KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Here are three things we learned from the Caterpillar Classic this weekend at the Sprint Center.
Stone Sober debuts with 46.25-point outing
Stone Sober has been on the cusp of becoming a part of the top tier of bulls for the last few years after first making his Built Ford Tough Series debut in 2012.
However, one of his biggest drawbacks has been problems getting out of the chute cleanly or being called for a foul.
On championship Sunday, Stone Sober stepped up with the second-rankest trip on the BFTS this season by tossing L.J. Jenkins off his back in just 1.51 seconds for an event-best, 46.25-point bull score.
“He was outstanding tonight,” Dillon Page said of his bull’s season debut. “That is him most of the time. Just once in a while he has a spaz attack. He is just really hot blooded and it has just taken a long time to get him to settle down.”
It was a rematch from the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals when Stone Sober did much of the same to Jenkins, bucking him off inside the Thomas & Mack Center in just 3.89 seconds for a 46-point bull score. It was also the bovine athlete’s second 46-point marking of the Finals.
The two had met a month earlier last year when Stone Sober was marked 46.5 points for bucking Jenkins off in 1.51 seconds – the exact same time that Jenkins was bucked off at this weekend.
The Porum, Oklahoma, bull rider is one of the more knowledgeable riders in the locker room when it comes to bulls on the BFTS and Page believes that having a rider that understands Stone Sober’s tendencies can certainly help.
“I think it helps when he has the right guys,” Page said. “If they don’t ease in on him in a hurry, he will give them a really good shot.”
Dillon and H.D. Page have been working with Stone Sober at their Ardmore, Oklahoma, ranch to try and make him more cooperative in the chute and to get him comfortable to buck cleaner. They also allowed Stone Sober to gain 200 pounds compared to his weight from the Finals.
“We have been working with him and we have been trying to help him get better,” Page said. “I don’t know if that helped, but he was better today. He just feels way, way better.”
Page has always felt Stone Sober could become one of the great bulls on the BFTS, but he knows that Stone Sober needs to perform consistently.
“It’s all about how they perform,” he said. “If they don’t step up every day, then people forget about him. It is all about great bulls.”
Jenkins leads the way in avoiding BFTS cut
Jenkins may have been bucked off by Stone Sober, but he was still able to fight his way back inside the Top 35 of the world standings on Sunday afternoon.
At the beginning of the weekend, the 11-year BFTS veteran said he wasn’t too worried about being cut from the BFTS, however, by the time 2 p.m. rolled around in Kansas City things were starting to look bleak.
Jenkins had been bucked off in Round 1 on Saturday night by Say I Won’t Playboy at 7.33 seconds and he had only one more guaranteed bull on the BFTS remaining.
Regardless, Jenkins rose to the challenge and conquered The Price is Right for 87 points to split the second-round win with Bryan Titman.
The 90 points that Jenkins earned for splitting the round win bumped him from 39th in the world standings to the 29th position.
“That is cutting it a little close, but, heck, it is good to get one rode,” Jenkins said. “He was a good bull to the right and he usually goes left, so I wasn’t expecting right at all. Heck, it worked out.”
The points earned toward the standings were also valuable to Titman, who had to ride with Cooper Davis’ bull rope because his was ripped, and now the 26-year-old rookie can relax some knowing he will be making his first appearance at Iron Cowboy.
Titman rode Crazy Horse in Round 2, before bucking off Buck Dynasty in the championship round.
“It feels good,” said the No. 27 rider in the world. “I think that is going to help me going into next weekend. Other than the short round, my confidence is pretty high right now. I think next weekend in Arlington, I am going to blow the roof off there.”
Gage Gay and Zane Lambert failed to earn any points in Kansas City and have no more guaranteed spots on the BFTS after finishing inside the Top 30 of the world standings last year. Gay and Lambert will have to head to the BlueDEF Velocity Tour and Touring Pro Division to earn enough points to try and crack the Top 35.
Jay Miller (0-for-2) dropped to 36th in the standings and Douglas Duncan (0-for-2) is tied with Cody Heffernan for 38th. They will be potential alternates for Iron Cowboy.
Skeeter Kingsolver is the No. 37 bull rider in the world, but he broke his right clavicle (free arm) when he was bucked off by DaNutso Sunday afternoon and expects to be out for the minimum of a few weeks. Kingsolver plans on undergoing X-rays on Monday.
Lachlan Richardson used his first two-ride performance since October 2013 (Hollywood, Florida) to help his chances of staying within the Top 35. Richardson moved up three spots in the standings to No. 31 by finishing in 11th place with 55 points.
The 22-year-old picked up 45 points for finishing sixth in the aggregate (2-for-3, 170 points) and 10 points for tying for fifth place in the second round with Reese Cates and Silvano Alves when he rode Off the Hook for 84.75 points.
