By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – The final PBR event of a more than unusual summer run is set to get underway on Friday and Saturday night in Deadwood, South Dakota, and a handful of riders will be looking to gain some momentum ahead of the Unleash The Beast resuming on Aug. 7-8 in Bismarck, North Dakota.
The Deadwood PBR, presented by #DoDeadwood, is going to tentatively feature 10 riders inside the Top 35 of the world standings, including No. 13 Matt Triplett and No. 16 Mason Taylor.
Taylor and Triplett joined Blake Joseph of KEVN Black Hills FOX in studio this week prior to putting on their gear and climbing into the picturesque wooden bucking chutes of the Deadwood Events Complex.
Triplett enters Deadwood red hot following a 4-for-4 performance in Prairie Grove, Arkansas, where he placed first and fourth overall at the Buckin at the Ranch.
The 29-year-old explained a rider’s focus can never be in question once they climbed aboard the rankest bulls in the world.
“You are going against something that weights two tons and can kill you,” Triplett said. “You have to be focused and just ready to face anything. We are going against the best bulls in the world. Chad Berger is bringing some bulls. The Contractor of the Year… My dad is bringing bulls, so it should be fun.”
Taylor, meanwhile, has taken a step back this year compared to his 2019 Rookie of the Year contender season as he has struggled with injuries to his riding hand and hip.
The 20-year-old is riding at a 34.38% clip compared to 41.54% last year on the Unleash The Beast. However, there is still time for him to turn things around and improve on his final No. 14 ranking at the end of last season.
“Not much goes through my head,” Taylor said of his mindset when he climbs into the chute. “If you are thinking about it, there is saying that some of us say to each other, ‘If you think long, you think wrong.’
“You have to let your body react. We have done it so much. We are professional athletes. It is kind of like a pitcher throwing a baseball. He knows how to throw it because he has thrown it 100,000 times. We know the moves we are supposed to do because we have done it 100,000 times. It is repetition now.”
Also competing in Deadwood are World Champion contender Colten Jesse (No. 5 in the world), No. 18 Stetson Lawrence, No. 20 Derek Kolbaba, No. 21 Cody Teel, No. 23 Ezekiel Mitchell, No. 27 Joao Henrique Lucas, No. 30 Andrew Alvidrez and No. 33 Amadeu Campos Silva.
Jesse trails world leader Jose Vitor Leme by 446.50 points in the world standings and has posted two Top-3 finishes in his last three events.
“I still feel like I am going to make a huge push in the second half, maybe similar to a J.B. Mauney in 2013 or even Jess Lockwood last year,” Jesse said before the Buckin’ at the Ranch TPD event where he finished second to Triplett. “It can be done. I have no doubt in myself. I am excited. I am just excited to have fun and ride some bulls. If you ride bulls, you start winning events. That is going to be a key factor in this world title race.”
Event promoter Adam Libby told Jason Gross of theBlack Hills Pioneer that things have been going create for the event’s return during the COVID-19 pandemic that postponed the event from its original June 12-13 date.
“South Dakota is all about trying to make things get back to normal and get on the right track,” Libby said. “This is our first attempt back of the year,” Libby said. “Online sales have been doing pretty well, and from there, we’re looking to see how she goes on walk-up.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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