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Lee Two Rides Away from History

By: Justin Felisko
April 09, 2016

Mike Lee is at 498 rides and could potentially make history on Sunday Photo: Andy Watson/BullStockMedia.com

Mike Lee is at 498 rides and could potentially make history on Sunday Photo: Andy Watson/BullStockMedia.com

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Bad Boy Mowdown on Saturday night at Verizon Arena.

Lee two rides away from history (4-9-16)

Mike Lee continued his march toward the 500 club by riding Black Cat for 85.5 points and a fifth-place finish in Round 1.

The ride was the 498th of Lee’s career, which puts him just two away from becoming the second rider in PBR history to record 500 qualified rides on the Built Ford Tough Series. 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi (557) is the only rider to have reached the prestigious mark.

“That bull is built real weird,” Lee said. “When I first pulled it, my rope slid all the way to about halfway down his back. That is not good. A lot of these bulls when they are young, it is really hard to keep your rope on. I don’t know why.”

None of it mattered, though, as Lee was able to withstand Black Cat trying to jump out of the chute before he nodded for the gate and is now one step closer to history.

“I mean, I guess that just makes me old being around a long time,” said Lee, laughing. “But, some people think it is cool.”

Lee finished fifth in the round for 30 world points. He has ridden four of his last six bulls attempted.

He will attempt to get career ride 499 on Sunday against Rojo (0-0, BFTS). Rojo is making his BFTS debut after going 10-1 at Touring Pro Division events in Texas. If Lee qualifies for the Built Ford Tough Championship Round, he will possibly notch ride No. 500.

Oliveira wins fifth round of 2016

36-year-old rookie Wallace de Oliveira is back at it when it comes to winning BFTS rounds.

Oliveira won Round 1 with an 88.5-point beauty on Sketchy Bob to earn 100 points toward the world standings.

It was payback for Oliveira after Sketchy Bob had previously bucked him off in 3.87 seconds last year at a Touring Pro Division event in Las Vegas.

“He bucked me off in Vegas and I have seen a couple guys get on him,” Oliveira said. “He is a really good bull. When the bull started bucking, he changed a little bit of direction and I moved my leg. I went to my rope and I didn’t quit.”

Oliveira moved up to sixth in the world standings and gained 100 points on world leader J.B. Mauney. He trails Mauney by 695 points.

“No, I didn’t think about that,” Oliveira said. “If you think too much it won’t work out. I just think about getting on one bull at a time.”

Mauney finished 12th in the round with 75 points on Rebel Yell II. He turned down his re-ride option.

Oliveira is competing with a torn MCL in his right knee after sustaining the injury in Sioux Falls last week.

“I am a little sore,” Oliveira said. “I am wearing a brace. It is OK.”

Tanner Byrne returned to competition after skipping the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, event last week because of a pulled groin and showed no signs of rust in Little Rock.

Byrne placed second in the round with an 87.75-point effort on Roll of the Dice. Byrne moved from ninth to seventh in the world standings with the 60 world points he earned.

“I had seen some videos of him,” Byrne said. “Kaique had rode him earlier this year and that was exactly what he did right there. I figured he was one I could ride all day and I am glad I could back up my word and ride him. It felt good and I feel healthy. At this time of year, that is a big part of it.”

Gage Gay placed third with an 87.5-point ride on Glory Days for 50 world points, while Derek Kolbaba attempted to keep pace with Oliveira in the Rookie of the Year race by earning 40 world points with a fourth-place finish (86.6 points on Whiskey Trip).

“I knew what that bull was going to do,” Gay said. “I had seen him with Guilherme (Marchi) in Albuquerque and heard he had been bucking harder than he did with Guilherme so I was excited coming into it. It was just what I wanted. He felt like he was going to go back left the whole time. He never really felt like he was committed. I think it was just because he was so close to them bucking chutes.”

Douglas Duncan finished in sixth place after an 84.75-point ride on Not Today. He earned a highly important 15 points in the world standings. Duncan was a last minute alternate for the event and arrived 41st in the world standings. The 15 points moved him to 40th and within 40 points of the Top 35.

Ryan Dirteater rounded out the Top 7 with his 84-point ride on #01. He earned five world points.

Gay to get surgery during summer break

Gage Gay revealed following his 87.5-point ride that he will indeed undergo hip surgery this summer following Last Cowboy Standing in May.

Gay came to the conclusion after Dr. Tandy Freeman reviewed an MRI of his left hip earlier in the day. Gay believes he will miss about four months, but should be able to return to competition in September and make a push to qualify for the Built Ford Tough World Finals on Nov. 2-5.

“I should be able to make it back for about five events and the Finals,” Gay said.

It is a tough decision, especially with Gay, who is ranked 18th in the world standings, having placed fourth or higher in a BFTS round with his last eight qualified rides.

Gay said he hasn’t been trying to dress up a ride for a higher score or round placement.

“Well, it is not something I do on purpose, but it seems like I show them up a little more when I do ride them,” Gay said. “I think just the way I ride, it either ain’t good at all or I get really good scores. There ain’t no in between.”

INJURY UPDATES

According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Matt Triplett will be out for six months after undergoing reconstructive left shoulder surgery on Wednesday in Dallas.

Ben Jones is also expected to miss six months once he undergoes left shoulder surgery as well this coming week. Jones dislocated his shoulder in Sioux Falls, and also sustained a “massive” rotator cuff tear, attempting to ride Swashbuckler.

There were 10 riders competing with injuries in Round 1:  Paulo Lima (rib sprain), Justin Paton (sprained right riding hand/sprained left sternoclavicular joint/sprained right knee), Kasey Hayes (right shoulder separation of his free arm), Robson Palermo (sore lower back and sprained left ankle), Stormy Wing (aggravation of an old sternal fracture), Derek Kolbaba (sprained left riding hand), Wallace de Oliveira (grade 3 right knee sprain), Rubens Barbosa (right SI sprain), Fabiano Vieira (bruised right thigh and Silvano Alves (bruised chest).

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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