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Behind the Chutes: Seattle, Day 2

By: Justin Felisko March 29, 2015 @ 02:00:00 PM

SEATTLE – Here are three things we learned following the Seattle Invitational this weekend at KeyArena.

Victory pushups for Oliveira

Valdiron de Oliveira jumped onto the dirt inside KeyArena, looked toward PBR Entertainer Flint Rasmussen and began doing pushups in unison with Rasmussen after an instant replay showed that he had not slapped Big Cool in the championship round and he had earned his first event win since the Battle at the Beau in Biloxi, Mississippi, last October.

He may be 35 years old, but Oliveira can still rip off a set of pushups with his eyes closed, and he proved in Seattle that this veteran BFTS rider still has what it takes to compete with the young guns on the PBR circuit.

Oliveira was awarded 86.75 points for 8 seconds of work on Big Cool.

“Well, I had seen this bull the first day and Cooper (Davis) scored 89 points on him,” Oliveira said. “He is a good bull. I asked the contractor (if I should pick him) and he told me ‘I don’t know because the bull may turn back to the left and turn the other way at 5 or 6 seconds.’ I said, ‘That is alright, I wanted to pick this bull.’”

Big Cool did indeed turn back on Oliveira and brought the Brazilian bull rider close to the bucking chutes in a last ditch effort to try and get him off his back to no avail.

“I come this morning and all day in my mind I was thinking if I make the short go, I am picking this bull,” Oliveira added.

Oliveira used a pair of 86.75-point rides in Round 1 (Long Haired Outlaw) and Round 2 (Say I Won’t Playboy) to be able to select Big Cool in the championship round draft.

Davis had ridden Big Cool to win Round 1 on Friday.

Oliveira earned a total of 510 points to win the event and moved up to third in the world standings after beginning the weekend in seventh. Oliveira received 400 points for winning the event average, 60 points for finishing second in Round 2 and 50 point for placing third in Round 1.

L.J. Jenkins (300), Vieira (240), Silvano Alves (220) and Nathan Schaper (155) rounded out the Top 5.

“I am very happy this year because I am not too young anymore,” Oliveira said. “I am almost 36 years old, but I feel like I am young. I am very happy because I ride very, good and I stay focused.”

Vieira wins best championship round of 2015, takes over world lead

There is a new No. 1 bull rider in the world following an exciting Built Ford Tough Championship Round on Saturday night in the Evergreen State.

Joao Ricardo Vieira bounced back from his 3.85-second buckoff against Cowboy Up in the second round to ride Walk Off for an event-best and season-high 92.25 points to win a championship round featuring eight qualified rides – the most at a BFTS event this season.

Vieira was credited with 100 points for the championship round win and he finished fourth overall in the event average for an additional 105 points.

Therefore, Vieira will head into the Built Ford Tough Series bye week with a five-point lead on Matt Triplett, who missed Seattle with a torn left MCL, after earning a total of 390 points.

Vieira’s five-point lead is the fewest by any world leader this season and ends Triplett’s eight-week reign atop the standings.

Two-time World Champion and CBS Sports Network commentator Justin McBride tipped his hat to the new world leader.

“You know what, I am always hammering about how Joao doesn’t ride bulls very good to the right, but you give credit where credit is due,” McBride said. “He rides bulls outstanding to the left and if you are going to have trouble with bulls that go one way, when you get them that go your way you take advantage of it. He did.”

Even though Vieira bucked off Cowboy Up away from his hand, McBride still thinks the 30-year-old can make the proper adjustments with practice.

“I think he will get it figured out in the other direction,” he added. “He is going in the right direction any way because he knows there is a problem. He has admitted that. He has pinpointed what the problem is. That guy is a real contender.”

The championship round featured a variety of highlight moments beyond Vieira or Valdiron de Oliviera riding Big Cool for 86.75 points to win the event title.

Guilherme Marchi finished second in the round with a 90.5-point ride on Calypso, gaining 60 points toward the world standings, and Shane Proctor became the second rider to conquer Beaver Creek Beau by making the 8-second mark for 89.75 points and a third-place finish. Proctor earned 50 points toward the standings.

“This is as good a championship round that we have seen in several years I feel like and it comes at a hard point in the season,” McBride said. “We are talking about guys being banged up. They are sore, they are tired. They want to go home. They did not show it. They stepped up to the plate.”

Beyond all of the qualified rides, the biggest moment may have beenSmooth Operator once again making J.W. Harris look like a rag doll when he bucked off the 2014 PBR Rookie of the Year in just 2.44 seconds.

It was the second time in less than 24 hours that the two World Champion contenders collided after meeting during the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Friday night.

Smooth Operator was marked 46.5 points on Saturday night after being awarded 46 points Friday for his 3.33-second buckoff of Harris.

“I’m going to say he could have been 47 and he is that rank,” Berger said. “I love that bull. He manhandled him today and he made a statement in Washington.”

Schaper takes Round 2 title

Nathan Schaper was able to make a last second adjustment against Cash Ya Out to win Round 2 with an 88.75-point ride after the bull tried re-directing on the 24-year-old bull rider from Grassy Butte, North Dakota.

“It was just complete reaction when he went back the other way and I picked him right up again,” Schaper said. “That is when you feel good. When you are reacting and it just happens so good.”

Schaper explained that he went into the bull ride knowing that he had to sit up more than normal after previously getting on Cash Ya Out in Albuquerque, New Mexico, last weekend.

“If they are going to suck back a little bit, you need to sit up right out of there a little more instead of going forward so much,” Schaper added. “I had a little bit of a plan to just sit up and stick my chest out a little bit.”

It is the second-highest scored ride for Schaper this season behind his 89-point ride on Long John in Kansas City, Missouri.

The 110 total points he earned overall puts him 10th in the world standings heading into the off week.

“I like being scored that high,” Schaper said with a smile. “It is always good being 88, 89, 90 in the long round. He is a bigger bull and I am bigger too. When I ride a little bull sometimes I am not many points I don’t think because my size takes a lot of weight from them compared to a little guy, so it always helps getting on a bigger bull.”

Injury updates

Rubens Barbosa did not compete in the championship round because of temporary numbness in both arms and legs after landing hard when he was thrown from Snake Face in 6.12 seconds during the second round.

According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, he is questionable for Nampa, Idaho, pending additional evaluation.

Ben Jones also did not compete in the championship round because of a cervical strain sustained when he landed on the side of his head during his Round 2 buckoff against Do Wacka Do.

He is probable for Nampa.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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