By: Justin Felisko
January 17, 2016
NEW YORK – Here are three things we learned from the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden this weekend at Madison Square Garden.
Lima decided he would select $25,000 bounty bull Cochise 24 hours earlier
Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden Champion Paulo Lima knew 24 hours before he selected $25,000 bonus bull Cochise with the third pick of the Built Ford Tough Championship-Round draft on Sunday afternoon that he would.
In fact, he and good friend Robson Palermo were debating who was going to select Cochise late Saturday night in their hotel room at the Wyndham New Yorker.
“I went to sleep thinking of this bull and I got up this morning thinking about this bull,” Lima said with the help of Palermo translating. “It is funny. We are sharing a room and we were arguing about who was going to get on Cochise in the short go.”
Lima won the debate by having the higher-selection in the draft – Palermo had the fourth selection – and the 28-year-old handled Cochise like a seasoned-pro for 90 points.
Not only did the ride earn him $25,000, but it also paid him $4,500 for splitting the championship round win with Joao Ricardo Vieira (90 points on Time Bomb) and $100,000 for the PBR Major victory.
Lima and Vieira are the first riders to surpass the 90-point threshold this season.
Lima – the new world leader in the PBR standings – won $129,500 and earned a total of 725 world points.
The Bezerros, Brazil, rider earned 625 points for winning the event average and 100 for splitting the championship round win with Vieira.
Lima leads Vieira, ranked No. 2 in the world standings, by 295 points.
Lima was dominant all weekend and finished 4-for-4 despite only qualifying for the event with a BlueDEF Tour event exemption he earned by winning the L.J. Jenkins Invitational in Clovis, New Mexico, in October.
“I am really happy and so proud of myself because I took four years off over here and I won this event,” Lima said. “I am really happy.”
Lima last competed on the BFTS full time in 2011, when he finished 19th in the world standings and also won his last BFTS event (Milwaukee).
He had competed sparingly in the Touring Pro Division and BlueDEF Tour in the past three seasons.
Rounding out the Top 5 in the event was Palermo (495 points), Joao Ricardo Vieira (387.5 points), Aaron Roy (190 points) and J.B. Mauney (140 points).
Palermo regaining his confidence since winning the 2012 World Finals
Robson Palermo began the 2013 season by winning the New York City BFTS event and was hoping to begin a long march toward his first World Championship.
However, Palermo competed in five more events before undergoing season-ending surgery on both of his shoulders. A year later, he wound up having to get surgery on his left shoulder again.
The 33-year-old didn’t earn the $100,000 payday this weekend, but he did feel like he won back his confidence that has been so hit or miss in the past three years.
“Oh my gosh, I never thought I was going to have a down slump in my mental because I really focus on the stuff I do,” Palermo said. “Those past years, I lost. I thought I would never ride bulls no more.”
Palermo’s 4-for-4 performance is his first four-ride weekend since winning the 2012 Des Moines, Iowa, BFTS event.
“This past year I have forgotten about,” Palermo said. “This year I feel good and everything is great at home. My wife had a baby and I don’t have to worry no more. I just worry about riding bulls. I am staying healthy. One little issue is my shoulder, but I am not worried about the screw anymore. So far God has taken care of me. I have been working toward that.”
Palermo was in a position to win the PBR Major prior to Lima’s ride after he covered Fire Rock for 89.25 points in the championship round. He earned 50 world points for tying for third in the round.
The Rio Branco, Brazil, bull rider earned 300 points for placing second in the event average and 100 points for splitting the Round 1 win on Friday night with an 87-point ride on Alligator Arms. He also earned 45 points for finishing Round 3 in a tie for fourth place with his 86.25-point showing aboard Tux.
“This year is funny,” Palermo concluded. “I come over to the Touring Pros and BlueDEF deals and got more relaxed. Man, it is turning out good. I have been riding good and my mind is good.”
Mauney and Gay finish strong for team Monster
Monster Energy bull riders had a strong weekend in New York.
Not only did Palermo finish runner-up to Lima, but J.B. Mauney placed sixth and Gage Gay won Round 3 with an 88.5-point ride on Shoot Out The Lights.
Mauney rode Shaft for 89.25 points in the championship round to tie for third place with Palermo and Aaron Roy (89.25 points on Little Red Jacket).
“Well, I don’t pay attention to what bulls are in that dang short round most of the time, but I had seen Shaft there and said sweet revenge,” Mauney said. “I figured let’s try and pick him again.”
Mauney was bucked off by Shaft in 3.71 seconds during Friday night’s 15/15 Bucking Battle.
The defending World Champion is the first rider to cover Shaft since Matt Triplett (90.5 points in Allentown, Pennsylvania, last September) and just the third rider to hear the 8-second mark on Shaft in 25 BFTS outs.
“He is rideable,” Mauney said. “That bull has a little backup to him. That is the first time I got on him the other night. When he turns back, it backs up under yourself a little bit and I didn’t know it. I figured it out the first time and I fixed it for the second time. It worked out.”
Mauney earned a total of 140 world points in New York, which moves him to ninth in the standings.
Meanwhile, Gay was happy to win the third round after bucking off his previous two bulls at MSG.
“I wish I could have gotten the weekend started better, but I finished it strong,” Gay said. “I guess I will just carry it over for next weekend. I knew that bull and had seen him a lot coming into this event. I knew what he was going to do and he went back left. My hand was all but out of my rope and I heard Josie McElroy, the girl who owns him, screaming, ‘Keep riding, keep riding him.’ That never happens. That was cool.”
Gay earned 125 world standings points with the round victory and is ranked 13th in the world.
“It is real big considering how sucky my first half was last year and I hadn’t won a round at all,” Gay said. “Winning the round was pretty cool.”
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, four-time PRCA champion J.W. Harris did not compete on Sunday because of multiple injuries, including a right elbow and forearm strain, chest contusion and upper back rib sprains, he sustained attempting to ride Mishap in Round 2 on Saturday night.
Harris is questionable for next week’s event in Oklahoma City.
Silvano Alves did not compete in the championship round Sunday afternoon because of left hip soreness. Alves is probable for Oklahoma City.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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