By: Justin Felisko
April 01, 2016
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard Invitational on Friday night.
Mauney questionable for Round 2 in Sioux Falls (4-1-16)
World leader J.B. Mauney was unable to attempt his first-round bull after Speed Dial forcefully jerked the defending World Champion forward inside the bucking chute.
Mauney immediately grimaced in pain and hopped out of the chutes, before crouching down and grabbing at his left elbow (riding arm). The 29-year-old then walked off the chutes and back to sports medicine after he began to lose feeling in his hand.
Dr. Tandy Freeman said after the event that Mauney sprained his left elbow and is questionable for Saturday night’s Round 2, as well as the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
Mauney was wearing his elbow brace during Round 1, something he has started doing more frequently this season as he continues to contend with a chronic elbow injury.
“Questionable. He sprained his left elbow and we will have to see how he looks tomorrow,” Freeman said. “His elbow is a chronic issue. He just aggravated a pre-existing injury. He had a little – we call it neurapraxia. Basically his funny bone, but it is a nerve, not a bone. It looks like he stretched it and it made his hand go numb. That nerve controls the main part of your grip so when it got pinched or stretched he lost his grip and had numbness in his hand. He couldn’t hold on to his bull rope.”
Mauney stayed in sports medicine with ice wrapped on the elbow, as well as another bag of ice on his left shoulder after the event. He eventually was able to wiggle his fingers as the numbness began to taper off.
The Mooresville, North Carolina, bull rider currently leads No. 2 Paulo Lima, who lost his bull rope at 7.46 seconds on IROC, by 115 points in the world standings.
Fabiano Vieira wins Round 1 to move back into Top-5 of world standings
Fabiano Vieira admitted he was a little bit tight when he sat down on Catfish John Friday night. The 33-year-old tried to ignore the fact that Catfish John spun right two weeks ago in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which would be away from his hand, and that the bull had also bucked him off in January in Anaheim, California.
Vieira let out a deep breath, nodded for the gate and then let his natural instincts take over as he made 8 seconds of sweet revenge on Catfish John for a Round 1 winning 87.75 points.
“He was supposed to buck me off today, but I had good concentration to not buck off,” Vieira said. “In Albuquerque, the bull spun right and he bucked me off (in Anaheim). It made me feel a little tight about riding. I had to forget. I just concentrated to stay on the side of the spin.”
Vieira earned 100 points toward the world standings. The No. 5 ranked bull rider trails Mauney by 228.01 points.
There were a total of eight qualified rides in Round 1, which saw some significant buckoff streaks come to an end.
Gage Gay placed second with an 86-point effort on Wild Bob Cody and ended his streak of five consecutive buckoffs. It was just his second ride in 11 outs. Gay earned 60 world points to move to 19th in the world standings.
“That was a good one,” Gay said. “I really didn’t know anything about him coming in. I just knew he was going to go both ways and not which way first or anything. It seemed to work out. I may have to keep doing that.”
Robson Palermo ended his own streak of six consecutive buckoffs with an 85.5-point ride on Highwood Squirrel for third place and 50 world points.
Ryan Dirteater (five consecutive buckoffs) notched 40 world points with his 85-point ride on Bobby Sox, while Eduardo Aparecido has ridden three in a row after covering Black Ice for 80.25 points. Aparecido finished in fifth place for 30 world points.
Vieira believes he has a favorable draw for Round 2 and the 15/15 Bucking Battle despite the fact that neither of his bulls have been ridden on the BFTS.
The Perola, Brazil, bull rider will face Off the Rez (4-0, BFTS) in Round 2 before taking on Seven Dust (8-0, BFTS).
“I knew I had a good bull today, a good one tomorrow and a good one in the 15/15,” he concluded. “I have two of the best bulls for tomorrow. I think Seven Dust has only been ridden once at the Calgary Stampede (Stetson Lawrence 89.5 points). He will be in the left bucking chute, but may spin right.
“Maybe God will help me and he will come left. That would be good.”
Lee closing in on career ride 500
Even Mike Lee knew it wasn’t a pretty one, but the 2004 World Champion has made a 15-year career out of gritty toughness along with raw talent.
Not all of his now 495 career rides were works of beauty, but he was more than happy to start off his weekend in Sioux Falls with 79.75 points on The Hulk.
“That bull felt really good,” Lee said. “I thought he went both ways, but I can’t remember exactly. I was only 79, which is a low score, but I am trying to get four of them maybe. I still believe I can do it.”
The ride puts him five away from joining 2008 Guilherme Marchi as the only two riders to have ridden 500 bulls on the Built Ford Tough Series.
“I think it is getting harder,” Lee said. “The bulls are getting ranker. I don’t even know if I really want my boy to ride bulls because if the bulls are this rank now, I kind of hate to see what he will have to get on.”
Lee – the defending event champion in Sioux Falls – earned 15 points toward the world standings for finishing sixth in Round 1.
He is slated to face Vegas Outlaw (6-1, BFTS) in Round 2 before taking on Jared Allen’s Air Time (20-1, BFTS) in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, seven riders were competing with injuries in Round 1: Paulo Lima (rib sprain), Justin Paton (sprained right riding hand/sprained left sternoclavicular joint/sprained right knee), Kasey Hayes (right shoulder separation of his free arm), Robson Palermo (sore lower back and sprained left ankle), Stormy Wing (aggravation of an old sternal fracture), Derek Kolbaba (sprained left riding hand) and Mason Lowe (torn cartilage in his left riding wrist).
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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