By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – 2016 PBR Brazil champion Dener Barbosa’s return to competition in the United States for the first time since winning the Gwinnett Invitational in March was far from what he had hoped for this weekend.
Barbosa had just returned to the United States from his native Brazil at the end of August because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the No. 8-ranked bull rider was hopeful he could make a late push at the 2020 World Championship. However, Barbosa wound up breaking his jaw in three different places and sustaining a skull fracture and a concussion on Friday night during Round 1 of the PBR Ariat Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, when Swagger bucked him off in 5.43 seconds and stepped on his helmet.
The 26-year-old spent the evening overnight at a local Billings hospital before doctors released him Saturday afternoon. According to Barbosa, he plans to return to Texas to undergo surgery in hopes of being able to return to competition before the 2020 PBR World Finals.
“I’m fine,” Barbosa said Saturday morning. “I just broke my jaw in three places, but I haven’t had the surgery yet. I will do the surgery in Dallas.”
Barbosa is expected to be out around six weeks, and he is hopeful he will be cleared to return in time for the 2020 PBR World Finals.
“I think I can be back for the Finals,” Barbosa said.
Barbosa was one of a handful of riders hurt inside First Interstate Arena this weekend.
ADDITIONAL INJURY UPDATES
Derek Kolbaba returned from a concussion Sunday to ride Ponotoc for 87.75 points in Round 2. Strange Cargo later bucked Kolbaba off in 2.36 seconds in the championship round to improve to 21-0.
For Kolbaba, he finished in 10th place overall after Lonesome Fugitive stepped on his head/helmet in Round 1 during a 7.17-secod buckoff on Friday night. Kolbaba sustained a concussion, scalp contusion and a bruised right leg, according to Dr. Tandy Freeman. He sat out for Round 2 and the 15/15 Bucking Battle before being cleared to return on Championship Sunday.
2016 World Champion Cooper Davis finished in fifth place overall after sustaining an upper back strain in Round 3 when Uncle Gangster bucked him off in 6.95 seconds. Davis would return for the championship round, but Red Dawn took care of him in 1.63 seconds.
2018 World Champion Kaique Pacheco escaped serious injury in Round 3 when Hammerhead Blu yanked him over the front end in 7.21 seconds. Pacheco was diagnosed with a bruised neck, though, by Dr. Freeman.
Mason Taylor aggravated an old wrist injury and sprained his riding elbow when Chilli Whap bucked him off in 2.19 seconds in Round 2. Wicked Hou would later buck Taylor off in 2.83 seconds in the championship round, and he finished sixth overall.
Mauricio Moreira competed in Round 3 on Sunday after injuring his neck during the 15/15 Bucking Battle when Total Feeds Bushwacked bucked him off onto his head in 4.04 seconds.
According to Freeman, Colten Jesse missed the 15/15 Bucking Battle and the remainder of the event after aggravating a previous hip injury when Black Smoke bucked him off in 3.1 seconds in Round 1.
Stetson Lawrence is questionable for next week’s event in Des Moines, Iowa, after missing Round 3 because of a sprained left LCL and strained hamstring, according to Freeman. Lawrence was injured during his 4.53-second buckoff against Fig Jama in Round 2.
Bradley Brittain missed the final two days of competition after injuring his right shoulder in Round 1. Silent Night had bucked Brittain off in 2.09 seconds.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media
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