By: Justin Felisko
August 12, 2017
TULSA, Okla. – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 and the 15/15 Bucking Battle of the Express Employment Professionals Classic, presented by Osage Casino, Saturday night at the BOK Center.
Lockwood Makes Major Statement 8-12-17
Jess Lockwood could do some serious damage in the world title race on Sunday afternoon after winning Round 1 with his 87.5-point ride on Astro, but it was his 87.5-point ride on Seven Dust during the 15/15 Bucking Battle that may just be the sign he is truly ready to make a deep push at the 2017 World Championship.
Lockwood became just the second rider in 29 outs to ever cover the Gene Owen/Jane Clark bull.
The moment left the 19-year-old shaking with adrenaline even after the event.
“Like me and (Cody) Lambert said this week, World Champions ride Seven Dust, and if you are going to be in a world title contention, you have to get him rode,” Lockwood said. “So I wanted to turn loose. When he reared me back, I knew if I didn’t start spurring it was going to get Western.”
Lockwood wound up finishing third in the 15/15 Bucking Battle behind Stormy Wing (89.5 points on Wired Child) and Matt Triplett (88 points on Cochise).
Regardless, Lockwood’s performance with Seven Dust was arguably one of his best rides this season.
“He was just wild out there and kind of lost, really,” Lockwood said. “He is just so damn mean that he was probably just looking for someone to hook. He is the meanest bull on tour. I don’t know if he lost his footing, but he reared up straight at me and kind of sat me back. I knew if I didn’t start spurring him I am going to go out over the front.”
Capped with his Round 1 victory, Lockwood earned 175 points toward the world standings to jump ahead of Derek Kolbaba for the No. 3 ranking.
He now trails world leader Eduardo Aparecido by 690 points in the standings.
Aparecido was bucked off by Mystikal in 7.72 seconds in the 15/15 Bucking Battle, but did cap off Round 1 with an 82.25-point ride on Smooth Over for 10th place.
Kaique Pacheco couldn’t handle Hangman (5.22 seconds) in Round 1, but the No. 2 man in the world standings is now within 60 points of Aparecido after riding Lester Gillis for 85.5 points in the 15/15 Bucking Battle and a fifth-place finish (45 world points).
Two-time World Champion and CBS Sports Network commentator Justin McBride said the 15/15 Bucking Battle featured plenty of marque moments by the top riders in the world.
Reigning World Champion Cooper Davis placed fourth with an 86-point ride on Right Turn Clyde after World Champion Bull contender TLW’s Big Cathipped himself.
McBride, though, called Lockwood’s effort a World Champion-caliber moment.
“That was big,” McBride said. “That was good, good, good stuff right there. The bull had a terrible day, but it was a terrible day to ride him. He was not good to ride. He was out across there with a big roll, turned back and Lockwood went at him. That was gritty, gutty and confident.
“That is the kind of stuff that World Champions are made of. That is when a guy is not hoping that he makes the whistle, that is when a guy is expecting to make the whistle and that is one of scariest, rankest bulls right now.”
Lockwood heads into Championship Sunday on top of the field and has drawn Force Awaken (0-0, BFTS) for Round 2.
“Hell, I am ready for the whole season,” Lockwood concluded.
Dirteater looking for first win in home state; raises $26,000 for charity
Ryan Dirteater is hoping to finally give his home state fans an event-winning performance.
The Hulbert, Oklahoma, native has never won a Built Ford Tough Series event held in Oklahoma.
Dirteater will have a chance to check that bucket off his to-do list Sunday after finishing Round 1 in second-place with an 87-point ride on JJ.
“That bull really tried around the left and Cord (McCoy) said I would love him and he was right,” Dirteater said.
There were 13 qualified rides in Round 1.
Rounding out the Top 5 were Emilio Resende (85.5 points on Bezerk), Troy Wilkinson (85.5 points on Big Crush) and 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi (85.5 points on Livin’ Large). The three riders all tied for third-place and picked up 40 world points.
Dirteater will look to set himself to get that illusive first Okie win when he takes on Hurricane Kitty (0-0, BFTS) in Round 2.
“It is on the list,” Dirteater said. “That would be icing on the cake. Man, to get that W would be something great. That is one of my goals to do before I am done riding bulls. If I keep staying on bulls and doing my job, I will be on top of the weekend.”
The ride was the latest highlight for Dirteater this weekend.
Dirteater won first and second at his annual Roping for Wishes charity event Friday at Riverbend Arena in nearby Inola Arena.
The team roping competition helped raise $26,000 for charity. The money will be split between Make-A-Wish Oklahoma and the Rider Relief Fund.
“It is huge,” Dirteater said. “I just love granting wishes for kids. That is why we do it. A lot of the bull riders showed up and we had fun. I was just part of it. I love seeing smiles on kids.”
Aparecido’s Advice Pans out for Resende
Resende is trying to hang onto to his Top 35 ranking this weekend in Tulsa and the veteran got some helpful advice from Aparecido.
The No. 1 bull rider in the world standings previously rode Bezerk for 87.25 points in Jacksonville, Florida, and Aparecido made sure to share what he knew about the bull with Resende.
“That was a good ride and good bull,” Resende said. “Eduardo rode him in Jacksonville. Eduardo told me this is the bull I need. He said, ‘He really bucks and does nothing different. He blows and is a spinner.’
The scouting report paid off for Resende, who moved from 34th to 30th in the world standings.
“Eduardo helped me a lot,” Resende added.
Resende is now 49.16 points ahead of the BFTS cutline heading into Round 2.
He has drawn Acting Crazy (7-4, BFTS) for Round 2.
“Everyone knows my fight (for the Finals),” Resende said. “It is never easy, but that is part of it. I am living my dream. I hope I can ride a couple of bulls tomorrow. I am ready to live my dream and be here with my friends and brothers. I am happy.”
Marco Eguchi replaced Mason Lowe in the 15/15 Bucking Battle after Lowe sustained a concussion in Round 1 attempting to ride Rocket Man. Lowe is questionable for Round 2, while Eguchi was bucked off by Losing My Religion in 5.69 seconds.
Brennon Eldred sustained a concussion when he was stepped on after being thrown from Yeti’s Ice Breaker (4.69 seconds). He is also questionable for Round 2.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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