BISMARCK, N.D. – Things appeared to be getting pretty bleak in the championship round of Saturday night’s Dakota Community Bank & Trust BlueDEF Velocity Tour event when Chad Berger’s stout championship round bull pen was making quick work of their opponents.
Yes, Berger wanted to have his bulls showcase their power on Saturday night, but the last thing he wanted was for them to pitch a shutout in the championship round.
Berger was able to eventually breathe a sigh of relief thanks to two Built Ford Tough Series veterans.
“Robson Palermo and Renato (Nunes) sold the show for me,” Berger said. “They made two great rides at the end. I am real pleased.”
Nunes won his second consecutive event in 24 hours by riding Cowtown Slinger for 88 points and a walk off victory on the final ride of the weekend.
The 33-year-old edged out Palermo, the only other rider to cover both of his bulls, 177.5 to 177.
The 2010 World Champion was all smiles following his victory even if he was too dizzy to take a celebratory backflip.
“I was dizzy at about 5 seconds,” Nunes said. “I said, ‘Damn, I am dizzy. He is spinning so fast.’ But I said, ‘I am going to make it.’”
Nunes previously rode Cowtown Slinger for 88.75 points last year when he won the Built Ford Tough Series event in Des Moines, Iowa.
However, Nunes was most impressed on Saturday night with Wipeout.
He had previously watched the bovine athlete buck off Marco Eguchi on Friday night in what Nunes described as a “normal” out.
Although, Wipeout elevated his game on Saturday and helped carry Nunes to 89.5 points in the long round – the highest-scored ride of the weekend – and into the lead.
“That bull bucked,” Nunes said. “Tonight, I don’t know. I think he put gas in the tank and he bucked like a son of a gun. I rode him and had a lot of fun.”
Berger added, “Wipeout tries his butt off. He went into Renato’s hand and Renato made a great ride. If that is a short go re-ride, he would probably be 91 on that bull.”
Nunes earned another 80 points to the world standings to move ahead of Chase Outlaw for the 20th world ranking.
His final ride of the night overshadowed a strong performance by Palermo minutes earlier when the three-time World Finals event average winner fought his way to 89 points on the back of Red Bone.
The bovine athlete twisted, turned and tried to outmuscle the 34-year-old from Rio Branco, Brazil, to no avail.
“I saw this bull bucking on the (BFTS) and I kind of was liking him,” Palermo said. “I bucked off last night, but I told the guys if I make the short go, if I have a chance, I am going to pick him. Today, I rode my first one and I had a chance to pick him. He is awesome and a big strong bull. I like bulls like that and I won second. It is ok.”
Palermo earns an important 50 points toward the world standings as he tries to fight his way into the Top 35 before the BFTS resumes on Aug. 7 in Biloxi, Mississippi.
The No. 37th bull rider in the world now sits just 15 points behind No. 35 Alexandre Cardozo.
“You have an opportunity at these Velocity events to make up points and you go up a little bit,” Palermo said. “I had been behind a little bit and I need to go Top 30. They help a lot.”
Nunes said, “Palermo rode good too. If he won, then I was going to be happy for him too, but I did it again and I am so glad.”
Rounding out the Top 5 was Josh Faircloth (88 points on Munch n Crunch), Stetson Lawrence (86.5 points on More Big Bucks) and Bonner Bolton (85.5 points on High Mountain).
Faircloth earns 30 points to move him from 93rd in the world standings to 74th.
Lawrence is credited with 20 points toward the standings and Bolton gets 15.
Boot Jack was named the high-marked bull of the night after being scored 44.5 points for bucking off Ryan Dirteater in the championship round.
Nunes plans on heading next to the Williston, North Dakota, Touring Pro Division event on Wednesday and Thursday before heading to the TPD event in Binford, North Dakota, next weekend. He will then travel to Estes Park, Colorado, for the Bulls in the Rockies TPD event.
He said that even though the travel can be a grind and the time away from his family is tough, he is enjoying a break away from the BFTS.
“I definitely had a lot of fun,” Nunes said. “There is not a lot of pressure here like the Built Ford Tough.”
BERGER & COMPANY HELP RAISE $20,000 FOR RIDER RELIEF FUND
Chad Berger presented a check for $12,500 to the Rider Relief Fund on Saturday night. There also was an auction for an autographed guitar that raised an additional $4,000.
Other local sponsors were also helping out the cause and, according to Berger, Rider Relief Fund will likely receive close to a total of $20,000 from the weekend.
“For us as a little community to do that is pretty awesome,” Berger said. “I wanted to do it for Rider Relief. That is where my heart is set.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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