FORT WORTH, Texas ― The first words out of Robson Palermo’s mouth were, “I feel awesome — really good.”
Palermo called the competition department at the PBR on Tuesday afternoon and after missing the past two events – Anaheim, Calif., and St. Louis – he told them he was ready to return beginning this weekend in Kansas City, Mo.
He missed two events after straining his left hamstring.
“My focus is still strong, and I’ve been training,” Palermo said.
He’s been working with a physical therapist in Tyler, Texas, where he and his family have a nearby ranch. Palermo said he’s been working with the therapist four days a week – Monday and Tuesday as well as Thursday and Friday – for up to four hours each visit.
Palermo said his leg feels strong.
In fact, he got on one of his bulls on Tuesday at the ranch and said he held tight with both legs.
“I didn’t feel anything,” he said.
Palermo added that he is “excited” despite taking two weeks off andslipping from 12th to 14th in the world standings.
“It’s OK,” he said. “I just need to stay on and make some points. I need to get in the Top 10 again.”
Palermo, who is in search of his first world title, is the only man in PBR history to have won the World Finals event title three times (2008, 2011, 2012) and is the lone rider to have won it in back-to-back seasons.
“I want to be first,” Palermo said, “but there are 34 (other) guys there who want to be first too.”
Palermo originally sustained the hamstring injury in Oklahoma City during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round, and he then aggravated it again the following week in Sacramento, Calif., during Round 2 of the Sacramento Invitational and was not able to finish the event.
The 30-year-old from Rio Branco, Brazil, is coming off a season in which he underwent major surgeries to both shoulders. They reconstructed the left riding shoulder and then followed with a less-invasive surgery to the right shoulder.
He’s happy to have an opportunity this week to compete before turning his attention to the Dr Pepper Iron Cowboy V event at AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium) in Arlington, Texas.
“I’ve never done good there,” said Palermo, who noted that whoever wins needs to be 100 percent healthy going into such a grueling event. “I want to ride all my bulls … I expect to ride all my bulls there. I’m going to take it one bull at a time.”
The Iron Cowboy is the only bracket-style format of its kind.
Unlike past years, Palermo does not have a first-round bye.
He will need to advance through five rounds of competition to win the event beginning with a Round 1 matchup with veteran Billy Robinson. Cody Nance will then be awaiting the rider who advances. Guilherme Marchi,Ryan Dirteater and Kasey Hayes are also in that quadrant of the bracket and their on the same half as the quadrant led by reigning World Champion J.B. Mauney.
Whoever wins the single-elimination format will earn a shot at the Bad Boy Mowers Million Dollar matchup with Bushwacker.
The two-time World Champion Bull has been ridden only once since October 2009.
Until Mauney made the whistle on him last October, Bushwacker had bucked off a PBR record 42 consecutive riders at BFTS events.
Regardless of how rank he might be, Palermo said the $1 million bonus changes the game.
“If you get on a bull for that much money you better hold on,” said Palermo, who stated the obvious for those who need to be reminded, “It’s no day off.”
“You better show up,” he added. “There’s a lot of money on the table. … You better put goo in your ass (to stay on) and, for sure, you better give it everything you got.”
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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