By: Justin Felisko
January 24, 2016
OKLAHOMA CITY – Here are three things we learned from this weekend’s Express Employment Professionals Classic at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Lowe, Mauney end Oklahoma City with slam dunks
In an arena where Oklahoma City Thunder and NBA superstar Kevin Durant has made some monstrous slam dunks, second-year pro Mason Lowe and two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney brought the thunder themselves on Sunday afternoon.
Mauney surpassed the 90-point threshold first by bettering 2015 World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Long John for 90.25 points.
“I don’t know if it was easy or not,” Mauney said. “I like that bull. Big bulls like that have a lot of up and down and I usually get along with them as long as I do my job. I knew it was going to be a good matchup. I had to do my job and luckily it worked out.”
Reese Cates had actually selected the bull for Mauney while Mauney was being attended to by sports medicine following his 82.5-point ride on Darth Vader to end Round 3.
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Mauney twisted his left ankle during his dismount.
“When he asked me which bull to pick for me, I said, ‘I don’t care. Just pick the rankest one left in there,’” Mauney said. “He come back and told me he picked Long John for me. Somebody then said, ‘Why didn’t you pick Air Time?’ But he said, ‘Well, he already has a bad ankle.’”
It is the second consecutive successful ride for Mauney against the defending World Champion Bull. Mauney rode Long John last season for 92.25 points in Thackerville, Oklahoma, as he took over the No. 1 ranking in the world standings.
Mauney was then bested by Lowe, who won the Built Ford Tough Championship Round with a career-high 91-point ride on SweetPro’s Bruiser.
“I heard everyone on the back of the chutes hollering and right at the end he got me on the end of my arm and kind of blew up,” Lowe said. “He tried to whoop me down and I let loose for a second and got back on top of my rope.”
Mauney (3-for-4) finished tied for third overall in the event with Joao Ricardo Vieira (4-for-4) with 265 points. He rode his last three bulls of the weekend, including Hou’s Back for 87.75 points to win Round 2, and earned 105 of his points for finishing fourth in the event average.
Vieira – the No. 2 bull rider in the world standings – finished fourth in the championship round with an 87-point ride on Cooper Tires Semper Fi. He trails world leader Paulo Lima by 30 points heading into next weekend’s Anaheim Invitational.
Lowe confidently selected Bruiser with the second pick of the draft despite the fact that Bruiser had never been ridden by a right-handed bull rider on the BFTS. Kaique Pacheco (94 points in Guymon, Oklahoma,) is the only right-handed rider to cover Bruiser at any PBR event.
“I woke up this morning wanting to pick that bull and I knew he fit my style,” Lowe said “He kind of had me off for a second and I just let loose and everything and let it go.”
The ride capped a career-best 4-for-4 performance for the 22-year-old. It also was Lowe’s first career ride in the championship round.
Lowe began the weekend with an 82-point ride on Cartwright. He then rode Rickey for 84 points in Round 2 and No Diggity for 83.5 points in Round 3.
The Exeter, Missouri, bull rider finished second overall in the event with 340 points, and is now the seventh-ranked bull rider in the world standings after beginning the season 1-for-5.
“This is what I should have been doing the entire time,” Lowe said. “I don’t know what I was doing those first couple of events. I kept falling off.”
Guilherme Marchi, the 2008 World Champion, finished fifth in the championship round with an 80.75-point ride on Jeremiah. Marchi turned down his re-ride option after becoming the first rider in 16 BFTS outs to convert aboard Jeremiah.
“I am so happy to cover him today,” Marchi said. “No one has ever ridden that bull and I am the first guy. It helps build my confidence a little bit. I know he is one of the best bulls right there. He is hard to ride.”
Marchi finished the event eighth overall with 95 points – 30 from his fifth-place finish in the championship round and 65 for placing fifth in the event average.
Gage Gay wins Round 3; bucks off high-marked bull in championship round
No. 11 bull rider in the world standings Gage Gay won his second BFTS round of the season by riding Redbone for 86.25 points in Round 3.
