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Mauney Manages to Keep Pace in World Title Race

By: Justin Felisko
August 21, 2016

J.B. Mauney's 3-for-4 performance helped secure the Ride Score Championship. Photo: Andy Watson / BullStockMedia.com

J.B. Mauney’s 3-for-4 performance helped secure the Ride Score Championship. Photo: Andy Watson / BullStockMedia.com

NASHVILLE – Here are three things we learned following this weekend’s Frontier Communications Music City Knockout, presented by Cooper Tires, this weekend at Bridgestone Arena.

Mauney wins Ride Score Championship to keep pace in world title race (8-20-16)

Reigning two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney failed to advance to the Final 4 of the 36-rider tournament when eventual winner Cooper Davis edged him by .25 points in the final round of Bracket B, but Mauney’s 87.5-point ride on Gentleman Jim wound up being influential to the 2016 world title race.

Mauney was eventually upset by Rubens Barbosa in the Second Chance Bracket when he was bucked off by Crossfire in 4.34 seconds and Barbosa remained on Cochise for 5.23 seconds.

However, Mauney wound up winning the Ride Score Championship, which consists of $27,000 and 300 world points, by going 3-for-4 for a total aggregate score of 265.25 points.

“What does that mean?” Mauney asked when informed he won the Ride Score Championship. “Well, hell yeah. Perfect. You told me something I didn’t know. To come here, I knew it was going to be rough getting on this many bulls. Cooper, he bumped me out earlier with a quarter of a point more than me, so I knew it was going to get a whole lot tougher going through the Second Chance Bracket. I didn’t do my job, that bull got me reared up and threw me off. At least if Cooper was going to beat me out, he won the event.”

Mauney left Nashville with 455 total world points. He earned 155 for advancing to the fourth round.

The Mooresville, North Carolina, cowboy sent Jess Lockwood to the Second Chance Bracket earlier in the evening during Round 3 when he rode Alligator Arms for 87.5 points and Lockwood bucked off I’m A Gangster Too in 5.85 seconds.

Alligator Arms actually left the bucking chutes backwards with Mauney, but the 29-year-old wasn’t to be fooled.

“He turned out a little backwards, but it really don’t bother me,” Mauney said. “You still have to ride them straight or backwards. It is all the same. Jess is a really good bull rider. He is going to be around for a long time. He had his feet whipped behind him on that bull. I have been on that bull once before and he is bad about whipping a man down. I guess I was just a little luckier than him today.”

Mauney rode Texicali for 90.25 points in Round 2 on Friday night for the highest scored ride of the weekend.

Lockwood (3-for-5) and Davis (3-for-5) were the only other two riders to record three qualified rides.

Thanks to his Ride Score Championship, Mauney was able to keep pace with current world leader Kaique Pacheco, who earned 500 world points in Nashville.

Mauney heads to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the Express Employment Professionals Classic, presented by Osage Casino, second in the world standings and still just 160.33 points behind Pacheco. Davis is only 390.33 points behind Pacheco courtesy of his PBR Major victory.

“They will be hard to beat,” Mauney concluded. “Cooper is riding really good and so is Kaique. They will be in the running. That is for sure.”

Cooper Davis wins Music City Knockout

The Music City Knockout turned into a wild event with a series of unexpected twist and turns for Davis.

Davis appeared to be on his way to low-scored qualified ride on Big Sky in Round 4 before the bovine athlete fell to the ground just shy of 8 seconds, giving Davis a re-ride option.

Less than five minutes later, Davis went to town on Fast Talker for 87.75 points to eliminate Mauney.

“It just happened to be a drawing contest,” Davis said. “If I could do my part, I knew he was going to do his. To knock out one of your heroes, it is kind of bittersweet I guess. That was just a really good bull. I knew nothing about when I got in there. He faked left and went right and kind of had me bowed down. I figured I had to get a few more points myself with the spurs or else I knew I wouldn’t have passed (Mauney).

It then appeared as if Davis had been eliminated by Fabiano Vieira during the Final 4 when Vieira lasted 4.06 seconds on Hammer It Again and Davis was bucked off by Who Dey in 3.19 seconds.

Davis was defeated and exhausted as he crouched down following the buckoff and began to head to the locker room. However, a dislocated left shoulder prevented Vieira, who had dislocated the same shoulder at the Calgary Stampede, from competing in the final round and gave Davis another opportunity.

Therefore, Davis had to regroup and compose himself for his fifth bull of the night and sixth in 24 hours.

Somehow, Davis was able to hang on to win the 36-rider tournament event by lasting 4.21 seconds on World Champion Bull contender Pearl Harbor in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round, while world leader Pacheco was no match for Jared Allen’s Air Time (2.54 seconds).

