PUEBLO, Colo. – Two of the biggest stories coming out of the Ty Murray Invitational were the injuries sustained by world leader Matt Triplett and the No. 6 bull rider in the world Reese Cates.
Therefore, because of their injuries, as well as injuries to J.B. Mauney and Chase Outlaw, there was an open opportunity Sunday afternoon for riders to try and earn an alternate position for the Seattle Invitational 15/15 Bucking Battle.
Stormy Wing was the main beneficiary, going 3-for-4 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and earning 165 points toward the world standings to earn the last spot in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
Here is a by-the-numbers look at some highlights from the Ty Murray Invitational
13: Wing gets first three-ride performance since last September
Wing had gone 13 events without posting three qualified rides in a single weekend since his first career BFTS event win last September in Oakland, California.
Wing didn’t place in either Round 1 (83 points on Cookie Monster) or in Round 2 (84.5 points on Hot Fudge), but his season-best 89-point ride on No Regrets placed him second in Round 3 and earned him 60 points toward the world standings.
“I was really looking forward to that bull,” Wing said. “I had seen Reese Cates get on that bull. I knew it was going to be a good matchup.”
More importantly, the 25-year-old finished fourth in the event average with his three combined ride scores to earn an additional 105 points despite bucking off Percolator in 4.54 seconds during the championship round.
Wing, who has been contending with a sprained left MCL, said he and the riders were motivated this weekend after there were only 20 qualified rides in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
“Instead of just showing up and trying to ride the rankest bulls in the world, you have to show up to dominate because that is how we got here,” Wing said. “We are the heavyweight contenders. They come to our house.”
The 165 points Wing earned in Albuquerque, New Mexico, helped him jump from 26th in the world standings to 20th.
He edged out Tanner Byrne by 20 points for the final spot in this weekend’s 15/15 Bucking Battle.
Wing faces Fire Rock (18-7, BFTS) after replacing Triplett in the draw.
It is arguably one of the more favorable matchups in the 15/15 as it will be the fifth time the two have met. Wing recently rode Fire Rock for 88.5 points in St. Louis, Missouri, and he also rode him for 90 points at the Lewiston, Idaho, 2013 Touring Pro Division event.
550: Jones to compete in 15/15 following victory
Ben Jones assured himself a spot in the 15/15 Bucking Battle by earning 550 points toward the world standings during his victory at the Ty Murray Invitational.
The 36-year-old moved from 17th to eighth in the world standings.
Jones earned 100 points for winning the championship round with 90.25 points on Beaver Creek Beau, 50 points for placing third in Round 3 with an 87.5-point ride on White Lie and 400 points for winning the event average title with a combined total ride score of 263 points.
He will face Boot Jack (10-1, BFTS) in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
218.33: Average number of points per event Joao Ricardo Vieira has earned since Iron Cowboy
After finishing second at the Ty Murray Invitational, Joao Ricardo Vieira has cut Triplett’s lead to the slimmest (385 points) margin since the world leader first took over the top spot following the Sacramento Invitational.
Vieira went 3-for-4 and earned 310 total points, making it four consecutive weeks that Vieira has earned 105 or more points at an event.
If not for Jones’ ride aboard Beaver Creek Beau, Vieira would have won the Ty Murray Invitational and another 160 points with his 88-point ride on Walk Off in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
Vieira will have an opportunity to potentially leave KeyArena as the No. 1 bull rider in the world standings because of Triplett’s injury.
He will also be competing in the 15/15 Bucking Battle against Cooper Tires Brown Sugar (16-3, BFTS).
93.33: Crisostomo averaging 93.33 points per event in return
Claudio Crisostomo needed just three of his eight guaranteed BFTS events to crack the Top 30 of the world standings since returning to action following a broken right clavicle.
Crisostomo is the 29th bull rider in the world standings (280 points) and earned another 65 points this past weekend.
The 29-year-old went 3-for-4 to finish fifth in the event average (248.75) for all 65 of his points.
Crisostomo has gone 7-for-10 (70 percent) since coming back to the BFTS in Fresno, California, and has finished 10th or better in all three events.
60: Aragao uses 60 points to move ahead in jumbled race at the bottom
Robson Aragao began the Ty Murray Invitational ranked 38th in the world and was competing as an alternate. He took advantage of the opportunity and used an 87-point ride on Cash Ya Out to place second in Round 2 and earn 50 points toward the world standings.
Aragao also rode Blonde Bomber for 79.75 points in Round 1 and finished 13th in the event average for an additional 10 points.
He is now 32nd in the world and sits 52.5 points ahead of the final alternate position in the draw heading into the Seattle Invitational.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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