Behind the Chutes: Oklahoma City, Day 1

OKLAHOMA CITY – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Express Employment Professionals Invitational on Friday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Mauney dealing with groin injury, still splits Round 1 with Triplett

There wasn’t much time for J.B. Mauney to celebrate his 89-point ride on Uncle Tink during the last section of Round 1.

The primary emotion coming from Mauney was a grimacing look of pain as the 2013 World Champion bull rider grabbed at his left groin.

“The inside of my groin is pretty banged up,” Mauney said. “(Crack the Whip) kind of hooked me right alongside the leg (in New York), so when I squeeze my legs on the bull it makes it a little tender. This week I was sore and after about Tuesday, Wednesday it got to where I was moving around fine and felt good.

“Getting on them bulls sores it up pretty good.”

A score on the board is the best cure, says Mauney.

“Anytime you can be 89 points, it don’t matter how bad you are going to hurt,” he added. “You are going to be happy about it.”

Mauney’s last 18 BFTS rides have all been scored 85 points or higher.

Sharing the round win with Mauney on Friday night was Matt Triplett. The 23-year-old covered Spin Machine just minutes following Mauney’s ride. Both riders earned 80 event points for splitting the round win, which also carry over to the world standings.

“He has what it takes,” Mauney said. “I like his style. He tries his guts out every time. That is all it takes to be a bull rider. You have to try hard.”

Triplett called it “remarkable” to share the round win with a rider that he grew up idolizing and watching on television.

“It is just awesome to share a stage with one my heroes,” Triplett said. “I have always looked up to J.B. watching him ride all my life. Being able to call him one of my buddies is just remarkable. I look up to him and he is a hero. He rides the rankest bulls in the world and makes it look stupid easy.”

Renato Nunes placed third with 88.25 points on Brass Rain and earned 50 event points. Harve Stewart earned 40 points in the world standings with a fourth-place finish due to his 87.5-point ride aboard Chantilly Lace.

Stetson Lawrence earned 30 points for riding Destination Unknown for 87 points.

Brutus named high-marked bull of Round 1

H.D. Page had high praise for Brutus during the Denver Touring Pro Division Finals and believed that the PBR and fans had yet to see the best from his ABBI Classic bull.

Well, on Friday night Brutus gave everyone, especially Tanner Byrne, a preview of what he can do on the Built Ford Tough Series.

Brutus turned out of the gate and used his rear strength to toss the 6-foot-4 second-year bull rider to the ground in 2.34 seconds and earn a round-winning bull score of 45.75 points.

“Since he has been a calf he has had that big rear drop and kick out of there and he has never lost it,” Page said. “He has just gotten stronger and has never lost his athleticism. I had high hopes that he was going to turn out like he has, but so far I am really pleased with him.”

Page really thought Byrne was going to make it around the corner on Brutus and give the bovine athlete a chance to show the judges a little more.

Regardless, he still showed enough.

“Somebody will get him warmed up and ride him, that is when you will really see what he has inside maybe,” Page said. “So far I am tickled.”

Friday was Brutus’ second out on the BFTS. He bucked off Claudio Crisostomo in 3.99 seconds last season in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Page said he also thinks Brutus is a little overweight from the winter break and he should shed some pounds in the coming weeks.

Brutus beat out another one of Page’s bulls on Friday night. Bruiser was marked 44.75 points for bucking off four-time PRCA champion J.W. Harris in 4.29 seconds.

The two bulls flip-flopped their positions following last week’s outs in Fort Worth, Texas, where Bruiser beat out Brutus for the high-marked bull.

Alves record streak comes to a halt

Reigning World Champion Silvano Alves saw his PBR record consecutive ride streak officially end at 24 when Big Dip surprised the Oklahoma City crowd and dispatched the 27-year-old in 2.65 seconds.

Alves felt Big Dip hipped himself leaving the chute, but upon further review the call on the dirt was upheld.

It is Alves’ first buckoff since Panterror took care of him in 5.86 seconds in Oakland, California, last October. He also hadn’t failed to make 8 seconds in the first round of a BFTS event since Sept. 12, 2014, when Diesel displaced him in 5.01 seconds.

The world leader will have a chance to get a score on the board Saturday night in Round 2 against Deja Voodoo.

Injury Updates:

While not officially an injury update from Dr. Tandy Freeman, there were a few riders dealing with a stomach virus this week.

Stormy Wing, Douglas Duncan and Sean Willingham all said they were hit with some sort of virus during the week. However, a ghost-white Wing was the one feeling major effects still on Friday night.

Still, Wing was able to battle through the symptoms and ride Minnie’s Money for 79.75 points. He was awarded a re-ride, but the Dalhart, Texas, native decided to keep his score.

Duncan finished Round 1 in sixth place after riding Painkiller for 86.5 points.

It was a tough night for Josh Faircloth, who broke his left ankle when Crazy Days stepped on him while he was hung up after his 4.49-second buckoff.

Faircloth is out for the remainder of the event and is expected to undergo surgery this week.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.

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