By: Justin Felisko
October 10, 2018
PUEBLO, Colo. – One man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity.
That is certainly the case this weekend with World Champions Guilherme Marchi, Cooper Davis and Jess Lockwood all on the sidelines nursing their injuries.
Their injuries have added intrigue to the race for those at the bottom of the world standings heading into this weekend’s Cooper Tires Take The Money and Ride in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The three injured riders are being replaced in the draw by No. 36 Brock Radford, No. 37 Emilio Resende and No. 38 Cody Jesus.
It is a big opportunity for Jesus, who was unable to earn an alternate position and compete last weekend in Milwaukee.
Jesus did not ride anywhere and opted to rest after sustaining a concussion and a sprained left shoulder in Austin, Texas, two weeks ago.
The 20-year-old is still very much on the cusp of the Top 35 and a draw spot for the 2018 World Finals. He trails No. 35 Marcos Gloria by only 110 points with two regular-season events remaining.
He has drawn Hebe Gebee (2-0, PBR UTB) for Round 1 on Saturday night at Greensboro Coliseum.
Meanwhile, Radford (-5 points) and Resende (-100 points) can jump back into the Top 35 easily this weekend if they cover their bulls.
Radford is trying to grit his way through his torn left ACL/MCL and went 0-for-2 last weekend in his first event back.
He takes on Dark Matter (0-0, PBR UTB).
Resende is 1-for-4 since returning from reconstructive left shoulder surgery and has drawn Pneu Dart’s Walking Tall (1-0, PBR UTB).
Chase Outlaw was the only non-Top 35 rider to earn any world points (55 world points) last weekend in Milwaukee following his 87.5-point ride on Switch Hitter.
The 26-year-old still has his work cut out for him as he tries to make a late push at qualifying for the World Finals despite missing six months because of reconstructive shoulder surgery and an additional two and a half months because of serious facial fractures.
Outlaw heads into Round 1 on Saturday night sitting 442.5 points behind No. 35 Marcos Gloria and is ranked 67th in the world standings.
The Hamburg, Arkansas, bull rider will square off against 3511 Black Cat (0-0, PBR UTB).
No. 23 Stetson Lawrence is returning to competition after missing Championship Sunday in Milwaukee because of a neck injury.
X-rays this week showed no compression fractures, and Lawrence is cleared to face Fire In The Wind (0-0, PBR UTB) in Round 1.
“They thought I had compressed vertebrae, but I (talked to Dr. Tandy Freeman) and we are good to go for this weekend,” Lawrence said. “Just bull riding, man. Enough of that hanging up shit. Too rough on the body and doesn’t pay well.”
No. 26 Tanner Byrne (ankle) is set to return following a four-week layoff, while No. 32 Lonnie West remains out of competition because of a shoulder injury.
Byrne squares off against Jug Head (4-2, PBR UTB).
No. 60 Cannon Cravens is a talented 18-year-old to keep an eye on this weekend.
Cravens is the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour invite courtesy of his victory in Huntington, West Virginia, two weeks ago.
“Man I have been waiting a long time for this, it just feels awesome,” Cravens told RidePass’ Colby Yates following the victory.
The Porum, Oklahoma, native comes highly recommended from 10-time World Finals qualifier and fellow Porum bull rider L.J. Jenkins.
Cravens is 13-for-28 (46.43 percent) at all levels of competition this season since making his PBR non-premier series debut in Shipshewana, Indiana, on May 25.
The teenager is slated to face Reign Lashes Testified (5-1, PBR UTB) in Round 1.
Cravens won the 2016 Rank Bull Rider Tour at 16 years old, a year after another teenager by the name of Koal Livingston, currently the No. 28 rider in the PBR world standings, won the title.
In 2014, Cravens won the National Junior High School Finals junior bull riding title.
World leader Kaique Pacheco has won three of the last five premier series events to open up a 1,598.33-point lead advantage on No. 2 Claudio Montanha Jr.
No. 108 Francisco Torres is this weekend’s Hispanic invite and is competing in his second premier series event. He was bucked off at Last Cowboy Standing in May. Torres is slated to face Picking Up Pennies.
Pacheco has drawn Mickey Mouse (0-1, PBR UTB) for Round 1 on Saturday night and could be in a position to add to his lead. Lachlan Richardson rode Mickey Mouse for 87.25 points in Atlantic City last month.
Two-time World Champion Bull and world No. 1 SweetPro’s Bruiser will be competing in the championship round on Sunday. It will be Bruiser’s first event of the second half and first since competing at some summer rodeos in July.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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