By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis is the No. 1 bull rider in the world, and his 94-point ride on Chiseled at the PBR Caterpillar Classic on Sunday afternoon was another notice to the rest of the top bull riders in the world that he has no plans on relenting that ranking anytime soon.
Yes, Davis wound up second in the event after 2020 World Finals event winner Boudreaux Campbell rode Woopaa for a sensational 95.75 points and the event victory. But don’t look past what Davis accomplished this weekend in Kansas City, Missouri.
Davis’s career-best ride on Chiseled, who is tied with Woopaa for the No. 1 ranking in the YETI World Championship race, came less than five minutes after 2020 World Champion Jose Vitor Leme rode Top Shelf for 91.75 points and helped Davis extend his lead atop the PBR world standings to 65 points on 2018 World Champion Kaique Pacheco.
Leme is clearly making a push for the 2021 World Championship despite having only competed in two full events this season. All four of his qualified rides have now gone for 90 points or higher, he is sitting No. 6 in the world standings, and he has won three rounds this season, like Davis.
However, the rider tied with Leme for the most 90-point rides this season on the Unleash The Beast is Davis – a man who has not been known to put up 90-point rides as consistently as Leme has. Davis’s career-high for 90-point rides is six in 2019 and 2017; he had only two 90-point rides during his 2016 World Championship season.
He already has four this season – 94 points on Chiseled; 91.25 points on Ridin Solo; 90 points on Mr. Winston; 90 points on Born to Sin.
Make no mistake about it: Davis is ready to throw haymaker after haymaker in his attempt to become the seventh rider in PBR history to win multiple world titles. He has no problem picking the rankest bull in the championship-round pen to maximize his ride score potential.
Simply put, Kansas City is a loud reminder that Davis is capable of being the frontrunner for the world title, even as challengers like Leme and Pacheco are nipping at his heels in the world standings.
(Don’t forget about Pacheco, either. He has six consecutive rides dating back to his victory in Glendale, Arizona, and capped off his weekend with 89.5 points on Hocus Pocus).
Davis went a perfect 3-for-3 inside T-Mobile Center. The Jasper, Texas, cowboy began his weekend with 87.25 points on Black Sunshine in Round 1 Saturday night before barely hanging onto Lil Hott for 83 points in Round 2 Sunday. He also escaped the potential for injury when Lil Hott fell over at the end of the ride.
Davis next made a quick correction aboard Chiseled in the championship round when he began the ride a little bit out of position. He rebounded perfectly, and the rest was all Cooper Davis to the tune of 94 points.
“He almost overrode him,” 2002 World Finals event winner and CBS Sports Network commentator J.W. Hart said on the broadcast. “You watch how this bull turns out of there and bucks. Coop slides off the inside. He just moves too far, he is down inside, and he has to fight. The minute he gets back and gets that knee up, he gets back in the middle, and now he just starts opening up that outside foot. The bull’s back is staying pretty level, so Coop can just lean back and not worry about him jerking him down over that front. He can let that outside leg go. Excellent, excellent bull ride from Cooper Davis.”
Chiseled was marked 45.5 points, and the 2019 ABBI Classic champion is tied with Woopaa for the No. 1 ranking in the YETI World Champion Bull standings with an average bull score of 46.33.
“I just held what I had and let him pick me up around the next couple of corners,” Davis said.
Davis not only sits atop the world standings, but he also leads the league in qualified rides (13). In fact, Davis and Pacheco (12) are the only riders with double-digit ride totals through the first almost three months of the season.
If not for Campbell making a ride tied for the 15th-best in the PBR’s 28-year history, Davis would have left Kansas City with that much larger a lead in the world standings.
Instead, Davis will take his 65-point lead on Pacheco into next weekend’s Louisville Invitational at the KFC Yum! Center in Kentucky.
“Right now, each bull is just as important as the next – long rounds and short rounds,” Davis said. “Whoever stays on the most at the end of the year will probably be the deciding factor.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media
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