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Behind the Chutes: Lee Closer to History

By: Justin Felisko
April 03, 2016

Mike Lee is now three rides away from the 500 club. Photo: Andy Watson/BullStockMedia.com

Mike Lee is now three rides away from the 500 club. Photo: Andy Watson/BullStockMedia.com

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Here are three things we learned from First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard Invitational this weekend.

Lee within three rides of joining 500 club (4-3-16)

Mike Lee ripped off his helmet, whirled himself around and gave a caveman roar toward the 8,388 fans inside the Denny Sanford Premier Center on Sunday afternoon.

The 2004 World Champion then took off on his routine sprint around the dirt and began pounding his fists onto his helmet before head-butting it for good measure.

Lee had just ridden Wipeout for 89.25 points during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round for career ride 497 on the Built Ford Tough Series.

The 32-year-old’s excitement was not about getting any closer toward joining 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi as the only riders with 500 career rides, but for just getting another championship-round bull conquered.

“That is a wild sucker,” Lee said as blood began to trickle down his hand. “He is kind of scary. He is a good bull. I was really happy.”

Lee’s ride was the best of the championship round and he earned 100 points toward the world standings. The Decatur, Texas, bull rider finished 3-for-4 in Sioux Falls and second-place overall with 385 world points.

Lee earned 240 points for finishing second in the event average, as well as 30 points for his 85.5-point ride on Vegas Outlaw that placed him fifth in Round 2 and 15 points for a sixth-place finish in Round 1 with a 79.75-point ride on The Hulk.

Lee moved from 16th in the world standings to 12th.

“Man, Mike Lee had a big weekend,” said two-time World Champion and CBS Sports Network commentator Justin McBride. “It is weird. Like, Mike White won Albuquerque three times. Certain places guys ride good. Mike Lee won this event last year and comes back this year and finishes second. There is something about Sioux Falls and he rides really good in.”

Lee said he felt going to two Touring Pro Division events last weekend during the Easter BFTS break helped him prepare for Sioux Falls.

“To tell you the truth, I got to go to a couple of Touring Pros,” Lee said. “I don’t know. I just relax more over there when I go to Touring Pros.”

Pacheco wins first event of 2016

Kaique Pacheco admits 2016 has been a slow start for him, but the 2015 Rookie of the Year sensation is right back on track following a 4-for-4 victory in Sioux Falls.

Pacheco rode Legal Tender for 88.25 points in the championship round before watching Eduardo Aparecido and Fabiano Vieira buck off to seal his first victory of 2016.

“I knew he was a good bull and hard to ride because he wants you to the front,” Pacheco said with the help of Robson Palermo translating. “I saw him a couple of times and thought he would fit me good. He pulled to the front, but I rode loose a little bit and I didn’t go to the front. I stayed toward the back.”

This weekend is Pacheco’s first victory since winning last year’s BFTS event in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the 565 points he earned toward the world standings moves last year’s runner-up to World Champion J.B. Mauney from 14th in the world standings to eighth.

Ryan Dirteater (87.5 points on Pound The Alarm) was the only other rider to have successfully covered his bull in the championship round and he finished fifth overall with 115 points. The 26-year-old earned 65 world points for finishing fifth in the event average (3-for-4), 50 points in the championship round for third place and 40 points for his fourth-place finish in Round 1 (85 points on Bobby Sox).

Fabiano Vieira (3-for-4) finished in third place with 285 points toward the standings, while Gage Gay placed fourth (2-for-4, 185 world points).

Lockwood uses first career ride to win Round 3

18-year-old rookie Jess Lockwood used the first qualified ride of his BlueDEF Tour career in October to win Round 1 of the L.J. Jenkins Invitational in Clovis, New Mexico, and now the first ride of his BFTS career was also good enough for a round win.

Lockwood rode Tom Horn for 88.25 points to win Round 3 and an important 100 points toward the world standings.

“He came right out of there and wrapped it up to the left and the whole time he had me scratching and clawing. I was fighting my way to get through there. I knew he was going to go back the other way at some point and he ended up going right back at the whistle and I stepped off on my feet and it was the coolest thing ever.”

Cooper Davis placed second in the round with an 88-point ride on Catfish John for 60 world points, while Stetson Lawrence picked up third place and 50 world points with an 87-point ride on Lieutenant Dan.

World leader J.B. Mauney, fresh off his third consecutive 15/15 Bucking Battle victory on Saturday night, finished fourth in the round with an 85.75-point ride aboard Hard Times. Mauney earned 40 world points for the round finish and 10 points for finishing ninth in the event average.

Mauney leads No. 2 Fabiano Vieira, who finished seventh in Round 3 for five world points with an 82.5-point ride on War Tank, by 243.01 points in the world standings.

Joao Ricardo Vieira, fourth in the world standings and 340 points behind Mauney, finished fifth in Round 3 with an 85.25-point ride on Shake It Up for 30 world points.

Nevada Newman ended a streak of five consecutive buckoffs with 85 points on Knot Head for sixth place and 15 world points.

Lockwood was bucked off by Dakota Storm in 4.12 seconds in Round 1 and El Nino in 4.46 seconds in Round 2.

“I wish I could have done it on the two previous, but winning the round on my third one and the first one I rode on the Built Ford Tough makes you feel pretty good,” he said.

He later was bucked off by Sheep Creek (4.7 seconds) in the championship round after he was awarded a re-ride because the gate man opened the gate before Lockwood had nodded.

“No excuse, I didn’t draw the best bulls, but like Cody (Lambert) and Justin (McBride) have taught me, you need to cowboy up and ride everything you do get on,” Lockwood said. “That is their goal to buck you off, so you better do whatever it takes to not let them buck you off.”

The round victory also helped Lockwood finish 10th in the event average for an additional five world points.

The 105 total world points helps solidify his spot on the BFTS. Lockwood is now 23rd in the world standings heading into next weekend’s Bad Boy Mowdown in Little Rock, Arkansas.

“Lockwood, he has all the ability and talent in the world, but he is still a little kid,” McBride said. “I forget just how young he is, but I thought he did good. A couple of them bucked him off and he came back and showed today he belongs here. He made a really, really good ride to win the round and made the championship round in his first event.”

Injury Updates

According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Robson Palermo (lower back strain) and Rubens Barbosa (sprained right SI joint) both missed the championship round because of injuries during Round 3.

Silvano Alves sustained a lacerated armpit, bruised chest, and sprained costosternal joint when he was stepped on after being thrown from Burn It Down in Round 3. Alves is probable for Little Rock.

Fabiano Vieira competed with a bruised right thigh on Sunday after being kicked by Off The Rez in Round 2 Saturday.

Alexander Cardozo did not compete in Round 3 after sustained a left thigh contusion and a left ankle injury when he was stepped on while hung up and thrown from Beer Nuts (5.82 seconds) in Round 2 Saturday.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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