By: Justin Felisko
February 11, 2018
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Here are three things we learned from the Caterpillar Classic at the Sprint Center this weekend.
Barbosa increases his lead atop the world standings (2-11-18)
True champions have to bounce back amidst adversity and the 8-second machine known as Dener Barbosa showed on Championship Sunday that he won’t let any buckoff throw off his mojo.
Barbosa bounced back from having the fast buckoff in Round 2 – a 1.66-second whipping from Wired Child – to win the championship round with 85.75 points into his hand on Breaking Bad.
The 23-year-old had previously ridden Breaking Bad in New York for 87.25 points and selected the bull this week with the sixth pick of the championship-round draft.
“It was hard to find a good bull this week in the championship round,” Barbosa said with the help of Guilherme Marchi translating. “There were a lot of hard ones in there. I chose the bull because I rode him before. I knew when I rode him before I stayed right in the middle. I am happy to win this round.”
The round win was Barbosa’s first of 2018 and earned him 100 of the 340 points he notched in Kansas City with his third-place finish overall.
Barbosa, who rode Night Sweats for 89.25 points in Round 1, will take a 419.17-point lead on No. 2 Claudio Montanha Jr. into next weekend’s St. Louis Invitational, presented by Express Employment Professionals.
Montanha had a chance at the event victory on Sunday before he was bucked off by Bad Beagle in 5.54 seconds in the championship round.
Barbosa has earned at least 115 world points in five of the season’s first six events.
The Paulo de Faria, Brazil, native’s PBR-best 18th qualified ride was easy goings as he hit the 8-second whistle and jumped off Breaking Bad right onto his own two feet.
Barbosa is 5-for-6 in the championship round and is the only rider to have qualified for every championship round this season.
“All of my dreams are coming true, but I still have one – to be a World Champion,” Barbosa concluded.
Marchi wins fourth premier series event in Kansas City
2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi says he loves Kansas City barbeque, but he understands that at 35 years old he can’t go out and slug down some finger-lickin’ good food and win a 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast event.
Instead, Marchi ate a “very good” Cobb salad on Saturday night and churned out the fourth victory of his career in Kansas City by riding Smooth Air for 83.75 points in the championship round.
“I think it is the water here,” Marchi joked. “I don’t know. It is about you and the draws. Marco had been riding really good and picked a really good bull in the short go, but he didn’t finish strong. I picked a good bull. He didn’t have a good trip with me today, but I covered him and the 83 points is enough to win this event.”
The 35-year-old clinched the 25th victory of his career once Marco Eguchi was bucked off by Old Fort Days in 3.93 seconds. Old Fort Days was marked 44 points in his PBR debut.
Marchi started his 3-for-3 weekend with 86.25 points on The Punisher and 83.75 points on Hy Test, who had previously bucked him off two times.
The No. 7 ranked bull rider picked up 475 points toward the world standings and trails Barbosa by 776.67 points heading into St. Louis.
Marchi hadn’t won in Kansas City, where he is 23-for-38, since going back-to-back in 2008-09. He won his second career event in KC in 2005.
“Some events you feel good and better than other ones,” Marchi said. “I don’t know about me. I feel at home here.”
Rounding out the Top 5 behind Marchi, Eguchi and Barbosa was Derek Kolbaba (2-for-2, 215 world points) and Jose Vitor Leme (1-for-3, 115 world points).
Leme wins Round 2 and avoids close call in championship round
Jose Vitor Leme won his third round of 2018 by riding Pile Driver for 88.75 points in Round 2.
“He was kind of hard inside and outside,” Leme said via Marchi. “He was moving forward away from my hand. It was very important for me to make a good ride today and make a good score and good points for the race.”
Leme is 13th in the world standings after going 1-for-3 in Kansas City.
The 21-year-old nearly got injured, though, attempting to ride Cochise in the championship round when Cochise ripped him off in 1.5 seconds before falling on top of Leme.
Leme limped out of the arena before saying he was OK following the close encounter with danger.
He is now tied with Cooper Davis and Kaique Pacheco for the most round wins of 2018 (3).
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Keyshawn Whitehorse is questionable for St. Louis after sustaining a concussion in Round 2 attempting to ride Gravedigger (7.9 seconds).
Edgar Durazo rode Stretch for 80.5 points in Round 2 after bruising his left thigh in Round 1 on Saturday night.
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