By: Justin Felisko
January 21, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – 2015 World Finals event winner Cooper Davis is set to return to action this weekend at the Express Employment Professionals Invitational in Oklahoma City.
Davis has missed the first two events of the 2016 season following surgery to repair tendon and nerve lacerations in his riding hand.
The 21-year-old sustained the injury in November working on his parents’ house in Jasper, Texas, when a piece of tin slid off a barn he was working on and slit his right wrist.
Davis heads into his second season on tour following a sixth-place finish in the 2016 world standings.
He has drawn Bad Beagle (0-0, BFTS) in Round 1 on Friday night.
Round 1 is the first American Bucking Bull Industry Classic Round of the season. Some of the best 3- and 4-year-old bulls in the world will be competing at the BOK Center in hopes of becoming full-time BFTS bucking stars in the future.
2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi has also informed the PBR’s competition department that he will return to the BFTS on Friday.
Marchi flip-flopped on a decision to return in New York last week after attempting a practice bull to no avail.
He is attempting to ride this season with multiple knee injuries sustained during 2015. Marchi previously announced in October that he was going to undergo surgery and would likely sit out the 2016 season.
The 13-year BFTS veteran tore his right MCL attempting to ride Oscar P during the third round of the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals. That injury occurred close to two months after tearing his left PCL/MCL in Thackerville, Oklahoma, trying to make 8 seconds aboard Cut the Cord.
Marchi has drawn Sketchy Bob (0-0, BFTS) in Round 1.
Claudio Crisostomo is also making his 2016 season debut. Crisostomo hasn’t competed on the BFTS since last year’s Des Moines Invitational in April because of a shoulder injury and is in the draw with an injury exemption.
The 30-year-old takes on Blackjack (0-0, BFTS) in the first round.
Four-time PRCA champion and No. 10 bull rider in the PBR world standingsJ.W. Harris will not compete in Oklahoma City after sustaining multiple injuries, including a right elbow and forearm strain, chest contusion and upper back rib sprains, he sustained attempting to ride Mishap in Round 2 on Saturday night.
Markus Mariluch and Emilio Resende will also compete in Oklahoma City as alternates. Neither rider has been able to take advantage of their injury exemptions thus far this season.
Mariluch is using his last exemption in Oklahoma City and has yet to earn any points on the BFTS, going 1-for-5.
Resende (one more remaining injury exemption after Oklahoma City) has only earned 12.5 points in two BFTS events. However, Resende is coming off a 2-for-4 performance in New York that netted him those 12.5 points. Overall, he has 25 world standings points and is sitting 58th in the standings.
Mariluch faces Lost Soul (0-0, BFTS) in Round 1 and Resende squares off with Hustle Man (1-1, BFTS).
Kasey Hayes rode Hustle Man for 87 points last season in Springfield, Missouri.
Derek Kolbaba is in the draw after the PBR competition department extended five BFTS exemptions to Kolbaba following the 19-year-old’s BlueDEF Tour win in Denver.
Kolbaba was absolutely on fire last week. He not only won Denver, but he went on to win the Pueblo, Colorado, Touring Pro Division event and Reno, Nevada, BlueDEF Tour event.
The No. 6 rider in the world standings has ridden seven bulls in a row, including Mr. Bull for 89.5 points in Reno, and is scheduled to meet Udder Lover (0-0, BFTS) in Round 1.
World leader Paulo Lima was originally in the draw because of his BlueDEF Tour victory in Ontario, California, but is officially in the draw as the top alternate following his win in New York.
Lima will be officially seeded on tour starting with the sixth BFTS event of the season (St. Louis) when five spots in the draw will be based on the 2016 world standings.
The 28-year-old has drawn Losing My Religion (2-0, BFTS). Both of Losing My Religions buckoffs came against Dave Mason last year.
The final four alternates competing in Oklahoma City are Wallace de Oliveira and Australians Cody Heffernan, Lachlan Richardson and Justin Paton.
Oliveira – currently ranked third in the world standings – has drawn Glory Days (3-1, BFTS).
Heffernan is coming off a career-best 2-for-4 performance in New York and faces Cut the Cord (2-0, BFTS).
Richardson will face Acting Crazy (0-0, BFTS) and Paton will see Comeback Wacked (0-0, BFTS).
They are replacing the following riders in the draw: Harris, Matt Triplett (elbow surgery), Renato Nunes (retirement), Bonner Bolton (neck) Chase Outlaw (shoulder surgery), L.J. Jenkins (retirement) and Alexandre Cardozo (neck).
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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