By: Justin Felisko
September 11, 2016
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Here are three things we learned from the PFIWestern.com Invitational, presented by Bass Pro Shops, this weekend at JQH Arena.
Lee continues hot streak in Springfield (9-11-16)
Mike Lee may not have any event wins on his resume in the past two weeks, but the 2004 World Champion has made a significant move in the world standings.
Lee rode Red Moon for 85.75 points to finish second in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round and second overall with a 2-for-4 showing in Springfield.
“That bull has a little bit of forward (action),” Lee said. “The closer it gets to the whistle, he tries to lean out. I got behind, but I didn’t quit him and got the job done.”
Lee earned 400 points to the world standings. He picked up 240 points for finishing second in the event average, 100 for winning Round 1 with his 87.5-point ride on Organized Crime and 60 for his championship-round ride.
The 33-year-old is up to eighth in the world standings after earning 530 points in the last two weeks. He is 5-for-10 during that stretch and had begun Thackerville, Oklahoma, last week 10th in the world standings.
“I made a mistake on them other bulls, but God showed me the mistake I made,” Lee said. “I was real stiff and I had my head down and my hips weren’t really quick. I lost my snappiness.
“You fix your problems and keep your mind focused on the goal. You can’t quit. You can’t get down on yourself.”
He trails world leader Kaique Pacheco by 1,546.17 points with six events remaining until the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals on Nov. 2-6.
Regardless, Lee has no plans about putting too much thought into his position in the world title race.
“No and I am not going to either,” Lee said with a smirk. “When I won it the first time I wasn’t thinking about it either. I was just thinking about how much fun I was having. ”
Dirteater caps BFTS-best third win with 86.75 points on Jack Daniel’s After Party
Ryan Dirteater already had his PBR-high third BFTS victory clinched on Sunday when he slid onto the back of Jack Daniel’s After Party during the championship round.
The newly ranked No. 7 rider in the world standings didn’t bask in the glory of victory too soon and capped his perfect victory with an 86.75-point ride on Jack Daniel’s After Party.
It was best ride of the weekend for the Hulbert, Oklahoma, cowboy and his championship-round victory earned him an extra 100 points toward the world standings.
“It was pretty special to me because I had been on After Party four times – and that was five years ago,” Dirteater said. “Then he came out of retirement and I had been wanting to get on him since Chad got him. I finally got the opportunity and that was my first pick if I was coming back first regardless.”
Dirteater had the top pick in the draft by being the only rider to have gone 3-for-3. He rode Gear Jammer for 84.5 points in Round 1 Friday, Shattered Dreams for 84.25 points Saturday in Round 2 and Double Doze for 80.25 points in Round 3.
The 27-year-old has successfully ridden After Party in four of their five meetings.
Sunday was only Dirteater’s third round win of the season.
“That was a great ride,” said stock contractor Chad Berger “Ryan has rode him before and that bull still bucks good. I thought he should have been a little more. The bull bucked good and Ryan rode him. It worked out perfect.”
Dirteater earned 725 world points in Springfield and is 1,382.83 points behind Pacheco for the world No. 1 ranking.
He began the weekend 13th in the world standings.
“I am seventh in the standings and there are six events left before the Finals,” Dirteater said. “It is looking pretty good for me this year.”
Pearl Harbor posts 45.5-point bull score
Pearl Harbor continued his march toward qualifying for the 2016 World Finals as a World Champion Bull contender by bucking off Cody Nance in 3.98 seconds during the championship round.
The 5-year-old used his brute strength to whip Nance off the side of him for his seventh consecutive bull score of 45 or more points.
“I thought he was really good,” Berger said. “Big Cat was a little better this weekend, but he is definitely one of the rankest bulls in the world.”
Pearl Harbor was competing in the championship round after J.B. Mauney was unable to attempt him on Saturday night during the 15/15 Bucking Battle after Pearl Harbor rocketed Mauney forward and into the steel bars inside the bucking chutes.
Berger’s Big Cat was the high-marked bull of the weekend. Big Cat was marked 46 points for a 1.85-second buckoff of Wallace de Oliveira in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
Pearl Harbor’s successful out against Nance brings Pearl Harbor’s World Champion bull score qualifier average bull score to 45.69 points per out. He has firmly solidified his positioning for one of the seven World Champion Bull contender spots.
Still, Berger said he may opt to buck Pearl Harbor in one or two more BFTS events before the Finals.
“We might see him once or twice” Berger said. “It just depends how our schedule works for me. That bull is alone in Texas so it is a little bit harder for me to get him with my other bulls. We will try to get him to Colorado Springs maybe. Then we will see what happens.”
Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney attempted to compete during Round 3 on Sunday afternoon following his multitude of injuries from the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
However, for the second consecutive day, trouble inside the bucking chute got the best of Mauney.
Paradise City Slinger yanked Mauney forward in a close-to-identical situation that Mauney had with Pearl Harbor on Saturday night as he was preparing to nod for the gate.
Longtime friend Kasey Hayes pulled Mauney out of the chute as the 29-year-old leaned over in pain, clutching at his left shoulder.
Mauney eventually was unable to attempt Paradise City Slinger and did not finish the event.
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Mauney aggravated his left shoulder injury and is questionable for Charlotte.
There were only 11 riders in the championship round because of a series of injuries.
World No. 5 Fabiano Vieira sustained a concussion and lacerated his forehead when his head struck the gate post as Swamp Wreck left the chute. He is questionable for Charlotte.
Jorge Valdiviezo aggravated a left groin injury attempting to ride Cut the Cord (2.42 seconds) in Round 3. He is questionable for Charlotte.
Mason Lowe did not compete in the championship round because of a left groin strain he sustained attempting to ride Mr. Deeds Jr. (7.72 seconds) in Round 3. He is questionable for Charlotte.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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