DES MOINES, Iowa – Here are three things we learned at the Des Moines Invitational this weekend inside the Wells Fargo Arena.
Davis wins Built Ford Tough Championship Round by turning down re-ride
For the second night in a row, a low score and turning down a re-ride paid off for a rider.
No way did Cooper Davis think his 71.5-point ride on Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey would hold up as the championship round winning-ride, but after seeing Cody Nance win $21,000 with a 76.5-point ride in the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Saturday night he decided to roll the dice.
The gamble worked out as the other 10 riders in the championship round all bucked off their respective bulls to conclude a weekend in which there were a total of only 14 qualified rides.
“I wasn’t a whole bunch of points, but they got me in and I couldn’t be happier,” Davis said. “That bull is kind of hard to get out on and kind of wants to leave a guy sitting on his butt out of there. I made sure that wasn’t going to happen. Once I got around there I felt comfortable the whole time. When he jumped out of it, I was just trying to keep (ahold) of it.”
Sunday was Davis’ first championship round victory of his BFTS career and earned him 100 points toward the world standings to go along with a $11,900 paycheck.
“Nance won a bunch of money last night and got all of the points,” Davis added. “It is a business decision. You can either go at it and take a chance at losing all of those points you are guaranteed to have or you can make a business decision (and keep the score). My wrist is a little sore right now, so I kept the points.”
Davis finished the event 2-for-3 and placed a career-best second overall with 320 points. He earned 180 of his points by finishing third in the event average behind winner J.B. Mauney and Robson Aragao – the only three men to record two qualified rides.
Earlier in the day, Davis rode Alternator for 84.5 points to finish Round 2 in fourth place and earn 40 points toward the world standings.
Davis began the weekend ranked 25th in the world standings and leaves Des Moines as the No. 16th bull rider in the world. He also trails Kaique Pacheco by 882.5 points in the Rookie of the Year race and has earned points in six consecutive BFTS events.
“I am comfortable right now and it is a long rest of the year,” Davis said. “We are only halfway through it. If I keep riding like I am right now and stay comfortable and healthy, I don’t see a problem with it coming down to the Finals.”
Mauney uses Round 2-winning ride to win Des Moines Invitational
J.B. Mauney didn’t wait long to try and dive back into the 2015 world title race.
The 28-year-old, making his first appearance since suffering a torn left ACL in Fresno, California, rode Crooked Face for 89.5 points to win Round 2 of the Des Moines Invitational and propel himself to an eventual event win for the first time since March 2014.
“That is exactly what I needed,” Mauney said. “It gets your confidence back mostly. It is like riding a bicycle, you never forgot how to do it, but your head plays a big part. I knew I would get a few under my belt and I would get back to feeling good again. That was all I needed.”
Rounding out the Top 5 in Round 2 was Aaron Roy (85.75 points on Double Shot), Stormy Wing (84.75 points on Damn Right), Davis (84.5 points on Alternator) and Robson Aragao (84.25 points on Say I Won’t Playboy).
Roy earned 60 points toward the world standings, while Wing (50), Davis (40) and Aragao (30) also earned points via their round placement.
Mauney earned 100 of his 560 event-winning points for placing first in Round 2 and the 89.5-point ride score helped push him into the lead in the event average following his 86-point ride on Celling Bioscience’s Jukebox Hero for a second-place finish in Round 1. Mauney’s first-round ride also gave him 60 points toward the world standings.
Aragao bucked off Stuntin Like My Daddy in 7.66 seconds in the second to final out of the weekend to clinch Mauney the victory before the 2013 World Champion even nodded his head aboard Modified Clyde.
Mauney wishes he could have concluded his event win with a qualified ride, but he ended up being thrown by Modified Clyde in 3.24 seconds.
The win moves Mauney from 12th in the world standings to 8th. He was able to gain 560 points on Joao Ricardo Vieira after the world leader went 0-for-2 for the first time since the Chicago Invitational in January.
Mauney trails Vieira by 1,102.5 points heading into the Rumble in the Rockies in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Aragao (300 points) finished in third place for a career-high finish, while Nathan Schaper (205) and Aaron Roy (125) placed fourth and fifth.
Wing succeeds with Brazilian-style bull rope
Stormy Wing returned to competition this weekend after missing the Stanley Performance In Action Invitational in Billings, Montana, because of a sprained left MCL and travel issues.
Wing decided to switch things up in Des Moines and attempt to ride with a Brazilian bull rope.
The switch paid off in Round 2 when the 25-year-old rode Damn Right for 84.75 points to finish Round 2 in third place.
“It felt really good actually,” Wing said. “It felt like I was able to take the power away from them. After studying and watching a lot of film and talking to guys about my riding style and body stature I figured it could make a difference and so far it is.”
Wing had bucked off five consecutive bulls before Round 2, including Deep Water in 7.14 seconds on Saturday night.
“It is not all the difference,” Wing added. “It is a lot me, but, for the most part, I feel great and am getting a little confidence. I am going to try and feed off it.”
Wing earned a total of 70 points in Des Moines and finished the event in seventh place – his fourth Top-10 of the year.
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Guilherme Marchi did not compete on the final day of action in Des Moines after spraining his right ankle when he was stepped on by Fire Bender in Round 1 on Saturday night. The No. 5 bull rider in the world standings also separated his right shoulder (AC joint sprain) when he hit the ground as he was thrown from Pistol Pete during the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
Marchi, who is probable for Colorado Springs, added on Sunday that he feels like he may have aggravated the PCL injury in his right knee that gave him problems last season.
“My first bull stepped on my ankle last night and my shoulder is so sore too,” Marchi said. “My PCL in my right knee is starting to bother me again. I need to go check on that, but I feel good. I need to take the week off and rest and see if I will be ready for next weekend.”
Robson Palermo twisted his right knee in the bucking chute prior to attempting to ride Easy Lover. He aggravated an old ACL tear and was unable to get out on the bull. He is questionable for Colorado Springs.
Markus Mariluch is also questionable for the Rumble in the Rockies after spraining his right elbow (UCL, riding arm) during his 5.21-second buckoff on Delta Force in the second round.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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