PUEBLO, Colo. – Douglas Duncan may not be in the draw for this weekend’s Express Employment Professionals Classic in Charlotte, North Carolina, but his 4-for-4 performance at the Pendleton, Oregon, BlueDEF Velocity Tour event this week has him one step closer toward getting back on the Built Ford Tough Series.
According to the PBR competition department, the draw for this weekend’s upcoming BFTS event was set as of the world standings prior to Pendleton.
However, Duncan placed sixth and seventh in Pendleton on Monday and Tuesday to earn 10 points toward the world standings.
It may not seem like a lot, but those 10 points, courtesy of his sixth-place finish (2-for-2, 168.5), move Duncan from 40th in the world standings to 38th.
How close are things right now for the race to qualify for the World Finals or to simply get one of the last remaining spots in the draw for BFTS events?
Well, Duncan now only trails No. 37 Tyler Harr, who is the last rider in the Charlotte draw, by just 3.75 points.
“Glad, I’m crawling out of this quicksand I was sinking in,” Duncan said in a message to PBR.com.
Derek Kolbaba won the event by riding RMEF Team Elk for 88.5 points in the championship round following his 87.5-point ride on Speculation in Round 1.
Kolbaba earns 80 points toward the world standings to move from 66th to 56th. He also will be awarded a BFTS exemption to either the Allentown, Pennsylvania, or Tucson, Arizona, event with the victory.
The Walla Walla, Washington, bull rider also jumps from 43rd in the BlueDEF standings to 21st, making him likely eligible for the BlueDEF Finals on Oct. 9-10 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Rounding out the Top 5 was Jay Miller (2-for-2, 172 points), Thor Hoefer II (2-for-2, 171.5 points), Chase Robbins (2-for-2, 171 points), and Dakota Louis (2-for-2, 171 points).
Miller picks up 50 points toward the world standings, while Hoefer earns 30. Robbins and Louis each earn 17.5 points for splitting fourth and fifth place.
The points are extremely important to Louis as he goes from being right on the bubble (30th) for qualifying for the BlueDEF Finals to 25th .
The BlueDEF Finals will consist of the Top 30 riders in the BlueDEF standings, as well as the Top 10 riders in the world standings not in the Top 30 of the BlueDEF standings that would like to compete in Louisville.
Duncan was the only rider ranked inside the Top 40 of the world standings that competed in Pendleton, which included No. 4 Matt Triplett, No. 11 Reese Cates and No. 12 Silvano Alves, to earn any points toward the standings.
He also was the only rider to go a perfect 4-for-4 with his two separate entries. Duncan went 2-for-2 on Tuesday for his seventh-place finish. He rode Wonder Boy for 88 points in the championship round.
It was a strong performance for the 28-year-old from Alvin, Texas, as he tries to avoid missing the Built Ford Tough World Finals for the first time in five years.
Duncan is listed in the draw for the final BlueDEF regular-season event this Saturday in Cleveland, Ohio, and it will be another important opportunity for him to gain points and build off his showing in Pendleton.
He has only earned 10 points this year on the BlueDEF series, which means he needs 55 points in Cleveland if he hopes to be eligible for the BlueDEF Finals – the final event for riders to gain points toward the world standings and ultimately qualify for World Finals.
The BlueDEF Velocity Tour champion – or the next highest-ranked rider not in the Top 35 of the world standings – earns an automatic bid to the World Finals in Las Vegas on Oct. 21-25.
The top three finishers at the BlueDEF Finals not in the Top 35 of the world standings also earn automatic bids to the World Finals.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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