“This is great,” Davis said. “I came in here. I never won a (PBR) Major or a regular event title, and this was next on my bucket list.”

Davis began the weekend with an 82.5-point ride on Bad Finger to advance to Round 3. He then rode Red Moon on a crazy and wild trip for 83.75 points in Round 4 to defeat Paulo Lima.

The 22-year-old earned 625 points for his first PBR Major victory and a total of 905 world points. He rockets all the way from eighth to third in the world standings and is right on the cusp of usurping Mauney and Pacheco for the world lead.

“I guess Tulsa is going to be the next thing I am looking forward to,” Davis said. “I am going to keep taking it one event at a time and hopefully I will have $1 million in the pocket.”

Air Time earns top bull honors

Cooper Davis may want to give a portion of his winnings to Air Time after the great white spot once again made quick work of an opponent – this time the current world No. 1.

Within 2.54 seconds, Air Time had Pacheco crashing over his front end.

“He is a hard bull,” Pacheco said. “He pulled me to the front. He is the No. 1 bull.”

Air Time was marked 46.5 points to edge out Hammer It Again for the high-marked bull award in Nashville. It was the third-highest bull score for Air Time this season and the sixth time in seven outs he disposed an opponent in less than 3 seconds.

“Air Time was being kind of a (jerk) with keeping his horn in the slab so we had to adjust that and mess with him more than I would like to, but it worked out. He got a little bit balled up in the start and he followed it up with a kick where he is Air Time.”

Hammer It Again was marked 46 points for his buckoff of Vieira and Pearl Harbor was next in line with 45.75 points.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

PACHECO PROVES HIS MERIT ONCE AGAIN (8-20-16)

NASHVILLE – The stretch run to the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals is officially underway with the Frontier Communications Music City Knockout, presented by Cooper Tires, Friday night at Bridgestone Arena. Here are three things we learned following the first two rounds of the 36-rider tournament.

If there was any doubt that Kaique Pacheco doesn’t have the merit to handle the big moment, then he once again proved that is numb to the pressure-filled situations leading up to the gate cracking open on the PBR’s biggest stage.

Pacheco capped off the first night of competition of the Music City Knockout with an 85-point ride on Legal Tender to eliminate his mentor and three-time World Champion Silvano Alves (83.75 points on Mojo Bone) from the tournament on the final ride of the evening.

“It was a fight against my bull,” Pacheco said with the help of Valdiron de Oliveira translating. “You don’t fight with the other guys. Alves is a good friend. I came here for one result. One job. This is a test. This is what I want to do.”

What made the ride that much more impressive was that not only was the current world leader matched up against his idol, but that J.B. MauneyFabiano Vieira, Joao Ricardo Vieira, Paulo Lima and Eduardo Aparecido – the five riders behind Pacheco in the world standings – had already punched their tickets to Saturday’s third round.

“I just wanted to ride my bull,” Pacheco said. “All of those guys ride good too. I have respect for those guys. I just kept working for the result to ride my bull.”

Alves (7.01 seconds on Yo Yo) had defeated Tyler Harr (4.96 seconds onMilky Jones) in Round 1.

Pacheco is now 2-0 against Legal Tender. He previously rode Legal Tender for 88.25 points in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Friday night was the first BFTS event in which Pacheco was the world leader.

So there he was with everyone in attendance staring at him on the final ride of the night and just like that Pacheco made sure he left another lasting impression.

“The pressure? I just stay relaxed,” Pacheco concluded with a tiny bead of sweat running down his left cheek. “I feel normal. I don’t feel pressure.”

Two-time World Champion and CBS Sports Network commentator Justin McBride said Pacheco did exactly what champions are supposed to do in that moment.

“Yeah and it is a big thing for him to not even think about that,” McBride said. “That is for us to do. For him, that was a really nice bull. That is what you do. You don’t mess up. That is what separates good bull riders from champions. The champions don’t mess up with the ones they are supposed to ride.”

VIEIRAS SAY THEY ARE HEALTHY AND READY

Fabiano Vieira and Joao Ricardo Vieira began the stretch run to the Built Ford Tough World Finals with question marks over their health following summer injuries.

On Friday, the No. 3 and No. 4 bull riders in the world standings quickly made a point to show no injury was going to slow them down during Bracket A competition.

Joao Ricardo Vieira, who was competing with a partially torn left bicep that happened at the end of May, advanced to Round 3 with an 85.5-point ride on Ante Up after Cody Heffernan lasted 2.33 seconds on Time Bomb.

“Good. No pain. Nothing,” he said. “This was a good bull for practice today. I was very focused on the bull. At 4, 5 seconds I thought maybe he was turning right. I stay focused.”

