By: Justin Felisko
February 11, 2017
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Kansas City Invitational, presented by Express Employment Professionals, and the 15/15 Bucking Battle Saturday night at the Sprint Center.
Davis wins Round 1 (2-11-17)
As question marks begin to circle around the current Top 3 in the world standings, defending World Champion Cooper Davis is starting to heat up.
Davis won Round 1 with an 87.75-point ride on Bezerk for his second BFTS round win of the season.
The 22-year-old did a fantastic job staying out over his bull rope and riding the front of Bezerk all the way to the 8-second mark.
“That bull was kind of under himself and then jumped ahead pretty hard a few times,” Davis said. “He wanted to snatch on me, but I kept fighting for it and the whistle blew.”
Davis earned 100 world points and is ranked a season-high seventh in the world standings.
He is 7-for-19 this year, but all seven of his rides have placed him in the Top-3 of a BFTS round.
Eduardo Aparecido finished second in Round 1 with an 86.75-point ride on Switch Hitter. Aparecido earned 60 points toward the world standings.
Shane Proctor continued to build momentum off his Anaheim, California, victory with a third-place finish (50 world points) for his 86.25-point ride on Red Fury.
Meanwhile, Stetson Lawrence (86 points on Bad Water) and Ryan Dirteater (85.5 points on Whiskey) rounded out the Top 5. Lawrence picked up 40 world points and Dirteater, who ended a streak of 10 consecutive buckoffs, earned 30 world points.
Davis’ father, Chad, is attending his first event since watching his son win the 2016 world title. Cooper’s son, Mack, is also in Kansas City this weekend.
“It is always fun with (Chad) being here because he used to haul me around everywhere,” Davis said. “It just goes back to when everything was for fun and not the money or bulls. It was about getting on bulls because you have fun.”
Earlier this week, Davis was at a local gym in Jasper, Texas, when he saw a quote on the chalkboard talking about motivation:
“Motivation will die. Let discipline take its place.”
Davis posted the quote to Instagram and said it was another reference to trying to find the same fire he had during his 2016 world title run.
“I had a hard time getting motivated and showing up and being happy being here,” Davis said. “On the gym chalkboard, that was pretty much talking to me. It is hard once you get something like that done and want to stay at it as hard as you were.”
Davis was no match for Hey Jack in the 15/15 Bucking Battle after getting wiped over the black bull’s front end in 1.14 seconds.
He will look to build on his Round 1 lead, though, in Round 2 against Cheese Bandit (0-0, BFTS) on Championship Sunday.
“I worked my butt off all week in the gym and I want to see it pay off,” Davis concluded.
Pearl Harbor posts third 46-point bull score
Rubens Barbosa was right in tune with Pearl Harbor through the first 5 seconds of his 15/15 Bucking Battle matchup, but the only way to win in bull riding is to reach 8 seconds.
The No. 2 bull rider in the world was in good position as the 2017 World Champion Bull contender took big strides toward the right and center of the arena, but once Pearl Harbor turned back the bovine athlete continued to get stronger while Barbosa began to lose his position.
Once 6.67 seconds arrived, Barbosa was gassed and Pearl Harbor was parading around the dirt following a 46.25-point bull score.
“I keep saying he is the bull to beat,” reigning Stock Contractor of the Year Chad Berger said. “I still don’t think they mark him high enough, but I have been around long enough that if he is not a 24-point bull then there is not one.”
Pearl Harbor has now been marked 46 points or higher in three of his four BFTS outs this season. He leads the PBR World Champion Bull race with a 46.06-point average.
Most impressive, Pearl Harbor was been able to earn his high bull scores regardless if a rider last only a few jumps or flirts with a potential 8-second ride.
“He has been able to show himself real well, and I don’t think there is a more explosive bull out of the bucking chutes,” Berger said. “He is all bull, and he is all business.”
World leader Jess Lockwood was no match for 2015 World Champion SweetPro’s Long John in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
Long John rocked Lockwood in 1.49 seconds with one big jump out of the bucking chute.
The 19-year-old had to then be helped off the dirt and to PBR Sports Medicine because of a deep left thigh bruise. According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Lockwood is questionable for Round 2.
2016 World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Bruiser was marked 45 points for taking down No. 3 Marco Eguchi in 2.17 seconds.
Berger missed Pearl Harbor’s 46.5-point bull score last weekend in Anaheim, California, after being admitted to a local hospital because of an issue with his intestines.
The Mandan, North Dakota, native is still recovering from the illness, but he is feeling better, especially after Pearl Harbor continues to make a push for the 2017 World Champion Bull crown.
“He leaves no doubt when it is over which one is the best bull at the event,” Berger concluded. “To me, that is the sign of a real champion.”
Pacheco wins 15/15 Bucking Battle despite pelvis injury
It was a tale of two ride attempts Saturday night for Kaique Pacheco.
Pacheco looked absolutely terrible in Round 1, getting bucked off by Call the Law in 2.5 seconds, while then looking solid as a rock with his 86.25-point ride on Moto Moto to win the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
So what was the problem?
Well, Pacheco is competing with a pelvis injury after injuring it last month attempting to ride Losing My Religion in Oklahoma City.
Pacheco said he feels about 75 percent.
“It is so-so” Pacheco said. “I am going to Fit-N-Wise in Decatur, getting help from their sports medicine (staff). When bulls go to the right it is no problem, but back to the left it is more sore.”
Moto Moto went to the right with Pacheco, while Call the Law went to the left.
“When bulls go left, it is putting pressure on my leg and it hurts,” Pacheco added.
He is 4-for-9 since first injuring his pelvis.
The win is Pacheco’s second career 15/15 Bucking Battle victory.
The 22-year-old earned 150 points toward the world standings and jumps to No. 4 in the standings. He trails Lockwood by 932.5 points.
Pacheco was the only rider to earn a qualified ride in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
“It is very important to win the 15/15 because all of the points are important for the world title,” Pacheco said. “I am very happy.”
It was a busy night for Dr. Tandy Freeman and the PBR Sports Medicine staff as multiple riders sustained injuries.
According to Freeman, four riders sustained a concussion.
Chase Outlaw did not compete in the 15/15 Bucking Battle after he broke his nose, sustained a concussion and lacerated his scalp while being slammed inside the bucking chutes by Jump Street.
Outlaw is doubtful for Round 2.
Dirteater is questionable for Round 2 after getting in hit in the head by Little Red Jacket (2.38 seconds) in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
Stormy Wing is also questionable following his concussion against Bad Juju (3.29 seconds).
Dakota Buttar was transported to a local hospital to be evaluated for a possible concussion after being bucked off by After Midnight in 1.26 seconds in Round 1. Buttar, who also bruised his throat when the bull’s horn hit him, is doubtful for Round 2.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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