down all the time,” Alves said. “I was very happy because I feel strong and feel good. It is good momentum.”
And the hip?
“My hip feels good,” he concluded. “It is not sore. Maybe tomorrow, but I think it won’t. I have been working out every day.”
HEFFERNAN FOCUSED ON PBR AUSTRALIA TITLE
Cody Heffernan is one of nine riders competing at the Chicago Invitational that didn’t place inside the Top 35 of the 2015 world standings.
However, Heffernan says his primary goal is not necessarily to qualify for the BFTS full time this year.
Instead, Heffernan said following his 85.25-point ride on McIntyre Transports Back Jackin that he wants to focus on claiming the 2016 PBR Australia title.
Heffernan placed fifth in the round for 30 world points. He is currently third in the world standings because of his performances in Australia this past November.
“I am playing it by week, but I want to win the Australia title,” Heffernan said. “That is the main goal. If things start real good like they did tonight and I get on a roll, who knows. I definitely will fly to Australia and United States a bunch of times to try and do both.”
Heffernan is currently the No. 1 rider in PBR Australia. Australia No. 2 Justin Paton rode Diesel for 82.75 points to split 11th place with Michael Lane (Rafter T) and Gage Gay (Preacher).
“I have been riding real good there in Australia,” Heffernan said. “I am in the lead there already and I don’t want that to go to waste.”
DUNCAN WINS FIRST BFTS ROUND SINCE APRIL 2015
Douglas Duncan spent plenty of time last season fighting to keep his spot on the BFTS.
He didn’t wait long this year to try and avoid that same scenario at all costs.
Duncan rode Hy Test for 87.25 points on the first out of the 2016 BFTS season and the score wound up being the round winner.
He earns 100 points toward the world standings with the round victory and heads into Round 2 ranked seventh in the world standings.
“This is my ninth year professionally and I kind of learned the mental side of things,” Duncan said. “It is all mental. This is not like 12 NFL teams and a 50-man roster. This is the Top 35 and even the 35th guy can win. I got the best friends in the world and they are all winners. It helps me elevate my game. I was just happy to start things off with a ride and let them feed off it.”
Bonner Bolton placed second in the round with an 87-point ride on Redneck, while Wallace de Oliveira finished third with an 86.75-point ride on Ram It.
Bolton earns 60 world points and Oliveira picked up 50.
Next in line was Mike Lee with an 86-point ride on Strong Heart for a fourth-place finish.
Lee, the No. 2 bull rider in the world standings, earned 40 world points to gain ground on world leader Paulo Lima, who is competing at the BlueDEF Tour event in Oakland, California.
Aaron Roy placed seventh for five points with an 84.25-point ride on Ruff’em Up Tuck.
Duncan decided in October after the L.J. Jenkins Invitational in Clovis, New Mexico, to take the offseason off and truly rest and not chase any points on the BlueDEF Tour or Touring Pro Division.
The two months off has Duncan healthy and rejuvenated after an admittedly mentally draining 2015.
“After the Finals it is good to let your body take a break and I didn’t go anywhere,” Duncan said. “After three weeks, I went snowboarding and didn’t think about bull riding at all. I stayed in the gym and I couldn’t be more fired up to come to Chicago.”
Duncan understands Saturday was only night one of another grueling PBR season.
“It is a long year so one bull at a time,” Duncan concluded. “I am looking forward to good things in 2016.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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