NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Here are three things we learned from the Jack Daniel’s Invitational this weekend at Bridgestone Arena.
1. Outlaw wins first event in over two years
It had been more than two years since Chase Outlaw got to stand atop the shark cage following a Built Ford Tough Series event until Saturday night when the 22-year-old from Hamburg, Arkansas, stole the show from world title contender Silvano Alves by riding Mr. Bull for 89.25 points in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
“That is the best feeling being up there,” Outlaw said. “I was just starting to get down on myself. I would ride a bull and buck off the rest. As soon as I pulled out of Thackerville last week I said ‘no excuse, if you want to make the Finals you better start riding.’”
Outlaw had to dial in during his final attempt of the night after a rearing Mr. Bull bucked him off inside the chute during Outlaw’s pre-ride routine.
“I haven’t had too many try and flip over backwards on me before,” Outlaw said. “Once he did, I was like get me the hell up out of here. We will restart.”
He coolly climbed back aboard the bovine and once the gate opened he found a comfortable seat to earn that long-awaited second career victory.
“Man, that son of a gun was spinning so fast. All I kept thinking was don’t quit, keep pumping,” he said.
The victory pushes him to 19th in the world standings. He finished with 262 points with a career-high tying three rides in one event after riding Pistols & Roses (87 points) and Pay It Forward (85.75) in Rounds 1 and 2.
Rounding out the Top 5 were Silvano Alves (259.25), Markus Mariluch(179.75), Fabiano Vieira (173.25) and Brady Sims (167.25).
2. Alves hitting championship stride
A fired up Alves brought his A-game to Nashville and capped his 3-for-3, second-place performance by riding Rango for 92.25 points in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round. It was his first 90-plus ride of the season and also his third second-place finish of 2014.
It was the second meeting between the two-time World Champion and Rango after Alves rode him for 89.5 points in Fresno, California, earlier this season.
“He is a good bull to draw,” Alves said. “I ride him one-time before break and he was good. I got a good score and a good ride today.”
The matchup was one of five rematches – Gage Gay vs. Raven Flyer; Cody Nance vs. Bushwacker; Markus Mariluch vs. Jack Daniel’s After Party;Fabiano Vieira vs. Smackdown – on Saturday night in the championship round.
Even with a hyperextended elbow, Mariluch set a career-high by conquering Jack Daniel’s After Party for 90.25 points in the out before Alves’ match against Rango.
“I just had to power through and it felt good,” he said. “He was really wanting me down on his head. Last time he felt like a pillow underneath me, but today he tried me and I felt good.”
Mariluch previously rode the bull for 89.5 points this past May in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Alves, who also rode Sue for 79.5 points and Delco for 87.5 points, moves to within 360 points of leader Guilherme Marchi, who finished tied for ninth place in the event average, and is up to fourth in the world standings.
3. Bushwacker and Mick E Mouse earn 46 points
Cody Nance’s fourth meeting with Bushwacker ended just as it had on every other occasion after the Paris, Tennessee, bull rider was bucked off in 4.88 seconds with everyone inside Bridgestone Arena standing and cheering him on.
Bushwacker was marked 46 points, giving him three consecutive outs of being marked 46 points or higher.
However, he had to share the top bull score of the night with Mick E Mouseafter Marlene Henry’s bull put forth 46 points as well after taking care of Matt Triplett in 3.43 seconds.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.
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