By: Justin Felisko
March 20, 2016
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Here are three things we learned from the Ty Murray Invitational at WisePies Arena, aka The Pit, this weekend.
Davis becomes the first to ride Crossfire (3-20-16)
Cooper Davis had wanted to select Crossfire at the past two Built Ford Tough Series events in Phoenix and Duluth, Georgia, only to be talked out of the selection by Chad Berger and PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert.
On Sunday afternoon, Davis stuck with his gut instinct and became the first rider to conquer Crossfire in 22 BFTS outs.
Davis rode Crossfire for a career-best 91.5 points to win the Built Ford Tough Championship Round and finish the Ty Murray Invitational tied for fourth overall.
“He hadn’t been rode yet and I wanted to be the first guy to ride him,” Davis said. “It just so happened I got it done. It is pretty cool, especially when guys like J.B. (Mauney) had got on him, and he has thrown them off. It just shows today was my day to come out on top.”
It was sweet revenge for Davis after previously being bucked off by Crossfire in two other meetings. Davis had been bucked off by Crossfire in 6.41 seconds in last season’s regular-season finale in Tucson, Arizona, as well as in 4.07 seconds at the 2015 Iron Cowboy.
“That was my third time getting on him and that sucker bucked,” Davis said. “I wanted to pick him a couple of weeks ago and I didn’t. I kind of regretted it. To get one rode like that gives a man a confidence booster.”
The second-year pro not only rode Crossfire, he dominated Berger’s bull. The faster Crossfire spun, the quicker Davis countered.
Berger immediately met Davis at the rider walk-off gate and high-fived the 2015 World Finals event winner.
The reigning Stock Contractor of the Year believed Davis should have been scored even higher.
“He was going to pick him the last time and I kind of talked him into thinking he could do better on another bull,” Berger said. “Today he told me, ‘I told you I could ride that bull.’ I was happy for him.
“Cooper kneed up on that sucker and stayed up on his rope and got into a good spot where that bull never got behind. You get one step behind that bull and he is going to yank you down. He just rode him perfect. The only problem is he should have been 93-94.”
Davis added, “Man, that bull really put me on his head. There were times I needed to sit up and there were times I needed to go to the front. I just didn’t quit. It was wild. I just had to be at my best right there.”
Davis earned a total of 265 world points in Albuquerque and moves from 15th to 11th in the world standings.
He trails Mauney, the current world leader, by 1,095 points.
“Cooper Davis is a World Champion contender,” Berger concluded. “I don’t care what anyone says. He is one of the Top-10 guys here by far.”
Lowe wins first career event
Mason Lowe really didn’t expect to win the Ty Murray Invitational on Sunday afternoon, even after his 90-point ride on Brutus in the championship round pushed him into the No. 1 spot.
Lowe just figured Mauney would conquer SweetPro’s Long John for the third time in his career or that Stetson Lawrence would cap his strong weekend with a ride aboard SweetPro’s Bruiser.
However, Mauney (7.56 seconds) and Lawrence (2.9 seconds) both got bucked off minutes after Joao Ricardo Vieira (3.1 seconds on Cochise) and Mike Lee (3.02 seconds on Modified Clyde) also went down short of the 8-second mark, and just like that Lowe was being rushed to the shark cage as a BFTS winner for the first time in his career.
“I was sitting there by the fence with one guy left to ride, and it was Stetson on Bruiser and I figured he would ride him,” Lowe said. “I didn’t want to put my chips in the basket yet. When he got bucked off it was a sigh of relief I guess.”
Long John was marked an event-high 46.75-points for dislodging Mauney over the front end just before the 8-second whistle.
Lowe selected Brutus with the fifth pick of the championship-round draft after bucking off Mister Mean in 3.74 seconds in the third round.
The Exeter, Missouri, bull rider had entered Sunday a perfect 2-for-2 following rides on Chiefin (79.25 points) and Movin On Up (86.75 points) in the opening two rounds.
