By: Justin Felisko
April 09, 2017
BILLINGS, Mont. – Here are three things we learned from the Stanley Performance In Action Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, this weekend at Rimrock Auto Arena.
Pearl Harbor sets career-high with 47.5-point bull score (4-9-17)
Pearl Harbor’s normally pristine black and white face was wet, soggy and muddy inside the bucking chute on Sunday afternoon as Matt Triplett tried to settle down on him during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
Maybe Pearl Harbor was not happy about the wintery conditions outside of Rimrock Auto Arena that led to his pen become a playful mud pit, or maybe he secretly had a dislike for Triplett selecting him in the championship round draft with the eighth selection.
Regardless of his motivation, Pearl Harbor absolutely wrecked Triplett in 1.98 seconds for a career-high 47.5 points.
Pearl Harbor needed only one forceful jump to send Triplett flying over the front end and back into the bottom of the steel bucking chutes. Pearl Harbor also stepped on Triplett’s back for good measure afterward.
The 5-year-old bovine athlete left the chute in an almost-squatting like position before using all four of his legs to erupt high-into the air.
“He felt like he slipped almost and it felt real weird,” Triplett said. “He bucked real hard. That is an awesome bull. Damn it, I am going to pick him until I ride him.
“I have a lot of work to do. I have to stay on them ones to be a World Champion.”
Pearl Harbor was named the YETI “Built for the Wild” Bull of the Event of the event, beating out defending World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Bruiser (46.25 points) for the top bull honors.
The 47.5-point bull score is the highest on the BFTS since Jared Allen’s Air Time received the same score when he bucked off Jess Lockwood last year at Last Cowboy Standing.
Pearl Harbor is now averaging 46.25 points per out and has been marked 46 points or higher five times this season.
Stock Contractor Chad Berger thought Pearl Harbor and Bruiser should have been marked higher for the weekend.
“It was too low,” Berger said. “He could have been 48 or 49. There must not be such a thing as a 50-point bull because Bruiser today and Pearl Harbor today. I don’t know how they can buck any harder. I truly think those bulls were 48-49-point bulls today.”
Mauney rides SweetPro’s Bruiser for 94.25 points and huge victory
Don’t go telling J.B. Mauney he is too old, too hurt or simply can’t do something as a professional bull rider just because he is 30 years old.
The two-time World Champion reasserted himself into the thick of the 2017 world title race with an emphatic, and season-high, 94.25-point bull ride on SweetPro’s Bruiser in front of 5,649 fans standing on their feet.
“Everybody knows exactly what he is going to do,” Mauney said. “He is going to start left, and sometimes he does it sooner than later, but he is eventually going to go back to the right. He is going to buck his ass off the whole 8 seconds so you better have your ducks in a row.”
The ride was Mauney’s 72nd career 90-point ride and first of the season.
More importantly, he earned a significant 778.3 points toward the world standings with world leader Eduardo Aparecido (riding arm injury) out for the weekend.
Over the course of three days, Mauney jumped from 10th in the world standings to No. 3.
He now heads into the Easter break only 1,123.76 points behind Aparecido.
“I don’t really care where I am at in the points as long as I show up and do my job like I did this weekend and I am happy with myself,” Mauney said, “but it is a good feeling.”
Mauney, who missed the event last year because of a hip injury, arrived in Billings with an aggressive mentality.
Mauney was throwing his free arm with authority and in-tune with every jump his bovine opponents gave him from the moment he rode Tequila Sunrise for 86.25 points in Round 1 to his 89.5-point Round 3-winning ride on Mudshark.
“I needed to quit being a wimp and be a cowboy no matter what,” Mauney said prior to the championship round.
Mauney also rode Buck John for 86.25 points in Round 2.
However, the big ride was his fireworks on Bruiser.
Mauney admitted it was nice to finally ride the bull and not get hurt. The 12-year professional sustained a broken jaw and collarbone the last two times he rode the bull at the 2015 and 2013 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
“Oh man, I was happy,” Mauney said. “I about messed it up again because the way that bull bucks, if you reach down for your rope, that bull is underneath himself and wants to pull you down on his head. When I reached down, I was thinking, ‘Oh crap, here we go again.’”
Mauney gave his event-winning belt buckle to stock contractor Dillon Page.
“That ride was great,” Page said. “I really like J.B. He is the greatest guy ever. He is going to give it 100 percent and you had the bull that was going to give it 100 percent. It was going to be the best.”
Mauney’s heroics bested Shane Proctor’s own 4-for-4 performance.
Proctor had ridden Jack Daniel’s After Party for 88 points in the championship round and wound up finishing second in the event.
Mauney’s four-ride weekend also moves his career total to 496. He will have a chance to become the third rider in PBR history, joining 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi and 2004 World Champion Mike Lee, to reach 500 qualified rides on the BFTS when he arrives in Tacoma, Washington, for the Tacoma Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, in two weeks.
Kaique Pacheco also made a solid jump in the world standings by going 3-for-4 and earning 245 world points.
The 2015 PBR Rookie of the Year is now No. 2 in the world standings – 1,040 points behind Aparecido – after finishing in fourth place.
Pacheco ended the weekend with three consecutive rides, including 86 points on Jack Shot in the championship round, after being bucked off by Red Sails In The Sunset (5.16 seconds) in Round 1.
The 22-year-old also rode DaNutso for 87.75 points in Round 2 and Wicked Stick for 86.75 points in Round 3.
“This is very important for me to make points, but right now my mentality is to just ride my bull.”
Cody Teel takes over the lead in the Rookie of the Year race with impressive rides
2012 PRCA champion Cody Teel leapfrogged into the lead for PBR Rookie of the Year by riding two bulls this weekend that had never been ridden before on the Built Ford Tough Series.
Teel followed up his 87-point ride on Mystikal in Round 1 by becoming the first man to ride Hey Jack when he rode the Canadian bull for 87.75 points in the championship round.
Hey Jack had bucked off 16 rides on the BFTS prior to Teel.
“I knew that bull was capable of going in either direction, and they switched deliveries on him back to the right,” Teel said. “He kicks hard and has a lot of up and down. It gives me being a taller guy a better chance to break over him and get in time with him no matter which way he goes. I can gather myself up.”
The two rides, paired with Teel’s 86.5-point ride on Sledge Hamma, propelled him to a third-place finish overall (330 world points).
Fellow rookie Luciano de Castro rode BC Circular Insanity in the championship round to cap off a 3-for-4, fifth-place finish.
Castro is fourth in the rookie standings.
Teel’s only mistake was a 5.26-second buckoff against Wired Crazy in Round 2.
The 24-year-old leads Dener Barbosa by 280 points in the Rookie of the Year race thanks to two big-time rides and is now 12th in the world standings.
“It is a rush,” Teel said. “As a bull rider and competitor on the biggest stage this is what drives me during the week to come every weekend.”
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Troy Wilkinson did not compete in the championship round after straining his left groin attempting to ride No Regrets (2.94 seconds) in the third round.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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