By: Justin Felisko
January 16, 2017
CHICAGO – On the back of Brady Sims’ riding vest is a big decal of the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals logo.
“It is a reminder every time I put it on that I don’t want to miss out on another one,” Sims said. “It would mean everything to get back.”
Sims went a career-best 3-for-4 at the Chicago Invitational this weekend and took a big step toward getting back to the Built Ford Tough Series and, ultimately, qualifying for the 2017 World Finals a year after coming up short of that goal.
“It is not the finish I wanted, but I guess we can’t complain too much,” Sims said. “You are never happy with not winning, but you can be content with still doing good and doing what you came here to do. That was riding my bulls one at a time. It didn’t quite work out like I planned it.”
Sims finished in third-place this weekend with 275 world points. It is tied for the best finish of his career. Sims last placed third in 2015 at the Sacramento Invitational.
The 23-year-old bucked off Naughty List in 4.94 seconds during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
“Man, I was riding the crap out of him right around to the left,” Sims said. “I made my move to get back to him and he ducked out right. On them short rounder’s, you can’t make a mistake.”
Sims was cut from the PBR’s top tour last season after his guaranteed five events. He competed in only one other BFTS event during his 44th-place finish in the world standings.
Sims was only 5-for-18 in six BFTS events in 2016.
Following this weekend, Sims is now beyond halfway to surpassing that total in 2017.
“Last year was a learning experience,” Sims said after his 85.75-point ride on Shake It Up in Round 1. “I took a lot of this for granted. This is one sport you can’t take for granted because if you let it, it will just keep beating you down.”
Chicago was a huge opportunity for Sims, who found out late Thursday evening that he was a last minute alternate to replace Chase Outlaw.
Sims capitalized on it big time and is up to ninth in the world standings.
The Holt, Missouri, bull rider earned 180 of his 275 points toward the world standings for finishing third in the event average.
Sims then picked up an additional 95 points via round finishes. Sims tied for third in Round 1 for 45 points and then rode Bad Moon Rising for 85.5 points in Round 2 for a fourth-place (40 world points) finish. He tied for sixth place (10 world points) with his 85.75-point ride on Ante Up.
“Brady did pretty darn good,” two-time World Champion Justin McBride said. “He messed his (championship) round up, but he needs to keep putting himself in that position. Get comfortable there being in the short round. Then after a while he won’t be getting so revved up like he was and moving like he was a little too far.”
Sims began the weekend as the 11th and final alternate in the draw.
“I was nervous, scared, and confident,” Sims admitted. “I really didn’t know what was going to happen. Once I got here, I said, ‘We are here for a reason. Let’s go get it.’”
Sims will now be the second alternate for next weekend’s Oklahoma City Express Employment Professionals Classic.
BFTS draws become based on the PBR’s 2017 world standings beginning with the ninth BFTS event.
“This is a big confidence booster,” Sims said. “No secret, all of my last year pretty much sucked for me. I just knew coming into 2017 we were going to just worry about one bull at a time. Ride the one under you and have fun.”
Sims qualified for the World Finals in 2014 and 2015 when he set a career-high with 19 rides in back-to-back seasons.
McBride was happy to see Sims let his riding do the majority of the talking this weekend, and he hopes that Sims continues to focus on his riding.
“Brady is a good guy,” McBride said. “He is a likeable guy. He’s got a little bit of talent. He tries really hard. He is a tough little guy. He has to learn to not let it leak out. Let his riding do the talking.”
Sims isn’t ready to talk about any other goals other than cementing his spot on the BFTS for 2017.
Once that is achieved, then he will start thinking about what is next.
“First goal is getting back on tour,” Sims concluded. “The next goal is we will see what happens.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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