By: Justin Felisko
June 12, 2018
PUEBLO, Colo. – It wasn’t the ultimate result he wanted, and Team USA’s loss at the Sydney Global Cup certainly will stick with Cooper Davis for a bit, but Davis won’t have to wait long to exorcise his frustration.
The 2016 PBR World Champion is one of 15 champion bull riders invited to compete in Chad Berger’s $100,000 Match of Champions in Bismarck, North Dakota, this weekend at Berger’s annual PBR event at the Bismarck Civic Center.
Three-time PBR World Champion Silvano Alves
Two-time PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney
Four-time PRCA World Champion J.W. Harris
Four-time PRCA World Champion Sage Kimzey
2017 PBR World Champion Jess Lockwood
2016 PBR World Champion Cooper Davis
2012 PRCA World Champion Cody Teel
2011 PRCA World Champion Shane Proctor
2010 PBR World Champion Renato Nunes
2008 PBR World Champion Guilherme Marchi
2007 PRCA World Champion Wesley Silcox
2004 PBR World Champion Mike Lee
2017 Collegiate National Finals Rodeo Champion Cole Melancon
2017 IPRA World Champion Corey Bailey
2016 Indian National Finals Rodeo Champion Cody Jesus
Fans can watch the event, as well as the preceding Touring Pro Division event, exclusively on RidePass beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Davis is coming off a 3-for-4 showing at the Sydney Global Cup that almost pushed Team USA to a repeat victory. However, Davis was unable to salvage a victory for the red, white and blue in the final Bonus Round on Sunday night when SweetPro’s Palooka bucked him off in 5.04 seconds.
By no means is the loss squarely on his shoulders – all Team USA needed was one more ride of 82.75 points or higher during the two-night weekend for the victory – but a ride from Davis may have been enough to help Team USA sneak past Team Brazil at Qudos Bank Arena.
Davis said in Sydney during media day that he had no concerns about being rusty for the Global Cup despite having not competed in almost a month.
The Jasper, Texas, cowboy had his focus on full cylinders and began the Global Cup with three consecutive rides. His 86.5-point ride on Un Broken ended that bull’s streak of 14 consecutive buckoffs.
“Rust isn’t a real deal,” Davis said. “You can pour coke on it and get it off. It is like probably riding a bicycle.”
Davis may not have looked rusty in Sydney, but now he, reigning PBR World Champion Jess Lockwood and 2010 PBR World Champion Renato Nuneswill have to brush off any effects of jet lag come Friday night.
The three riders returned back to the United States on Monday morning and will have a brief few days to get readjusted to the time difference.
Some international riders said it can take anywhere from five to 10 days to feel readjusted in the United States. Others have said it took merely a day or a two.
Davis has decided to take as much time as possible at home, and he will not leave for Bismarck until Friday morning.
That decision, though, is more personal preference than anything to do with fear of jet lag.
“I don’t know about all of that,” Davis said. “I don’t put too much emphasis on things like that. Then you start making excuses about your riding.”
Davis knows to have any chance at winning the $50,000 event prize he will need to make the 8-second buzzer on each night.
With 14 champion riders competing against him, there is no way one bull ride will be enough.
“This is one of the coolest events we are going to have an opportunity at,” Davis said. “There is no PBR-PRCA segregation on this deal. It is guys going head-to-head for a lot of money.”
The winner of the Match of Champions will also win a hand-tooled, custom saddle valued at $12,000 created by Gary Gebhardt.
“It would be really cool to win that. Chad has gone out of his way to make sure we have a cool saddle and buckle done,” Davis said. “Chad has put a lot work into this deal. It would be rewarding winning that.”
The 24-year-old heads into Bismarck ranked ninth in the world standings, but he finished the first half of the 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast with a career-low 33.33-percent riding average (13-for-39). However, a big part of his struggles were a result of a partially torn ligament in the ring finger of his riding hand.
Davis will also be competing in the Touring Pro Division event prior to the Match of Champions event as well. The $40,000-added TPD Major event will award the event winner 120 world points.
The fourth-year pro is 1,360 points behind world leader Kaique Pacheco.
“100 percent healthy,” Davis said. “I am good. I feel great. I am in good shape. I am ready to ride bulls. I have had a little time off. I don’t know. I think whenever I have a little time off and I am ready to be here I do my best.”
Team USA head coach Justin McBride said that Davis rides with “a little chip to him all the time, even as good as he is,” and Davis agreed with that assessment.
That chip will be with Davis this coming weekend at the Bismarck Event Center.
“I don’t like being ninth,” Davis said. “I feel like I always have a chip on my shoulder regardless if I am first in the world or ninth because I am my own favorite. That is all I need.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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