LAS VEGAS – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Built Ford Tough World Finals on Wednesday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Bruiser goes for less than 45 points
H.D. Page leaned against the wall back behind the bucking chutes and let out a sigh.
He knew Bruiser let a golden opportunity slip away to jump ahead in the World Champion Bull race during Round 1.
Bruiser was marked 44.75 points for a 2.94-second buckoff of Eduardo Aparecido in the opening section of the 2015 World Finals.
Page was happy with his bovine athlete’s effort, but he understood the out wasn’t going to do him any favors in winning a World Champion Bull title for the first time since 2006 (Mossy Oak Mudslinger).
“He bucked hard, but it wasn’t his best day,” Page said. “I am pleased with the way he bucked. I needed a 46 or 47 to be in the world title race, but he didn’t get it.”
Eduardo Aparecido said before the event he hoped to be 93.5 points on Bruiser. However, Aparecido was left with a rough buckoff and slammed his bull rope against the wall inside the Hallway of Champions on his way out of the arena.
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert believes Bruiser is not out of the race for a world title.
“I thought Bruiser was really good,” Lambert said. “I didn’t think he was the best bull out. He still kept himself in contention for a championship, but I thought Brutus was amazing as far as I was concerned.”
Brutus bucked off Kasey Hayes in 3.01 seconds for a bull score of 43.25 points.
Page also has SweetPro’s Long John and Stone Sober in the running for the World Champion Bull.
Long John has drawn Alexandre Cardozo and Stone Sober takes on Douglas Duncan.
“I am not out of it yet,” Page said. “It is kind of like picking your favorite kid. On their day, they can all be the champ. It all boils down to these two trips. They are all talented bulls. There are just a lot of variables to get those 46-point or 47-point scores.”
Lowe and Davis record first career rides at World Finals
If not for J.B. Mauney’s 91-point Round 1 winner, Cooper Davis would have won Round 1 with his 89-point ride on Dakota Style’s Hy Test.
Davis was awarded a re-ride on Hy Test after Buck Autism was called for a foul earlier in Round 1.
“Shoot, I was really excited about the first one and it didn’t work out,” Davis said. “I was a little bit bummed out about it, but now I couldn’t be happier. (Hy Test) was around the left kind of moving away like I expected him to do. He tried to mess me up there at the end, but I wasn’t quitting until my head hit the ground.”
Davis earned 120 points for the second-place finish and moves from 16th in the world to 12th.
Mason Lowe recorded the first qualified ride of the 2015 World Finals, which was also the first of his career.
The 22-year-old from Exeter, Missouri, whipped his cowboy hat high into the air with a hint of velocity and glared at Gangster Bucks following his 85.5-point ride.
“I was excited to have that bull,” Lowe said. “I rode him, but I don’t know what I did. I am just fired up. I have a good feeling about this the last two weeks.”
The No. 18 ranked rider in the world standings finished fourth in the round for 80 world points.
Davis won the 2013 PRCA Rookie of the Year title inside the Thomas & Mack Center during the National Finals Rodeo and understands the importance of getting a ride under his belt immediately during such a big event like the World Finals.
“From what I have learned in the Thomas & Mack, the first one after that you can get on a roll and be confident the rest of the time. That is a good start and if everything keeps going the way it is, hopefully we will come out on top.”
Lowe agreed, “I think it will be. I wasn’t nervous that I was going to buck off or anything. All the light and everything is there, but I ahvent really ever gotten nervous since I got here (BFTS).
Mauney extends world lead with 63rd career 90-point ride
J.B. Mauney knows the easiest way to win his second career gold buckle is by winning the 2015 World Finals event average and he made another giant step toward both goals on Wednesday.
He made easy work of Wicked Stick for 91 points to win Round 1 and extend his lead atop the world standings to 1,515 points on No. 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira and to 1,522.5 points on No. 3 Kaique Pacheco.
Mauney ferociously threw his free arm for every step of the 8-second ride.
“I had to,” Mauney said. “I was kind of out of shape and that bull was kind of changing things up a little bit and it felt like he was coming back up under himself and kind of wanted me down on his head. I just let it all hang out. I knew if I did my job, we could win the round.”
The ride also eliminated Matt Triplett, who was bucked off by Cracker Jack in 2.37 seconds, from the world title race.
Mauney wins $30,000 for taking home first in the round.
Rounding out the Top 5 in Round 1 was Davis, Fabiano Vieira (86.75 points on Crazy Days), Davis, Lachlan Richardson (84.75 points on For Play) and Cody Nance (84.75 points on Little Tim’s All Nighter).
There were eight qualified rides Wednesday night.
Bonner Bolton rode Screamer (73.25 points) for his first career ride at Finals.
Fabiano Vieira earned 100 points for finishing third in the round to move ahead of J.W. Harris (2.92 seconds on Red Cloud) for fifth in the world standings.
Nance and Richardson each picked up 30 world points. Nance moved one spot in the world standings to 10th, and Richardson moves up to 36th.
The points are important for Richardson, who now trails No. 35 Duncan.
Riders ranked 31-35 in the world standings are guaranteed five BFTS events in 2016 before being subject to the BFTS cutline.
Joao Ricardo Vieira had ridden Pile Driver for 74.75 points, but turned down the score for a re-ride attempt against Cowboy Up. The 2013 Rookie of the Year was bucked off in 4.85 seconds.
Pacheco appeared to have a qualified ride on Chocolate Shake, but a slow-motion review showed that the 21-year-old slapped the bull’s horn.
The two buckoffs puts Mauney at an even greater advantage heading into Round 2 seeing as he not only has a 1,500-point lead, but is also a bull ahead in the race for earning points in the event average.
“That is what I come here for,” Mauney said. “I am not looking at winning the world right now or anything like that. This is an event. If you win that, the rest will take care of itself.”
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Luis Blanco sustained a broken right ankle when he was stepped on by Cowtown Rock in Round 1. Blanco was transported to University Medical Hospital Trauma Center for surgery.
He is out of competition for 8-12 weeks.
This injury to Blanco opens the door for alternate David Mason to compete in Rounds 2-5.
Chase Outlaw sprained his right knee following his 84-point ride on Spin Machine.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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