Behind the Chutes: Little Rock Draw Notes

By: Justin Felisko
April 06, 2016

Tanner Byrne has already won two BFTS events this season. Photo: Andy Watson/

Tanner Byrne has already won two BFTS events this season. Photo: Andy Watson/

PUEBLO, Colo. – No longer a wide-eyed rookie, Tanner Byrne understands the Built Ford Tough Series is a marathon, not a sprint.

Little Rock Draw Notes (4-6-16)

Therefore, Byrne decided to opt out of the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, BFTS event when a sore shoulder and pulled groin left him feeling less than 100 percent last week.

The No. 9 ranked bull rider in the world standings is now well-rested and ready to return to competition at this weekend’s Bad Boy Mowdown in Little Rock, Arkansas.

“I’m feeling good,” Byrne said. “I am going to get on a practice bull and am good to go for this weekend. You got to take care of a guy’s body or it’ll give out.”

Byrne could afford to take a week off courtesy of his two BFTS victories (Duluth, Georgia, and Anaheim, California).

The 23-year-old is only 827.5 points behind world leader J.B. Mauney, and Byrne has drawn Roll of the Dice (0-2, BFTS) for Round 1 on Saturday.

“I just mostly didn’t want to totally wreck myself last weekend,” Byrne said. “I just iced (the injuries) and did some strength training.”

Mauney has drawn Rebel Yell II (2-1, BFTS).

2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi is also returning to competition in Little Rock after missing last week to rest his injured right knee.

Marchi will face Voo Doo Too (2-0, BFTS) in Round 1.

There are three alternate riders competing in Little Rock with No. 25 Aaron Roy (sprained right riding thumb), No. 26 Cody Heffernan (visa issues) and No. 30 J.W. Harris (elbow surgery) unable to compete.

Roy aggravated his old injury attempting to ride Necessary Roughness in Round 2 in Sioux Falls.

“I’m giving it some time to get the swelling out and I had X-rays this morning to see what the deal with it is,” Roy said.

Roy was still awaiting results from his X-rays as of Wednesday evening.

Alexandre Cardozo (left ankle) is not competing in Little Rock and is also awaiting to see results from X-rays taken of his injured ankle. Cardozo was stepped on by Beer Nuts in Sioux Falls.

Matt Triplett (left shoulder) is also unable to compete and, according to the PBR competition department, is out indefinitely.

Cardozo and Triplett are not replaced in the draw because they are currently ranked outside of the Top 35.

Roy, Heffernan and Harris have been replaced by No. 36 Kurt Shephard, No. 37 Reese Cates and No. 38 Jorge Valdiviezo.

Shephard, Cates and Valdivizeo are within striking distance of the Top 35 of the world standings and earning a spot on the BFTS.

Shephard, who is taking on Acting Crazy (2-0, BFTS) in Round 1, trails No. 34 Fraser Babbington and No. 34 Juliano da Silva by five points.

Acting Crazy bucked off Shephard in 3.78 seconds at the January Touring Pro Division event in Wichita, Kansas.

Cates is only 10 points behind the Top 35, while Valdiviezo is 15 points back.

Cates, who is from El Dorado, Arkansas, will square off against Wicked Stick (4-2, BFTS) and Valdiviezo will look for 8 seconds aboard Wagon Wheel (13-4, BFTS).

Tyler Harr (Hazen, Arkansas) is also competing in his home state after winning the BlueDEF Tour event in Fresno, California. Harr earned 80 world points to jump from 40th to 32nd in the world standings with the victory.

Harr has struggled to find any momentum on the BFTS this season and is 1-for-17 in eight events. He will look to turn things around when he takes onLittle Tim’s All Nighter (4-1, BFTS).

Mike Lee (497 BFTS rides) will continue his pursuit of 500 career rides when he is challenged by Black Cat (0-0, BFTS) Saturday.

Lee could reach the milestone if he goes 3-for-3 this weekend.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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