PUEBLO, Colo. – Things looked real bad for Ben Jones on Saturday night in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Jones’ left foot got caught in the bucking chute as Off The Grid began to jerk forward, causing Jones’ foot to get twisted and bent inside the slats.
The 36-year-old then crawled out of the chute and fell onto the back of the chutes in excruciating pain.
The initial diagnosis was a potential broken foot, but Jones got good news this week when he learned via X-rays that his foot had not been broken.
It was a blessing for the 15th-ranked bull rider in the world, who had just returned from June neck surgery for a herniated disc. Jones has decided to try and ride at this weekend’s Express Employment Professionals Classic in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“I’m pretty sore, but I am going to try and go,” Jones said. “I’ve got Brutus so I’ve got to.”
Kaique Pacheco rode Brutus (2-1, BFTS) for 89.75 points in the bull’s last BFTS out (Kansas City, Missouri) and Gage Gay had ridden Brutus for 91 points in Estes Park, Colorado, this summer.
Jones will face American Hustle in Round 2.
No. 12 Stetson Lawrence, who fell two spots in the world standings last week, is returning to competition after missing the Battle at the Beau because of a right knee injury sustained at a Montana rodeo.
Lawrence has drawn Cut The Cord (0-0, BFTS) in Round 1 and King Tut (4-0, BFTS) in Round 2.
“It’s better than it was last week,” Lawrence said. “I got the swelling out of it.”
In other injury news, 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi remains out because of a torn right biceps. There is still no timetable for the No. 7 bull rider’s return.
Other Top 35 riders out for Tulsa include No. 6 Valdiron de Oliveira (broken sternum) and No. 31 Bonner Bolton.
There are four alternates (Alexandre Cardozo, Douglas Duncan, Luis Blanco and Robson Palermo) competing in Tulsa, as well as Emilio Resende (BFTS exemptions) and Sean Willingham (BFTS invite).
The race for the final spots to qualify for the Built Ford Tough World Finals continues to be one to watch with No. 34 Michael Lane and No. 43 Willingham separated by just 165.83 points.
Things are even closer between No. 35 Tyler Harr and No. 37 Duncan with 13.75 points separating Harr, Alexandre Cardozo and Duncan.
Duncan earned 10 points in Biloxi and said he knew it was up to him to get back into the Top 35.
“I don’t think of myself as an average bull rider and I have a mindset that I want to win every time the gate opens and I expect to win,” Duncan said. “I put way to much blood, sweat and tears into this sport to be average. I don’t put in the work to be average and I refuse to be average. I am the one that put myself in the corner and I am the one that can fight out of it.”
Duncan faces Whataburger (2-0, BFTS) in Round 1 and Tahonta’s Magic (12-6, BFTS) in Round 2.
Harr has one of the four rematches in Round 1 on Friday night when he faces JJ’s Pride (0-0, BFTS). Harr rode JJ’s Pride for 86 points at the Touring Pro Division event in Hico, Texas, earlier this year.
Brady Sims, ranked 32nd in the world standings, is facing Cowtown Rock (3-1, BFTS) for the second consecutive week after being bucked off in 7.79 seconds in Biloxi.
Kasey Hayes has a rematch against Gotta Go Joe (0-1, BFTS), who he rode for 87.5 points at the Guymon, Oklahoma, BlueDEF Velocity Tour event, while Mike Lee will try to solve Big Cat (2-0, BFTS) after lasting just 2.53 seconds in Kansas City, Missouri, this season.
There are six rematches in Round 2, with every previous matchup favoring the bull:
Cooper Davis vs. Redbone (7-5, BFTS) – 3.09 seconds in Billings, Montana (2015)
Duncan vs. Tahonta’s Magic – 2.51 seconds in Billings, Montana (2014)
Fabiano Vieira vs. Raven Flyer (24-3, BFTS) – 4.46 seconds in Kansas City, Missouri (2014)
J.W. Harris vs. Dakota Style’s Hy Test (10-12, BFTS) – 2.96 seconds in Des Moines, Iowa (2014)
Mason Lowe vs. Beaver Creek Beau (24-3, BFTS) – 4.2 seconds in Bismarck, North Dakota (2015)
Stormy Wing vs. Slinger Jr. (1-0 BFTS) – 4.07 seconds in St. Louis, Missouri (2015)
World leader Joao Ricardo Vieira enters Tulsa with a 797.5-point lead on No. 2 J.B. Mauney.
Vieira has drawn Speckled Buck (0-0, BFTS) in the first round and Ranger (0-0, BFTS) in the second round.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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