By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – In honor of 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis’s 26th birthday today, PBR.com’s From the Vault series takes a look back at the Texan’s rise to stardom in the toughest sport on dirt.
Davis is currently sitting 30th in the world standings as he continues to recover from a broken neck he sustained at the season-opener in New York City. Davis’ recovery continues to go well, and he is eyeing a return to competition this coming summer. Davis will still have seven guaranteed Unleash The Beast events if he falls out of the Top 35.
For the time being, here is a look back at some of Davis’ top career moments.
Cooper Davis slid onto the back of Moto Moto and nodded for the gate inside the Thomas & Mack Center on Sunday afternoon.
Once Moto Moto turned to the right, Davis whipped his free arm with champion-like coolness and as if he could not hear a single peep out thousands of screaming fans in attendance.
Davis then jumped off Moto Moto and used both of his hands to whip his riding helmet into the air, then glared off into space during Round 5 of the Built Ford Tough World Finals.
Yet, deep down the eventual 2015 World Finals event winner was feeling the butterflies of being a rookie contender for the Finals title.
His successful riding just kept everyone blinded about what the 21-year-old was feeling inside.
Davis arrived at the Thomas & Mack Center on Sunday around 10:30 a.m. and appeared to be as confident as ever.
He walked around with the same smile and sarcastic personality that has slowly developed this season from the once shy rookie who made his season debut on the Built Ford Tough Series in Anaheim, California, on Feb. 6.
Although deep down Davis knew what was at stake on Championship Sunday.
In fact, the rider that has been so dedicated to a diet plan that helped him lose 24 pounds since August couldn’t even stomach the thought of eating breakfast earlier in the day.
Cooper Davis was sitting in his hotel room on the 12th floor of the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino on Sunday morning when he looked at his wife, Kaitlyn.
“The money doesn’t matter,” Cooper said to Kaitlyn. “But fulfilling that dream of being able to wear that buckle for the rest of my life matters. I want to win that gold buckle.”
Cooper was making his final preparations to head over to T-Mobile Arena when he went to kiss Kaitlyn and his son, Mack, goodbye.
“Well, when I come back I might be a World Champion,’” Cooper said.
Kaitlyn replied, “I hope you are, but if not, it is what it is and God has a plan. Always.”
Cooper’s rock of stability later sent him a text message just before the start of the final day of the 2016 season.
Her husband was 226.58 points behind world leader Kaique Pacheco and was right in the thick of completing his childhood dream.
The seven days in Las Vegas had been an emotional rollercoaster with qualified rides one night and heartbreaking buckoffs the next.
She knew Cooper was ready for Sunday, but she also knew just how much pressure he was putting on himself.
2016 World Champion Cooper Davis didn’t want to just be a part of a winning team at the Global Cup, but the 23-year-old wanted to be a difference maker.
He knew Team USA head coach Justin McBride entrusted him with the responsibility of being a team captain, and Davis was going to make sure his riding and leadership didn’t let down his coach, his team and his country.
Captain America made sure of that on Saturday night by putting the red, white and blue on his back and carrying them to an inaugural Global Cup victory with an 89.25-point ride on Catfish John in the Bonus Round.
Davis showed the poise, leadership and MVP talent necessary to win an international battle for bull riding dominance on the road in a foreign country inside Rogers Place.
“This is the coolest event I have ever been to,” Davis said. “I would put it right up there pretty close to winning that world title. Our country needs a pick-me up and maybe this is it.”
McGregor has famously promoted his belief in Law of Attraction and the notion of visualizing your future success.
Way before he became an international superstar, McGregor would sit at home in Ireland and visualize himself making it to the UFC and one day becoming a champion. He would also visualize himself escaping poverty and owning the fanciest cars of his imagination.
The Law of Attraction is an ideology that dates to the 19th century, but enjoyed a resurgence in popularity thanks to the 2006 book and movie, “The Secret,” by Rhonda Byrne.
The theory’s core principles are that anything is possible and that an individual can imagine a new reality for themselves and by vocalizing those desires can “speak them into existence.”
“It is the most powerful thing in the world,” McGregor told USA Today Sports. “It is the belief that you are able to create whatever situation that you want for yourself and no one can take it from you. It is believing something is already yours, and then doing whatever you have to so that it comes true.”
The prized UFC fighter’s mentality – and confidence – struck a chord with Davis.
“I watch a lot of Conor McGregor’s promo videos and he says you have to envision it, speak it and then it happens,” Davis said. “Envisioning it is just helping me get my mind right.”
Cooper Davis’ World Championship aspirations took a major hit last year at the 2017 PBR World Finals when Smooth Operator had a trashy out in the second round during his 4.92-second buckoff of Davis.
Fast forward to this past Sunday, and Smooth Operator may have just helped Davis re-start his march for a second World Championship and the 2018 world title.
Davis conquered Smooth Operator for a sensational and career-high 93.75 points in the championship round to finish the Atlantic City Invitational in second place (355 world points).
“It was a little bit of revenge right there,” Davis said. “I had him at the Finals and he didn’t really have a great trip. Since I have seen him out of the right (delivery) I have wanted to get on him. I really didn’t know what he would feel like over here but I figured like he would fit me a whole lot better. That is a step in the right direction for sure.”
Reigning Stock Contractor of the Year Chad Berger is hopeful this ride can spearhead Davis on a run at the world title.
Berger felt horrible last year at the Finals when Smooth Operator underperformed for Davis.
“He had a terrible day and set the whole week off bad for Cooper,” Berger said. “I think the world of Cooper. He is a great bull rider and he is riding good this weekend. That was a great ride by Cooper Davis. Hats off to him. That bull was bucking harder at 8 than he was at four. He kept going at him. That was amazing and the bull was amazing.
“I wish that could have happened at the World Finals last year.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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