By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – Lucas Divino walked over to the side fence and hunched over a tad, favoring his injured right riding hand on Saturday night.
Divino had just ridden Eye of the Storm for 84.25 points relatively easily in Round 1 of the PBR Lucas Oil Invitational, presented by U.S. Border Patrol.
Eye of the Storm spun into Divino’s hand and the No. 12-ranked rider in the world was able to shake off a nagging hand injury that kept him out of Championship Sunday a week ago.
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Divino is riding with strained muscles, and CBS Sports commentator Craig Hummer noted during the Saturday night broadcast that this injury causes pain in a different spot on Divino’s hand compared to the pain he felt when he broke the same hand at the beginning of the 2020 season.
Two-time World Champion Justin McBride said the real test for Divino’s hand will likely come on Championship Sunday.
“When you’re as good as Lucas Divino is, this bull right here, Lucas is good enough no matter whether his hand’s hurting or not, he’s going to ride this bull,” McBride said. “His hand could be killing him right now and he’s still able to ride that bull. I think where you’re going to see it show up, what kind of shape his hand is in, is when you get into a championship round situation, you see some bulls with more up and down.”
The bull power was tough on Saturday night, but the championship round on Sunday is going to be that much harder for the best bull riders in the world.
Fans can watch the championship round live on CBS television beginning at 2 p.m. ET. Round 2 begins at 11:30 a.m. ET on CBS Sports Network and RidePass.
YETI World Champion Bull contenders Chiseled, 2019 World Champion Smooth Operator, Hocus Pocus and three-time World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Bruiser are just some of the bovine stars set to buck.
Divino, No. 16 and Round 1 winner Mason Taylor (88.75 points on Hell On The Red) and No. 19 Derek Kolbaba (81.75 points on Caddy Black) were the only three riders inside the Top 20 of the world standings with a qualified ride in Round 1 on Saturday night at the Lazy E Arena, and Sunday will be an opportunity for them to try to gain on world leader Jose Vitor Leme.
Leme was bucked off by an impressive M.A.G.A. in Round 1 when the Hart Cattle Company bovine athlete yanked him down over the front end in 1.84 seconds.
Divino heads into Round 2 in fourth place and takes on Buck Norris (5-1, UTB) in Round 2. Meanwhile, Kolbaba has drawn Oz (12-3, UTB) and Taylor will face God’s Country (4-0, UTB).
Leme will attempt to bounce back against Blue Crush (17-5, UTB). He is 1-1 against Blue Crush, who bucked him off in Chicago this season in 5.61 seconds. However, Leme rode him last year in Chicago for 87.25 points.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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