Here are three things we learned from the Caterpillar Classic at the Sprint Center this weekend.
Barbosa increases his lead atop the world standings (2-11-18)
True champions have to bounce back amidst adversity and the 8-second machine known as Dener Barbosa showed on Championship Sunday that he won’t let any buckoff throw off his mojo.
Barbosa bounced back from having the fast buckoff in Round 2 – a 1.66-second whipping from Wired Child – to win the championship round with 85.75 points into his hand on Breaking Bad.
The 23-year-old had previously ridden Breaking Bad in New York for 87.25 points and selected the bull this week with the sixth pick of the championship-round draft.
“It was hard to find a good bull this week in the championship round,” Barbosa said with the help of Guilherme Marchi translating. “There were a lot of hard ones in there. I chose the bull because I rode him before. I knew when I rode him before I stayed right in the middle. I am happy to win this round.”
The round win was Barbosa’s first of 2018 and earned him 100 of the 340 points he notched in Kansas City with his third-place finish overall.
Barbosa, who rode Night Sweats for 89.25 points in Round 1, will take a 419.17-point lead on No. 2 Claudio Montanha Jr. into next weekend’s St. Louis Invitational, presented by Express Employment Professionals.
Montanha had a chance at the event victory on Sunday before he was bucked off by Bad Beagle in 5.54 seconds in the championship round.
Barbosa has earned at least 115 world points in five of the season’s first six events.
The Paulo de Faria, Brazil, native’s PBR-best 18th qualified ride was easy goings as he hit the 8-second whistle and jumped off Breaking Bad right onto his own two feet.
Barbosa is 5-for-6 in the championship round and is the only rider to have qualified for every championship round this season.
“All of my dreams are coming true, but I still have one – to be a World Champion,” Barbosa concluded.
Marchi wins fourth premier series event in Kansas City
2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi says he loves Kansas City barbeque, but he understands that at 35 years old he can’t go out and slug down some finger-lickin’ good food and win a 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast event.
Instead, Marchi ate a “very good” Cobb salad on Saturday night and churned out the fourth victory of his career in Kansas City by riding Smooth Air for 83.75 points in the championship round.
“I think it is the water here,” Marchi joked. “I don’t know. It is about you and the draws. Marco had been riding really good and picked a really good bull in the short go, but he didn’t finish strong. I picked a good bull. He didn’t have a good trip with me today, but I covered him and the 83 points is enough to win this event.”
The 35-year-old clinched the 25th victory of his career once Marco Eguchiwas bucked off by Old Fort Days in 3.93 seconds. Old Fort Days was marked 44 points in his PBR debut.
Marchi started his 3-for-3 weekend with 86.25 points on The Punisher and 83.75 points on Hy Test, who had previously bucked him off two times.
The No. 7 ranked bull rider picked up 475 points toward the world standings and trails Barbosa by 776.67 points heading into St. Louis.
Marchi hadn’t won in Kansas City, where he is 23-for-38, since going back-to-back in 2008-09. He won his second career event in KC in 2005.
“Some events you feel good and better than other ones,” Marchi said. “I don’t know about me. I feel at home here.”
Rounding out the Top 5 behind Marchi, Eguchi and Barbosa was Derek Kolbaba (2-for-2, 215 world points) and Jose Vitor Leme (1-for-3, 115 world points).
Leme wins Round 2 and avoids close call in championship round
Jose Vitor Leme won his third round of 2018 by riding Pile Driver for 88.75 points in Round 2.
“He was kind of hard inside and outside,” Leme said via Marchi. “He was moving forward away from my hand. It was very important for me to make a good ride today and make a good score and good points for the race.”
Leme is 13th in the world standings after going 1-for-3 in Kansas City.
The 21-year-old nearly got injured, though, attempting to ride Cochise in the championship round when Cochise ripped him off in 1.5 seconds before falling on top of Leme.
Leme limped out of the arena before saying he was OK following the close encounter with danger.
He is now tied with Cooper Davis and Kaique Pacheco for the most round wins of 2018 (3).
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Keyshawn Whitehorse is questionable for St. Louis after sustaining a concussion in Round 2 attempting to ride Gravedigger (7.9 seconds).
Edgar Durazo rode Stretch for 80.5 points in Round 2 after bruising his left thigh in Round 1 on Saturday night.
