By: Justin Felisko
October 12, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – 2016 has very much been the year of the young gun, and another 19-year-old will take a stab at earning a full-time spot on the Built Ford Tough Series this weekend during the San Jose Invitational, presented by Ariat.
Keyshawn Whitehorse was the only rider to go 2-for-2 at last weekend’s BlueDEF Tour event in Trenton, New Jersey, and earned himself a spot in San Jose with his 88-point event winning ride on Sarge.
Whitehorse is 41st in the world standings and is trying to make a last dash at qualifying for the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals in a similar path Derek Kolbaba did last year. Whitehorse is only 98.7 points – the equivalent of 1.3 points less of one round win – behind No. 35 Jorge Valdiviezo.
San Jose will be the second Built Ford Tough Series event for Whitehorse. The Woodlands, Texas, bull rider made his debut at the 2016 Iron Cowboy.
It is a major opportunity for Whitehorse, and he isn’t taking it lightly.
Whitehorse is also still very much alive in the 2016 BlueDEF Tour title race. His second BlueDEF Tour victory has him up to No. 3 in the BlueDEF Tour standings, and he is within 50 points of BlueDEF leader Derek Kolbaba.
A 2016 BlueDEF Tour championship or a big showing at the BlueDEF Finals can also push Whitehorse to the World Finals.
Whitehorse has drawn Heartbreak Kid (1-0, BFTS) and Dirty Deeds (1-1, BFTS).
Seven of the last 13 BFTS events have been won by riders 23 or younger.
Another rider jockeying with Whitehorse and Valdiviezo is No. 36 Nathan Schaper and No. 53 Matt Triplett.
Schaper is 12.5 points behind Valdiviezo and is in the draw as an alternate because of Shane Proctor’s strained groin injury. The Grassy Butte, North Dakota, bull rider takes on Tequila Sunrise (8-3, BFTS) and Stars & Stripes (0-1, BFTS).
Triplett is using a BFTS exemption to compete at the SAP Center. The 25-year-old has this weekend and the regular-season finale in Tucson, Arizona, to try and make up at least 245 points to potentially crack the Top 35.
Triplett has a Round 1 meeting against Traveler (0-1, BFTS) and then a Round 2 showdown against Chantilly Lace (4-5, BFTS).
Ty Pozzobon will not be in San Jose because he is competing at the 2016 PBR Canada Finals in Saskatoon, but Pozzobon will be in Tucson, Arizona, if the No. 33 rider remains in the Top 35.
World leader Kaique Pacheco will look to bounce back from his 1-for-3 showing in Nampa, Idaho, against Yesterday’s Wine (0-0, BFTS) and Dream Catcher (7-4, BFTS).
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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