By: Justin Felisko
April 20, 2018
BILLINGS, Mont. – Luciano de Castro’s bid as the world No. 1 bull rider was short lived last week as he was knocked out of competition by Dusty’s Revenge in the second round of the Tacoma Invitational.
Castro wound up slipping to third in the standings in his first event back from a torn right MCL, but the 21-year-old showed in Round 1 that his leg was not going to be an issue for him going forward.
The second-year pro rode Beast of Burden for 88.75 points to win the round and become the No. 1 bull rider in the world for the first time in his career.
“The day I hurt my knee was really sad and disappointed,” Castro said with the help of Paulo Crimber translating. “I was getting real close to getting the No. 1 position and I was riding really well. Everything was going in the right direction. When I got home, I just prayed and got my heart calmed down and just realized what is meant to be is what will be. It is God’s will.”
Castro was held out of the championship round in Tacoma after he bucked off Dusty’s Revenge in 3.61 seconds and sustained a concussion.
The Guzolandia, Brazil, native heads into this weekend’s Stanley Performance In Action Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, still only 295 points behind world leader Ramon de Lima.
Castro has posted a Top-5 finish in four of his last six events.
He faces Freckles Round 1 on Friday night at Rimrock Auto Arena.
“This guy needs to get over the injuries and stay healthy because there is nothing to be nervous about his bull riding,” two-time World Champion Justin McBride said on CBS last weekend.
Fans can watch every round of competition live on CBS Sports Network, while the 15/15 Bucking Battle airs Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on CBS.
Castro admitted that it was surprising that he did not drop in the standings despite having to miss two events. He was second in the world standings at the time of his injury during his 87-point ride on Acting Crazy at the Ty Murray Invitational.
“I thought I was going to lose a few spots in the standings, but I guess I had been quite a few points ahead,” Castro said with the help of Paulo Crimber translating. “I am excited to still be in the top.”
After winning Round 1, Castro called it a “special night” and how as a kid growing up in Brazil he had always dreamed of one day being announced as the No. 1 bull rider in the world.
“It is going to be a little bit more pressure being in the No. 1 position,” Castro said. “But I have to worry about riding for people and just worry about myself. If I jump to No. 1, I will keep riding as if I was the No. 2 guy.”
The night started with some fear, though.
Castro admitted before the event that he was nervous of how his leg would hold up in the arena.
It was the first time he ever had to ride with a knee brace, and he had never tore a ligament in his knee. Friends told him that his first ride back would be similar to having someone stab his leg with a knife.
Castro rehabbed and strengthened his knee at Fit-N-Wise Rehabilitation and Performance Center in Decatur, Texas.
“I was a little nervous because working out at the gym, it doesn’t matter how much weight you lift or whatever you do,” Castro said. “It is not the same as riding a 1,500-pound bull. I know I will feel something, but I was trying to prepare myself to not let that interfere with my riding.”
It did not and Castro was able to pick up his fourth round win of 2018. Castro’s last round win came when he won the North Little, Arkansas, event with a 91.75-point ride on Big Dutch last month.
Castro is 17-for-33 (51.52 percent) in 12 events.
“It has been great,” Castro concluded. “I have been exercising and working out. Sports medicine taped my knee. Everything is looking good.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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