By: Justin Felisko
January 28, 2017
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Frontier Communications Sacramento Clash Friday at Golden 1 Center.
Mauney and Eguchi return with qualified rides (1-28-17)
Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney does not need any help becoming famous, but his 83.75-point ride on Make You Famous may help doubters believe his injured right hip is indeed much improved from when they last saw him compete at the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden earlier this month.
Mauney finished ninth in Round 1 in his first action since leaving the season-opener with a right hip injury, and he insisted on Friday night that he is 100 percent.
“Oh yeah. It didn’t hurt at all,” Mauney said following the ride. “This is the best I have felt in years.”
Mauney has dealt with his chronic hip for the past couple of seasons, but the 30-year-old had undergone a series of MRIs, CT scans and X-rays over the last two weeks to figure out what exactly was causing him so much more pain in 2017.
The Mooresville, North Carolina, bull rider learned that he has some torn muscles and will need to undergo surgery at some point. Instead of surgery, Mauney received a steroid injection in his hip a week ago for the time being.
Mauney said the injection has done wonders. Combine that with a qualified ride in Round 1, and he is as confident as can be heading into Round 2 on Saturday night.
“Any time you have been home or injured, or if you have been on a break, to get that first one under your belt gives you confidence,” Mauney said. “It gets the ball rolling.”
Mauney takes on All Aboard (1-0, BFTS) in Round 2.
Make You Famous was uncooperative with Mauney inside the bucking chute and continued to squat against the World Champion.
“The bull wouldn’t stand up in there and he just squatted from the time I crawled over in there,” Mauney said. “Finally, I got him half-ass standing and went on with it.”
Mauney popped up to his feet with a quick shoulder shrug after his qualified ride.
It was almost as if he was saying, ‘Look who who is back.’
“I wish they wouldn’t have marked me so much,” Mauney said. “I would have gotten on another one, but that is the way it goes. I am happy with it and am ready for another.”
Marco Eguchi finished fourth in Round 1 with his 85.75-point ride on Bronstad’s Pistol Pete.
Eguchi had missed last weekend’s event in Oklahoma City because of the flu.
The 27-year-old earned 40 world points move ahead of Derek Kolbaba for third in the world standings.
“I feel a little tired and still a little weak, but I am OK,” Eguchi said.
Eguchi began feeling sick after the Chicago Invitational, where he finished sixth overall, and didn’t break his fever until the end of last weekend.
“I know I can’t come here and not be 100 percnet,” Eguchi said. “I have learned that over the years here. If I come here not 100 percent, it is not a good idea.”
Eguchi is second on the Built Ford Tough Series with seven qualified rides and trails world leader Jess Lockwood by 350 points.
“Well, he looked hard, but he had a lot of outs and a couple of riders made 8 seconds. Guilherme told me he can hop, skip, and I knew it would be good,” Eguchi said.
Lockwood extends world lead with second round win of 2017
2016 Rookie of the Year Jess Lockwood bounced back from his 0-for-2 showing in Oklahoma City by winning Round 1 in Sacramento with an 87.5-point effort aboard Baton Rouge.
“The problem I had last week, me and Cody (Lambert) went over it this week, was I was pushing a little too much and not pulling and lifting on my rope enough, taking the slack out of my elbow like I needed to. We really focused on that this week and talked about it every single day. I fixed it right there. He went into my hand and I really kept a bend in my elbow and just rode.”
Lockwood’s second round win of the season helped the 19-year-old extend his lead atop the world standings on Rubens Barbosa to 262.5 points.
Barbosa bucked off his re-ride bull, Red Bandana, at the 7.05-second mark.
Defending World Champion Cooper Davis also responded after a 0-for-2 performance in Oklahoma City. Davis finished second in Round 1 for 60 world points by riding El Capitan for 86.75 points.
Cody Nance placed third for 50 world points with an 86.5-point ride on Gangsta Roll.
Cody Heffernan (85 points on Mustache Sally) and Dener Barbosa (85 points on Uncle Fester) picked up 22.5 points toward the world standings by splitting fourth and fifth place.
Lockwood takes on Smiling Bob (0-0, BFTS) in Round 2 on Saturday night.
Lockwood said he understands the importance of not having too many events in which he goes rideless and earns no points toward the world standings.
In fact, the last five World Champions have went rideless in no more than five BFTS events. Cooper Davis only put up a goose egg in four events last year, while Mauney (three in 2015 and five in 2013) and Silvano Alves (five in 2014 and one in 2012) also made sure to avoid long pointless droughts.
“If you have a bad weekend, it is done and over with,” Lockwood said. “Like Lambert said, it was just one little mistake. I got back that Sunday, and Monday morning we talked, and he showed me what I was doing. He said that is fixed right now.
“That was all I had to think.”
Livingston earns first qualified ride of his career
Koal Livingston’s first trip to the Built Ford Tough Series was full of nerves, frustration and panic.
However, the 18-year-old still walked out of the Golden 1 Center with the first qualified ride of his career Friday.
Livingston finished in seventh-place in Round 1 with an 84.5-point ride on Chantilly Lace following a chaotic Friday afternoon.
“One down, three to go,” Livingston said. “He was right there around the left and came back too close and got hung up in the chutes a little bit. He got out of it, stayed to the left and he felt good.”
All of Livingston’s problems came prior to the qualified ride, though.
First, the Burleson, Texas, bull rider lost his iPhone, with his credit card and driver’s license inside the phone case, in the back seat of an Uber earlier in the day.
“That was terrible,” Livingston said. “I lost my phone and my cards. Thankfully, the Uber driver drove it back to the hotel after about two hours.”
Livingston then banged up his right knee leaving the chute aboard his original bull – Whiskey Trip – and was awarded a re-ride.
“That bull liked to run guys off down the chute like that and I had seen it coming,” he said. “I am OK.”
2015 PBR Brazil champion Luciano de Castro was bucked off by Big Naughty in 7.2 seconds during his BFTS debut.
Livingston picked up five world points and is 22nd in the world standings.
He admitted getting his first qualified ride done and over with was a relief.
“For sure,” Livingston said. “It takes a lot of pressure off. This is very important. I am hoping to be here to stay. That is the plan.”
Livingston takes on Flat Top Pete (3-2, BFTS) in Round 2.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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