Mauney returns with gritty qualified ride (2-10-18)
Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney returned in gritty fashion following a four-week layoff with a right groin injury.
Mauney got caught being a tad bit too aggressive against Little Texas on Saturday night and almost got flung over the ABBI Classic bull’s head before he hung off the side for the remaining three seconds of his 73-point ride.
The 31-year-old was wincing as he went to pick up his bull rope and had a noticeable limp in his step. Mauney was offered a re-ride seeing as Little Texas fell down at the end, but Mauney decided to turn down the option and keep his score.
Mauney had not turned down a re-ride option since April 2016.
“(Cody) Lambert said the re-ride was hard to get out on and bad in the chute,” Mauney said. “The last time he was out he fouled himself pretty bad, so he told me I better keep the score. I listened to him.”
Mauney would have faced Striker if he had accepted the option. Striker was originally Derek Kolbaba’s bull for Round 1, but Striker became the first re-ride after Kolbaba was unable to make it to Kansas City for Round 1 because of a mechanical issue on his scheduled airplane out of Pasco, Washington, on Saturday morning.
Kolbaba said he expects to make it to Kansas City in time for Championship Sunday.
In regards to Striker, Lambert’s prediction was spot on.
Joao Ricardo Vieira was eventually given a re-ride in Round 1 after a failed trip with Big City, and he was then awarded another re-ride after being unable to get out of the chutes with Striker.
The third time was the charm for Vieira. He converted on Fire Rock in the duo’s eighth meeting all time for 86.5 points and a fifth-place finish in Round 1.
Mauney finished 12th in Round 1 and said he will be fine for his Round 2 matchup against Something Magical (3-2, PBR UTB) on Championship Sunday.
“I mean it is sore,” Mauney said. “I had been getting on a drop barrel, but it is nothing like getting on a real bull, and then him snatching on you especially when you are hanging off the side trying to make the whistle.
“I am just a little tender, but I am good to go.”
Dener Barbosa extends world lead on No. 2 Montanha
World leader Dener Barbosa knew he had a potential round-winner on his hands on Saturday night, and the 8-second magician nearly took home 100 world points when he covered Night Sweats for 89.25 points on the final ride of the night.
The ride wasn’t good enough to top Marco Eguchi’s 89.75 points on Reign Lashes Testified, but Barbosa’s PBR-leading 17th qualified ride earned him a second-place finish and 60 world points.
“I saw Jess (Lockwood) ride this bull before and I saw the bull kind of pulls up a little bit to the front,” Barbosa said with the help of Guilherme Marchitranslating. “I tried to stay square and finish strong. I made a good ride after trying with everything I can on that bull.”
Barbosa extended his lead atop the world standings to 184.17 points on Claudio Montanha Jr., who finished Round 1 in seventh-place (five world points) courtesy of his 85-point ride on Golden.
The 23-year-old said he isn’t worrying about what other contenders such as Montanha Jr. are doing.
“I pay attention to him, but there is nothing I can do if he rides his bulls,” Barbosa said. “I just need to ride my bull and not worry about the consequences.”
Barbosa will face Wired Child (21-7, PBR UTB) in Round 2 Sunday at Sprint Center.
This weekend is a good opportunity for Barbosa to create some breathing room between him and the other World Champion contenders with RyanDirteater (fractured ribs) and Cooper Davis (riding hand) out because of injuries.
“I am feeling great and feeling strong,” Barbosa said. “I am staying strong in the race. I want to do everything I can. I have confidence at every event and every bull I get on.”
Eguchi wins first round since Last Cowboy Standing
Marco Eguchi began the weekend ranked 64th in the world standings and was beginning to flirt a little bit with a potential cutline scenario if he didn’t turn around his season.
Well thanks to a nice bull with pink ear tags, Eguchi is a step closer to avoiding the cutline in three weeks following his season-high 89.75 points aboard Reign Lashes Testified.
Eguchi won Round 1 and picked up 100 points toward the world standings and moves all the way up to 35th in the world heading into the Kansas City finale on Sunday.
It is his first round win since last year’s Last Cowboy Standing.
“I saw two videos of him at the Finals and one at the Finals with Luciano (de Castro),” Eguchi said. “He is on the left delivery and still comes around to the right. That is what he did with me. He was right around the right and I did my best to ride him.”
Reign Lashes Testified has pink ear tags as part of a sponsorship deal with Cooper Davis’ wife, Kaitlyn, who has an eye-lash company.
