Behind the Chutes: Last Cowboy Standing, Day 2

LAS VEGAS – Here are three things we learned from Last Cowboy Standing on Saturday night at the MGM Resorts Village.

Little Red Jacket takes home high-marked bull of the event

J.B. Mauney had every intention of walking away with $180,000 on Saturday night in Las Vegas, but then the 2013 World Champion ran into Little Red Jacket in the third round.

Little Red Jacket slipped Mauney off his back in 2.94 seconds for a career-high and event-best 46.5 points to eliminate the Mooresville, North Carolina, cowboy  from the event.

“What impressed me was J.B.,” stock contractor Gene Owen said. “Not to be negative, but some of them guys don’t give them a chance to buck and he gave him a chance and he gave him a good out. (Little Red Jacket) got out clean and he bucked.  He has consistently gotten better for us. When you hand it to J.B. like that, that is an outstanding out. I am just proud that he has come along like he has.”

Little Red Jacket has bucked off four consecutive bulls on the BFTS.

Mauney finished third overall in the event, in part because of his second-round winning 88.25-point ride on Cochise. The round win earned him 150 points toward the world standings and he moved ahead of Kaique Pacheco for the No. 3 ranking in the world.

Little Red Jacket’s out was a second consecutive impressive performance by a bovine athlete in Round 3 – the strongest of this year’s Last Cowboy Standing bullpen assembled by Director of Livestock Cody Lambert – after Roy used a series of sleek, athletic strides and a powerful spin to buck off Cody Nance in 6.96 seconds.

Roy was marked a career-high 46.25 points. This weekend was Roy’s first BFTS event since Seattle.

Joao Ricardo Vieira wins second PBR Major of 2015

Joao Ricardo Vieira became the first rider in PBR history to win both Iron Cowboy and Last Cowboy Standing in the same season when he walked away with the event victory on Saturday night.

“I am happy I won again,” Vieira said with the help of Robson Palermo translating. “This is going to help my confidence to ride better. I feel healthy and I feel good.”

Vieira rode his first three consecutive bulls – KISS Animalize (87.5 points), Fire Rock (87.25 points) and Percolator (90.75 points) – before bucking off Walk Off in 7.17 seconds.

It appeared as if Vieira was bound to clinch the victory on Walk Off before losing his grip in the final second.

“Walk Off is not easy to ride and I was upset I didn’t ride the bull,” Vieira said. “I rode him a couple of times, but that bull is strong and I knew if I stayed behind he was going to throw me.”

However, seeing as Stetson Lawrence had bucked off Buck Dynasty in 2.99 seconds, the two riders advance to a fifth and final round.

Neither rider was able to make the 8-second mark on their respective bulls in the final round and Vieira was crowned the Last Cowboy Standing seeing as he earned more total round points (277.5 points) than Lawrence (165 points).

Vieira was bucked off by Who Dey in 2.41 seconds during Round 5, while Lawrence lasted just 1.83 seconds on Mr. Bull.

It is a huge points swing for the world leader, who extended his lead over No. 2 Matt Triplett to 1,002.5 points by earning 877.5 points in Vegas.

He earned 600 for winning the event and picked up those important 277.5 points via his round finishes.

Vieira’s best performance of the weekend came in the third round when he covered Percolator for 90.75 points to win the round and earn 150 points. It is Vieira’s BFTS-leading third 90-point ride of the year.

“That bull has bucked me off before and this time I got back and I rode him for 90.75 points and I am happy,” Vieira said.

Vieira also earned 67.5 points for tying for third place in the first round on Friday night and he picked up 60 points in the second round by finishing fourth in the round.

Eight riders advanced into Round 3 – Vieira, Lawrence, Mauney, Reese Cates, Kaique Pacheco, Tanner Byrne, Billy Robinson, Cody Nance – before Vieira and Lawrence went head-to-head in the final two rounds.

Lawrence comes up short, but cracks Top 10

Stetson Lawrence isn’t sure exactly what it is, but for the second time this season the Trenton, North Dakota, bull rider rose to the occasion during a PBR Major event.

After finishing runner-up to Vieira at Iron Cowboy in February, Lawrence broke out of a 3-for-24 slump since Iron Cowboy with a 3-for-5 performance in Vegas.

“After Iron Cowboy, I don’t think I got relaxed, but I lost my focus,” Lawrence said following his 87.75-point ride on HD in Round 2, which placed him third in the round and earned him 75 points toward the world standings. “That was just a good solid ride and I felt like myself. He went back the other way and he felt solid and good.”

Lawrence began the weekend with a streak of nine consecutive buckoffs. He ended that streak with an 81.75-point ride on Night Rider Six in the first round on Friday night.

Lawrence earned another 90 points toward the world standings by riding I’m A Gangster Too for 86.5 points in Round 3 to finish second in the round.

“I kept my buddy Nathan (Schaper) just talking to me in the chute to help me get my mind off everything and he kept on saying, ‘This is just a practice pen.’

“That is how I need to approach every bull, just keep riding and go on through it like another bull and there is nothing to it.”

Even though he had his sights set on taking home his first event victory, Lawrence still added 525 total points toward the world standings to move from 18th in the world standings to 11th.

Lawrence earned 360 of those points for finishing second in the event seeing as Vieira didn’t ride Who Dey in Round 5.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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