By: Justin Felisko
March 15, 2017
PUEBLO, Colo. – 2012 PRCA champion Cody Teel is trying to make the slow climb to the Built Ford Tough Series, and he tried to make the most of his last-minute opportunity last weekend.
Teel was not supposed to be riding in North Little Rock, Arkansas, until Marco Eguchi decided to opt out of the 10th BFTS stop of the season because of a rib injury.
“It wasn’t too bad,” Teel said. “I have been traveling for a few years now. I am used to switching flights. I was pretty excited when I got the call. It makes it easier going to one event trying to get points instead of two. Any way you can make it work, you just go for it.”
The PBR competition department informed Teel last Thursday morning that he had a draw spot in Little Rock and Teel re-routed his flights from Florida, where he was competing in a PRCA rodeo, instead of heading to Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and Bangor, Maine, for Touring Pro Division and Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour events.
Teel would have liked to have done much better at the Bad Boy Mowdown, but the 24-year-old’s 85.25-point ride on Bad Moon Rising in Round 2 propelled him to a 10th-place finish and 35.8 world points.
“I almost screwed him up a bit, but that bull requires you to ride through the 8 (seconds). He was a good bull away from my hand. That bull was kind of rolling out and I tried to roll my hips and stay squared as best I could. I am glad I got it done.”
The points are minimal, but they were just enough to keep Teel, who is ranked 36th in the world standings, in the draw for this coming weekend’s Ty Murray Invitational, presented by Isleta Resort and Casino, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Teel has a Round 1 matchup against Dirt Man Do (1-0, BFTS) Friday night.
“The man deal is just stay on your bulls,” Teel said. “You have to do that before you get points. You can’t look to far ahead. You have to take it one at a time, but it is harder trying to get those points. I have been close and I have let a few opportunities that would have vaulted me into the Top 35 that I didn’t take advantage of.”
Fans can catch all of Round 1 exclusively on PBR LIVE beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET.
Other alternates from outside the Top 35 include No. 37 Emilio Resende, who won the Worcester Massachusetts Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event, No. 38 Troy Wilkinson, No. 130 Paulo Lima (final injury exemption), No. 138 Tanner Byrne (five remaining exemptions) and Cody Jesus.
Jesus is the annual Native American invite to the Ty Murray Invitational. The 18-year-old is the 2016 Indian National Finals Rodeo bull riding champion.
He has drawn Lost Soul (5-2, BFTS) for Round 1.
Lima needs to make up 188 world points to crack the Top 35.
The 29-year-old takes on Payback (3-0, BFTS).
Four-time PRCA champion J.W. Harris and Robson Aragao are also returning to the BFTS after being cut earlier this year.
Harris finished first and second in Poplar Bluff to move to No. 35 in the world standings and Aragao won last weekend’s Velocity event in Bangor, Maine, to jump to No. 33.
Harris takes on Chute Boss (1-3, BFTS), while Aragao faces Bocephus (0-0, BFTS).
There are eight riders not competing in Albuquerque because of injuries/personal reasons.
No. 2 Jess Lockwood (groin), No. 7 Mason Lowe (hip and abdominal injuries), No. 26 Reese Cates (personal), No. 31 Nevada Newman (shoulder surgery), No.121 Robson Palermo (left knee), No. 62 Wallace de Oliveira (ankle), Lachlan Richardson (bicep surgery) and Aaron Roy (leg) are also still out.
Lowe is missing his first event after a few rough weekends in the arena. He said he may take another week off and return in two weeks for the First PREMIER Bank PREMIER Bankcard Invitational in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
World leader Eduardo Aparecido will look to expand his 887.5-point lead on Lockwood when he begins his weekend against Scotty’s Crossroads in Albuquerque.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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