By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – Boudreaux Campbell would certainly like a mulligan for how things played out at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, but the 22-year-old can still hold his head high knowing he put forth a memorable performance at the 2020 PBR World Finals.
Campbell was able to overcome a 173.84-point deficit in the world standings and win the 2020 Rookie of the Year by winning the 2020 PBR World Finals event average thanks to a 4-for-5 effort last month at AT&T Stadium.
The Crockett, Texas, bull rider recently sat down with the PBR’s social media channels to discuss his World Finals victory prior to heading to the NFR, where Campbell had hoped to make a push at the 2020 PRCA bull riding championship. However, Campbell wound up going 1-for-10 at the NFR at Globe Life Field.
It was a surprising turn of events for Campbell after he had a strong showing at the PBR World Finals.
Campbell knew he needed a big run at the World Finals if he was going to usurp previous Rookie of the Year leader Cole Melancon, and he did just that.
Here is a recap of Campbell’s push for the Rookie of the Year title in Arlington.
Round 1: Campbell begins his first World finals with 88 points on Heartbreak Kid
Campbell arrived at AT&T Stadium ranked No. 33 in the world standings and 173.84 points behind Melancon in the rookie race. He immediately got to work trying to close the gap between himself and Melancon by riding Heartbreak Kid for 88 points. Meanwhile, Smooth Over would buck Melancon off in 5.9 seconds.
Campbell: “Going into Round 1 of the World Finals, I had a really good bull drawn, Heartbreak Kid of D&H Cattle. I had seen him over the years in the PBR and I was really excited about him. He is a big bull, and I like bigger bulls. I knew he was going to buck good, and I knew I had a shot to win the round or place high in the go-round. I was (88 points) on him, placed high, had a good pick for the second day. During that first day I didn’t feel really no pressure. I was just riding bulls. I was 30th in the world and I had nothing to lose.”
Round 2: Campbell rides Bullseye for 89.25 points
Campbell began Round 2 148.84 points behind Melancon and was the first man to nod his head on that Friday night in AT&T Stadium. Campbell put more pressure on Melancon by riding Bullseye for 89.25 points to go up another qualified ride ahead of Melancon in the event average. However, Melancon made sure to keep pace later in the round by riding Sugar Boom Boom for 88.75 points.
Campbell: “Going into Round 2 of the PBR World Finals was a draft and I was able to have a good pick for the round earlier, and I had Bullseye and that bull’s really, really good. I had seen Jose (Vitor Leme) ride him for 92, I seen my buddy Stetson Lawrence ride him for 88, 90. He is a really good bull and he was really strong and big, but I am glad I got the job done. It was too bad I was just the first guy out.”
Round 3: Campbell keeps rolling with 90 points on Safety Meeting
Campbell still had work to do with a 131.34-point deficit behind Melancon and the two rookies separated by one qualified ride in the average. Campbell refused to slow down, recording the first 90-point ride of his career on the premier series to truly cement he was a player to win the World Finals. Harold’s Genuine Risk bucked Melancon off in 3.02 seconds.
Campbell: “I was so happy going into there because it was a draw round and I didn’t know what I was going to get. But if it was a draft, I probably would have picked the one I got, and that was ole 51 Safety Meeting of Chad Berger’s. I seen that bull grow up, and every time I have seen him I said ‘I always want to put my rope on that bull,’ and I am glad I got to do it at the biggest stage there is. I was on cloud nine. There was nothing that could top that at the moment. At that moment, that was all that mattered, me riding that little black muley. I rode him. I barely got him rode, but I was like, ‘I can’t let a little black muley throw me off.’”
Round 4: Campbell leaves door open for Melancon with buckoff
Campbell’s one blemish at the World Finals was in Round 4 when Silent Night dropped him in 4.13 seconds. Campbell was only 96.34 points behind Melancon, but he was still two full bulls ahead of him in the average race. Melancon again refused to throw in the towel, riding Vertigo Spy for 88.5 points to force the Rookie of the Year race to come down to the final round.
Round 5: Campbell answers Melancon with 90.75 points on Buckin’ for Cash
Melancon made sure to end his season on a strong note, riding 2018 PRCA Bull of the Year Spotted Demon for a career-best 92.25 points.
Therefore, all the pressure was back on Campbell, who had to ride Buckin’ for Cash to snatch the Rookie of the Year title away from Melancon, who had not let go of the lead since he won the PBR Iron Cowboy nine months earlier in Los Angeles.
Campbell, though, did not flinch, and went on to ride Buckin’ for Cash for his own career-best score, 90.75 points, to win the Rookie of the Year award, and eventually the World Finals event average following an Eduardo Aparecido buck off.
Campbell: “Coming into that round, I had just bucked off the bull before then, and I was kind of down, but I didn’t have anything to lose. I was staying loose and just doing what I have been doing my whole life, what I been training to do my whole life. It was no different, really, in that short round for me. Until the short round, I had seen Cole was 92 on Spotted Demon. I was like, ‘Welp, I am going to either ride and win it or fall off and go home. One of two things is going to happen.’”
Campbell will now turn the page to 2021, where he will look to build on his third-place finish in the PBR world standings and contend for a World Championship amidst his first full-time run on the PBR’s top tour.
The 2021 Unleash The Beast: American Roots Edition begins on Jan. 9-10 in Tucson, Arizona, at the Tucson Rodeo Fairgrounds.
UPDATED BEGINNING 2021 UTB SCHEDULE
January 9-10 Tucson, AZ – Tucson Rodeo Grounds
January 16-17 Payson, AZ – Payson Rodeo Grounds
January 23-24 Pecos, TX – Buck Jackson Arena
January 30-31 Del Rio, TX – Val Verde County Fairgrounds
February 13-14 To be announced in Florida
February 20-21 To be announced in Florida
February 27-28 Longview, TX – Longview Rodeo Arena
March 6-7 To be announced in Louisiana
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photo courtesy of Josh Homer/Bull Stock Media
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