SEATTLE – Injuries have begun to pile up through the first 12 Built Ford Tough Series events of 2015 and that has opened up the door for eight alternates to try and crack the Top 30 of the world standings this weekend at the Seattle Invitational.
Rubens Barbosa, Bryan Titman, Robson Aragao, Douglas Duncan, Lachlan Richardson, Alexandre Cardozo, Mason Lowe and Austin Meier are all separated by just 86.25 points in the world standings and will be competing at KeyArena as alternates.
Barbosa (31st) trails No. 30 Sean Willingham by 3.75 points, while Meier (39th) sits 110 points behind Willingham.
Willingham takes on BFTS-debut bull Crazy Bull in Round 1 and Cowtown Slinger (17-11, BFTS) in Round 2 as he tries to stay within the Top 30.
Cowtown Slinger has been ridden in four of his past six outs. He bucked off Ivan Sells last week in 3.85 seconds.
Markus Mariluch will be making his 2015 debut after undergoing season-ending surgery on his torn right biceps last September. With his 22nd finish in the 2014 world standings, Mariluch will be guaranteed eight BFTS events before being subject to relegation to the BlueDEF Velocity Tour and Touring Pro Division.
Mariluch has drawn I Got This (0-0, BFTS) in Round 1 and More Big Bucks (4-7, BFTS) in Round 2. Nathan Schaper had ridden More Big Bucks for 83.75 points last weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Tanner Byrne, the No. 21 bull rider in the world standings, is returning to the BFTS after taking a week off to rest his injured riding thumb. The decision to skip the Ty Murray Invitational cost Byrne a chance to compete in this weekend’s 15/15 Bucking Battle, but the caution should help Byrne have ample opportunities at KeyArena to make up ground.
Byrne will first take on Uptown Funk (0-0, BFTS) in Round 1 on Friday night and then Rock River Red (21-5, BFTS) in Round 2 Saturday. Rock River Red has been ridden in two of his past three outs, including an 84.5-point ride by Matt Triplett.
Aaron Roy is also back for Seattle after missing the Ty Murray Invitational because of personal reasons. Roy faces One Bad Cat (0-0, BFTS) in Round 1 and Foooe Shoooow (2-1, BFTS) in Round 2. Valdiron de Oliveira rode the bovine for 80.25 points in Kansas City, Missouri, this season.
Joao Ricardo Vieira enters Seattle just 385 points behind Triplett, who is out with a torn left MCL, and will try to gain ground in the world title race when he attempts to ride Bottle Rocket (0-0, BFTS) in Round 1 and Cowboy Up (3-3, BFTS) in Round 2. Oliveira rode Cowboy Up for 86 points to finish Round 2 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in fourth place.
The only rematch in Round 1 is Schaper against Red Hawk. Schaper bucked off Red Hawk in 5.97 seconds during Round 3 of the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
There are seven rematches in Round 2: Duncan vs. Dr. Love; Guilherme Marchi vs. Joe The Grinder; Mike Lee vs. Breakdown; Schaper vs. Cash Ya Out; Silvano Alves vs. Barstool Mountain; Stetson Lawrence vs. Vetex’s Get Smacked and Stormy Wing vs. Nefarious.
Marchi (86.25 points), Lee (87.25) and Alves (84.75) won their previous matchups.
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