CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Express Employment Professionals Invitational at Time Warner Cable Arena on Friday night.
Birthday boy Pacheco gains ground on Mauney
Kaique Pacheco had been receiving birthday wishes and texts from his friends and family back home in Brazil throughout the day.
On Friday night, the newly-minted 21-year-old gave himself his own present with an 85.5-point ride on Cowboy Up to finish Round 1 tied in fifth-place with Stormy Wing (85.5 points on Casique).
Paired with J.B. Mauney’s 3.19-second buckoff against Barstool Mountain, the No. 3 bull rider in the world standings gains 15 points on the world leader.
“I am very happy to ride good tonight and on my birthday,” Pacheco said with the help of Silvano Alves translating. “I am happy too because I needed the points tonight. I want to keep going and ride good tomorrow. I need to ride every day, every bull.”
Pacheco trails Mauney by 945 points in the world standings heading into Round 2 on Saturday night at 7 p.m. ET.
Pacheco has a rematch with Loco Lizard in Round 2. He rode Loco Lizard for 86.5 points in St. Louis.
Mauney was supposed to face Past Time in Round 1, but was given a re-ride after Past Time failed to cooperate inside the bucking chutes.
Pacheco was one of three qualified rides made by Top 10 riders in the world standings.
J.W Harris – ranked sixth in the world – rode Nefarious for 83.5 points and is sitting tied for seventh place, while Valdiron de Oliveira turned down a re-ride option following his 73.75-point ride on Dragonfly.
It was an odd decision seeing as Oliveira would have faced Say I Won’t Playboy, a bull he previously rode for 86.75 points in Seattle earlier this season.
“I don’t feel very good,” Oliveira said. “I didn’t want to risk losing the points. I wanted to keep the points. You just never know.”
Oliveira ended Round 1 in 12th place.
There were 12 qualified rides.
No. 7 Nathan Schaper accepted his re-ride option after his 76.25-point ride aboard The Mountain and proceeded to buck off Say I Won’t Playboy in 5.17 seconds.
No. 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira’s struggles continued away from his hand, and he was bucked off by Texas Ranger in 2.87 seconds.
World No. 4 Matt Triplett was launched by Al Capone when the bull hit him in the chest after bucking him off in 6.3 seconds. Triplett was assisted by sports medicine off the dirt, before walking under his own power to the locker room.
Gay wins in front of home state crowd
Gage Gay has had the best of times and the worst of times going up against Americana.
There was the one time he rode Chad Berger’s bovine athlete for 91.5 points in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, and then there was the instance in Bismarck, North Dakota, when Americana nearly knocked Gay unconscious when he slammed him onto the ground in 7.1 seconds.
Gay now has another fonder memory to add to his list featuring Americana.
The 21-year-old rode Americana for 88 points to win Round 1 and earn 100 points toward the standings.
“That was pretty fun,” Gay said. “I have a history with that bull. He had the same trip that he about knocked me out earlier this summer. It felt good to get him back. I guess the third time is the charm again. It was fun to do it here in front of my home crowd.”
Gay’s entourage is quite small in Charlotte.
“It is just my parents, a family friend and my girlfriend,” Gay said with a laugh. “Not too many.”
Gay moves up one spot in the world standings with his third BFTS round win of the season.
Finishing behind Gay in the Top 5 was Cooper Davis (87 points on Pure Bull), Rubens Barbosa (86.5 points on Whistlin Dixie), Tanner Byrne (86.5 points on King Buck), Pacheco and Wing.
Davis earned 60 points toward the standings, while Byrne and Barbosa each earned 45 points.
Charlotte is the closest BFTS event to Gay’s Staley, North Carolina, home that he has ever competed at. Staley is a little under two hours away.
“I try not to think about it because I feel like I may put more weight on my shoudlers that I don’t need to worry about, but it is important to do good in front of my home crowd just to show them what I got. Show them I am not a dud.”
Tyler Harr only bubble rider to make 8 seconds
Tyler Harr bent over and bit down on his lip as he firmly gripped his riding wrist.
“I hurt it a few weeks ago,” Harr said before hunching over and grabbing at his wrist again. “That bull had a really short back, moved forward and yanked on me from the time I nodded my head.”
Harr had just ridden Munster Man for 82.75 points in Round 1 moments earlier and was feeling the effects of one his latest injuries.
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Harr has been competing with a sprained left knee, a sprained left wrist and broken left ribs.
“After going 2-for-3 in Biloxi, I went down to Brazil and tried breaking in a new bull rope and that is when I hurt my hand,” Harr said. “I got on their bucking bull of the year and had him rode and lost my feet. Ever since then I have had trouble.”
The ride wasn’t his best, and certainly one that wasn’t going to place him in the round, but Harr knows getting a qualified ride on the board puts him better position at earning points toward the world standings for finishing in the event average.
Harr was the only rider on the BFTS bubble to earn a qualified ride on Friday night and is sitting in 11th place.
He had previously ridden just one of his last 10 bulls on the BFTS.
The 8-second feeling helps numb all of the pain in the rest of his body, Harr said.
“It sure does,” Harr said. “I am hurting. That is why when I got off I sighed. The whole ride hurts. Everything hurts. My knee hurts. I just need to put together a couple more this weekend and go have a good weekend in Allentown.
“I need to worry about tomorrow night first.”
According to Freeman, there were four riders competing injured in Springfield – Michael Lane (right shoulder sprain/nerve injury), Alexandre Cardozo (sprained right ankle), Harr (sprained knee, sprained wrist and left rib fractures), Stetson Lawrence (sprained knee and left ankle).
Valdiron de Oliveira (lower back), Robson Aragao (separated right shoulder), Eduardo Aparecido (sprained foot) and Mauney (sprained ankle).
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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