Behind the Chutes: Colorado Springs, Day 2

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Here are three things we learned from the Built Ford Tough Rumble in the Rockies this weekend at The Broadmoor World Arena.

Trio split Round 2 victory

Alexandre Cardozo, Bonner Bolton and J.B. Mauney split the Round 2 win on Sunday with 87.5-point rides to earn 70 points toward the world standings.

Bolton was the first to make the 8-second mark among the three riders when he covered Rough’em Up Tuck.

“I had been riding them, just not here,” Bolton said. “I have been practicing and it has been feeling good. Mostly, I have been taking it back down to the basics and having fun.”

Prior to the ride, Bolton sat on the back of the bucking chutes with headphones in his ears to try and drown out all of the distractions around him.

In fact, he was listening to heavy metal music.

“Ironically enough, it keeps me in a calm place,” Bolton said. “I am trying to be as calm as I can because that is the only thing getting me – myself. I have been getting in the way of myself. It is about being calm and every rider’s awareness is a lot better when they are calm and doing stuff right.”

It is Bolton’s first BFTS round win since riding LL Cool J for 88.25 points in Fresno, California, in March. Fresno was also the last time that Bolton had placed in the Top 5 of a round. The qualified ride is also only the rookie’s second since April.

Bolton is now ranked 28th in the world standings.

Mauney was next in line to record an 87.5-point ride when he took care of business on Kick Buck.

It was a close call as Mauney nearly slapped the bull. However, during the review, Mauney made it clear he was confident he didn’t touch King Buck.

“I guess it was a little close, they thought I had slapped him,” Mauney said. “I would have told him that I slapped him. I knew I didn’t slap him so I was kind of like, ‘Hey now, come on, I know I didn’t slap him.’

“It worked out for the best though.”

The ride also gave Mauney the first pick in the championship round draft – where he selected Fire Rock. Mauney was able to cover Fire Rock for 84.5 points, but he fell short of winning his second consecutive BFTS event since returning from a torn left ACL in Des Moines, Iowa.

All in all, Mauney walked away with a total of 420 points toward the world standings with his second-place finish, and he is now the No. 4 ranked bull rider in the world.

He earned 240 points for placing second in the event average. Mauney was credited with 50 points toward the world standings with his third-place finish in the championship round, and he had earned 60 points with his second-place finish in Round 1 – an 87-point ride on Midnight Bender.

Mauney has gained 980 points in the past two weeks and trails world leader Joao Ricardo Vieira, who has bucked off seven bulls in a row, by 682.5 points.

Sunday was Cardozo’s first career BFTS round victory. Cardozo’s ride on White Lie was also a career-high, as was the 25-year-old’s seventh-place finish in the event (82.5 points). He earned 12.5 points by finishing tied for eighth in the event average.

The 82.5 points helps him move from 41st in the world standings to 35th.

Rubens Barbosa notches first career victory thanks to rematch

31-year-old Rubens Barbosa didn’t mind the fact that Palm Springs had only been ridden six times in 51 career BFTS outs.

It also didn’t faze him that Palm Springs had cost him a chance at his first BFTS victory just last week in Des Moines, Iowa, when the bovine athlete dumped him in 5.31 seconds.

Instead, Barbosa was excited to have another opportunity to try and solve Palm Springs on Sunday at the Rumble in the Rockies after selecting him with the second pick in the championship-round draft.

“Yeah, that is why I picked him again,” Barbosa said with the help of Robson Palermo translating. “He bucked me off, but I didn’t feel like he bucked me off. I know he is a good bull. That is why I picked him. He is awesome.”

The 2011 Rookie of the Year was able to conquer Palm Springs this weekend for 87.5 points to cap off a perfect weekend in which he earned his long-awaited first career victory in 27 events.

“I’ve worked hard to be over here and now I have won an event,” Barbosa said. “I feel very proud of myself. I have had a dream since I started riding bulls in Brazil, and I watched PBR here and my dream was to come over and ride with those guys and those big bulls.”

Barbosa earned the victory with 580 total points, which helps him move up 18 spots in the world standings to 13th.

The Brazilian native placed in the Top-5 of all three rounds.

Barbosa began the weekend with an 86.75-point ride on Hou’s Special to finish Round 1 in third place for 50 points. He then rode Rebel Yell for 86.5 points in Round 2 for fifth place and 30 points.

Barbosa took home 400 points for winning the event average (260.75 points).

“I feel more relaxed now because the points will help me a lot to stay on the tour longer,” Barbosa said. “I have a chance to come every week and ride here. When you have a chance to come here and ride every week you have a chance to make more points.”

Triplett earns his first four-ride weekend in almost three months

If there was ever a rider inside the locker room this weekend that was in search of something to hang his hat on by the time everything was said and done in Colorado, it was Matt Triplett.

The No. 2 bull rider in the world entered the weekend on an 0-for-7 skid and hadn’t put together four qualified rides in a BFTS weekend since winning the Anaheim Invitational in the beginning of February.

Yet, beyond snapping out of his admitted mental funk, Triplett was most proud of coming through with a qualified ride in the Built Ford Championship Round.

The championship round has been a kryptonite for Triplett for most of his career, and the 23-year-old knows he needs to become more successful in that round if he wants to take the next step in his pursuit of a world title.

Triplett did just that on Sunday by riding Crystal Pistol for 85.5 points to finish second in the championship round and earn 60 points toward the world standings. It is only his third qualified ride in the championship round dating back to last season.

“I made a good ride in the short round and usually I don’t do that,” Triplett said. “This year I already got two down in the short round compared to last year when I only got one down.”

Triplett is the first rider to make 8 seconds on Crystal Pistol in eight outs this year.

“My dad has been telling me this and I just haven’t been listening until now,” Triplett said. “He said, ‘Man, you pick bulls like you don’t know and you just go at them. That is exactly what I did. I picked a bull I knew nothing about and I just went with him because then you are not like, ‘Oh, hey I drew Walk Off and he is guaranteed going to the left.’ Then you are setting a gameplan and can fall behind.

“I picked a bull I knew nothing about and just rode him jump for jump.”

The Columbia Falls, Montana, bull rider also didn’t wait too long inside the bucking chute, nodding quickly for the gate.

“I came here to win and do everything right,” Triplett said. “I didn’t want to waste no time. When you are in the chutes messing around, playing and fiddling with your rope you get to thinking. When you get to thinking, you are a second behind and you can’t be doing that.”

Triplett finished fourth in the event with 165 points. He earned 105 of the points with his fourth-place finish in the event average.

He had ridden Redbone for 87 points during the 15/15 Bucking Battle to tie for second place and earn an additional 82.5 points toward the world standings.

Therefore, Triplett is only 170 points behind Vieira in the world standings.

Triplett may have had an opportunity at the event win in Colorado Springs if he didn’t keep his 77.5-point ride on Live Action in the second round and turn down his option for a re-ride.

However, Triplett, who aggravated his riding wrist during the ride, wanted to remain fresh for the championship round.

“I had an opportunity to take a re-ride,” Triplett said. “We have such a long year and I have a body to maintain. I want to be 100 percent when I get on every single bull, so that was my decision –  call it as it is. It paid off in the long run. Let people talk and say what they want, but hey, I am happy with my weekend.

“I was perfect.”

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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