Behind the Chutes: Albuquerque, Day 3

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Here are three things we learned from the Ty Murray Invitational at WisePies Arena, aka The Pit, on Sunday afternoon.

Oliveira wins Round 3 and moves to within 1,000 points of No. 1 ranking

Valdiron de Oliveira knew he had to change his mindset coming into the final day of action at the Ty Murray Invitational seeing as he had only one score – the lowest in the event (65.5 points on Beer Belly) – on the board.

Therefore, Oliveira understood that for him to have any chance of getting into the Built Ford Tough Championship Round, he would have to ride Little Red Jacket in Round 3 for a second qualified ride.

He did just that and more.

Oliveira earned his third round win of the 2015 BFTS by riding Little Red Jacket for 89.25 points to pick up 100 of the 110 points he earned this weekend toward the world standings.

“Well, today I told my wife (Andrea) in my room that I need to change my mind because I was mad that I didn’t get on the re-ride the first day and bucked off (Esteban II in the second round),” Oliveira said. “I wanted to attack and I needed to ride tonight.”

Oliveira was bucked off by Buck Dynasty (45-point bull score) in 2.46 seconds during the championship round.

The round win eventually helped the 35-year-old tie for sixth place in the event with Kaique Pacheco. Oliveira earned 10 points for placing 14th in the event average and the 110 points he earned this weekend has put him to within 936.67 points of the No. 1 spot in the world standings.

“I feel great,” said Oliveira, who had applied some Icy Hot to his shoulder prior to the event. “I feel alright and I feel much stronger. I didn’t have a good pick in the championship round, but it is OK. I am focused on riding all of the bulls right now.”

Percolator wins high-marked bull title in his second consecutive out

It was a weekend featuring the big guns of the PBR’s rank bull pen, yet it was Jeff Robinson’s Percolator stealing the show away from World Champion Bull contenders Mick E Mouse, Long John and Smooth Operator.

Percolator bucked off Stormy Wing in 4.54 seconds and was awarded a season-best, 46-point bull score to earn top bull honors in his second consecutive out.

“The last two events he has been to, he has been good,” Robinson said. “He just bucks every time. Coming into this event, with all of Chad (Berger’s) bulls here, Long John, Mick E Mouse – he is not supposed to win on paper, but that is why they don’t play it on paper.”

The bovine athlete didn’t buck in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, last weekend, but two weeks ago in Fresno, California, Percolator was the high-marked bull with a 45.25-point outing against Brady Sims. Percolator dumped Sims in 5.32 seconds.

The 46 points Percolator earned in Albuquerque were the most the bull has been awarded since scoring 46.25 points when J.B. Mauney rode him for 94 points during the championship round of the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals.

“They have rode him a time or two this year,” Robinson said. “Coming out of the winter, he gets a little heavy, but that bull showed he is tough. He was in the top three or four bulls last year in Las Vegas. That bull can do it whether they ride him or don’t ride him.”

One bull that remains to be unridden is Mick E Mouse.

Marlene Henry’s bovine athlete posted the second-highest bull score of the evening (45.5 points) in a marquee matchup against J.W. Harris.

Harris had all intentions of selecting Mick E Mouse on Sunday during the championship-round draft and he did so with the fifth selection.

After that, it was all Mick E Mouse.

Mick E Mouse downed Harris in 2.97 seconds for his 33rd consecutive buckoff on the BFTS and third against Harris.

“The last two times I have gotten on him, he has just gotten my free arm up and behind me,” Harris said. “He is just raising me back. Usually I don’t do that, but for some reason the past two times I have done that. He felt good. I just was raised up and had my free arm up and behind me.”

Jones earns first BFTS win since Aug. 15, 2010

It had been almost five years since Ben Jones was victorious on the Built Ford Tough Series until he put forth one of the best efforts in his 10-year BFTS career on Sunday in the championship round.

Despite being the oldest rider currently on the BFTS, Jones showed the ability to tame the previously unridden Beaver Creek Beau for 90.25 points to win the championship round and the overall event title in Albuquerque.

“I don’t know, it still hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Jones said. “I had really been fighting my head the last few weeks and I got a good ride at the end of last week. It was time to step up and win one.”

Jones was able to handle every single jump, twist and redirection from Chad Berger’s bull as the 9,847 fans in attendance and all of the riders on the back of the bucking chute roared with each passing second.

He is the first rider to conquer Beaver Creek Beau in 21 outs.

“I have been watching him for two weeks at home and a few people said they thought if I could stay forward he could suit me,” Jones said. “When J.B. (Mauney) was here we were talking and he said, ‘When you are in a bind, don’t stop moving.’ Well, I was in a bind, so I kept moving and it worked out.”

Jones finished the weekend 3-for-4 and earned a total of 550 points toward the world standings to move from 17th to eighth.

Jones earned 100 points for winning the championship round on Beaver Creek Beau, 50 points for placing third in Round 3 with an 87.5-point ride on White Lie and 400 points for winning the event average title with a combined total ride score of 263 points.

Joao Ricardo Vieira was the only other rider to earn a qualified ride in the championship round, picking up 88 points on Walk Off. Vieira earned 60 of the 310 points he earned this weekend toward the world standings for placing second to Jones in the championship round.

Vieira went 3-for-4 and earned 240 points for finishing second in the event average (259.75 points). The 2013 Rookie of the Year also earned 10 points on Friday night by finishing tied for fifth-place in Round 1 with an 86.5-point ride on Red Dingo.

The No. 2-ranked bull rider trails world leader Matt Triplett by just 385 points.

Coincidentally, Jones’ last BFTS win came on Aug. 15, 2010, in Nashville, Tennessee, where he also posted a 90.25-point ride (Buffalo Hump) in the championship round.

Four-plus years is a long time to go without getting a victory, yet Jones never doubted he would win another BFTS event.

“You know, this is probably the best in my mind I have ever been in my life. My fitness is getting there, but I have a more level head. I think I am going to get a couple more wins because I am on a high and on a roll now.”

Injury updates

Kaique Pacheco qualified for the championship round and was bucked off in 6.08 seconds by Long John after being given the last spot in the round due to Eduardo Aparecido being unable to compete because of an aggravation to his pre-existing left shoulder sprain.

World leader Matt Triplett did not compete due to his torn left MCL/PCL and said that he plans to undergo an MRI on Monday when he returns home to Columbia Falls, Montana.

The 23-year-old then expects to send the results to Dr. Tandy Freeman for further analysis.

Reese Cates, the No. 6 bull rider in the world, hopes to get an MRI done on his strained right biceps in Dallas on Monday with Freeman.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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