By Susan Kanode
For the National Western Stock Show Rodeo
DENVER, Colo. (Jan. 12, 2015) — The Professional Bull Riders’ (PBR) Denver Chute-Out has traditionally seen super-star athletes making the trip to the Mile High City.
This year is no exception as 90 riders are trying to win a title and cash here. Additionally, the year-end champion from the PBR’s Touring Pro Division will be crowned on Wednesday night. The first performance was held Monday where bulls dominated. There were only nine successful rides with a Brazilian taking the top spot.
Valdiron de Oliveira from Aparecida de Goia, is the leader of the pack with an 87.5-point effort aboard Mike Hadley’s bull named Bono. Right behind him with an 87 was Carlos Garcia, from Hammondsport, N.Y., who rode Wyatt Crowder’s bull The Rocker. Strider Leverton, a newcomer to the PBR from Vernal, Utah, made his mark in Denver with an 81.
There is currently a tie for fourth place between Jasper, Texas’ resident Cooper Davis and Derek Kolbaba, from Walla Walla, Wash., each had 79.5-point rides. These riders along with the others that earned scores on Monday will be staying in Denver to compete again on Wednesday. Tuesday night’s competition will feature a fresh set of 45 riders attempting to make it to the whistle.
The best 35 riders from Monday and Tuesday will advance to Wednesday night’s finals. Their first and second round scores will be added together to determine the 15 final round qualifiers. Those 15 men will get on two bulls in the Denver Coliseum on Wednesday night and whoever has the highest total score on three bulls will win the title here.
Two of the PBR’s favorite riders, former world champions Mike Lee from Decatur, Texas, and J.B. Mauney from Statesville, N.C., both received no scores on Monday. Lee bucked off in 5.5 seconds. Mauney rode his first bull for 77.5 points and received the option of a re-ride. With the mentality of riding for first or nothing, he used the option and bucked off in 4.85 seconds.
Depending on how many riders make it to the eight-second mark on Tuesday, Mauney and Lee could still advance to Wednesday based on how long they rode. The reigning Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) world champion Sage Kimzey also was unsuccessful here on Monday. Kimzey was invited to compete after winning Colorado Versus the World last Saturday. Kimzey will be back here later in the week to compete in the PRCA sanctioned rodeo.
The second performance of the Professional Bull Riders’ Denver Chute-Out will be on Tuesday night beginning at 7 p.m.