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Behind the Chutes: Nashville, Day 1

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Here are three things we learned from Rounds 1 & 2 of the Jack Daniel’s Music City Knockout on Friday night at Bridgestone Arena.

Nance sitting in position at earning bid for Second Chance Bracket

Cody Nance received a huge ovation from his hometown crowd during introductions on Friday night and was greeted with an even larger one when he rode I Get That for 86.75 points to advance out of Round 1.

“It is exciting to have my home crowd behind me,” said the Paris, Tennessee, bull rider. “I was thinking about this home crowd earlier and how loud they cheered for me. I am always getting fan mail talking about how they are praying for me, behind me and always rooting for me. I am going to take that with me through the rest of the year because it doesn’t matter if I am here or anywhere else, I know they are feeling the same way.”

The crowd later groaned as Nance was bucked off by Bad Touch in 7.13 seconds in Round 2. J.W. Harris eliminated Nance with his 83.5-point ride aboard Little Gremlin.

However, things are not over for Nance as he is currently sitting tied for second in the event average with Stetson Lawrence and is the first qualifier for Saturday night’s Second Chance Bracket.

While Nance may drop in the Second Chance Bracket rankings depending on how the final 16 riders perform in Rounds 3 and 4, he has a good opportunity at earning one of the eight bids.

“My second one didn’t go as hot,” Nance said. “I am happy I get to ride again tomorrow.”

Nance added he is not intimidated or fazed by the rankest bulls, such asJared Allen’s Air Time, Smooth Operator and Little Red Jacket, that are waiting in the Second Chance Bracket.

“I see a lot of great bulls,” Nance said. “Heck, it doesn’t matter.”

World leaders show up for PBR Major

World No. 3 Matt Triplett posted the high-marked ride of the night with an 88-point ride aboard Going Fast in Round 2 to eliminate Eduardo Aparecido (3.55 seconds on Bluegrass).

He was one of seven Top 10 riders to advance out of night one of the 36-rider field and into Round 3 on Saturday night.

“All I can say is it is about time I switched it around,” Triplett said. “The beginning of this half was brutal for me. It was just nice to get a solid bull ride.”

With the top-marked ride, Triplett is also leading the way for the Ride Score Championship, which awards the rider who has the highest aggregate score with 240 world points and $50,000.

If Triplett were to sweep the event championship and ride score title, he could possibly win over $125,000 and get to within 102.5 points of Joao Ricardo Vieira if the world leader doesn’t advance into Round 4.

“This event is huge,” Triplett said. “We get more points and I don’t know. There is so much of the year left and so much opportunity. When you go to over thinking it you slip and you just don’t do as good.”

Triplett had his right-hand wrapped with ice following the event.

“It is fine,” he said. “I am just icing it, babying it and taking care of it.”

Trailing Triplett in the event average is Nance (86.75 points), Stetson Lawrence (86.75 points) and Gage Gay (86.5 points). Tanner ByrneChase Outlaw, Robson Aragao and Eduardo Aparacido are all tied for fifth in average.

Other than Byrne, all four other riders have been eliminated and are waiting to see if they will qualify for the Second Chance Bracket following Round 4.

Vieira is very much alive in Nashville despite his 6.15-second buckoff in Round 2. Vieira’s time was enough to get past Outlaw (5.13 seconds on Nefarious).

World No. 2 J.B. Mauney also advanced via buck-off time after lasting 7.37 seconds on Heat Seeker. Mauney used a smart challenge to increase his buck-off time by 1 second and put added pressure on Gay.

Gay, who had rode Gold Rush for 86.5 points in Round 1 to eliminate Kasey Hayes (4.09 seconds on Superstition), was bucked off by Tom Horn in 5.49 seconds.

Other Top 10 riders in the world standings advancing to the third round were Kaique Pacheco (84.25 points on Blues Man to defeat Aaron Roy), Nathan Schaper (6.08 seconds on Highway Man to eliminate Brady Sims), Fabiano Vieira (79.5 points on Circle City to defeat Robson Aragao) and Reese Cates (4.55 seconds to eliminate Robson Palermo).

Three-time World Champion and world No. 10 Silvano Alves was bucked off by his re-ride bull Hy Test in 2.49 seconds and is likely done for the weekend.

Tanner Byrne eliminated him with an 85.75-point ride on Panhead.

Proctor and Lawrence ready to take on world leaders

Shane Proctor joked he is Gonzaga, while Lawrence immediately said he wasn’t facing Mauney on Saturday night.

Lawrence, who rode Fire Bender for 86.75 points in Round 2 and eliminated Douglas Duncan (6.99 seconds on More Big Bucks), will face Mauney in Round 3.

“It was a solid bull and a good one to get underneath my belt and to move on and stay confident more than anything,” Lawrence said. “I just like these Majors. I don’t know why, but it seems to make me bring my A game out.”

Lawrence has finished second at both PBR Majors (Iron Cowboy and Last Cowboy Standing) earlier this season.

The Williston, North Dakota, bull rider said he just needs to take care of business against Joe The Grinder and the rest will take care of itself.

“I ain’t facing (Mauney), I am facing Joe The Grinder,” Lawrence said. “Honestly, I have to ride my bull before him. It is all about me. I can’t hope he is going to fall off or anything. I just need to do my job and let the cards fall where they are.”

Proctor is set to square off against Joao Ricardo Vieira after he rode Big Tex Rocks for 82 points to eliminate Mike Lee (4.98 seconds on Off The Grid) in the second round.

It was a solid bounce back by Proctor after the 30-year-old slammed his fist onto a water cooler following his 5-second buckoff against Closing Time in Round 1. Luckily for Proctor, Alexandre Cardozo had lasted only 4.77 seconds on Hot Iron.

“I was real pissed,” Proctor said. “He was just a real good bull I should have rode. He was just kind of twitchy in the box there and I put my hand to far in the center and my rope started coming over his back right out of there. That is just my fault instead of slowing down and taking care of what I needed to do. I tried to hustle through it and cowboy up. Instead, I just needed to calm down and finish the job.”

Proctor was able to do that in Round 2 and now will look to build off his 82-point ride on Big Tex Rocks when he faces Ranga in Round 3.

“Shoot, with this format I am just comparing myself to Gonzaga,” said the Grand Coulee, Washington, native. “They are always that Cinderella story when they go into those college basketball Finals so maybe it will work out for me too.”

INJURY UPDATES

According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Mason Lowe bruised his pelvis when he struck a gate post while hung up to Soldier’s Pride in Round 1.

Ben Jones sustained a facial fracture (right maxilla) when he was kicked after being thrown off by Mug Shot in the first round.

Outlaw sprained his left shoulder (riding arm) when he was thrown from Nefarious in Round 2 and landed on his elbow with his arm outstretched.

Schaper had brief numbness in his right leg after sustaining a bruised peroneal nerve (neuropraxia) after Highway Man stepped on him.

Guilherme Marchi aggravated a left PCL sprain attempting to ride Alligator Arms in Round 2.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.

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