BILLINGS, Mont. – Here are three things we learned following the Stanley Performance In Action Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, this weekend at Rimrock Auto Arena.
Hayes wins Round 3 on his son’s birthday
Kasey Hayes rode Mac-Nett’s Southern Wine for 88.75 points to win Round 3, and the 30-year-old bull rider dedicated the round-winning ride to his son, Kash, who was home celebrating his 5th birthday on Sunday.
Hayes and his wife, Leah, had a family party for Kash earlier this week before Hayes flew to Billings.
Kasey earned 100 points for the round win and finished eighth overall in the event with 110 points after bucking off Jeremiah in 3.25 seconds during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
Hayes performance in Billings moves him to 20th in the world standings.
Prior to getting on Southern Wine, Hayes received some advice from 2003 Ring of Honor inductee Cody Custer about his free arm positioning.
Hayes credited Custer with helping him find a way to hit the 8-second mark.
“Cody Custer told me to hold my (free) hand in a different spot coming out of that right-hand delivery,” Hayes said. “I think it did help. Instead of reaching way forward and pulling up, I kind of pulled forward and kind of put my hand back and let it pull me to where I was square with him leaving.”
Rounding out the Top 5 in the round was Mike Lee (87.5 points on Smoke Show), Renato Nunes (87 points on Gentleman Jim), Brady Sims (86.75 points on Americana) and Mason Lowe (86.75 points on You’re a Daisy If You Do).
Lee earned 60 points toward the world standings for placing second, while Nunes picked up 50 points for third. Sims, who has ridden Americana three times on the BFTS and four times overall, and Lowe split fourth and fifth place for 35 points.
Hayes was also glad to rebound from his 6.49-second buckoff against Sweet Pro’s Long John during Saturday night’s 15/15 Bucking Battle.
“I guess I had been riding so poorly that I needed to show out on one,” Hayes said. “It was just one of those deals where everyone was telling me, ‘You made an awesome rank ride and you were almost there.’ I was like, ‘Well, almost only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades and it really don’t cut it to almost make a great ride.’
“It is one of those deals where you don’t want to almost make a great ride. You want to make a great ride.”
Palermo earns important championship round win on Fire & Smoke
Robson Palermo picked up a crucial 100 points for winning the championship round with his 88.25-point ride aboard Fire & Smoke.
Palermo, who began the weekend ranked 45th in the world standings, earned a total of 120 points toward the world standings by going 2-for-4 and finishing seventh in the event average (20 points).
The 32-year-old leaves Billings tied for 33rd in the world standings with Robson Aragao and is in a position to potentially earn an alternate spot for next weekend’s BFTS event in Des Moines, Iowa.
“I am happy to come over here and ride these bulls again,” Palermo said. “My goal is to get back here on tour and ride like that. I want to stay on here.”
Palermo was bucked off by Nefarious in 7.48 seconds in the third round and didn’t qualify for the championship round originally, but injuries to Douglas Duncan (aggravation of an old thumb injury on his riding hand) and Guilherme Marchi (sore riding wrist) opened the door for Palermo to get in with his 85.75-point ride on Smoked Out from Round 1.
Palermo had the last pick in the draft and was excited to see that the other 14 riders in the round all passed on an opportunity to face Fire & Smoke.
“When I saw Fire & Smoke, I said, ‘Oh my gosh,’” Palermo said. “He is not easy to ride, that bull is hard to ride. He moves forward and I think that is why a lot of people don’t like him. Sometimes he moves really forward and he will drop you hard on the ground, but I rode him good. I used my knee a lot and used my upper body and moved a lot to get a score.”
Palermo edged out Nathan Schaper (87.5 points on King Buck), Aaron Roy (87 points on Chocolate Thunder), Gage Gay (86.5 points on Fire Rock) and Kaique Pacheco (85.25 points on Calypso) in the championship round.
Schaper earned 60 points toward the world standings, Roy with 50, Gay with 40 and Pacheco with 30.
Coincidentally, Billings was the site last year where Palermo dislocated his right shoulder against David’s Dream, which led to a second consecutive season with shoulder surgery and led to him barely qualifying for the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
“I come over here and didn’t worry about it,” Palermo said. “I just am happy to be all around my friends. I was really happy to see everyone and hang out.”
Schaper’s win defeats the cold
Nathan Schaper’s new favorite cold remedy is a good dose of winning.
Schaper, who hasn’t been able to shake a cold for the past two weeks, tied a career-high by going 4-for-4 this weekend in Billings to earn the second BFTS victory of his career.
The 24-year-old sealed the victory with his 87.5-point ride on King Buck to win the event average and 400 of the 460 points toward the world standings he earned.
King Buck has been ridden in five consecutive outs.
“I‘ve had a cold,” Schaper said. “I have been doing everything I can to not do anything but get on my bull at the last minute. I have been tired all week. I’ve had to keep telling myself to keep on pushing through it, but it is only 8 seconds. I have been sitting in the room all day. I think I can get through a couple of hours of bull riding.”
Schaper began his weekend with an 83.25-point ride on Toby in Round 1. He then rode Westley’s Pet for 84.5 points in the second round on Saturday and then Slash for 85.25 points on Sunday to head into the championship round leading the event average.
“It is all kind of a blur,” Schaper said. “You just keep on trying to do the basics. I have been feeling so good on top of the bulls. I have been up on my legs and not getting back.”
Rounding out the Top 5 in the event was Gay (300 points), Pacheco (270), Renato Nunes (215) and Roy (155).
The Grassy Butte, North Dakota, bull rider previously rode four bulls in a single event when he won the BFTS event in Oklahoma City last season.
The victory moves Schaper from 10th in the world standings to seventh.
He heads to Des Moines, Iowa, trailing world leader Joao Ricardo Vieira by 965 points.
Six riders were out for the final day of action in Billings because of injuries from Saturday night.
Fabiano Vieira (groin), Valdiron de Oliveira (left MCL), Ben Jones (neck), J.W. Harris (riding hand), Sean Willingham (C7 fracture in his neck) and Eduardo Aparecido (concussion, facial lacerations and left hip injury).
Aparecido was up walking around behind the chutes on Sunday following his vicious wreck during Saturday night’s 15/15 Bucking Battle that aired on CBS national television on Sunday.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
© 2015 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.