Behind the Chutes: Nampa, Day 1

NAMPA, Idaho – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 and the 15/15 Bucking Battle of the DeWALT Guaranteed Tough Invitational on Saturday night at the Ford Idaho Center.

I’m a Gangster Too erupts for 46.5 points & Mick E Mouse extends buckoff streak

I’m a Gangster Too has been one of the reliable workhorses on the Built Ford Tough Series and Jeff Robinson’s bovine athlete put forth one of his greatest efforts in the past two years  during the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

I’m a Gangster Too bucked off Eduardo Aparecido in 1.83 seconds for a high-marked bull score of 46.5 points.

It is I’m a Gangster Too’s highest score since being marked 47 points at the BFTS event in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in October 2013 when he bucked off Valdiron de Oliveira in 1.81 seconds.

I’m a Gangster Too has bucked off Aparecido in two consecutive events.

Mick E Mouse posted the next highest bull score with a 45.25-point marking with his 34th consecutive buckoff in a row when he ripped Shane Proctor down over his front end in 1.6 seconds.

“He beat me out of there and he is too strong to be getting beat out of there like that,” Proctor said. “You really have to ride the front on those big bulls and take the power away. He is an amazing bull and just poor performance on my part.”

Proctor said Mick E Mouse felt much stronger than when he was bucked off by Marlene Henry’s bull at the 2013 BFTS event in Billings, Montana.

“He is an extraordinary bull, and he is going to do extraordinary things,” Proctor concluded.

Mike Lee uses season-high 92-point ride to win 15/15 Bucking Battle

Mike Lee only took up boxing for one or two years, but he still uses some of the techniques he learned as a kid from those classes.

It is one of the reasons why Lee always appears to look so loose and cool in the bucking chutes and can be heard letting out short bursts of air before nodding for the gate.

“I used to box a little bit when I was a kid,” Lee said. “If you hold your breath, you are really slow and your punches don’t hurt at all. Same thing with bull riding. If you hold your breath and you have your muscles flexed – you can’t be. You have to have fast muscle twitches.”

Lee was able to use his fast reaction time to avoid being stunned by Percolator in the 15/15 Bucking Battle and readjusted mid-ride to make the 8-second mark.

The end result was a 92-point ride – Lee’s first 90-point ride since riding Meathook for 90.25 points in 2013 at the Biloxi, Mississippi, event – and a victory in the 15/15 Bucking Battle Saturday night.

“That bull was pretty bucky, especially right there at first,” Lee said. “Man, it felt good once I got adjusted. He pulled me down right there at the get-go and I got my hips underneath me and got my butt down. I just started giving it my all after that.”

Lee earns 150 points toward the world standings to move into 13th-place in the world.

Percolator was marked 45 points, which gives him five consecutive outs with a 45-point or higher bull score.

Guilherme Marchi placed second with an 89-point ride on Calypso to earn 90 points toward the world standings, and Fabiano Vieira rode American Sniper for 88.25 points to place third and pick up 75 points.

Reese Cates rode Chocolate Thunder for 87.75 points to place fourth and earn 60 points toward the world standings.

Cates was the only rider in the Top 7 of the world standings to earn any points in either the first round or the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

It was also his first qualified ride since returning from a torn right biceps (riding arm) that led him to miss the Seattle Invitational.

He was bucked off by Mental Revenge in 2.88 seconds in Round 1.

“It is good,” Cates said. “I am not going to lie, I was a little nervous on that first one. No, that is not an excuse for getting bucked off though. I had a great bull. I was upset with myself. I went and got a new bull rope – that other one kind of slipped on me.

“It was not too bad for a brand new rope. I think I will keep on using it.”

Duncan continuing fervent rush to crack Top 30

Douglas Duncan is up to 30th in the world standings after making his third qualified ride in four attempts over the course of the past two BFTS events.

Two weeks after going 2-for-3 at the Seattle Invitational, Duncan finished tied with Mason Lowe for fourth place in Nampa by riding Buffalo Jump for 86 points.

“That little bull kind of bounced out of there and once he went back left into my hand I knew I had it,” Duncan said.

The 27-year-old earned 35 points toward the world standings.

Duncan understands he can’t get complacent about getting one 8-second ride down after only earning a total of 45 points in Seattle.

“I need to forget about today and show up with the same attitude tomorrow,” Duncan said.

The 35 points that Lowe earned helped the rookie move from 38th in the world standings to 35th.

Lowe, who been dealing with a groin injury this year, rode for 86 points.

“He went right and came around, and I always like when they go away from my hand and into them,” Lowe said.

It is the first qualified ride of the season for Lowe, who is competing in the sixth BFTS event of his career.

“It takes some weight off my shoulders,” Lowe said. “I come up here and went to two of them and kept falling off.”

Injury Updates

Defending World Champion Silvano Alves was unable to compete in the 15/15 Bucking Battle and has been ruled out for the remainder of the DeWALT Guaranteed Tough Invitational with a left hip injury, according to Dr. Tandy Freeman.

Alves sustained the injury when he was hit by Legal Tender at the 3.88-second mark.

L.J. Jenkins also was unable to compete in the 15/15 Bucking Battle and is out for the weekend following a broken neck (without evidence of a spinal cord injury) following his 4.52-second buckoff against Strong Heart.

Jenkins fractured his C-1 vertebra and has been transferred to St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise for treatment.

According to Freeman, there were six riders competing with injuries in Round 1: Jenkins (unstable right shoulder); Eduardo Aparecido (sprained left shoulder, free arm); Ryan Dirteater (unstable left knee); Dave Mason (sprained left riding hand); Alexandre Cardozo (right elbow sprain) and Stormy Wing (sprained left MCL).

Eight riders were listed as officially out of competition: Triplett (left knee, MCL); J.B. Mauney (left knee); Emilio Resende (multi-ligament knee reconstruction); Ty Pozzobon (concussion); Josh Faircloth (left ankle fracture); Billy Robinson (left PCL tear); Chase Outlaw (right shoulder dislocation/torn rotator cuff) and Ben Jones (cervical strain).

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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