By: Justin Felisko August 30, 2014@ 11:45:00 PM
THACKERVILLE HIGHLIGHTS AND INJURY UPDATES (8-30-14)
THACKERVILLE, Okla. – Here are three things that stood out from the conclusion of this weekend’s WinStar World Casino & Resort Invitational.
1. Lee gets desired championship round pick; wins first event of 2014
2004 World Champion Mike Lee earned his first Built Ford Tough Series victory of the season by riding Jet Airliner for 85.25 points in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round on Saturday night in front of over 8,500 people. Lee was the only man to cover his championship-round bull and finished a perfect 3-for-3 with 257.25 points after beginning the final round in fifth place in the event average.
“It’s awesome. I stayed calm and enjoyed myself,” Lee said. “I tried not to make things complicated.”
Lee had highlighted Jet Airliner as his bull of choice heading into the bull draft, but the 13-year BFTS veteran was unsure if Joao Ricardo Vieira, J.B. Mauney, J.W. Harris or Eduardo Aparecido would make the selection instead.
Once he had his desired pick there was no turning back and the Decatur, Texas, native easily held on for his first BFTS victory since claiming the win in Biloxi, Mississippi, last year.
“He didn’t have a whole lot of tricks,” Lee said. “He is pretty honest. I watched most of the (championship round) bulls on video before I got here. I usually don’t study bulls, but, I don’t know, I didn’t want to pick a bull with a lot of tricks in him.”
Lee posted a pair of 86-point rides in Rounds 1 & 2 aboard Flab Slab and Red Dingo.
The win bumps Lee back into fourth-place in the world standings, and he now trails new-world leader Joao Ricardo Vieira by 607.94 points.
Rounding out the Top 5 was Vieira (177.25 points), Mauney (174.5), Harris (172.75) and Aparecido (172.5).
2. Joao Ricardo Vieira in No. 1 position for first time in his career
2013 Rookie of the Year Joao Ricardo Vieira has moved into the No. 1 spot in the world standings by using two round-winning rides to finish second in the event average and slip past former world leader Guilherme Marchi, who finished in seventh-place, by 25.69 points in the world standings.
After riding Bruiser for 88.75 points to win Round 1 on Friday, Vieira almost put up an identical score in Saturday’s Round 2 by covering Crack the Whip for 88.5 points. He now leads the BFTS with seven round victories in 2014.
It is the first time in Vieira’s career that he has held the No. 1 position in the world. This year he had been seated second in the world on five different occasions. In 2013, Vieira was in the No. 2 spot behind Silvano Alves for three straight weeks.
He is also only the fourth different rider to be on top of the world standings after Lee, Marchi and Fabiano Vieira, who now trails Joao Ricardo by 553.38 points, have spent time in the No. 1 position.
3. Champions Mauney and Harris go toe-to-toe with rank bull selections
Fans didn’t have to wait long on Saturday night to see which riders would take on some of the rankest bulls in Director of Livestock Cody Lambert’s championship pen. Following Vieira’s selection of Jack Daniel’s After Party, defending World Champion Mauney stepped onto the shark cage and selected Asteroid. Harris then followed and, after a slight pause, selected the undefeated Mick E Mouse to the thrill of the packed grandstands.
Harris nearly brought the fans out of their seat when he found a comfortable seat on Mick E Mouse and appeared poised to become the first rider to conquer the World Champion Bull contender before the bovine shed the PRCA champion at the 7.47 seconds.
Mauney then stepped up for his fifth showdown against Asteroid after previously riding him one time in his career for 93.5 points at a 2012 meeting in San Antonio. This time around was no beauty and the 2012 World Champion Bull bucked off the reigning world champ rider in 3.04 seconds and stomped on Mauney’s back following the buckoff.
Two-time World Champion and CBS Sports Network color commentator Justin McBride called the moment something you just expect to see from two rank bull riders.
“That is what I have come to expect, especially with J.B. because I have been around him so much longer than J.W.,” McBride said. “I can tell just the little bit that J.W. Harris has been around, he is here for the right reasons and that is to try and ride rank bulls. It is no surprise to me that J.B. Mauney picked Asteroid. I‘m pumped to see him do it because every time, whether he rides him or not, before the gate opens though you know there is that chance he is going.”
Asteroid was named the high-marked bull of the event by being scored a season-high 46 points.
Only 13 men competed in the championship round seeing as Fabiano Vieira and L.J. Jenkins both withdrew from the event following injuries in the second round. There were only 15 riders with a qualified ride eligible for the round.
Vieira decided to withdraw from the event due to soreness in his unstable right shoulder, and Jenkins did not compete after bruising his sternum and ribs when Dakota Style’s Hy Test stomped on him in Round 2.
Jordan Hupp was stepped on after being thrown from Bullet Proof in Round 2 and was transported to local hospital to be evaluated.
Stormy Wing sustained a concussion and a bruised right shoulder blade when he was thrown hard from JW HUGHES’s Excavation after 4.27 seconds on Saturday night during the second round. He is questionable for Nashville.
Marco Eguchi, who was already competing with a bruised left shoulder, suffered a bruised sacrum when he landed hard after being thrown from Alright, Alright, Alright in Round 2. He is listed as probable for Nashville.
Kasey Hayes did not compete in the second round after injuring his jaw when he collided with Margy Time’s head during his first-round ride attempt. He had a lacerated chin sutured in the training room and is questionable for Nashville.
Billy Robinson (groin strain) and Claudio Crisostomo (respiratory infection) all returned to competition after missing the Tulsa Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
Ryan Dirteater (unstable left knee), Renato Nunes (unstable right shoulder) and Zane Lambert (sprained left knee) also competed injured.
Tanner Byrne missed the event due to an aggravation of a right wrist injury sustained in Canada and Tulsa, while Scottie Knapp was out with a separated right shoulder (free arm) acromioclavicular joint that he hurt in Tulsa.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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