By: Justin Felisko
February 03, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – Injuries are beginning to pile up for riders on the Built Ford Tough Series.
2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi, four-time PRCA champion J.W. Harris and 14th-ranked bull rider Kasey Hayes are just three of nine injured riders that are unable to compete at this weekend’s Sacramento Invitational.
Marchi, Harris and Hayes all sustained their injuries during last weekend’s Anaheim Invitational.
Harris has decided to take a week off as he weighs possible options for his injured riding elbow after meeting with an elbow specialist on Tuesday in Texas, while Marchi (left hip pointer/left rib sprain) and Hayes (separated right shoulder) are still feeling the effects of their Anaheim injuries.
Marchi suffered his injuries when he was stepped on by Udder Lover, while Hayes separated his right shoulder (free arm) during his 3.27-second buckoff against Cowtown Slinger.
They are not alone though.
Brady Sims has also opted out of Sacramento after sustaining a right groin injury, and even hinted in Anaheim that surgery may be a possibility for him in the future.
The other five injured riders include Douglas Duncan (toe/leg), Matt Triplett (elbow surgery), Bonner Bolton (neck), Chase Outlaw (shoulder surgery) and Alexandre Cardozo (neck).
Duncan said on Wednesday is hoping to make a return to competition in St. Louis next weekend.
There are also two open spots in the draw because of the retirements ofRenato Nunes and L.J. Jenkins last year.
Therefore, there are 10 riders competing in Sacramento as alternates –Paulo Lima, Wallace de Oliveira, Derek Kolbaba, Lachlan Richardson, Cody Heffernan, Justin Paton, Tyler Harr, Michael Lane, Dave Mason and Luis Blanco.
Sacramento is the final weekend until Lima – the current world No. 1 – No. 4 Oliveira and No. 7 Kolbaba will not be officially seeded on tour. The three riders, as well as No. 3 Robson Palermo, will likely be the four highest riders that did not finish inside the Top 30 of last year’s world standings that will be granted an official draw spot starting in St. Louis.
Starting with St. Louis, there are five spots in the BFTS draw reserved for the Top-5 riders in the current world standings that did not finish in the Top 30 of the final 2015 world standings. Alternate positions will also be granted based on 2016 world point totals.
Therefore, Heffernan, currently 17th in the world standings, will begin Sacramento on the hot seat holding the current fifth spot.
He only leads No. 19 Lachlan Richardson by 51.66 points and No. 29 Tyler Harr by 134.16 points.
However, with so many injuries currently affecting the BFTS, it is possible that the first two alternate positions may be eligible for St. Louis – meaning all of the alternates below Heffernan, Richardson and Harr have plenty ride for.
All 10 alternates can help their cases by earning as many points as possible this weekend to try and get as high up on the 2016 alternate list as possible.
Heffernan has drawn Fandango (0-0, BFTS) for Round 1, while Richardson takes on El Capitan (0-5, BFTS). Harr has a Round 1 meeting against Chantilly Lace (3-2, BFTS).
Lima will try to increase his 150-point lead on No. 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira by attempting to ride Bobby (12-3, BFTS).
Vieira currently leads the BFTS with 14 qualified rides heading into his matchup against Yahoo (0-1, BFTS). Marchi rode Yahoo for 86.25 points in Anaheim.
Lindomar Lino is making his season-debut after winning the Oakland, California, BlueDEF event. Lino faces Click It or Ticket (5-0, BFTS).
Blanco and Mason are also making their season-debuts. Blanco has drawn Cowtown Slinger (21-14, BFTS) and Mason has Sketchy Bob (1-1, BFTS).Cody Nance rode Sketchy Bob for 86.25 points in Anaheim.
Claudio Crisostomo is in the draw against Swashbuckler via an injury exemption. Vieira rode Swashbuckler for 87.5 points in Anaheim.
Defending World Champion J.B. Mauney, who missed the final two nights of competition in Oklahoma City because of an illness, has drawn Hash Tag (1-0, BFTS).
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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