“That is her bull?” Eguchi said in amazement. “If they (sponsor) him, this means he must be pretty good like tonight.”
Eguchi has drawn Milky Jones (18-4, PBR UTB) for Round 2. Milky Jones is 3-0 against Eguchi.
The 28-year-old wasn’t the only rider outside the Top 35 to come through with a qualified ride in Round 1.
No. 44 Emilio Resende began the night with 83.5 points on Calico Kickinand No. 124 Mason Lowe made the whistle on Vertical Hazard for 81.5 points.
Neither Resende nor Lowe earned points toward the world standings, though, and they will need rides in Round 2 to try and gain ground in the race to avoid being relegated to the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour after they run out of their eight guaranteed events.
Resende is set to meet Ram It (5-10, PBR UTB) in Round 2, while Lowe will square off against Wild Sky’s (5-2, PBR UTB).
KC draw: Lockwood out with knee injuries; four riders to debut (2-7-18)
Reigning PBR World Champion Jess Lockwood made a valiant effort to try and ride in the championship round last week after a rough hang-up aboard Blue Gangster in Round 2 of the Anaheim Invitational.
One week later and Lockwood is going to play it safe and take some time off.
Lockwood confirmed on Wednesday that he will miss the Caterpillar Classic in Kansas City on Saturday and Sunday because of injuries to both his knees in Anaheim.
“Tandy (Freeman) said (I have) small tears/sprained both MCL’s I believe,” Lockwood said. “They feel really awesome, but I want to have them 100 percent rather than try to show how tough I can be and ride with them messed up and hurt myself even more.”
Lockwood is 15th in the world standings and may not return until the WinStar World Casino & Resort Iron Cowboy, powered by Kawasaki, on Feb. 24.
The 20-year-old has been going to physical therapy every day and icing his knees at home in Volborg, Montana.
Meanwhile, two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney (right groin/right shoulder) and Stormy Wing (knee) are returning to competition in Kansas City.
Mauney has missed the last four events and will face Little Texas (1-0, PBR UTB) in Round 1.
Wing has missed two weeks with his knee injury and has drawn Concealed Carry (0-0, PBR UTB).
The Dalhart, Texas, cowboy is one of four riders from last year’s Top 30 that are currently below the Top 35 of the world standings.
As a reminder, riders that placed 1-30 in the 2017 world standings are guaranteed eight events before being subject to the cutline.
No. 39 Emilio Resende, No. 64 Marco Eguchi and No. 117 Mason Lowehave three weeks left to try and crack the Top 35 before facing relegation to the Velocity Tour. Wing still has six events including Kansas City.
There are four riders making their season-debuts in Kansas City – No. 24 Keyshawn Whitehorse, No. 27 Lindomar Lino, No. 28 Chase Robbinsand No. 36 Colten Jesse.
Robbins is making his premier series debut after competing primarily in the PRCA in prior seasons. The 22-year-old went 10-for-15 on the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour with three runner-up finishes and earned 180 world points and a spot on the Unleash The Beast.
The Marsing, Idaho, bull rider is a third generation cowboy. He first got on bulls at 10 years old and his father, Cory, used to ride bulls, while his grandfather owned cattle in Idaho. In 2013, Robbins rode at the National High School Finals Rodeo, and he also was a wrestler and football player for Marsing High School.
Robbins has drawn Ol’ Boy (1-0, PBR UTB) for Round 1.
Jesse, who won last weekend’s Velocity Tour event in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is one of three alternate riders alongside Wallace de Oliveira and Juan Carlos Contreras.
He and Oliveira are tied for 36th in the world standings, but are only 15 points behind No. 35 Edgar Durazo.
Jesse takes on Medicine Man (0-0, PBR UTB) in Round 1, and Oliveira has a matchup against Sky Harbor (1-0, PBR UTB).
Contreras is tied for 39th in the world and is 25 points behind Durazo. The 27-year-old has drawn Big Black (3-0, PBR UTB).
World leader Dener Barbosa will look for his PBR-leading 17th ride of the year when he squares off against Night Sweats (2-0, PBR UBT).
Also not competing in Kansas City is Ryan Dirteater (fractured ribs), Gage Gay (reconstructive knee surgery), Matt Triplett (reconstructive shoulder surgery), Chase Outlaw (reconstructive shoulder surgery) and Shane Proctor (personal decision).