Behind the Chutes: Nampa, Day 2

NAMPA, Idaho – Here are three things we learned from this weekend’s DeWALT Guaranteed Tough Invitational at the Ford Idaho Center.

Joao Ricardo Vieira extends world lead on day of opportunity

A day after going 0-for-2 in the first round and 15/15 Bucking Battle, world leader Joao Ricardo Vieira rebounded by going 2-for-2 on Sunday afternoon to pick up 290 points toward the world standings and extend his lead on Matt Triplett to 295 points.

“The points and (my performance) in the event is very good, but it is a long season,” Vieira said.

Vieira earned 60 points for placing second in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round with a tough 88-point ride aboard Americana that left the 30-year-old gasping for air.

The world leader revealed that in Round 1 he suffered an injury to his right ribs when Rusty slammed him against the inside of the bucking chute.

“I was short of breath because of my ribs,” Vieira said. “I hurt them yesterday.”

Vieira decided to ride Sunday instead of sitting out the final day of competition.

It proved to be extremely valuable with No. 2 Triplett (torn MCL), No. 3 Valdiron de Oliveira (flu-like symptoms) and No. 4 Silvano Alves (left hip injury) not competing because of injuries.

Vieira rode Springer Mountain in Round 2 for 84.75 points to finish third in the round and earn 50 points toward the world standings. The ride was also enough to get him into the championship round, where he selected Americana with the 10th pick in the draft.

The 2013 Rookie of the Year finished the weekend third in the event average for an additional 180 points that placed him third overall.

The 290 total points Vieira earned not only helped him open up his lead on Triplett, but he, Guilherme Marchi (590) and Reese Cates (60) were the only riders inside the Top 10 of the world standings to earn any world points in either the DeWalt Guaranteed Tough Invitational or the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

Marchi wins his second BFTS event of 2015 with help of instant replay

Marchi used a challenge during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round to help get an opportunity to win his second BFTS event this season.

Marchi originally bucked off Crystal Can Do in 6.98 seconds, but the 32-year-old believed that the bovine athlete had hipped himself leaving the bucking chute.

Therefore, Marchi hit the challenge button next to the out gate and waited for a decision.

“I thought I would get one because I felt the bull kind of lose balance,” Marchi said. “I knew the re-ride bull was a real good bull, so I said I am going to try and I will see if they will give it to me. It worked out today.”

Upon further review, Marchi was awarded a re-ride and he was given a gift of a re-ride bull in King Buck.

Marchi rode King Buck, who he previously rode for 87 points at the Ty Murray Invitational last month, for 89.25 points to jump ahead of Mason Lowe in the event average and eventually win his second event of the season.

“I feel so proud,” Marchi said. “I dedicate a lot of time at home to my family and I take off last week and I think that worked for me. I got to rest a little bit.”

Marchi was the only rider to cover all three of his bulls after riding Gnarly Head for 84.5 points in Round 1 on Saturday night and Buffalo Jump for 70 points in Round 2 on Saturday. Marchi turned down an option at a re-ride in the second round.

Nampa is the 22nd victory of his 12-year career.

The 2008 World Champion is now the No. 5 bull rider in the world standings and trails Vieira by 795 points after beginning the weekend in ninth.

“I am proud to win this event,” Marchi concluded. “It is hard to explain to you guys how much fun it is to win events in America against all of the best bull riders in the world.”

21-year-old Lowe wins first BFTS round of career

Lowe began the weekend as an alternate rider in Nampa and was the No. 38 bull rider in the world standings.

The 21-year-old used a 2-for-3 performance, and his first BFTS round victory, to leave the Ford Idaho Center ranked 22nd in the world standings and have a guaranteed spot in the draw for next weekend’s event in Billings, Montana.

It is why even though Lowe was truly upset about missing out on his first career victory after bucking off Little Red Jacket in 4.51 seconds during the championship round, he still understood how important this weekend was in regards to the big picture.

“There is still next time,” Lowe said. “I was a little upset after I got off, but in the end you just blow it off and go into next week. I was kind of waiting on a call every week and now I have a spot on tour. Hopefully, it will all work out and I will stay on there.”

Lowe earned 100 of his 375 total points toward the world standings with a career-high 87.5-point ride on Big Sky to win the second round.

“Shoot, I am feeling good,” Lowe said. “I kind of got a rough out there and he started kind of balling up in the front. As soon as I came out there, I just had to gather him up and keep going with it.”

Lowe had previously earned 35 points in Round 1 for his 86-point ride on that put him in a tie for fourth place with Douglas Duncan.

The Exeter, Missouri, bull rider earned 240 points for finishing second in the event average and finished a career-high second overall.

Rounding out the Top 5 behind Marchi, Lowe and Vieira was Tanner Byrne (165 points) and Kasey Hayes (145 points).

Injury Updates

While there were no further official injury updates from Dr. Tandy Freeman regarding L.J. Jenkins and his C-1 fracture in the first round on Saturday night, Jenkins did post a message on his Facebook account updating family, friends and fans of his status:

“Just want to say thank you for all of the comments and concerns,” Jenkins wrote. “All of the support means the world to me. I’m now on the road to recovery and finally made it to the hotel room. I’m not going to rush a return, but I’ll hopefully be back for Tulsa. Gotta give big thanks to the best girl in the world Christen (Jenkins’ fiancé) for being by my side the whole time. I love U!”

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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