Fabiano Vieira had dislocated his left shoulder at the Calgary Stampede, but that didn’t stop him from advancing to Round 3. Vieira eliminated Cody Nance (2.58 seconds on Like A Boss) with his 85.75-point ride on The Colonel.

“It was nice,” Fabiano Vieira said. “I feel very, very good. No. Nothing. I just did physical therapy and it feels good. I feel 150 percent.”

He has ridden Machinery Auctioneer’s Colonel two times. Every other rider that has attempted Colonel has failed to reach 8 seconds. Vieira first rode Colonel in New York this season for 82.75 points.

“He has bucked off every bull rider,” Vieira said. “I have rode him two times. The first time I was 82 points. I come back and ride him now. It is nice. It is good.”

Fabiano Vieira – the 2015 Ride Score Champion in Nashville – will take on No. 34 Marco Eguchi Saturday night. Vieira has drawn Moto Moto (11-3, BFTS) for Round 3.

“I am just focused on ride, ride, ride,” he said. “It would be very nice to win tomorrow.”

Joao Ricardo Vieira has a Round 3 matchup against Lachlan Richardson. The 32-year-old takes on Sheep Creek (6-3, BFTS).

“I feel strong,” he added. “I feel strong mentally. I like this format. I like this event. The show starts tomorrow.”

ARE EGUCHI AND SCHAPER CINDERELLA STORIES IN THE MAKING?

The major storylines from night one in Nashville will revolve atop the world standings and much of Saturday will be focused around the upcoming J.B. Mauney vs. Jess Lockwood Round 3 matchup, but there are still a pair of Cinderella stories potentially in the making.

Marco Eguchi, the 34th seeded rider in the 36-man tourney, used an 86.5-point ride on Machinery Auctioneer’s Little Joe to upset No. 10 Mike Lee in Round 2 of Bracket A. Lee was bucked off by Slinger Jr. in 5.9 seconds.

“I can’t think about how big of an event it is,” Eguchi said. “I need to keep doing my job. When they opened the gate, the bull’s horn hit my face. I just tried to get to the front again and get in right position and make 8 seconds.”

Eguchi is competing in his first BFTS event since May 2015 after being cut from the top PBR tour in March 2015.

The 26-year-old was once a rising young gun star, posting three consecutive Top-15 finishes in the world standings, including a sixth-place finish in 2013, in his first three BFTS seasons. However, he spent the majority of 2015 trying to overcome a right elbow injury that he sustained in Nampa, Idaho, during the 2014 season attempting to ride Pound The Alarm.

“I know this,” Eguchi said. “I know the Built Ford Tough. I am not younger here. I just concentrate to do my job and that’s it. (Being here with my friends) is the best part of coming here. I have a lot of friends on the Touring Pro too, but to stay here is important to me. I have special friends here. I started here.”

Eguchi, and the other 12 riders that advanced to Round 3, all picked up 50 world points. Eguchi moves from 37th to 34th in the world standings.

When asked if he understood what a Cinderella story or what being called an underdog meant, Eguchi at first said he never heard the term before.

Once explained what a Cinderella story is, Eguchi smiled.

“Well I don’t trust in a Cinderella story,” Eguchi said. “I trust in God. I know he can do everything. No matter how worse you are. If he wants, he can make you a champion in life or an event. I am putting my life in his hand and try to do my job. That is it.”

Eguchi advanced out of Round 1 when his 7.76-second buckoff on Hot n Ready was enough to advance on time compared to Mason Lowe’s 5.6-second buckoff against Springer Mountain.

No. 31-seed Nathan Schaper is also trying to craft his own Cinderella story. Schaper advanced to Round 3 with 4.54 seconds of work on What’s Under Your Hood. He eliminated Shane Proctor (3.91 seconds on Wipeout). Earlier in the evening, Schaper (5.56 seconds on Tom Horn) edged out 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi (5.52 seconds on Hillbilly Music) in Round 1.

Schaper was cut from the BFTS earlier this season, but his 50 world points pushes him to 30th in the world.

He will square off against Aparecido in Round 3. Schaper has drawn Bad Apple (0-0, BFTS).

INJURY REPORT

Chase Outlaw returned to the BFTS with high expectations on Friday night and the first rider to nod his head in Bridgestone Arena is heading home with extreme disappointment.

Outlaw was bucked off by Cooper Tires Semper Fi in 2.2 seconds and sustained two injuries. According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Outlaw sustained a concussion and a left shoulder sprain and separation. Freeman said the injury was not related to his last surgery, but Outlaw said later in the evening that he was informed he would likely be out for the next six weeks.

Robson Palermo did not compete in Round 2 despite making it out of Round 1 (4.18 seconds on Big Benny). Per Freeman, Palermo chose to not continue in the tournament after aggravating a pre-existing right knee sprain. He is questionable for Tulsa.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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