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Triplett Gains Ground in World Title Race

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Here are three things we learned from Round 2 of the PFI Invitational, presented by Bass Pro Shops, on Saturday night at JQH Arena.

TRIPLETT GAINS GROUND IN WORLD TITLE RACE; MAUNEY IN GOOD SHAPE

Matt Triplett didn’t have much to say on Saturday night. All he knew was that he had made the 8-second mark aboard Comfortably Numb, even if it came down to a judges’ review.

The judges agreed with Triplett and awarded the Columbia Falls, Montana, bull rider  an 86.75-point score aboard Comfortably Numb.

Other than confirming he had no doubt he made the 8-second mark, Triplett had few words following his first qualified ride in six outs.

“It is just something I need to be more comfortable doing,” Triplett said.

Triplett earned 50 points toward the world standings for his third-place finish in Round 2 and made up the 50 points he lost to world leader J.B. Mauney on Friday night.

The No. 4 bull rider in the world standings is 1,165 points behind Mauney.

However, Mauney still rode his Round 2 bull – Top Hat – for 83.75 points and the No. 1 bull rider in the world is sitting second in the event average (2-for-2, 171 points).

Therefore, Triplett will need to cover his Round 3 bull (Loose Change) or else Mauney will likely pad his lead atop the world standings by the end of the event on Sunday night.

Mauney has been matched up with Pearl Harbor in Round 3.

World No. 3 Kaique Pacheco is still in the hunt for an event victory after riding Little Bighorn for 86 points. He is sitting 14th in the event average after tying for seventh in the round.

Like Triplett, Pacheco will also likely need a qualified ride in Round 3 to keep pace with Mauney.

He has drawn Buck Autism.

Joao Ricardo Vieira took another step back in his pursuit of his first career gold buckle after he was bucked off by Super Natural in 7.6 seconds.

Vieira had minutes earlier accepted the re-ride option following his 61.25-point ride aboard Nasty Boy.

The 31-year-old has been bucked off past the 7-second mark in three consecutive outs.

Vieira had only one buckoff all season long past 7 seconds before his recent streak.

BIRTHDAY BASH FOR LOWE

Mason Lowe celebrated his 22nd birthday with a career-high 88.5 point-ride aboard Pushing Pills to win Round 2.

“That bull is from about 10 miles from here and I have seen him a little bit,” Lowe said. “I was excited last night when I found out I had him. He usually goes back the other way at the end, but he kind of stayed in it.”

Lowe was able to bounce back from a 5.63-second buckoff against Johnny’s Boy in Round 1 on Friday night.

The rookie has about 200 friends and family that have made the 64-mile trip from Exeter, Missouri, area to see their hometown kid compete on the biggest stage.

Lowe has always dreamed about being able to compete in front of his friends and family in JQH Arena.

“I like having the support of my hometown, and it is even better to win a round for them,” Lowe said. “I didn’t want to come here and get shut out. To win a round is awesome.”

Rounding out the Top 5 in the round was Gage Gay (87.5 points on Money Maker), Triplett, Cody Nance (86.5 points on Spitball), Brady Sims (86.25 points on Gigolo Beau) and Robson Palermo (86.25 points on Fire Rock).

Gay earned 60 points toward the world standings to move one spot ahead of Aaron Roy for 24th in the world standings, while Nance earned 40 points and Sims and Palermo picked up 15 points apiece.

Palermo, who is expecting the birth of his third child any day now, remains ranked 36th in the world, but the 15 points will be helpful as he tries to claw his way to the World Finals in October.

The three-time World Finals event winner was able to hang on as Fire Rock reared him way far back midway through the ride.

“He didn’t go the way I wanted,” Palermo said. “I wanted a little more points from him and I know he is a great bull. I didn’t know what he was going to do because they changed him to a right delivery. I am so happy. I have been bucked off by so many bulls that I feel like I couldn’t even ride a stick horse. We will see what happens tomorrow.”

SIMS LEADING EVENT AVERAGE

Sims heads into Sunday leading the event average and is in a potential position to win his first career BFTS event.

The Holt, Missouri, native followed up his 86.5-point ride on Come On Baby on Friday night with an 86.25-point ride aboard Gigolo Beau on Saturday.

“He had a lot more up and down and (was) kind of trying to really get me into my hand,” Sims said. “I just kept fighting and kept leaning over there and trying to not let him get me way too far into my hand. It felt terrible, but I guess it looked alright.”

Gigolo Beau is partially owned by the recently retired L.J. Jenkins, who participated in a series of PR appearances with Sims this week.

“He was giving me a hard time about it all last night when I told him I had his bull,” Sims said.

According to Sims, he has about 10-15 friends and family in attendance.

Being the home state kid with Lowe certainly gives you a motivational boost, said Sims.

“Whenever you come to these events like this you definitely try a little bit harder because you know everybody came to watch you and it is kind of like you should try that hard every time,” Sims added. “Unfortunately, you don’t always try that hard.”

Rounding out the Top 5 in the event average is Mauney (171 points), J.W. Harris (170.5 points), Tanner Byrne (169.75 points), Lowe (88.5 points) and Cooper Davis (88 points).

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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