By: Justin Felisko
May 06, 2016
UVALDE, Texas – The race to crack the Top 40 of the world standings and qualify for Last Cowboy Standing, the featured event of Las Vegas Helldorado Days, is very much alive this weekend at the Fifth Annual Cactus Jack PBR BlueDEF Tour event.
Marco Eguchi, Josh Faircloth, Lindomar Lino, Gustavo Pedrero and Winston Lopez all are right in the mix for a potential BlueDEF Tour victory following rides in Round 1 Friday night.
A victory in Uvalde would give one of them 80 world points and a potential big enough bump in the standings to earn a bid to Las Vegas for the final PBR Major of the Built Ford Tough Series first half next weekend.
Eguchi is the current leader at the Uvalde County Fairplex after winning Round 1 with an 87-point ride on SA LOCO.
“Well, I just tried to be on the front,” Eguchi said. “I knew the bull likes to go forward. The stock contractor (Danny Reagan) is so nice and he is my friend. He told me about the bull and he said you could get a big score if you rode him and that is what I tried to do. That is what I did.”
Eguchi is currently 56th in the world standings with 120 world points. A win in Uvalde on Saturday night would give him 200 points and move him up possibly as high as 42nd in the world standings. With No. 19 Ben Jones (shoulder surgery), No. 28 Cody Heffernan (visa issues) and No. 35 J.W. Harris (elbow surgery) not competing at Last Cowboy Standing, riders 41-43 in the world standings will likely sneak into Last Cowboy Standing as alternates.
Eguchi has not competed on the Built Ford Tough Series since last year’s Last Cowboy Standing when he competed as an alternate.
The 26-year-old was a perennial Top 15 bull rider his first three seasons on the BFTS before an injury to his right elbow derailed his promising start to his career and led to him being cut from the BFTS last season.
He concluded 2015 51st in the world standings and this year he is 16-for-40 at all levels of PBR competition.
“Well, I am going to try hard to get back,” Eguchi said. “I have a couple of things, like little injuries. I feel my elbow, but that is normal. I also am trying to figure out a lot of problems with my visa. I have until June to try and fix it. If not, it is OK. I will go back to Brazil for a couple of months.”
Faircloth began the weekend 48th in the world standings and he finished second in Round 1 with an 86-point ride on Find Jesus.
“The bull of J.W. (Hart) was good,” Faircloth said. “He was around to the left and you couldn’t ask for a better one.”
Faircloth is only 52.5 points behind No. 40 Juliano da Silva, who bucked off in Round 1.
“This is a really big weekend,” Faircloth said. “I have thought about it a lot and have been getting into a few events as an alternate and not making it work. I got on a few bulls the other day at Jerome’s and that helped. I came here this weekend wanting to win and that is what I said I was going to do.”
Faircloth is 1-for-6 in three BFTS events in 2016.
Tyler Harr and Lindomar Lino finished tied for third in the round with 83.5 point rides. Harr was knocked unconscious following his ride aboard Super Cool, but eventually made his way out of the arena.
Harr is 37th in the world standings and in a good position to ride at Last Cowboy Standing, while Lino can use every point possible as he sits 46th in the world standings. However, Lino is only 8.33 points behind No. 43 Beau Willis.
BlueDEF Tour events award world points to the Top 6 riders in the final event average. There are 125 points (50, 30, 20, 15, 10) awarded to riders that finish second through sixth in the average.
There were a total of 12 qualified rides in Round 1.
Pedrero is sitting in fifth place with 85 points on War Pig and a win for the 29-year-old would likely also put the Mexican bull rider in contention for a draw spot in Las Vegas. Pedrero is tied with Eguchi for 56th in the world standings.
Jay Miller (84.5 points on Project M) is in sixth place, while Mike Lee (84 points on Hammertime) and Winston Lopez (84 points on Twin Towers) are tied for seventh.
Lopez hasn’t competed on the BFTS since making his debut at the last PBR Major – Iron Cowboy – in February. Lopez is right on the cusp of going to Last Cowboy Standing as he is tied with Douglas Duncan for 44th in the world standings.
“That would be a dream come true,” Lopez said about getting back to the BFTS. “I just want to be with those guys all the time. I will make my way in there some how.”
The bottom portion of the Round 1 scores were all BFTS riders. Joao Ricardo Vieira (83.5 points on Jim Dandy), Fabiano Vieira (83.5 points on Cactus Jack), Eduardo Aparecido (82.5 points on Maximum Justice) and Guilherme Marchi 78 points on Razorback) placed ninth through 12th.
Round 2 begins Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. CT
The winner of this week’s BlueDEF Tour event will also receive an automatic bid to the BFTS event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Aug. 27-28.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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