By: Justin Felisko
February 12, 2017
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Here are three things we learned from the Kansas City Invitational, presented by Express Employment Professionals, this weekend at the Sprint Center.
Barbosa closes gap on Lockwood; world standings tighten (2-12-17)
With world leader Jess Lockwood being unable to ride on Championship Sunday because of a deep thigh bruise, Rubens Barbosa and the some of the Top 10 riders in the PBR world standings took a bite out of Lockwood’s grip on the No. 1 ranking.
Barbosa, the No. 2 rider in the world standings, will head into next weekend’s Iron Cowboy only 395 points behind Lockwood after winning Round 2 Sunday afternoon with an 87.25-point ride on Chute Boss.
The 33-year-old continue his trend of being near dominant when bulls spin into his right riding hand.
“I like it because for me it is easier coming into my hand,” Barbosa said. “This is a good bull. He came into my hand and I made a good ride.”
It wasn’t a great weekend for Barbosa, but his 1-for-3 performance helped him gain 110 points on Lockwood.
“I did not know he was not competing today,” Barbosa said. “That is indifferent to me. I do not compete against bull riders. I compete against bulls.”
Barbosa passed Lockwood for the most round wins (4) on tour.
“I am getting stronger,” Barbosa said. “I work out every week at Fit-N-Wise in Decatur. They are helping me a lot. They are giving me massages and making me stronger. I feel good. I feel better. I work on everything because to ride bulls you need everything. Legs strong. Arms strong. Head strong.”
The biggest winner in the standings – outside of event victor Eduardo Aparecido – was reigning World Champion Cooper Davis.
Davis, who won Round 1 on Saturday, finished second overall and gained 400 world points on Lockwood by going 3-for-3.
The 22-year-old rode Jailhouse Jr. for a season-high 89.25 points to finish second in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round. In Round 2, Davis rode Cheese Bandit for 82.75 points.
Davis will arrive in Arlington, Texas, as the No. 5 bull rider in the world standings. He trails Lockwood by 835 points.
Lockwood is listed as questionable for Iron Cowboy by Dr. Tandy Freeman.
World No. 4 Marco Eguchi turned down his re-ride option in Round 2 after riding Evil Intentions for 73.5 points.
Eguchi said he declined the re-ride attempt because of a groin injury.
Aparecido repeats in Kansas City
Eduardo Aparecido made it back-to-back victories in Kansas City with a ride on a familiar foe during the championship round.
Aparecido rode Cooper Tires Brown Sugar for 88.75 points for the ride-off victory on the final ride of the weekend. He previously rode Brown Sugar for 89.25 points in Billings, Montana, last season.
“I come today here and rode my first bull and my confidence was on this bull,” Aparecido said with the help of Robson Palermo translating. “I saw him in the draw. I am so happy. It went right.”
Aparecido has ridden six bulls in a row during regularly-formatted BFTS events in Kansas City.
“I am so happy,” Aparecido said. “Last year, I won this event too. I come this year and won again. It is so awesome.”
The 26-year-old picked up 540 world points in the victory and is sitting third in the world standings. He is 617.5 points behind Lockwood.
Aparecido placed third in the championship round for 50 world points.
He was one of four riders to go a perfect 3-for-3 in Kansas City and earned 400 of his 540 points by winning the event average.
Aparecido began his weekend with an 87.75-point ride on Switch Hitter in Round 1 for 60 world points (second place). He then followed that up with 85.5 points on Swashbuckler in Round 2 Sunday afternoon for 30 world points (fifth place).
“I had different bulls this weekend,” Aparecido said. “Brown Sugar went into my hand, and the rest went away. It was very good.”
Rounding out the Top 5 was Davis (3-for-3, 400 world points), Silvano Alves (3-for-3, 225 world points), Shane Proctor (2-for-3, 215 world points) and Claudio Montahna Jr. (3-for-3, 170 world points).
Montahna Jr. capped off his flawless BFTS debut with an 85.5-point ride on Jack Daniel’s After Party.
The 27-year-old jumped all the way up to 20th in the world standings, solidifying himself a draw spot for Iron Cowboy.
“I am just happy to have a good week,” Montahna Jr. said via Alexandre Cardozo. “I had good bulls. I am really happy.
“This is a new experience. I am looking forward to Iron Cowboy.”
Proctor’s rope switch continuing to pay dividends
Shane Proctor began the season 1-for-9 before deciding to switch out his American bull rope for a Brazilian bull rope prior to the Sacramento Clash three weeks ago.
Proctor has since gone 6-for-12, including his season-high 89.75-point ride on Cooper’s Comet Sunday afternoon in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
The ride held up as the best of the round, giving Proctor his first round win of 2017.
Cooper’s Comet bucked off Proctor in 2.16 seconds last year at the PBR World Finals.
“Redemption is sweet,” Proctor said. “He bucked me off at the PBR Finals last year. Big, thick Canadian bull. Went to the NFR. Around to the right and felt really good. Really strong. Had a big ole back and a nice seat to him.”
Proctor won the Anaheim Showdown, presented by Ariat last weekend, and finished fourth overall this weekend in Kansas City with 215 world points.
The 31-year-old has earned 707.5 points toward the world standings since switching bull ropes and is ranked seventh in the world. He trails Lockwood by 970 points.
“I rode with it all summer last year, and then when I got back on tour I got to struggling and went back to the American,” Proctor said. “I was struggling on earlier this year. The rope I was riding with was the bull I rode 7-of-10 bulls at the NFR. It just seemed like when I got on tour it was breaking over a little too much and when I would hang up, I would hang up bad. I had about three really rough hang-ups so I put my Brazilian on in Sacramento and that is when it started.”
Reese Cates was a perfect 2-for-2 heading into the Built Ford Tough Championship Round, but he was unable to ride in the final round because of his on-going biceps injury.
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, J.W. Harris sustained a concussion in Round 2 when he was throw into the bucking chutes in 3.07 seconds by Grave Digger.
Harris is 43rd in the world standings and has been cut from the BFTS. He may be eligible for an alternate spot for Iron Cowboy depending on if some injured riders are unable to compete in Arlington next weekend.
Five riders did not compete in Round 2 because of injuries – Chase Outlaw (concussion), Stormy Wing (concussion), Dakota Buttar (concussion), Matt Triplett (sore left shoulder) and Lockwood (thigh bruise).
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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