“I have been on that bull before and I knew he was going to rear a lot and throw them horns up in my face,” Gay said. “I knew that is right where I needed to be – right between them. So that is just where I tried to stay.”
Gay had previously been bucked off by Redbone (2.16 seconds) at the 2014 Touring Pro Division event in Big Sky, Montana.
The round win earned him 100 of his 112.5 world points that placed him fifth in the event. Gay is 11th in the world standings.
Cooper Davis and Ryan Dirteater tied for second in Round 3 with 86-point rides on Black Jack and Hard Times. Joao Ricardo Vieira (85.75 points on Set ‘em up Joe) placed fourth and Shane Proctor (85.25 points on Spin Machine) was fifth. Aaron Roy (84.75 points on Green Back) and Valdiron de Oliveira (84.75 points on Closing Time) split sixth and seventh.
Gay was later bucked off by Brutus in 1.94 seconds. Brutus was marked 45 points to tie with Lane’s Magic Train (1.22-second buckoff against Brady Sims) for the weekend’s high-marked bull honors.
Fabiano Vieira escapes chute clock to win 11th career BFTS event
Fabiano Vieira didn’t need to surpass the 90-point mark to win on Sunday afternoon, but he did have to survive the chute clock.
Vieira was put on the clock during the championship round as he was preparing to nod his head on Red Moon and was able to hone in his focus and get out of the chute just before the clock hit zero.
The rest was easy money for the 33-year-old from Perola, Brazil, and Vieira rode Red Moon for 89.25 points to seal the 11th BFTS victory of his career.
“I thought the bull didn’t look good in the bucking chute,” Vieira said. “He was standing on the side of the gate and I was scared for him to come over. I think the judge sees the bull standing in the middle. It is OK. I know the guys need us to ride fast for TV and everything. I just the needed the bull to move a little bit, and I was like, ‘Let’s go.’”
The ride placed him third in the round for 50 world points, but more importantly, helped him win the event average and 500 world points.
Vieira went 4-for-4 for the first time since January 2014 (New York) and won the event with 595 total points.
He had earned 10 points in Round 1 with an 85.5-point ride on KA264 that tied him for sixth-place in the round. He then earned 35 points for riding Shilo for 85.75 points in Round 2, which placed him tied for fourth in the round.
Vieira rode Fire & Smoke for 83.75 points in Round 3 to enter the championship round with the No. 1 pick in the bull draft.
He heads into the Anaheim Invitational as the No. 3 bull rider in the world standings and trails Lima by -338.34 points.
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Dickies Bullfighter Frank Newsom sustained a concussion and facial lacerations when he was hit on the chin by JW Hughes’s Excavation in Round 3 while stepping in to save 21-year-old Kaique Pacheco.
Newsom had to be boarded out of the arena and into sports medicine, where Freeman sutured the lacerations in the training room. Newsom was in good spirits following the event, but is listed as questionable for Anaheim.
Newsom’s injury opened an unexpected door for Bullfighter’s Only Director Aaron Ferguson to step into the action as an alternate third bullfighter alongside Shorty Gorham and Jesse Byrne.
Ferguson fought bulls at the 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and is a bullfighter for roughly 130 rodeos a year.
Sunday was his debut at the BFTS level.
“I was down here cleaning out the Bullfighters Only office and Jerome Robinson called and said Frank unfortunately got knocked out,” Ferguson said. “Frank is a really tough guy and they typically work a three-man system here. For Shorty and Jesse, that is their wheelhouse and I was lucky enough to get the call and step in.
“The Built Ford Tough Series for bullfighters is as good as you can get. To get to step onto this stage is a dream come true. This is what I have been watching since I was a little kid.”
Newsom was not the only person who sustained an injury Sunday.
Douglas Duncan dislocated his right big toe and sustained a possible ankle fracture when Gangster Roll stepped on him in Round 3.
Derek Kolbaba did not compete in the championship round because of a concussion when he collided heads with Victory Dance in the third round.
Robson Palermo opted out of the championship round after aggravating a lower back injury during his 4.38-second buckoff against Papa Pook.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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