“I got one ride (83 points on Pitch Perfect) last week and nearly rode the second one, so I just felt good and was having fun like I used to,” Richardson said. “You start believing in yourself again. Everyone has trouble until you get that one down.”
Mike Lee (31), Austin Meier (33), Robson Aragao (34) and Tyler Harr (35) currently round out the Top 35 of the world standings.
Harris wins event; Schaper wins championship round on Long John
J.W. Harris may have won the Caterpillar Classic on Sunday, but it was Nathan Schaper posting the highlight-reel ride of the day when he began the championship round with an 89-point ride on Long John on the first out of the round.
“He is such a big, strong bull,” Schaper said. “It is not something you are going to pick, but I knew I could ride him. I think about that bull all the time. I am bigger and have a lot of arm to give him. You have to just bear down and stay focused.”
Schaper was the last rider to qualify for the championship round and was stuck with Long John after Kingsolver and Fabiano Vieira (shoulder) had to opt out because of injury.
It was a good matchup for Schaper seeing as the 24-year-old took Long John to the 7.3-second mark last month at the Touring Pro Division Finals in Denver.
The 89-point ride is a season-best for Schaper, and he called the ride one of the favorites of his young career.
“That is up there,” Schaper said. “I don’t think I have ever been that excited out there in the arena, just because of everything leading up to it and all of the anticipation. I knew when I rode him in my mind I was going to throw my helmet.”
Schaper is the first man to ride Long John since Harris made 8 seconds on the bovine athlete in Springfield, Missouri, last season for 87.5 points.
Harris already had his first BFTS career win wrapped up before he nodded his head, but the four-time PRCA capped off the victory with an 88.5-point ride on Crystal Can Do.
Not only is it Harris’ first career win, it is his first championship ride during a regular-season BFTS. He was previously 0-for-8 in the championship round, not including his 93.25-point ride on Honey Hush during the championship round of the 2014 World Finals.
“It was real important,” Harris said. “I was riding more for personal satisfaction and more out there to prove a point that I can still ride the short round bulls.”
Harris finished with a total of 525 points toward the world standings and is now the No. 6 bull rider in the world. He won 400 for winning the event average, 60 for placing second in the championship round, 50 points for finishing third in the second round with his 86.5-point ride on Closing Time and 15 points for tying for fifth place in the first round with an 86.5-point ride aboard Dry Fly.
Chase Outlaw did not compete Sunday after dislocating his after he dislocated his right shoulder (free arm) when he landed on his elbow during his 4.53-second buckoff against Sinful Nature on Saturday.
Outlaw’s shoulder was reduced in the training room, and on Sunday Outlaw was at the arena with his right arm in a sling and still feeling the effects of the injury.
“It hurt like hell and it is still hurting,” Outlaw said. “It is the worst pain I ever experienced in my life.”
Outlaw said he plans on getting X-rays on Thursday and is pretty sure he will be unable to compete at Iron Cowboy.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
BEHIND THE CHUTES: Kansas City, day 2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Caterpillar Classic at the Sprint Center.
Bruiser showcases talents once again
Bruiser has been putting forth commanding performances in his very early Built Ford Tough Series career and the 4-year-old bull highlighted Round 1 – an ABBI Classic Round – with a 3.17-second buckoff of Sean Willingham.
“He bucked. That bull is really rank,” Willingham said. “I had come out slow and he hit his head (against the chute signage) and it kind of got my momentum going to the right, which is into my hand, and he was still going left. That bull is so rank that he don’t need any help to get you on the ground.”
Willingham didn’t think Bruiser fouled himself, and instead he tipped his hat to the bull for using his head to fool a veteran bull rider.
“That bull bucks way too hard to have any tricks like that,” he added.
H.D. Page’s bovine athlete posted a bull score of 45.5 points. It is the bull’s fourth out of his career in which he has been marked 45 points or better since making his BFTS debut last year in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Bruiser averaged a bull score of 44.82 points in nine previous BFTS outs before Saturday.
Willingham hopes to see Bruiser, who has only been ridden on the BFTS by J.B. Mauney (93.25 points) and Joao Ricardo Vieira (88.75 points), down the line.
“That is an outstanding bull,” Willingham concluded. “I am ready to get on him again and get a little better shot at him.”
Pacheco wins Round 1; Vieira and Aparecido pick up important points
Kaique Pacheco didn’t have to wait long to set a new career-high ride score on the BFTS.
Pacheco became the first rider to make the 8-second mark on Brutus, and the 20-year old broke his own personal-high from a week ago with an 89.75-point ride to win Round 1.
“I saw the bull buck in Las Vegas at the ABBI event last year,” Pacheco said with the help of Guilherme Marchi translating. “He is very strong on the outside and has a lot of up and down.”
Pacheco has demonstrated in the past few weeks a tendency to try and position himself toward the front of his bulls and he explained that he used that same tactic on Brutus, while using his hips to push back some to stay in a positive position.
