By: Justin Felisko
March 13, 2016
DULUTH, Ga. – Here are three things we learned from the Duluth Invitational this weekend at Infinite Energy Center.
Lima regains world No. 1 ranking (3-13-16)
There is a new sheriff back atop the PBR world standings.
Paulo Lima used his Built Ford Tough Championship-Round winning 87.75-point ride on Rebel Yell II, and a second-place finish overall, to overtake Shane Proctor for the No. 1 ranking in the world standings.
“I am very happy to pick a good a bull,” Lima said with the help of Silvano Alves translating. “I have been riding really, really good here and I am happy to be No. 1 again.”
Lima earned a total of 410 world points in Georgia, 170 of which came from two round victories. On Saturday night, Lima (86.5 points on U R Next) split the Round 1 win with Ben Jones and Stormy Wing for 70 points. He finished second in the event average for 240 points despite being bucked off by American Hustle in Round 2 in 3.64 seconds.
Proctor finished 0-for-2 and trails Lima by 33.34 points heading into next weekend’s Ty Murray Invitational.
No. 3 J.B. Mauney finished the weekend 1-for-3 and picked up 45 world points. Mauney rode Air Marshall for 83 points and a fourth-place finish in Round 2, but was bucked off by Slinger Jr. in 2.17 seconds in the championship round.
Lima had been the world leader for five consecutive weeks after winning the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden in January. He had only won one BFTS round this year before winning two in Duluth.
“I am not going to change nothing,” Lima said. “It is good for me. There is no pressure. I like being No. 1. I went three events and came back No. 1. This is really good because I am going to start to continue to be No. 1, but it depends on the season. There is a lot of competition left.”
Davis uses new spurs for round victory; Bruiser named high-marked bull
It was an up-and-down weekend for second-year pro Cooper Davis, but the 21-year-old may need to give a portion of his Round 2 paycheck to Nathan Schaper.
Davis, who was battling the flu this weekend, won Round 2 with an 88-point ride aboard Sketchy Bob, while wearing a pair of Schaper’s spurs.
“He really kind of bucked around the right and wasn’t easy to get by, but it worked out,” Davis said. “Today I switched spurs because all year my feet have been bicycling you could call it. I went to a longer shank and I could actually feel the bull down there instead of just trying to ride them off of balance basically. I think that makes a big difference.”
The round win is Davis’ third of the season and earned him 100 points toward the world standings.
However, Davis wasn’t able to carry his Round 2 momentum or spurs against SweetPro’s Bruiser in the championship round.
Davis was out of position from the moment Bruiser leaped out of the bucking chutes and lasted only 4 seconds before being tossed into the Georgia dirt.
“He was good, maybe a touch off when he started,” Dillon Page said. “He was just getting it together.”
Bruiser was named the high-marked bull of the event for a PBR-high fourth time this season with a 45.75-point bull score.
“In my mind, he would be the (World Champion) winner only because I don’t think Air Time can buck two times in one week,” Page said. “I think if he could, he could be clear the winner. There is no question he is a great bull. No doubt. One thing I know about mine is he will be better the second time (in Las Vegas). He always is.”
CBS Sports Network color commentator J.W. Hart said, “I thought it was just a day for him. That is kind of weird to say. A bull is 45.75 and he is just average.”
Davis finished in fifth-place overall with a total of 145 points toward the world standings to jump from 21st at the start of the weekend to 15th. The Jasper, Texas, native has five Top-10 finishes this year.
2015 World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Long John returned to action for the first time in three weeks and responded with a 45.25-point outing.
Long John bucked off 2004 World Champion Mike Lee in 6.44 seconds.
“He has been hurt since we left California and he is still a little bit too heavy and he was a little to full tonight, but he bucked hard. I think he bucked real hard. I am happy. It will come together.”
Byrne becomes third rider to win two BFTS events in 2016
It wasn’t pretty, but Tanner Byrne will take every cent of his $35,000 payday.
Byrne conquered Crackerjack for a wild 87.5 points during the championship round to become the third rider this season to win two BFTS regular-season events.
The 23-year-old was put on the clock inside the bucking chute before eventually nodding his head for the gate with 1-second remaining. Byrne then whipped his lanky left free arm to try and regain his positioning as Cracker Jack aggressively drifted toward the middle of the arena.
Somehow Byrne survived for the 8 seconds.
“I was making some crazy moves,” Byrne said. “That is definitely up there as a really solid ride. Bull was really good. There were many times I was bucked off and I just kind of let it all hang out and kicked both of my feet loose. Luckily I got back to the middle. That definitely ranks up there. It wasn’t my highest score, but it was one of those cooler moments getting the win with 1 second on the clock and all my buddies cheering.”
Fabiano Vieira, who withdrew from the championship round because of a sore left riding wrist, and Proctor are the other two riders with multiple wins.
Byrne earned 400 points for winning the event average and the Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, bull rider was the only rider to go 3-for-3. He earned 60 points for finishing second to Lima in the championship round.
He began the weekend with an 83.75-point ride on Fast Talker in Round 1. Byrne then tied for fifth-place for 22.5 world points in Round 2 with Aaron Roy (82.75 points on King Buck) courtesy of an 82.75-point ride on Throwin Salt.
Rounding out the Top 5 in the event were Lima (410 world points), Ben Jones (300), Derek Kolbaba (155) and Davis (145).
Byrne moves from 11th to seventh in the world standings and trails Lima by only 572.5 points.
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Robson Palermo injured his left ankle when he was thrown against the shark cage by Screamer in Round 2. He is questionable for Albuquerque.
Justin Paton sprained his right knee when it was twisted in the chute at the beginning of his second-round ride attempt on Gangster. Paton competed with the injury during his 5.4-second buckoff against Machinery Auctioneer’s Colonel in the championship round.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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