By: Justin Felisko
February 13, 2016
ST. LOUIS – Stetson Lawrence has a special affection for Valentine’s Day weekend, and that is outside of recently celebrating the holiday earlier this week with his wife, TK.
In fact, he may just need to send Cupid a box of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers if he continues his recent trend of riding nearly flawless around Valentine’s Day.
Lawrence is combined 12-for-16 the past four years on Valentine’s Day weekend, which includes a second-place finish at last year’s Built Ford Tough Series event in St. Louis, a first-place showing at the 2014 Touring Pro Division event in Kalispell, Montana, and a first- and second-place finish at the 2013 TPD event in Kalispell.
The 27-year-old rode Mouth Hug for 85 points in Round 1 of the Bass Pro Chute Out on Friday night. He heads into Round 2 on Saturday night tied for seventh place.
“Honestly, it is this weekend,” Lawrence said after riding his fifth consecutive bull in St. Louis the past two seasons. “It is Valentine’s weekend. I don’t know what it is about it. It seems like it. It is weird, huh? I went to Kansas City two years in a row (2013, 2014) because I won that Touring Pro the weekend before in Kalispell.”
Lawrence’s 2013 victory in Kalispell led to his BFTS debut at the 2013 Kansas City, Missouri, event.
This year, three-day events are now awarding event average winners 500 points instead of 400, and Lawrence would certainly enjoy a repeat performance in the Show Me State for his first BFTS victory.
Quite frankly, he is beginning to dance dangerously close to the BFTS cutline.
Lawrence has begun the 2016 season 4-for-16 (25 percent) and is 64th in the world standings with only 48.66 points. Including St. Louis, he only has three more guaranteed events on the BFTS before being subject to a possible cut from the PBR’s main tour if he doesn’t crack the Top 35.
“Oh yeah. I am not going to sit around and wait until the last event,” Lawrence said. “I need to get my (stuff) in a group and turn it around. This seems like a good place to turn stuff around.”
Lawrence went to Ben Jones’ house in Boyd, Texas, on Monday to try and get things back in line and all it took was one practice bull.
Jones is also currently trying to hang onto a BFTS draw spot. The 36-year-old is currently 35th with 102.5 points.
“I went to Ben’s this week to get back to fundamentals and hung out with the wife and get the mind straight,” Lawrence said. “He said I was sitting on my butt leaning instead of getting to the front.”
Jones added, “You could see from the word go he was forward. He said he was just having trouble so he wanted us to run a fun one in for him. Shoot, he rode him all day. He thought the bull was going to run over him, but the bull is just a big pet. He was more scared of Stetson.”
Lawrence also credited TK with giving him some tough love this week. The two celebrated Valentine’s Day Thursday night by going to see the movie “The Revenant.”
“The wife, we had a good long week talking about how I had to get my stuff together,” he said. “I just knew I had to get back to the basics and ride some bulls. I just have not had that extra drive in me I guess. Being too lazy and to relaxed instead of taking care of business. I am still getting the kinks worked out this week.”
St. Louis was the beginning of Lawrence’s breakthrough season in 2015. He followed up his second-place finish in St. Louis with another second-place showing two weeks later at Iron Cowboy.
He went on to finish a career-best ninth in the world standings and set a career high with 25 qualified rides in 78 attempts.
Lawrence is set to face Hard Times (0-1, BFTS) in Round 2 on Saturday night, which can be seen exclusively on the PBR LIVE app. Ryan Dirteater rode Hard Times for 86 points in Oklahoma City last month.
The Williston, North Dakota, bull rider and TK are staying in Celina, Texas, as TK continues to compete as a professional barrel racer.
Stetson decided to make the 10-hour drive to St. Louis this week for the event and took the time to try and refocus his mind.
“Coming this weekend, I just want to ride all four of my bulls and let the cards lay where they may,” Lawrence concluded. “It pissed me off when I didn’t win (last year). Let’s get back that buckle this time.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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