The strategy paid off and the rookie ended Brutus’ streak of 12 consecutive buckoffs at all levels.
It is Pacheco’s third round win in the last two weeks and fourth this season. He earned 100 points toward the world standings and the No. 3 bull rider in the world shaved No. 1 Matt Triplett’s lead to 822.5 points.
Pacheco trails second-ranked Alves by 42.5 points.
“For me, it is very important that I keep going like I am right now,” Pacheco said. “It was my dream to come here. When I have an opportunity to be here, I give it everything. I want to ride strong here with everyone.”
Triplett was bucked off by Big Dip in 2.13 seconds, while Alves fell to I’m Trouble in 4.56 seconds.
Renato Nunes placed second in the first round and earned 60 points toward the world standings with an 87.75-point ride on Spin Machine.
Nunes began the event 24th in the world standings, but he only had an 85-point cushion ahead of the No. 34/35/36 spots. The 60 points push him to 21st in the world standings and increases his lead to 145 points.
Following Kansas City, the draw for next weekend’s Choctaw Casino Resort Iron Cowboy, powered by Kawasaki Strong, and future BFTS events will be based on the Top 35 of the 2015 world standings.
Joao Ricardo Vieira and Eduardo Aparecido also earned important points on Saturday to separate themselves a tad from the potential cutline by placing third and fourth in the first round.
Vieira rode Rainman for 87.25 points to earn 50 points in the world standings and move up to 23rd.
Aparecido earned 40 points toward the standings by riding Crazy Days and is now 26th in the world standings. He is 75 points ahead of the cutline.
Lachlan Richardson, Douglas Duncan and Cody Heffernan, who is not competing in Kansas City, are the three riders currently holding the No. 34-36 spots in the standings.
Richardson did not earn any points toward the standings with his 11thplace finish in the round, but he has put himself in position to possibly qualify for the Built Ford Tough Championship Round on Sunday with an 85.25-point ride on Little Jacob. Duncan was bucked off by Gangster Bucks in 5.52 seconds.
Skeeter Kingsolver is five points out of the Top 35, but he is also in position to fight for a spot in the championship round on Sunday and earn some event aggregate points thanks to his 85.75-point ride on Brass Rain.
Bonner Bolton – fresh off his BlueDEF Velocity Tour event win Yakima, Washington, last week – is only 45.5 points ahead of the cutline and he helped his cause by riding Air Slinger for 86 points. He too did not earn any points toward the world standings, but is in position to battle for a chance at qualifying for the championship round.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce shows off his dance moves
Travis Kelce may not have scored a touchdown on Saturday night, but he certainly gave the Kansas City faithful one heck of a celebratory dance.
After being jovially taunted by PBR entertainer Flint Rasmussen to show off his dance moves while leaving the shark cage during Round 1, Kelce returned during the final intermission to show off his best dance moves along with a fan in the stands.
“Oh it was fun,” Kelce said. “That is KC fans for you. I love them to death. It was fun to come out here and do something exciting and put a few smiles on people’s faces.”
This weekend was Kelce’s first PBR event, and he also spent some time on the back of the bucking chutes taking in the action and interacting with some of the riders.
Kelce, who grew up near Cleveland, Ohio, was peering down into the chute right before J.W. Harris nodded his head and rode Dry Fly for 86.5 points.
“This is intense,” Kelce said. “It gets your blood going and your heart pumping. It lets you get more respect for the guys that are really up here doing it. These animals are big and ornery. It is fun watching them ride them around.”
Harris finished tied with Reese Cates (86.5 points on Strong Heart) for fifth-place in the round. Both riders earned 15 points toward the world standings.
Kelce commended the riders for their toughness and taking part in such a dangerous sport.
“I’m going to tell you one thing,” Kelce said. “I have been playing football for a long time, and you are not going to be seeing me getting on no bull right now.”
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Chase Outlaw is out for the remainder of the weekend and is doubtful for Iron Cowboy after he dislocated his right shoulder (free arm) when he landed on his elbow during his 4.53-second buckoff against Sinful Nature.
Outlaw’s shoulder was reduced in the training room, and Freeman expects the No. 7 bull rider in the world to undergo X-rays and an MRI early this week to get further diagnosis.
Eight riders were out of competition due to various injuries: J.B. Mauney (bruised groin and pelvis), Ryan Dirteater (groin strain), Emilio Resende (multi-ligament knee reconstruction), Claudio Crisostomo (left clavicle fracture), Ty Pozzobon (concussion), Markus Mariluch (bicep tear), Josh Faircloth (left ankle fracture) and Billy Robinson (left PCL tear).
Four riders competed with injuries: Triplett (sprained right elbow, riding arm), Willingham (right leg strain), L.J. Jenkins (unstable right shoulder) and Valdiron de Oliveira (sprained right ankle).
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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