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Behind the Chutes: Biloxi, Day 2

BILOXI, Miss. – Here are three things we learned from this weekend’s Built Ford Tough Series Battle at the Beau at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.

Joao Ricardo Vieira has largest world standings lead of 2014; Alves jumps to second

Joao Ricardo Vieira is continuing to maintain his spot in the driver’s seat atop the world standings after posting two (or more) qualified rides for the third consecutive week. The 2013 Rookie of the Year now leads No. 2Silvano Alves by 1,033.94 points.

It is the largest lead any world leader has had this season.

Vieira capped off his 2-for-3 weekend by riding Pecos Bill for 85.75 points, eventually placing fifth in the event average. He is the first rider to cover Pecos Bill in nine attempts.

The 30-year-old posted a clutch 86-point ride on Short Side in Round 2 to qualify for the championship round after bucking off Wacey in 3.39 seconds on Friday night. It was the third-highest-scored ride of the round, which was won by Gage Gay.

Gay rode Brass Rain, a bull that is on the bubble of going to World Finals, for 88 points. Brass Rain was marked a second-round high 43.25 points.

Vieira’s performance puts a slight damper on Alves’ own 3-for-3 effort and third-place finish. Alves, who bruised his back after riding Wreck It Ralphfor 86.75 points in the championship round, was only able to make up 70 points on Vieira in the standings, despite moving up from fifth in the standings to second.

“It’s no competition (between us),” Alves said. “I just need to relax and I need to just score on my bulls and ride good. I felt really good this week.”

Alves says he has not thought much about potentially winning his third world title, but he did get on practice bulls twice this week before arriving in Biloxi. He nodded his head Tuesday at Robson Palermo’s house and again on Thursday at his own ranch.

The 26-year-old rode Juco for 82.75 points in Round 2 on Saturday night, and he turned down a re-ride option on Friday after covering Living the Dream for 72.25 points. It was the fourth consecutive re-ride he has turned down in the past three weeks.

“When the option is OK, then I take the re-ride,” Alves said, “but right now, they aren’t good for me.”

Guilherme Marchi was bucked off by King Buck (5.76 seconds) and Jeremiah (5.15 seconds) on Saturday night and he dropped to fourth in the world standings. Marchi is 1,210.44 points behind Vieira.

It was a miserable weekend for Fabiano Vieira and Mike Lee, as both riders continued to lose ground on Joao Ricardo Vieira. Both riders went 0-for-2, and Lee has now gone back-to-back events without a qualified ride.

Fabiano Vieira is third in the world, behind Joao Ricardo Vieira by 1,070.63 points, while Lee sits in fifth, 1,448.69 points off the pace.

Next weekend is the final regular-season BFTS event before an additional 15/15 Bucking Battle takes place in Huntington Beach, California, prior to the Built Ford Tough World Finals.

Oliveira breaks slump for second win of 2014

Valdiron de Oliveira entered the Battle at the Beau having just ridden four of his past 36 bulls, before going a perfect 3-for-3 inside the Mississippi Coast Coliseum to earn his second BFTS victory of the year on Saturday.

Oliveira picked up the win by riding Jack Daniel’s After Party for 89.75 points in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round. Prior to the championship round bull draft, Oliveira said he hoped to be able to select the bull. It was a wise choice and he became the sixth rider in seven attempts to ride After Party this year.

“This is a very important win to me because for the past couple of months, I couldn’t ride a bull like I did tonight,” Oliveira said.

The 35-year-old entered the championship round second in the event average, after riding Blackberry for 85.75 points in Round 2. He earned 84 points on Bottoms Up on Friday night in Round 1.

It is the first BFTS event in which he has ridden two or more bulls since going 3-for-3 at the Phoenix event in March.

He also won the BFTS event in Anaheim, California, in February after covering a season-high four bulls.

“Oh man, today I am very happy,” Oliveira said. “It’s been a long time since I rode two bulls, and I rode three!”

World Champion Bull contenders clash in Biloxi

In a potential preview of things to come in two weeks at the World Finals,Asteroid and Mick E Mouse posted the two highest bull scores of the weekend in convincing fashion.

Asteroid took care of Chase Outlaw in 3.19 seconds for a season-high bull score of 47 points. He joins Jared Allen’s Air Time as the only two bulls to post bull scores of 47 points or higher this season.

The last time Asteroid was marked 47 points was last year in Des Moines, Iowa, when he bucked off Douglas Duncan in 4.44 seconds. Asteroid has now bucked off 29 straight opponents on the BFTS,

Saturday was also the third time he has dispatched Outlaw.

Stock contractor Gene Melton said Saturday night’s out may have been Asteroid’s best of the year.

“The bull is always capable of doing it, you just never know when he is going to do it,” Melton said. “I have seen that bull stand on his head so many times that to me it was just another good trip.”

Mick E Mouse was just as dominant after exploding out of the bucking chute and quickly erasing Lachlan Richardson from his back in 2.11 seconds.

The 21-year-old Australian, who voted Mick E Mouse as one of his World Champion Bull contenders, was already on his way to the ground by the time the gate had fully even opened.

“Yeah he was rank like always,” Richardson said. “He is one of the rankest in the world. He is tough and always going to be up there. I knew he would explode, but I guess not that much. He sure did.”

Injury Updates

Richardson ended up qualifying for the championship round after Kody Lostroh (sore riding hand), Ty Pozzobon (left ankle injury) and Matt Triplett(left hip flexor strain) all opted out of the final round.

Lostroh and Triplett are listed as probable for next week’s event in Allentown, while Pozzobon is questionable after he was stomped on by Mac-Nett’s Southern Wine following his 2.85-second buckoff in the second round.

Neil Holmes sustained a facial laceration during the championship round when he collided with Tahonta’s Magic at the 2.39-second mark. It was sutured in the training room and he is probable for Allentown.

Billy Robinson is also probable for Allentown due to a sprained left hand and lacerated left leg. He sustained the injuries inside the chute before attempting to ride Big Tex Bucks. He turned down his re-ride option because of the injuries.

Sean Willingham sustained a deep thigh bruise (quadriceps contusion) when he was pinned against the chute by Bullet Proof in the championship round. He was unable to take his re-ride bull and is questionable for next week.

Douglas Duncan is questionable for Allentown after injuring his surgically repaired left thumb (riding hand) during his 2nd round ride attempt onStolen Cash, which lasted 2.97 seconds.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.

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