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Mauney, Pacheco and Harris Keep Pace in Tucson

TUCSON, Ariz. – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Cooper Tires Take The Money and Ride, presented by Jack Daniel’s, Built Ford Tough Series event at the Tucson Convention Center.

MAUNEY, PACHECO, HARRIS NOTCH RIDES IN ROUND 1

World leader J.B. Mauney rode Pandora – his Round 1 re-ride bull – for 85.25 points, but it was his reaction following his previous ride on Big Naughty that left a slight concern in Round 1.

Mauney was seen grasping at his left elbow, which is his riding arm, before handling Pandora with relative ease.

The current world leader said the elbow was no big deal, but he did reveal following Round 1 that his elbow had swelled up on him when he got home to North Carolina following last weekend’s Allentown Invitation in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Mauney decided to ride without his normal elbow brace in Allentown and is doing the same in Tucson.

“I took that brace off last week, and when I made that horrible dismount (after riding Cash Ya Out for 89 points), I got home Sunday and it was swelled up bad. We iced it all week and kept compression sleeves on. It feels good.”

Mauney explained his decision to ride without his normal elbow brace was because he felt he could ride bulls away from his hands better without it.

“Them bulls away from my hand, I felt like I couldn’t give them all the arm I needed if I was a little late, so I just took it off,” he said.

He has now ridden 15-of-21 bulls (71.43 percent) since Aug. 1.

According to Mauney, his swelling in the elbow went down by Tuesday. He had some swelling in his hand until about Thursday when he left for Tucson.

Mauney rode with a cold, compression sleeve underneath his riding shirt Friday night and has kept cold sleeves on his arm throughout the week.

Not much changed in his pursuit of a second world title as he tied for sixth in the round and failed to extend his lead atop the world standings.

However, No. 3 Kaique Pacheco and No. 5 J.W. Harris – the only two other riders in the Top 5 to record qualified rides – are hot on his heels heading into Round 2.

Harris is currently sitting ninth in the event following his 83.5-point ride on his re-ride bull War Party.

Following the ride, Harris made sure to go shake the hand of 2004 PBR Ring of Honor inductee Charlie Sampson, who was sitting in the front row.

“I have known Charlie for a while,” Harris said. “I got to meet him out at the NFR and, shoot, it is just cool seeing guys like that in the stands watching and stuff. It is always good to talk to them guys because if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be where we are at in bull riding. I didn’t see him until halfway through the bull riding and I had to make it a point to go shake his hand.”

Harris has now ridden six of his last eight bulls for a 75 percent riding average.

Pacheco is sitting 11th in the event courtesy of an 82.5-point ride on JJ’s Dream.

It was a strong bounce back for the 21-year-old rookie who went rideless (0-for-3) in Allentown last week. The 0-for-3 performance was his first since April in Des Moines, Iowa.

“I was very upset about last week,” Pacheco said with the help of Renato Nunes translating. “I didn’t do my job and I bucked off. Here, I had a lot more focus because I didn’t want to make the same bad mistake.

“I am glad to do good here.”

BOLTON WINS ROUND 1 IN RETURN TO ACTION

Bonner Bolton had missed the last six BFTS events because of surgery on Aug. 18 to fix his broken right clavicle (riding arm) that he injured in Biloxi, Mississippi, a little less than two months ago.

At the time of the injury, Bolton, who had a plate and six screws inserted into his clavicle by Dr. Tandy Freeman, believed he would likely fall out of the Top 35 of the world standings and miss out on his opportunity to qualify for the Built Ford Tough World Finals for the first time in his career.

Instead, Bolton returned to competition ranked 35th in the world and took a major step forward in not only his recovery process, but also for qualifying for the World Finals.

Bolton rode Painkiller for 87.5 points to win Round 1 and earn 100 points toward the world standings.

“Well, it was a little sketchy because I kept losing my seat,” Bolton said. “I just kept trying and kept going at it and gave it all I had. I kept telling myself in the bucking chute to take it to this sucker and give it all you got and see what happens.”

His third round win in 2015 helps him move from 35th in the world standings to 32nd.

Bolton said his clavicle felt OK for his first bull back. He didn’t attempt any practice bulls this week once he was cleared to return by Dr. Tandy Freeman.

He was cleared to begin full training two weeks ago and spent the full 14 days swimming, bike riding and doing various activities to strengthen his arm and improve his conditioning for his return.

Bolton knew he didn’t have any time to start slow when he returned to the BFTS if he hoped to qualify for the Finals

“Man, I was watching myself move down week after week,” Bolton said. “I knew as soon as I got back to getting back to doing something about it, I wanted too.”

Rounding out the Top 5 was Stormy Wing (87 points on Mortimer), Alexandre Cardozo (86.75 points on Boo-Ray), Cooper Davis (86.75 points on Woody) and Renato Nunes (86.25 points on Flab Slab).

Wing earned 60 points toward the world standings, while Cardozo and Davis picked up 45 points for splitting third and fourth in the round.

Nunes was awarded 30 world points for the fifth-place finish.

Cardozo moves from 32nd in the world standings to 31st.

It has been an amazing turn of events for Cardozo in the last two weeks. After heading into Allentown 1-for-28 in his BFTS career, the 22-year-old has gone 3-for-4 to move from 41st in the world to 31st.

BUBBLE RIDERS CONTINUE TO STAY JAM PACKED

Other than Bolton and Cardozo, none of the riders on the BFTS bubble competing in Tucson were able to make the 8-second mark on Friday night.

No. 34 Robson Palermo (2.31 seconds on Smoke Wagon), No. 35 Douglas Duncan (1.9 seconds on For Play), No. 36 Michael Lane (1.94 seconds on Jiggs), No. 37 Lachlan Richardson (5.3 seconds on Outside the Box), No. 38 Dave Mason (2.9 seconds on Muddy Smile), No. 39 Luis Blanco (7.85 seconds on Circus Mouse), No. 40 Tyler Harr (5.25 seconds on Rum Stinger) and No. 41 Neil Holmes (4.99 seconds on Rooster) all failed to make the 8-second whistle.

Therefore, the pressure on them will be at its highest during the final night of the BFTS regular-season on Saturday night.

Only 162.5 points separates Palermo from Holmes, but only 93.33 points separates Holmes from Lane, who holds the last qualification spot for World Finals.

A simple round win in Round 2 by any of the riders below Lane could potentially knock him out of the last qualification spot heading into next weekend’s BlueDEF Velocity Tour Finals.

The BlueDEF Finals is the last opportunity for riders to earn points toward the 2015 world standings before the World Finals.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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