By: Justin Felisko
May 13, 2017
LAS VEGAS – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of Last Cowboy Standing Friday night at Las Vegas Village.
Mauney two rides away from historic 500th ride (5-12-17)
J.B. Mauney understands the importance of a milestone like 500 qualified rides on the Built Ford Tough Series, but the two-time World Champion understands the 500-ride mark this weekend won’t be worth anything for his bank account or another world title if he doesn’t win Last Cowboy Standing.
“It don’t pay to ride 500,” Mauney said. “I don’t really worry about it. Yeah, it is a milestone, but all that reminds me is I have been around a long time.”
Regardless, Mauney’s 85.25-point ride on Tap Out pushes him to within two rides of becoming the third rider in PBR history to record 500 rides at the PBR’s highest level of competition.
2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi became the first rider to reach the milestone on March 8, 2014, while 2004 World Champion Mike Lee joined Marchi in the prestigious club on April 16, 2016.
Mauney has drawn Moleek (6-0, BFTS) for Round 2 on Saturday night.
If Mauney records two qualified rides on Saturday night, the 30-year-old would be the youngest rider to reach the milestone. Marchi was 31 when he accomplished it, while Lee was 32.
Mauney would be the second-fastest (11 years, 2 months and 25 days) to the mark after Marchi accomplished the feat in 9 years, 7 months and 3 days.
More importantly, the No. 3 bull rider in the world standings remains in striking distance of world leader Eduardo Aparecido heading into the final night of bull riding before the summer break.
Mauney finished sixth in the round for 20 world points.
The 12-year professional has yet to win a Last Cowboy Standing event.
“I really don’t pay attention to what I have or haven’t done,” Mauney said. “Maybe this is a new year. But I start out with the same goal. Every time you nod, you want to win.”
Well, that isn’t necessarily all true.
Mauney does notice when a bull continues to buck him off (see, Bushwacker).
“OK, just to the bulls,” Mauney said. “But, what I win with points and ride numbers, that don’t bother me. I am after gold buckles.”
Mauney didn’t win a PBR Major when he won his last gold buckle in 2015, but he is certainly aware of how much is at stake at Last Cowboy Standing.
The event winner will walk away with a minimum of 625 points toward the world standings.
“They are important,” Mauney agreed. “There are so many points up for grabs at this deal. You better have your hammer cocked and you’re A game on when you show up here. This being the last event before the break can set you up for the second-half run.”
Aparecido extends world lead to 945 points on No. 2 Pacheco
Mauney was unable to gain ground on Aparecido after the world leader made a smooth 86.75-point ride on Calypso to finish Round 1 in third place.
“This is a good score to begin the event,” Aparecido said. “Good points.”
Aparecido earned 60 points toward the world standings with the third-place finish, and increased his lead to 945 points on No. 2 Kaique Pacheco.
Pacheco was bucked off by Hard Times in 2.34 seconds after being forced to take the re-ride per Last Cowboy Standing ground rules after riding Red Dawn. A re-ride flag was thrown because of inferior bull performance.
Mauney trails Aparecido by 1,068.76 points.
Aparecido has been atop the world standings since winning Iron Cowboy back in February.
Iron Cowboy is the same progressive-style format as Last Cowboy Standing where a rider advances to the next round with an 8-second ride.
Saturday night the event could be over following Round 2, or it can go as long as five rounds.
“Tomorrow is a lot of bulls,” Aparecido said. “Hard bulls are waiting.”
Aparecido has drawn Cooper’s Comet (5-3, BFTS) for Round 2.
The four-time World Finals qualifier added the right arm injury that held him out of the Billings, Montana, event is now 100 percent healed.
Aparecido lost out on the 2015 Last Cowboy Standing crown in the final round of competition to Pacheco.
The 26-year-old understands a second consecutive PBR Major victory on Saturday night could put him even farther ahead of the competition during his pursuit of the 2017 World Championship.
“I am concentrating on this event,” Aparecido concluded. “This event is very similar to Iron Cowboy. Iron Cowboy was one day. This is two days. (Saturday) will be good. I am concentrating on winning 600 points.
“Those would be very good for me.”
Wing wins Round 1
The quick two-week Built Ford Tough Series break didn’t seem to bother Stormy Wing one bit.
The Tacoma Invitational winner picked right back up where he left off after going 3-for-3 in Washington by winning Round 1 of Last Cowboy Standing with an 87.25-point ride aboard Captain Jack.
Wing earned 125 points toward the world standings with the round victory.
The No. 7 bull rider in the world standings continues to find success since switching to a Brazilian bull rope, but also because of some minor adjustments he has made with his chute procedure pre-ride.
All five round wins, including both of his event victories, have come since making the switch midway through the season.
The Dalhart, Texas, bull rider used to try and replicate Mauney’s slide-and-ride mentality, but he simply didn’t have the leg or arm length to pull off the technique.
“That wasn’t working, so I went back to sliding up there and trying to gather them up in there, but I was dropping my feet down too much and I was caught sitting on my ass. Then that causes you to lean and your feet to come behind you.”
Wing then decided to make an adjustment to position his feet even higher before he nods for the gate.
“It feels almost weird to keep your feet a little bit higher in the slats above them bulls, but those big bulls, like Bruiser, your legs are above them anyways.
“You just float with them. It is just like dancing. It is an art. It is timing and getting it down.”
Wing will attempt to continue his success in Round 2 against Nailed (4-4, BFTS).
Brennon Eldred, competing in his third BFTS event, rode Mortimer for a career-high 87 points and a second-place finish.
Eldred is trying to earn a full-time spot on the BFTS and the 75 world points he picked up moved him from 41st to 35th in the world standings.
Coming in behind Aparecido was Gage Gay in fourth place. Gay rode Cowboy Phil for 86.25 points and 50 points toward the world standings.
Meanwhile, Claudio Montanha Jr. rode his way to a fifth-place finish (40 world points) after an 86-point trip on Hy Test.
There were a total of 13 qualified rides in Round 1.
Therefore, based on Last Cowboy Standing ground rules, the final 12 riders to compete in Round 2 alongside the 13 that advanced out of Round 1 will be the Top 12 riders from the world standings at the conclusion of the last BFTS event (Tacoma) that failed to make the 8-second mark in Round 1.
Here are the 25 riders advancing to Round 2 on Saturday night.
Stormy Wing, 87.25 points.
Brennon Eldred, 87 points.
Eduardo Aparecido, 86.75 points.
Gage Gay, 86.25 points.
Claudio Montanha Jr., 86 points.
J.B. Mauney, 85.75 points.
Fabiano Vieira, 85.25 points.
Koal Livingston, 85.25 points.
Marco Antonio Eguchi, 84.75 points.
Guilherme Marchi, 84.5 points.
Cody Rodeo Tyler, 83.5 points.
Cody Teel, 81.25 points.
Reese Cates, 81.25 points.
Kaique Pacheco, world ranking
Derek Kolbaba, world ranking
Chase Outlaw, world ranking
Jess Lockwood, world ranking
Matt Triplett, world ranking
Joao Ricardo Vieira, world ranking
Rubens Barbosa, world ranking
Mason Lowe, world ranking
Shane Proctor, world ranking
Cody Nance, world ranking
Silvano Alves, world ranking
Ryan Dirteater, world ranking
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis is out for the remaining of Last Cowboy Standing because of a right groin strain he first sustained in Tacoma.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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