By: Justin Felisko
September 16, 2016
CHARLOTTE – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Charlotte Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Pacheco answers the call (9-16-16)
World leader Kaique Pacheco is going toe-to-toe against two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney for the second year in a row and Pacheco is showing that, this year, he wants to write a different ending than last October.
Pacheco responded to Mauney’s 88-point Round 1 winning ride with his own 85-point ride on I’m Trouble to finish Round 1 tied for sixth-place and keep pace with the hometown favorite.
“That is an excellent bull,” Pacheco said with Guilherme Marchi translating. “I rode him for 86 points in New York. Thank God I rode that bull again. I got my job done today.”
The 21-year-old earned 10 points toward the world standings. Not to be outdone, Mauney gained on Pacheco by 90 points with the 100 points from his round win.
Pacheco extended his lead on No. 2 Cooper Davis by 90.33 points, while No. 3 Mauney is 585.33 points behind Pacheco.
Pacheco said he wasn’t fazed by Mauney’s ride, nor the raucous ovation the Charlotte crowd gave the Mooresville, North Carolina, cowboy.
“For me, this is good,” Pacheco said. “It makes the race strong, but I need to focus on my rides and get my job done. I need to focus on me. I don’t care about the other guys. I need to ride three and make points.”
It was the second time in the past two months that Pacheco countered a PBR World Champion with a qualified ride. In Nashville, Pacheco eliminated three-time World Champion Silvano Alves from the Music City Knockout with an 85-point ride on Legal Tender after Alves’ had ridden Mojo Bone for 83.75 points.
The ride was also Pacheco’s PBR-leading 36th.
Pacheco has drawn Slick Rick (13-5, BFTS) for Round 2.
Mauney said Pacheco’s poise reminds him of the rider he sees in the mirror.
“He doesn’t let anything bother him,” Mauney said. “He don’t care what I do or what the other guys do. He looks at it pretty much the same way I do. He has a job to do and he goes out and does it.”
Mauney wins Round 1; puts left shoulder injury in rearview mirror
Mauney quickly put to bed any talk that his dislocated left shoulder from Springfield was going to be a hindrance in Charlotte.
Mauney rode Ram It for 88 points to win Round 1 – his PBR leading 13thround win of the season.
“That was a good bull,” Mauney said. “Kenny (McElroy) told me before he was a big black bull and if he has his trip you could win the round on him. I knew what I had under me and all I had to do was do my job.”
Mauney was riding in Charlotte after getting banged up in Springfield, Missouri, when Pearl Harbor gave him a concussion, a dislocated left (riding) shoulder and a stretched nerve.
“It is alright,” Mauney said of his shoulder. “I kind of stayed up where I was supposed to on that bull. I stayed out over him and felt like if I ride them like I am supposed to – out over the front – I won’t ever feel it. I feel pretty good. I will probably be pretty sore tomorrow, but that is part of it.”
Mauney didn’t get his shoulder taped like he did when he tried to ride in Springfield on the final day of competition.
“I told them I was going to try it without that tape,” Mauney said. “The worst thing in the world for me is I hate having things taped. I really don’t like braces. I have to wear one (on my elbow) to keep things together, but if I don’t have to tape it I am absolutely am not going to.”
Pacheco may lead the PBR in qualified riders, but Mauney is leading the way in terms of riding percentage (56.6 percent).
Mauney takes on Tom Horn (6-1, BFTS) in Round 2 on Saturday night.
Marchi becomes first righty to conquer Rocco
2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi finished tied for second-place with Stormy Wing by riding Rocco for 87 points.
Marchi is the first right-handed bull rider to make 8 seconds on Rocco in 12 professional outs and is the third rider to make a ride on Rocco at the BFTS level.
“That is a great bull,” Marchi said. “He had a lot of movement and was really strong away from my hand. He turned to the right and I got into position. I feel good. I feel happy. I am strong. I am glad to have rode that bull.”
Marchi earned 55 world points to move to 16th in the world standings.
Wing rode Hard Times for 87 points and is 22nd in the world standings. He takes on Jailbreaker (9-0, BFTS) in Round 2, while Marchi will try for 8 seconds aboard Fast Tracker (2-2, BFTS).
Marchi continues to ride an exercise bike 14 miles a day during the week and also posted a video to Instagram this past week of him doing hanging crunches.
The 34-year-old currently weighs around 185-190 pounds and said he ideally wants to get to 175-180 pounds before the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals on Nov. 2-6.
“I am doing a lot of cardio and a lot of stretching,” Marchi said. “The crunches are helping me stay strong. In my head too. I feel strong and healthy to ride those bulls. I am ready. I want to lose more weight and get on more bulls at home during the week.
“My goal is to be strong for the Finals and even more strong for next year.”
Fraser Babbington earned an important 40 world points with an 86.5-point ride on Whiteout to move to 34th in the world standings. Babbington is attempting to become the first New Zealand bull rider to qualify for the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas Nov. 2-6.
Mike Lee continued his strong riding of late with a fifth-place finish. Lee rode Mr. Big Stuff for 85.5 points and broke out a new celebration in the arena. Instead of breaking into a spring, the 2004 World Champion busted out a powerwalk to the pleasure of the Charlotte crowd.
He picked up 30 world points and has now earned 560 points in the last three events. Lee has ridden five of his last 11.
Babbington takes on Blues Man (0-7, BFTS) in Round 2 and Lee has drawn Crackerjack (5-4, BFTS). Lee was bucked off by Cracker Jack in 2.98 seconds in New York.
A week after a series of riders were injured in Springfield, there were no major injuries in Charlotte during Round 1.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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