By: Justin Felisko
January 13, 2019
CHICAGO – 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis could have selected a familiar foe during the championship round draft at the Chicago Invitational on Sunday afternoon and look for a rematch against Smooth Operator.
Instead of trying to duplicate his 93.75-point effort aboard Smooth Operator from last year, Davis elected to challenge Speed Demon and the bovine athlete’s streak of 22 consecutive premier series buckoffs (36 overall).
The matchup became almost a no contest.
Davis went on to ride Speed Demon, one of the toughest bulls to ride in the PBR, for 90.5 points to split the championship round victory with event winner Jess Lockwood (90.5 points on Rising Sun) at Allstate Arena.
“He is a bull I got on last year and rode him right to the whistle and I ended up slapping him at 7.9 or something like that, so I knew I could get by him if I could keep my hand in there,” Davis said. “He is a really good bull and I am happy to ride him.”
Speed Demon had bucked Davis off last year in 7.85 seconds in Springfield, Missouri.
The following week is when Davis conquered Smooth Operator for 93.75 points in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Smooth Operator then bucked Davis off in 7.74 seconds at the 2018 PBR World Finals.
“Smooth Operator is one that if you are on your game, he shouldn’t buck you off, in my mind,” Davis said. “I switched it up and went with Speed Demon and it wasn’t a bad choice.”
Eduardo Aparecido was the last bull rider to reach the 8 seconds on Speed Demon. It had almost been two years since that 91.25-point ride at the 2017 Ty Murray Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on March 19, 2017.
Only one other rider in 47 career outs has ridden Speed Demon. 2018 Rookie of the Year Keyshawn Whitehorse did so for 85 points in Sacramento, California, on January 25, 2017.
“He (stayed) really aggressive to finish him off,” two-time World Champion and CBS Sports analyst Justin McBride said.
Davis is seventh in the world standings heading into next weekend’s Ak-Chin Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, in Glendale, Arizona.
The 24-year-old trails world No. 1 Lockwood by 1,317.5 points in the world standings.
“That is the plan. Go win Glendale next week,” Davis said.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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