By: Justin Felisko
February 06, 2016
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Sacramento Invitational on Friday night at Sleep Train Arena.
Richardson, Heffernan in pursuit of BFTS draw spot
Starting next weekend in St. Louis, there will be five spots in the Built Ford Tough Series draw that go to the highest ranking riders in the 2016 world standings that did not finish inside the Top 30 of the 2015 rankings.
So far, Lachlan Richardson and Cody Heffernan are doing their part to try and gain the fifth and final spot behind world leader Paulo Lima, Robson Palermo, Wallace de Oliveira and Derek Kolbaba.
Richardson gained 30 points on Heffernan for the potential fifth spot in next weekend’s draw by riding El Capitan for 85.5 points and a fifth-place finish in Round 1.
“I know I have been (on that bubble) for too long and it is about time to change it,” Richardson said. “I just plan on riding me bulls. Even if I miss a few events because of the way the points is, I plan to be in the Top 15 or 20 and eventually they will let me on.”
The No. 17 ranked rider in the world trails No. 16 Heffernan by 21.66 points.
Richardson is coming off a 2-for-4 showing in Anaheim.
“I know I rode good last week and I am trying to keep it rolling,” Richardson said. “I never know where I am going to be and, when I know, I just go with the flow. Hopefully I get in.”
Richardson credited fellow bull rider Francisco Morales for helping him remain committed in the gym. While he has worked out in the past, Richardson said training with another bull rider is resulting in being pushed harder than if he were in the gym solo.
“I do train a lot harder than I used to,” Richardson said. “I have been training with Francisco Morales and it has been hard. I have always done something every day, but when you’re by yourself it can be hard to motivate yourself. Having someone to motivate me has been good.”
Heffernan didn’t earn any round points with his 78.75-point effort on Fandango, but the ride did end a streak of six consecutive buckoffs.
“I am not too worried about the points,” Heffernan said. “Obviously I want to be as high as I can be. That was a good little bull. It was a good one to get rode, especially seeing as I bucked off seven round bulls in a row. It was good to get a long-round bull rode.”
Heffernan rode Shepherd Hills Trapper for 85.25 points during the Anaheim 15/15 Bucking Battle.
While it is not necessarily crucial to gain one of the five spots opening next weekend, finishing strong in Sacramento can help each rider that doesn’t get that fifth spot go further up the BFTS alternate list, which will be based upon the 2016 world standings starting next week.
“I haven’t really placed high at any of these Built Ford Toughs and I really want to get at least in the Top 3 or win one,” Heffernan said. “That would be real special.”
Heffernan’s best finish is an 11th-place showing earlier this year in New York.
One rider who is hot on their heels is Lindomar Lino.
This week’s BlueDEF Tour event winner invitee rode Click It or Ticket for 83.5 points and heads into Round 2 on Saturday only 111.16 world standings points behind Heffernan.
Richardson has drawn Alligator Arms (8-3, BFTS) in Round 2, Heffernan has Doc Mosely (1-2, BFTS) and Lino will see Devil in A Bottle (3-0, BFTS).
Kolbaba shakes off last weekend’s championship round buckoff
Derek Kolbaba continues to demonstrate a calm-and-collected poise on the BFTS regardless of the situation.
Kolbaba bounced back from his 3.69-second buckoff on Moving on Up in Anaheim, which cost him the chance at his first career victory, by riding Blowing Smoke for 84.5 points on Friday night.
“Oh, it was pretty important, but in bull riding that happens,” Kolbaba said. “You can’t ride them all. Unfortunately it had to be at that point, but that is part of it. You have to shake it off and learn from it. Come back and get another bull rode this weekend and start off the weekend good.”
The 19-year-old finished sixth in the round to gain 15 points on world leader Paulo Lima, who was bucked off by Bobby in 3.91 seconds.
The No. 7 bull rider in the world has ridden five of his last six bulls.
Kolbaba has a rematch against Bottom’s Up, who he rode for 87 points in Anaheim, in Round 2 on Saturday night.
“Hopefully I get another two rode tomorrow and I will be just right,” Kolbaba concluded.
Wing ends streak of 14 straight buckoffs with Round 1 win on Legacy
J.B Mauney wouldn’t stop cheering his buddy Stormy Wing on from the minute Wing nodded for the gate, and Wing made sure not to let go until that 8-second buzzer finally sounded and Mauney stopped hollering.
Wing took some two-time World Champion advice to heart and he kicked loose for 88 points aboard Legacy to win Round 1.
The ride ended a streak of 14 consecutive buckoffs dating back to last season and the Dalhart, Texas, cowboy earned an important 100 points toward the world standings.
“I am back now,” Wing said. “You are your own worst enemy in this sport and it ain’t nobody else’s fault but my own. I have been hanging out with J.B. Mauney and he has just been focused on telling me whether it is personal stuff at home or the grass is red or whatever, you just have to block all of that stuff out and do what we love. That is what I did today.”
Wing, who moved in to Mauney’s North Carolina home earlier this week, had yet to earn a single point in the world standings. He is now ranked No. 35.
Coincidentally, Mauney finished runner-up to his new roommate with an 86.5-point ride on Hash Tag. He earned 60 points toward the world standings.
Mauney had missed the final two nights of competition in Anaheim because of food poisoning.
The two-time World Champion has been trying to help Wing overcome the mental block he was indirectly self-imposing on his riding.
“I told him in the bucking chute, ‘no thinking. Breath,’” Mauney said. “He always comes to ask me what to do and finally I told him during the week, ‘It don’t matter how I ride bulls. What works for me don’t work for you. You do Stormy Wing.’
“I said, ‘When one twitches his ear like he is turning back, you spur him. That is how you rode bulls and that is how you were riding bulls when you got here. That is what got you to where you at and that is what you need to go back to doing.’
I said, ‘You just go at them.’”
Wing takes on Joe The Grinder (12-6, BFTS) in Round 2, while Mauney faces The Don (1-0, BFTS).
There were a total of 12 qualified rides in Round 1.
Eduardo Aparecido rode Houla Hoop for 85.75 points to finish third in the round, and Fabiano Vieira rode American for 85.5 points for fourth. Aparecido picked up 50 world standings points and Vieira was credited with 40.
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Michael Lane sustained a concussion and facial lacerations when he collided with Hair Trigger’s head in Round 1. Lane is doubtful for Round 2.
Dickies Bullfighter Frank Newsom returned to competition after missing the Anaheim Invitational following his wreck with JW Hughes Excavation in Oklahoma City.
“I stayed in the gym and with my normal routine,” Newsom said. “I tried to keep myself right, sharp and be ready to get back to work.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
© 2016 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.