By: Justin Felisko
August 27, 2016
TULSA, Okla. – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Express Employment Professional Classic, presented by Osage Casino, Saturday night at the BOK Center.
Davis and Richardson split Round 1 victory (8-27-16)
Cooper Davis built off his Music City Knockout victory by splitting the Round 1 win with Lachlan Richardson with an 87.75-point ride on Glory Days in front of 8,212 fans.
“Anytime you get a chance to get on a good bull like that, you better make the best of it,” Davis said. “He slapped me in the face right out of there, but I sat up and made the best of it.”
Davis, who is already a career-high third in the world standings, continues to chip away at world leader Kaique Pacheco’s perch atop the world rankings and is now only 310.33 points behind the young Brazilian. Davis and Richardson earned 80 world points on Saturday.
Pacheco is still very much alive for the event victory, though, and the 21-year-old heads into Sunday’s competition tied for 10th in the event standings. Pacheco rode Purina Athlete for 83.5 points.
There were 13 qualified rides in Round 1.
The round win is Davis’ sixth of the season.
“Honestly, I am trying to keep on thinking of it one bull at a time,” Davis said. “Like I said last week, looking at the big scheme of things you can work yourself up and start worrying about all of that. As long as I am taking care of my part of it, it doesn’t matter.”
Davis then added, “Every weekend to me is kind of do or die. I figured I have to do it and I got a good start.”
The 22-year-old will take on Psycho Path (0-0, BFTS) Sunday in Round 2 as he tries to make it back-to-back victories. Davis rode Psycho Path for 79.5 points at the 2015 Touring Pro Division event in Bossier City, Louisiana.
“I got on him when he was like a 3-year-old and was 79 on him,” Davis said. “I remember the bull. He was long out there and a calf just trying to figure it out. I haven’t seen him since then, and I am assuming he is good or he wouldn’t be here.”
Richardson, meanwhile, continues to set new career-highs by earning his second round win and riding his 13th bull.
Richardson made easy work of Slick Rick as the bull turned perfectly into his right hand.
“That was a pretty good bull and I was pretty happy when I heard I had that bull,” Richardson said.
The 23-year-old is 16th in the world standings, he has never finished higher than 33rd in the world.
“It is all confidence you could say,” Richardson concluded. “I had been doing good all summer, but I had a bad week last week. I am not worried about last week now.
“I want to win every event, but I am just having fun and trying to place high.”
Joao Ricardo Vieira wins PBR record fourth 15/15 Bucking Battle
Joao Ricardo Vieira bounced back from a Round 1 buckoff against Smooth Over (2.77 seconds) by riding No Regrets for 81.25 points to win the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
“The first bull was a young bull,” Vieira said. “I never see him before, but it is good for me to ride now (in 15/15). I feel much better about riding tomorrow.”
Vieira has drawn Dozer (0-0, BFTS) for Round 2.
Saturday was his fourth career 15/15 Bucking Battle victory, which is the most in PBR history.
“I have much focus, but these are strong, hard bulls in the 15/15,” Vieira said. “I try to relax, have fun in the 15/15. It is important to ride in them. I want to ride, but I am not nervous.”
Just when it appeared as if the bulls were going to post a second consecutive 15/15 Bucking Battle shutout, Vieira came through with his eventual event-winning ride and elected to turn down his re-ride option.
“I see the videos of this bull on ProBullStats before I ride,” Vieira said. “I thought he was going to turn right and was concentrating on that. It is OK though.”
J.B. Mauney was bucked off by Big Cat (44 points) in 1.48 seconds in their rematch from Last Cowboy Standing and Pacheco lasted 5.51 seconds on Hammer It Again (43.75 points).
Vieira, currently fifth in the world standings, is now 520.33 points behind Pacheco in the world standings.
The 32-year-old leads the PBR with 31 qualified rides. The 15/15 Bucking Battle victory is Vieira’s first non-PBR Major win since claiming the Seattle 15/15 Bucking Battle on March 27, 2015.
In fact, Vieira has yet to win a regular-formatted BFTS event since Feb. 2014 in St. Louis.
“This is very important for my confidence,” Vieira said. “This is my best year riding bulls, but I had not (gotten) a win. I got the win tonight. I have concentration for tomorrow.”
Seven Dust ties with Pearl Harbor for top bull honors
Gene Owen decided this summer to switch Seven Dust from a left-handed delivery to a right, and the early reviews appear to be positive.
Seven Dust whipped Robson Palermo onto the BOK Center floor in 2.03 seconds for a career-high tying 45.25-point bull score during the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
“I saw him buck at the Touring Pro in Amarillo (Texas) and he changed him to the right side,” Palermo said. “He is a bucking rank son of a gun. I like him on this side. He is more aggressive.”
Saturday was the first out in which Seven Dust was marked 45 points or higher since he bucked off Keyshawn Whitehorse in 1.47 seconds for a 45.25-point bull score at Iron Cowboy.
Seven Dust tied with World Champion Bull contender Pearl Harbor for the top bull score of the evening. Pearl Harbor knocked off Tulsa fan favorite Ryan Dirteater in 3.6 seconds.
“If the bull can continue like that, he can contend for World Champion bull too,” Palermo said. “The way he is bucking. He is strong. I was so happy I had him in the 15/15. I saw him buck on the right and if I took those two jumps like he do. If I make the turn, I think I make 8 seconds.
“I made the turn, but he moved forward and got me.”
Palermo had previously been bucked off by Seven Dust in 2.7 seconds back in February at the Kansas City BFTS event when Seven Dust was still bucking out of the left-handed delivery.
“The first time he was on the left delivery and he was not so good,” Palermo said. “He would go two jumps to the front and he kind of rolled you to the left and come back to the right. He was better tonight.”
Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney was left icing his left hip in the PBR Sports Medicine room following Saturday night’s 15/15 Bucking Battle.
Mauney still competed in the 15/15 Bucking Battle despite sustaining a left hip pointer following his 86.75-point ride on Rocco in Round 1 earlier in the evening. Rocco stepped on Mauney’s hip during the 29-year-old’s dismount.
Mauney confirmed to PBR.com post-event that he has every intention of competing on Sunday and finishing out the event.
Mason Lowe replaced Paulo Lima in the 15/15 Bucking Battle after the No. 7 ranked bull rider in the world standings sustained a concussion when he was bucked off by Deep Water (1.81 seconds) in Round 1.
Lima is questionable for Round 2.
Lowe was bucked off by Slinger Jr. in 2.05 seconds.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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