By: Justin Felisko
December 10, 2016
BILOXI, Miss. – 2004 World Champion Mike Lee had jumped off the back of Nefarious on Saturday night when he saw something silver glimmering in the dirt on the floor of Mississippi Coast Coliseum.
That shiny silver object was, in fact, Lee’s iPhone. The 33-year-old had forgotten the phone was in his pocket prior to his Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event-winning ride of 84.5 points. He split the event win with Cody Campbell.
“I just forgot,” Lee said with a laugh and shrug of the shoulders. “Dumb move, I guess.”
Amazingly, Lee’s $500 phone escaped danger as the over 1,500-pound bovine beast spun and bucked right in the vicinity of Lee’s phone.
Upon further inspection, the phone escaped without so much as a scratch.
Never before in his 16-year career had Lee ridden with a cell phone in his pocket.
The first generation iPhone wasn’t even released until 2007 – three years after Lee won his world title.
Lee had planned on finding someone to film his ride for him on the back of the bucking chutes, but he ended up getting caught up cheering on his peers prior to getting on Nefarious.
“I forgot to get someone to film my ride,” Lee explained. “I realized when I hit the ground and I saw it laying on the ground. I always remember to give it to somebody.”
Lee split the victory with Campbell. The pair were the only riders able to successfully cover both of their bulls in Biloxi.
Campbell, who earns the BFTS exemption for the Anaheim, California, event in February, has never ridden with a cell phone in his pocket before.
He too let out a good laugh about Lee’s mishap.
“I have actually never witnessed that,” said Campbell. “That was some good watching. I didn’t even notice it until he got off and he picked it up. It was right in front of him where he stepped off. Then he picked it up and held it up. On the replay, that was pretty funny.”
Koal Livingston placed third with his Round 1 winning ride of 87 points on Western Moments. Rounding out the Top 5 was Matt Triplett and Marco Eguchi.
Lee won’t have to worry about his ride not being recorded seeing as he won the event.
The Decatur, Texas, bull rider began the night with 85.5 points on Gonzo.
“First ride was pretty good,” he said. “I thought he may go right, I was riding the outside, and then he went left and stayed in it. I even got to spur a little bit. It had been a while.”
Speaking of bull riding videos, Lee revealed on Saturday that he has actually been studying the riding of Kaique Pacheco lately.
“I have been watching Kaique a little bit and how he rides,” Lee said. “Just because you are old doesn’t mean you can’t get better.”
Pacheco has finished runner-up to the last two World Champions and led the PBR with 52 qualified rides in 2016. He rode Houdunnit for 82.5 points to finish in 12th place in Biloxi.
The 22-year-old did not qualify for the 10-rider championship round, but it doesn’t change Lee’s view of Pacheco.
“Well, the stats say it all,” Lee said. “You don’t have to talk much. He is so consistent. If he is that consistent, he is obviously doing something right. He is getting his bulls started right. I am trying to start the way he does. No matter what the bulls does, lunge forward or back up, he has a counter move for it.”
Lee previously won the 2013 Built Ford Tough Series Battle at the Beau and comes into 2017 fresh off a 10th-place finish in the 2016 world standings.
The win is Lee’s first of the 2017 season and pushes him to seventh in the early season world standings. The victory is also Lee’s first Velocity Tour event win since claiming the 2015 J.W. Hart PBR Challenge in Decatur.
“I was kind of needing it,” Lee said. “I have been going to the gym. Real Time Pain Relief has been keeping me from not getting too sore. I rub that on every day and work out.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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