By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – Jesse Petri’s Unleash The Beast debut last weekend in Glendale, Arizona, began with so much promise only to end with frustration for the 23-year-old.
Petri was off to a great start in the first premier series event of his career, riding both of his bulls in Glendale, including Vertigo Spy for 87 points in Round 1.
However, Petri had nowhere to go when he rode Rack City Dreamin for 63.25 points during Round 2 Sunday. Petri and Rack City Dreamin wound up towards the side of the arena fencing, and Petri was stepped on during his dismount. He was then transported to a local hospital, where he says he was treated for a lacerated liver, a punctured lung and a broken rib. He also needed 10 stitches for a laceration on his right free hand.
Petri was eventually released from the hospital late Monday night before he and his wife, Cealie, made the 18-hour drive back home to Texas.
The 2020 Rookie of the Year contender was sitting in third place at the time of his injuries, but he could not accept his re-ride option or compete in the championship round. Petri finished the event in sixth place.
“I’m pissed that happened at my first event,” Petri said this week. “I was really wanting to show out.”
Petri, the No. 24-ranked bull rider in the world, says he could be out anywhere from six to 12 weeks, but he is hopeful he can return to competition sooner rather than later.
“I’m feeling better and better each day,” Petri said. “Dr. Tandy (Freeman) said I have a grade 3 lacerated liver, and it takes six to 12 weeks to heal. I am trying to figure out if I can come back before or not. I talked to J.B. (Mauney), and he said he took three months for it (earlier in his career).”
VELOCITY TOUR UPDATE: PWVT HEADING TO PENSACOLA, FLORIDA
Petri also is the No. 1 rider on the Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour, and his injury will present an opportunity for another rider to potentially overtake him in the PWVT standings.
That rider may end up being Cody Nance this weekend at the Pensacola Invitational on Saturday and Sunday at Pensacola Bay Center. Round 1 airs Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on RidePass.
The Top 7 riders in the PWVT standings are competing at the Unleash The Beast event in Kansas City or are injured. Therefore, Nance, the No. 8-ranked rider in the Velocity standings, will be the man to watch.
Nance is 2-for-3 on the Velocity Tour after placing second in North Charleston, South Carolina, on Feb. 26. The 11-time PBR World Finals qualifier is only 21.83 points out of the No. 1 ranking.
RELATED: Daysheet for Pensacola
The No. 1 ranking on the Velocity Tour is crucial for a rider attempting to work his way back onto the Unleash The Beast. Every UTB event has a guaranteed draw spot for the No. 1 rider, or highest-ranked healthy rider, on the PWVT. This week, that spot was filled by No. 2 PWVT rider J.T. Moore.
Nance has drawn Turbo Steel (2-0, PWVT) for Round 1 on Saturday.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR RACE UPDATE
Petri’s injury also means current No. 1 rookie and early favorite Colten Fritzlan can attempt to extend his lead on Petri in the Rookie of the Year race this weekend at the PBR Caterpillar Classic in Kansas City.
Fritzlan leads Petri by 91.17 points in the ROY standings.
Moore is 109 points behind Fritzlan.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photo courtesy of Andre Silva/Bull Stock Media
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