Lowe’s ride on Brutus was the second 90-point ride of his career. He had ridden Bruiser for 91 points in Oklahoma City earlier this year for a second-place finish.
Lowe’s ride on Bruiser is still his favorite, but he will never forget his Sunday showing on Brutus.
“Brutus is up and down and I kind of got a longer arm so I can take it away from him in a way,” Lowe said. “Therefore, at the end I got to spur him at the end. I got to feeling too good.”
Lowe earned a total of 600 points toward the world standings. He picked up 500 for winning the event average, 60 for his second-place finish in the championship round and 40 for his fourth-place finish in Round 2.
Rounding out the Top 5 was Lawrence (3-for-4, 315 world points), Eduardo Aparecido (3-for-3, 280 world points), Mauney (2-for-4, 265 world points) and Davis (2-for-4, 265 world points).
Lowe moved up nine spots in the world standings from 19th to 10th overall.
More importantly, Lowe finally got his long-desired first victory.
“Finally,” Lowe said with a smile. “I finally got the win.”
Cates continuing his fight back to the BFTS
Reese Cates earned a trip to the Ty Murray Invitational because of a BlueDEF Tour event victory in Bangor, Maine. On Sunday, Cates tried to help his chances at earning a spot for the upcoming First Premier Bank/Premier Bankcard Invitational BFTS event on April 1.
Cates won Round 3 by riding Hammer It Again for a season-high 88.75 points. The victory earned him 100 of his 115 points in Albuquerque.
“It has been close for me all weekend on some really good bulls,” Cates said. “I was thinking this morning that I was a second in a half to two seconds on each bull prior to today from leading this event. I had to regroup. This morning, whenever I woke up, I saw what I had drawn and I saw that bull bucked off my buddy Douglas (Duncan) last weekend. I was excited about the bull. I knew I had to be a lot of points and I knew I had a bull to do it on.”
Cates began the weekend 55th in the world standings and leaves Albuquerque 37th. The 27-year-old now trails No. 34 and No. 35 Fraser Babbington and Juliano da Silva by only 10 points.
Barring injuries and how next weekend’s Touring Pro Division events play out during the BFTS off week, there is a chance Cates could be competing in Sioux Falls.
“I knew this was the perfect opportunity,” Cates said. “I had a couple of weeks to try and get things right mentally and physically. Coming in here to Albuquerque for a three-day event was a blessing. It worked out for me.”
There were only four additional rides in Round 3.
Joao Ricardo Vieira placed second in the round for 60 world points with an 87-point ride away from his hand on Swamp Wreck. It was Vieira’s second qualified ride of the weekend since breaking his nose against Wipeout in Round 1.
Vieira finished eighth overall with 95 points toward the world standings.
Eduardo Aparecido used an 86.5-point ride on Grandpa Joe to qualify for the championship round and a third-place finish in Round 3. Aparecido also rode Little Red Jacket for 88.5 points in the championship round.
Silvano Alves ended his streak of eight consecutive buckoffs with an 86-point ride on Rebel Yell. He earned 40 of his 47.5 world points by finishing the round in fourth place. The 47.5 points pushed Alves from 36th in the world standings on Sunday morning to 31st.
Lawrence had the other ride of the third round, an 83.25-point effort on Red Dirt Traditions for fifth place and 30 world points.
There were only 14 riders in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round after Ben Jones was ruled out for the final round because of a sore right riding hand by Dr. Tandy Freeman.
Fabiano Vieira then elected to not compete in the championship round.
According to Freeman, Stormy Wing is probable for Sioux Falls after straining his left riding arm attempting to ride Lester Gillis in the third round.
Aaron Roy is also probable for Sioux Falls after sustaining a concussion when he was bucked off by Jump Street in 2.64 seconds in Round 3.
Matt Triplett (right ankle) and Robson Palermo (sore left riding hand) did not compete on Sunday.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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