By: Justin Felisko
February 13, 2016
ST. LOUIS – Here are three things we learned following Round 2 of the Bass Pro Chute Out, presented by Cooper Tires, and the 15/15 Bucking Battle at Scottrade Center on Saturday night.
Asteroid returns with 45.75-point impact
Asteroid’s two ears twitched simultaneously inside the bucking chute as he turned his head to the left and stared out into the abyss of the Scottrade Center.
The 2012 World Champion Bull didn’t care one bit that Joao Ricardo Vieira– the No. 3 bull rider in the world – was standing over him and sizing him up for their fourth showdown.
All Asteroid was interested in was making sure he got to rumble in his sandbox of destruction for the first time in nearly a year.
After 2.9 seconds during Saturday night’s 15/15 Bucking Battle, it is safe to say Asteroid is back in full force with plenty of snot, skill and a sizzling palate for another World Championship run.
Asteroid was marked 45.75 points for grinding Vieira into the ground while spinning left into the 31-year-old’s left riding hand.
“Into Joao’s hand and he manhandled Joao,” reigning Stock Contractor of the Year Chad Berger said. “He didn’t just buck him off. He manhandled him. The bull was rank.”
Berger could not stop shaking in the minutes after Asteroid’s impressive debut. Berger bought the champion bovine last month and unretired him.
The Mandan, North Dakota, native also couldn’t erase his Christmas Day grin from his gleaming face.
“I’ll tell you what. There was a lot of pressure there,” Berger said. “He gave me more than I could ask for in his first trip of the year. I am still shaking here. I was just praying he had a trip like he did tonight. He did everything but disappoint me. I think we got one we can contend with.”
Meanwhile, all Vieira could do was smile as he brushed off the remaining bits and pieces of St. Louis dirt on his riding vest.
“He is a HARD practice bull,” Vieira said on the back of the bucking chutes. “He bucked.”
Earlier in the evening, Vieira had joked with Berger in the locker room that Asteroid would be a good practice bull for him in St. Louis.
Instead, it was Asteroid proving he has no problem returning to competition despite having not bucked since the 2014 Iron Cowboy last February.
“The pressure is off,” Berger said. “Now I am not worried no more. I think you are only going to see good things from Asteroid now. You can look for great things from Asteroid this year. He will be in contention. He proved it tonight.”
Berger will now haul Asteroid home to Oklahoma and let the World Champion Bull contender rest in preparation for the Choctaw Casino Iron Cowboy, powered by Kawasaki, on Feb. 27.
“His muscle tone is not where it needs to be yet,” Berger concluded. “If I get 30-50 pounds on that bull, I think you are looking at a real contender.”
Mauney earns first career 15/15 Bucking Battle victory to move to No. 2 in the world
J.B. Mauney swept the board on Saturday night with winning rides in Round 2 and the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
Mauney is no stranger to winning BFTS rounds, but as hard as it is to believe, he had never won a 15/15 Bucking Battle until he rode Sheep Creek for 90.25 points away from his hand inside a close-to-capacity full Scottrade Center.
The defending World Champion got reared back as Sheep Creek continued to spin and fade toward the center of the arena, which put plenty of pressure on his left riding arm. It was a different kind of 90-point ride for the current rider with the most 90-point rides on his resume (67).
Normally Mauney will throw his free arm and indirectly dress up a ride. On Saturday, he had to use his free arm to fight to keep his balance.
“I don’t know how that worked,” Mauney said. “That is not the correct way to ride bulls, but like I always say, you keep your hand shut and you keep trying and things will work out that aren’t supposed to work out.”
Mauney earned a total of 250 points on Saturday night by winning the 15/15 Bucking Battle and Round 2. He is the second rider this season to win a BFTS round and 15/15 Bucking Battle on the same night. J.W. Harris accomplished the feat in New York.
Mauney won Round 2 with an 87-point ride on Cowboy Phil. There were only eight qualified rides in the second round.
Kaique Pacheco rode Little Red Jacket for 88.5 points for the only other ride in the 15/15 Bucking Battle. Pacheco also rode Reverand Mr. Black for 83 points in Round 2 for a sixth-place finish. The second-year pro earned a total of 105 world points with the two rides to move to 13th in the world standings.
Mauney leads the BFTS with five round wins and jumped three positions in the world standings to No. 2 overall. Mauney heads into Round 3 trailing world leader Paulo Lima by only 140 points.
The Mooresville, North Carolina, has drawn Gangster for Round 3.
“I would like to be sitting first all year long and just run away with it, but that probably won’t happen,” he said. “Those other guys ride too good for that to happen. I don’t care where I am sitting right now. It all comes down to Vegas.”
Lawrence in search of first career win on Sunday
Stetson Lawrence was always a bridesmaid, but never a bride on various occasions during the 2015 season, including twice at PBR Majors (Iron Cowboy & Last Cowboy Standing), and right here in St. Louis.
Lawrence will have an opportunity to switch that narrative and earn his first career victory during the final day of the Bass Pro Chute Out.
Lawrence rode his re-ride bull Redbone for 86.75 points during Round 2 to remain perfect on the weekend and head into Round 3 leading the event average.
“I knew he was a good bull and I just had to wait on him a bit,” Lawrence said. “I got a little aggressive and right in there a little bit, but I kept moving and stayed focused. I am staying gritty trying to win.”
Lawrence, who rode Mouth Hug for 85 points in Round 1 Friday, placed second in the round for 60 world points.
Shane Proctor (168 points), Wallace de Oliveira (167.75 points) and Fabiano Vieira (164.5 points) are also 2-for-2.
Oliveira placed third in Round 2 with an 85.75-point effort aboard King Buck for 50 world points, while Proctor finished in seventh with an 81-point ride on Mr. Hobbs. Proctor is credited five world points for the placement, while Vieira earned no points for finishing in eighth with his 80.25-point ride on Loco Lizard.
Derek Kolbaba took home fourth in the round with his 85.5-point ride on Hy Test for 40 world points, while Lima ended a streak of three consecutive buckoffs with an 84.25-point ride on Gotta Go Joe for fifth place and 30 world points.
Lawrence has been arguably the biggest winner in the world standings outside of Mauney so far in St. Louis.
He is already up to 36th in the world standings after beginning the weekend ranked 64th.
Lawrence is well aware that being in the driver’s seat heading into Round 3 means little to nothing.
“Right now, it is just a number,” Lawrence said. “I need to ride the next two.”
Lawrence faces Mustard Seed (1-1, BFTS) in Round 3. Mustard Seed bucked Lawrence off in 2.82 seconds during the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden last month.
Ryan Dirteater sustained facial lacerations when he was struck by Buckle Up’s horn as he was thrown off in Round 2 in 1.83 seconds. He is probable for Round 3.
Robson Aragao was bucked off by Come On Baby in 4.62 seconds in Round 2 while he was competing with a broken jaw.
Douglas Duncan lasted 4.03 seconds on Voo Doo Too as he tried to compete with a left calf contusion and a broken right fibula.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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