Teel in Contention with Campbell, Leme, Pacheco for World Finals Victory One Year After Tearing ACL/MCL at 2019 Finals

By: Justin Felisko

ARLINGTON, Texas – Cody Teel hung up his bull rope just outside of rider walk-off inside AT&T Stadium and began to pull at his riding glove on Saturday night.

Teel had just ridden Cold Chill for 88.5 points in Round 3 of the 2020 PBR World Finals, but his face showed something was not exactly right.

He was grimacing in pain and his hand was refusing to come out of his glove. Once Teel finally got his glove off, the problem was clear as day. The 2012 PRCA champion bull rider’s thumb was swollen after he sprained it in Round 1 Thursday during his 87.5-point ride on Bentley.

“I just sored my thumb up in the first round,” Teel said with a shrug. “It’s just sore, but it’s alright. It’s a little swollen. It’s just sprained, not broken.”

Teel has not let his thumb get in the way of a possible victory at the 2020 World Finals in his home state. The College Station, Texas, bull rider is a perfect 3-for-3 in Arlington, and he will head into Round 4 sitting in third place in the event average.

“It feels good, for sure,” Teel said following his 88.5-point ride on Cold Chill. “Still a lot of work to do, though. It’s a really tough Finals. I said last night there’s a lot of work to do. I’m just happy to be here.”

It was only a year ago in which Teel finished Round 3 of the 2019 PBR World Finals sitting in second place in the event average.

The problem, though, was that Teel tore his left ACL/MCL on his dismount after he rode Midnight Rain for 89.5 points. Teel’s chances at winning the 2019 World Finals then fell apart as he struggled to overcome the injury – or even just walk around T-Mobile Arena – and he bucked off his final three bulls of the Finals.

The left knee injury has been a nuisance for Teel throughout 2020, and it has contributed to him having the lowest riding percentage of his career (32.14%). Teel is only 18-for-56 in 20 events.

Teel even has reconstructive surgery scheduled for his knee following the PBR World Finals, but said on Saturday night he hasn’t felt this much confidence in months.

“The day for surgery is still set, but it’s been feeling really good, though,” Teel said. “The PBR sports med team, I couldn’t do it without those guys. All they do for us just gets us through. And I’m feeling really good. Better than I have in a long time.”

Teel selected Hanna Motors Power Dozer (0-0, UTB) for Round 4 on Sunday with the 10th selection of the bull draft.

Round 4 begins at 5:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network and 5:15 p.m. ET on RidePass.

Teel (3-for-3, 264.25 points) is one of four riders a perfect 3-for-3 at the Finals.

Boudreaux Campbell is leading the way with 267.25 points on three rides, while newly minted World Champion Jose Vitor Leme (266.5) and 2018 World Champion Kaique Pacheco (255.75 points) are also in the hunt for the World Finals event victory. There are also nine riders who are 2-for-3.

“Winning the Finals anywhere, words couldn’t describe it,” Teel said. “But to be in Texas, it’d be pretty cool, I’d say. We’re going for it.”

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media

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