By: Justin Felisko
October 09, 2016
NAMPA, Idaho – Here are three things we learned from the DeWALT Flexvolt Invitational this weekend at the Ford Idaho Center.
World leader Kaique Pacheco opened the door in the world title race to his competitors this weekend by going 1-for-3.
Cooper Davis took half a step into the doorway, while J.B. Mauney may have just busted through it.
Davis won Round 2 with an 89-point ride on Thunderbolt to earn 100 of his 385 total world points earned in Nampa.
“That felt like one of my tougher rides for me all year long,” Davis said following the ride. “I just kept throwing it over there hoping it would work. I was just trying to get around there. I wasn’t really trying to spur. I am sure my left leg was coming up and everything else was bopping.”
“I felt like Ricky Bobby there. I was going fast.”
The ride was his best since undergoing surgery to repair a broken right clavicle last month. It was also his eighth BFTS round win.
“That was a lot of strain there on my arm,” Davis said. “If you can get past that, it makes you feel pretty good (about how it will hold up).”
However, Davis was left kicking himself in frustration at the end conclusion of the event after he was bucked off by Little Red Jacket in 6.86 seconds on the final ride Saturday night.
“I am not going to make it easy to fall off,” Davis said before the championship round. “I am going to give it my all. Sometimes they win and sometimes I win.”
A qualified ride would have earned him the victory and an additional 160 points in the world standings.
Instead, Mauney got a seismic victory in Nampa and Davis heads into next weekend’s San Jose Invitational, presented by Ariat, in San Jose, California, looking to put a missed opportunity behind him.
If it is any consolation for Davis, the 22-year-old still gained 385 points on Pacheco and he trails the world leader by only 490.33 points with two regular-season events remaining before the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
For Pacheco, this was his first event since April 15 in which he didn’t earn a single world point.
Mauney ends Stone Sober’s streak of 31 consecutive buckoffs
In 2013, J.B. Mauney propelled himself to his first World Championship with a historic 95.25-point ride on World Champion Bull Bushwacker, ending this year’s Brand of Honor recipient’s PBR record streak of 42 consecutive buckoffs.
In 2015, Mauney rode eventual 2015 World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Long John in Thackerville, Oklahoma, for 92.25 points to take over the world No. 1 ranking on the way to his second world title.
Now one can only wonder if Mauney’s 92.5-point ride on Stone Sober on Saturday night during the championship round could push him toward a record-tying third World Championship.
“Bull riding is all about confidence,” Mauney said. “If you have the confidence, and you feel like there is not a bull here that can’t throw you off, then it shows up in your riding. When your confidence is not high and you do something wrong it goes to messing with your head.”
Stone Sober had bucked off 31 consecutive challengers on the BFTS.
“There is a lot of different opinions about Stone Sober, but I like him,” Mauney said. “I always liked him. This was the first time I had been on him. I wouldn’t mind picking him again.”
The D&H Cattle Company bovine athlete was marked 45.5 points, which is highest bull score since April 2015 and his first 45-plus outing of 2016.
“I had to fight him in the chute a little bit,” Mauney said. “That bull is hair-triggered. I knew that. All he had to do was give me just a hair time to get nodded and when we left there he kind of popped me right in front of my dang nose that first jump out of there and then it was on to the left. I felt like I rode like I am supposed to ride.”
The championship-round winning ride surprisingly ended up giving Mauney, who was bucked off by War Cry in 4.86 seconds during Round 2, his first event victory after the eight riders that entered the championship round a perfect 2-for-2 all got bucked off.
Mauney rode Mr. Clark for 84.5 points in Round 1 Friday night and finished the event 2-for-3. He earned 505 points toward the world standings and trails Pacheco by only 700.33 points.
“To ride a bull of that caliber and feel like you made a good ride on him – that boosts your confidence through the roof,” Mauney concluded.
Eguchi and Outlaw make big gains in race to the Finals
Marco Eguchi and Chase Outlaw may not have been victorious in terms of the final result, but the two riders fighting to qualify for the World Finals next month were big winners in Nampa.
They each went 2-for-3 to increase their chances at riding on Nov. 2-6 at T-Mobile Arena by getting further ahead of the No. 35 BFTS cutline.
Eguchi, riding with a separated left shoulder (free arm), nearly had his first event win since the 2014 Ty Murray Invitational before being bucked off by Torch in 7.83 seconds in the championship round.
The 26-year-old rode Stars & Stripes for 85.75 points and a fifth-place finish (30 world points) in Round 2 and Jericho for 86.75 points and a second-place finish (60 world points) in Round 1. Eguchi placed third in the event average for 180 world points.
Eguchi, who is trying to earn his trip to the World Finals since 2014, earned a total of 270 world points and moved from 36th to 27th.
“Every ride right now is so important,” Eguchi said on Friday. “It can be the key to go to the Finals, so I am just having fun and trying to ride all of my bulls.
“But it is not easy.”
Outlaw meanwhile put together his first BFTS event with two qualified rides since April 2015.
The Hamburg, Arkansas, bull rider rode Smoke Wagon for 85.75 points in Round 1 (22.5 world points) and Dirty Deeds for 85.75 points and a sixth-place finish (15 world points). Outlaw placed fourth in the event average for 105 points.
“That is just Chase Outlaw,” Outlaw said following Round 2. “That is what we are supposed to do. Shoot, you don’t leave the house not expecting to win, but it doesn’t happen every time. That is just another challenge you have to overcome and do it to it. No matter what it freaking takes.”
Outlaw now is 31st in the world standings and 134.16 points ahead of No. 35 Jorge Valdiviezo. He is trying to qualify for a fifth consecutive World Finals despite back-to-back reconstructive shoulder surgeries.
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Luis Blanco did not compete in Round 2 because of a left forearm contusion he sustained in Round 1 attempting to ride Split Face.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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