COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – When Aaron Roy first returned to the Built Ford Tough Series in March following his career-threatening injury at the 2013 Calgary Stampede, the 27-year-old kept to himself inside the locker room and would normally try and find a quiet, discreet location to prepare outside the rustle and bustle of the normal locker room setting.
Roy’s return was never about proving a point to anyone else that he could still ride at an elite level, but it was more about proving it to himself.
It took him just two attempts to get his first qualified ride under his belt – an 86.25-point effort on Past Time in Fresno, California – but he then fell into an 0-for-7 slump.
By the time he arrived in Billings, Montana, three weeks ago, Roy was about to be cut from the Built Ford Tough series before ripping off three qualified rides to jump up 17 positions in the world standings and avoid being relegated to the BlueDEF Velocity Tour and Touring Pro Division.
Since that weekend, Roy has regained his confidence and has begun to ride with the same confidence and skill he had in 2013 as a Top-10 bull rider in the world standing before his gruesome back fracture.
On Saturday night, Roy proved once again that he has what it takes to compete on the BFTS by riding Rusty for 88 points to win Round 1 of the Built Ford Tough Rumble in the Rockies at The Broadmoor World Arena.
“I am just feeling good,” Roy said. “It is all coming back to me and I am feeling like how I used to ride and am not worrying about anything. It was hard to just come back here and get back into the groove. After Fresno, I went through a bit of a slump where I wasn’t staying on anything. I think it was just all in my head. I was trying so hard to get a qualified ride that I was causing myself to buck off.”
Not only did Roy earn 100 points to jump to 29th in the world standings, but the previously No.32-ranked bull rider was able to handle an unorthodox trip by Rusty.
“He kind of tricked me a little bit,” Roy said. “Every time I had seen him he has gone right, and he went left and just about had me. I had to relax and keep going at him.”
Roy later added, “I tend to like them away from my hand a little better than into my hand. I think I ride a little better away from my hand.”
Saturday night was Roy’s first BFTS round win since April 2013 when he rode Meathook for 90 points in Billings.
J.B. Mauney continued to ride well in his return from a torn left ACL and the 2013 World Champion rode Midnight Bender for 87 points to finish second in the round and earn 60 points toward the world standings.
Rubens Barbosa placed third with an 86.75-point ride on Hou’s Special and picked up 50 points, while Valdiron de Oliveira was fourth with his 86.5 point-ride on Closing Time.
Oliveira – the No. 4 ranked bull rider in the world – gained 40 points on world leader Joao Ricardo Vieira, who was bucked off by Gangster Bucks in 7.44 seconds.
Kaique Pacheco overtook Guilherme Marchi for the fifth position in the world standings after finishing the first round in fifth place for 30 points with his 85.75-point ride on Spin Machine.
Roy still has plenty of work to do to crack the Top 15 of the world standings, but he is much more likely to stay on tour now instead of the bleak situation he appeared to be facing before Billings.
“When we went to Billings, that was (potentially) my last event,” Roy said. “I wasn’t trying really hard to stay on tour. It was kind of whatever happens, happens.”
Roy, who has ridden five of his last eight, hopes to keep that same mentality going in Round 2 on Sunday against Butcher’s Nightmare.
“It has been working out and I have kept that mentality going. It is back to how it used to be and I am in a groove.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Professional Bull Riders –
Built Ford Tough Rumble in the Rockies
Colorado Springs, CO, 2015 – Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Event Aggregate-Event Points) …
1. Aaron Roy, 88-0-0-88.00-100 Points.
2. J.B. Mauney, 87-0-0-87.00-60 Points.
3. Rubens Barbosa, 86.75-0-0-86.75-50 Points.
4. Valdiron de Oliveira, 86.5-0-0-86.50-40 Points.
5. Kaique Pacheco, 85.75-0-0-85.75-30 Points.
6. Matt Triplett, 85.25-0-0-85.25
7. Reese Cates, 84.75-0-0-84.75
8. Mason Lowe, 84.5-0-0-84.50
9. Shane Proctor, 83.75-0-0-83.75
10. Robson Aragao, 83-0-0-83.00
11. Ryan Dirteater, 81.75-0-0-81.75
12. Fabiano Vieira, 68-0-0-68.00
Joao Ricardo Vieira, 0-0-0-0.00
Nathan Schaper, 0-0-0-0.00
Guilherme Marchi, 0-0-0-0.00
J.W. Harris, 0-0-0-0.00
Ben Jones, 0-0-0-0.00
Mike Lee, 0-0-0-0.00
Cooper Davis, 0-0-0-0.00
Cody Nance, 0-0-0-0.00
Stetson Lawrence, 0-0-0-0.00
Eduardo Aparecido, 0-0-0-0.00
Stormy Wing, 0-0-0-0.00
Gage Gay, 0-0-0-0.00
Brady Sims, 0-0-0-0.00
Bonner Bolton, 0-0-0-0.00
Douglas Duncan, 0-0-0-0.00
Dave Mason, 0-0-0-0.00
Robson Palermo, 0-0-0-0.00
Cody Tyler White, 0-0-0-0.00
Bryan Titman, 0-0-0-0.00
Lachlan Richardson, 0-0-0-0.00
Alexandre Cardozo, 0-0-0-0.00
Billy Robinson, 0-0-0-0.00
Markus Mariluch, 0-0-0-0.00
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