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Behind the Chutes: Baltimore, Day 2

BALTIMORE – Here are three things we learned from this weekend’s Baltimore Invitational at the Royal Farms Arena.

Alves ties all-time consecutive ride record

Defending World Champion Silvano Alves carried over his torrid pace from the final month of the 2014 Built Ford Tough Series to go 3-for-3 in Baltimore and tie J.B. Mauney’s PBR record consecutive ride streak.

Alves tied Mauney’s record by riding Yo Yo for 88 points in the championship round for his 16th consecutive ride on the BFTS dating back to last season.

“I am very happy because I needed to just stay on the bull,” Alves said. “I am excited to start this year to ride all three bulls. I am just happy for the support of my family, fans and sponsors.”

It was the third time that the three-time World Champion had faced the bovine athlete, and he is now a perfect 3-for-3 against him. The last time Alves made the 8-second aboard him was at the 2013 Built Ford Tough World Finals when he covered Yo Yo for 89.5 points. The bull had bucked off five consecutive riders at BFTS events since then.

When asked how happy he would be to officially set the record next week in Chicago, Alves simply smiled and said, “Oh, I don’t know,” and pointed out that he was more focused on starting off the New Year on the right foot more than anything else.

Alves began the 2015 season on Friday night with an 81-point ride aboard Little Red, before making the 8-second whistle on Rough’em Up Tuck in Round 2 for 86.25 points on Saturday night.

Overall, Alves finished third in the event with 270 event points for finishing third in the event average (180 points), second in the championship round (60 points) and fifth in the second round (30 points).

Cates edges Hayes for event win

Just before the start of the championship-round draft on Saturday night, Reese Cates admitted that it was in the back of his mind that he needed a strong performance to start off the 2015 season if he wanted to do all he could to try and earn a spot back on tour following an injury derailed 2014 season.

Cates didn’t want to think too much about the fact that he had only three more remaining injury exemptions to make it back to the BFTS.

Well, Cates is now off to one fine start and took a major step toward regaining a full-time spot on the BFTS by going 3-for-3 to win this weekend’s season opener at the Royal Farms Arena and leave Baltimore as the No. 1 rider in the world standings.

Cates, the 2008 Rookie of the Year, earned his first career victory by riding Percolator for 86.5 points to finish first in the event average with 260.5 points and earn 400 of his 540-event winning points.

“Man, as I was sitting back there behind the chutes getting ready to get on, Silvano told me that bull really wanted to go to the outside either way he went, and when the gate come open all of that went out the window. It was just hold on. That bull has some pretty big horns and so it can kind of be intimidating, but it worked out.

“I picked him because I watched that bull for a long time and he looks like something that would be cool to get on. He really gets in the air and kicks hard and he just looks like everything you would want in a championship round bull. I knew if I didn’t pick him, one of the other guys in the Top 15, who were also having a great weekend, would pick him and probably stay on top of him, too.”

The El Dorado, Arkansas, bull rider earned 100 event points when he held on to KISS Animalize for 88.5 points to win the second round and head into the championship round with the first selection in the bull draft.

“I knew that bull and had been watching him at some of the Velocity Tour events throughout the fall and I had wanted to get on him,” Cates said. “He is one of them bulls where if you make a mistake he is going to put you on the ground and if you don’t make a mistake you are going to win. So I was extremely excited this morning whenever I found out that I had him and it worked out.”

Kasey Hayes posted the top ride of the championship round to propel him to a second-place finish with 400 event points when he lasted the full 8-seconds aboard Fire & Smoke for 89.25 points.

Hayes previously rode Fire & Smoke for 94 points at Chad Berger’s Touring Pro Division event last season.

“Them judges didn’t think it was as good up here in the major leagues as they did in the minors,” Hayes joked. “I like the way he feels. He goes left and that is into my hand. I don’t say I favor him into my hand, but I seem to ride him better.”

Hayes went 3-for-3 and finished with 258.5 points in the event average. The 29-year-old rode Marty for 82 points in Round 2 after placing second in Round 1 on Friday night with 87.25 points aboard Loco Lizard.

Rounding out the Top 5 in event points was Alves (270), Cody Nance (155) and Ryan Dirteater (135).

Cates, Hayes, Dirteater and Shane Proctor, who finished eighth overall, all went a perfect 3-for-3 for the weekend, which featured a total of 43 qualified rides.

Mississippi Hippy and Beaver Creek Beau post highest bull scores

Mississippi Hippy once again proved fits for his challengers as Mike Lee was tossed hardly to the ground in a matter of just 2.71 seconds during the championship round.

Hippy has bucked off 27 of his 29 challengers on the BFTS in his five-year career and has become a bull that some riders have shied away from wanting to face.

Lee was pleased with the bull despite being slammed onto the arena floor.

“Hippy felt good, but I over road him,” Lee said.

Mississippi Hippy was marked 45 points Saturday and tied with Beaver Creek Beau for the event-high. Beaver Creek Beau earned 45 points for bucking off J.W. Harris in 4.75 seconds.

INJURY UPDATES

Matt Triplett sustained a bruised left thigh when he was stepped on by Cooper Tires Brown Sugar after being thrown off in the championship round in Baltimore. According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, he is expected to compete in Chicago.

Kody Lostroh did not compete on Saturday night after hanging his left foot in the shark cage during his 59.5-point ride on Rag Town on Friday night. He was offered a re-ride, but had to turn it down to the injury.

Ben Jones bounced back from his Round 1 injuries (facial abrasions and contusions) to ride American Gangster for 84 points in the second round.

Five riders ranked inside the Top 35 of the world standings following the 2014 season were unable to compete this weekend:

Emilio Resende (multi-ligament knee reconstruction following the World Finals); Claudio Crisostomo (left clavicle fracture); Ty Pozzobon  (concussion sustained at a rodeo in Canada); Markus Mariluch (bicep surgery) and Stetson Lawrence (torn left PCL).

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.

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