SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Here are three things we learned from the PFI Invitational, presented by Bass Pro Shops, this weekend at JQH Arena.
PALERMO CELEBATES BIRTH OF SON WITH SIXTH-PLACE FINISH
Robson Palermo found out at the end of Round 2 on Saturday night that his wife, Priscila, had just gone into labor moments after he had ridden Fire Rock for 86.25 points.
Palermo had been hoping his son, Lucas, would hold off on his arrival into the world until he headed home after the Pendleton, Oregon, BlueDEF Velocity Tour event on Monday and Tuesday.
Well, Lucas had other plans and Priscila gave birth to the Palermos’ third child at 5 a.m. in Texas. Lucas is 6 pounds, 5 ounces.
Palermo, who stayed up all night on the phone with his mother-in-law, unfortunately was unable to be home for the birth of his son, so he did the next best thing possible by riding Rebelution for 87.5 points in Round 3.
“I had a baby this morning, and I just kept thinking I have to ride the bull for him, for Lucas,” Palermo said. “I did and I feel great. I feel good now. I have had a lot of pressure not knowing the day he was going to come. I had to fix his room, this and that. Now it is over and he is healthy.
“I am so happy.”
The ride helped him finish second in the round and earn 60 points toward the world standings. He eventually bucked off Walk Off in 3.54 seconds the Built Ford Tough Championship Round, but he finished fifth in the event average to earn an additional 65 points.
Overall, he placed sixth in the event with 145 points.
What makes those points so important is that they move Palermo from 36thto 32nd in the world standings.
Palermo has an 85-point cushion on No. 35 Lachlan Richardson. In fact, he was the only rider on the BFTS bubble able to earn any world points during the three-day event.
Therefore, Palermo may decide to skip Pendleton and spend the next few days home with his wife and newborn son before heading to the BFTS event next weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“It was hard not being there today,” Palermo said. “I told her I wanted to be there (at the hospital) so bad. I am going to drive back to Texas and will think if I should go to Pendleton or not.”
Bruiser posts second-consecutive 46-point outing
H.D. Page said before the start of the final day of the PFI Invitational he felt if Bruiser had another strong outing this weekend following his 46-point out on Friday night that he may indeed end up becoming a World Champion Bull contender for this year’s World Finals on Oct. 21-25.
Bruiser didn’t disappoint his owner and he came through with a career-best 46.25-point score by just getting Renato Nunes off his back in 7.41 seconds.
“I think he has earned the right to be mentioned,” Page said. “He was here this weekend against most of the contenders and he out-marked them. He actually was out twice this weekend and out-marked them both times.”
Bruiser beat World Champion Bull contenders SweetPro’s Long John (44 points as J.W. Harris rode him for 90.25 points), Smooth Operator (44.25 points for a 3.44-second buckoff of Matt Triplett) and Little Red Jacket (43.5 points for a 2.62-second buckoff of Gage Gay).
The 2010 World Champion believes Bruiser should be up there with the other contenders now.
“For sure he is,” Nunes said. “There is no question about it.”
Nunes thought he had Bruiser right where he wanted him after studying film of the bovine athlete before the event, but he was unable to come through with an 8-second ride.
The 34-year-old would like a rematch with Bruiser in October.
“He bucked pretty good,” Nunes said. “He had better kick than before. He turned back to the right at 7 seconds and he caught me. He was hopping a lot, and I didn’t have enough fast moves to pick it up with him. He beat me this time. I hope to get on him again at the Finals and win some go rounds over there.”
J.W. Harris rides Long John for second event win
Four-time PRCA champion J.W. Harris made it two straight weeks in a row that a bull rider made dominant work aboard Long John.
Harris rode the World Champion Bull contender for the second-consecutive year in Springfield, this time for 90.25 points to win the championship round and event average.
“I am just glad I remember this,” Harris said. “Last year, he knocked me smooth out, and it was my own fault because I got off like crap.”
Before being knocked out in 2014, Harris rode Long John for 87.5 points in Springfield.
This year, the 29-year-old was able to keep himself tight to the front end of Long John and handle each of Long John’s bucking waves for his second 90-point ride of the season.
“I let him beat me right out of there and for some reason on him, that first jump I rear back on him and really shove my hips. He hits me in the back every time I get on him and it kind of just helped me out really. It made me drive back to the front and I just stayed there.”
The ride helped Harris win the championship round for 100 points and overall event title with 560 points. He earned 400 of those points by going 3-for-4 to win the event average.
Harris decided he would pick Long John if the bull was available in the championship-round draft after he was bucked off by Pile Driver in 4.65 seconds in Round 3.
He selected Long John with the eighth pick and was the only rider to notch a qualified ride in the championship round.
The win moves Harris from 10th in the world standings to sixth. He will head to next weekend’s BFTS event in Charlotte trailing world leader J.B. Mauney by 1,690 points.
Rounding out the Top 5 in the event was Mason Lowe (325 points), Tanner Byrne (240 points), Stetson Lawrence (190 points) and Ben Jones (145 points).
Lowe moves from 21st in the world standings to 18th, while Byrne goes from 17th to 14th.
Lawrence jumps one spot to eight in the world, and he trails Mauney by 1,916.25 points.
Jones earned 100 of his points by winning Round 3 with an 88.25-point ride on Blind Spot.
“He just made one big jump and was around to the right,” Jones said. “I couldn’t have picked a better one.”
The end of Round 3 featured a wild turn of events for world leaders Mauney and Joao Ricardo Vieira.
Mauney and Vieira were scheduled to be the third and second to final outs of the round before sports med was sent running into action.
First, Mauney got rocked viciously back and forth inside the bucking chute as he tried to tie his hand into his bull rope aboard Pearl Harbor.
After a few quick jerks back and forth, Mauney was grabbed and lifted out of the chute by Nathan Schaper before he began grimacing in pain and grasping at his left ankle.
Mauney was unable to get back on his bull and ruled out of the competition by Dr. Tandy Freeman.
According to Freeman, Mauney bruised his left leg and ankle, and also sprained his left MCL, when his leg got hung in the slates of the chute.
Mauney is listed as probable for Charlotte and he was able to leave the arena without crutches.
It was a tough blow for the world leader, who was already 2-for-2 and in a position to potentially win the event and extend his world lead.
However, Mauney still earned 10 points for finishing ninth in the event average. Paired with his third-place finish in Round 1 on Friday night for 50 world points, Mauney extended his lead slightly on Vieira to 312.5 points.
Vieira finished 0-for-3 and also was left limping out of the arena.
The No. 2 bull rider in the world standings bruised his left thigh when he was slammed into the steel bucking chute by Crazy Days when the bull hipped himself leaving the chute.
Vieira immediately grabbed his knee in the arena and was assisted by sports medicine to the back of the chutes. He eventually took his re-ride, which was Pearl Harbor, and he was bucked off in 1.72 seconds.
World No. 8 Valdiron de Oliveira did not compete on Sunday because of a prior back injury.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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