Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Duluth Invitational on Saturday night at Infinite Energy Arena.
Barbosa sustains right foot injury; X-rays scheduled for Monday
Dener Barbosa leaned his head back and winced in pain as he lay on the training table inside the PBR Sports Medicine room.
Barbosa’s right foot had a big of ice wrapped around it as the world No. bull rider 3 shook his head in disappointment.
Dr. Tandy Freeman informed Barbosa that he likely has three broken metatarsals in his foot, and he will need to get X-rays on Monday to determine the severity of the injury.
Barbosa had his foot stepped on by Clemon Time following his 5.54-second buckoff on Friday night.
“He faked left and I kind of got my body inside and he just went the other way and got me a little out of shape,” Barbosa said via Paulo Crimber translating. “When I hit the ground, the bull stepped on my foot hard into the ground and I felt it when it broke.”
Barbosa becomes the latest World Champion contender to sustain an injury this season.
Just last week, No. 7 Derek Kolbaba tore his ACL and MCL in North Little Rock, Arkansas, while No. 10 Stetson Lawrence is out this week because of a fractured right ankle.
Ryan Dirteater was third in the world standings before fracturing four ribs in Anaheim, California, and Gage Gay was the world leader before tearing his right ACL/MCL in Chicago.
Dirteater returned to action this weekend with a 69-point ride on Rebel Yell II. The No. 6 bull rider in the world said after the event that he decided to turn down his re-ride option because he still isn’t 100 percent.
2017 World Champion Cooper Davis, who is No. 5 in the world standings, is trying to ride through a partially torn ligament in his ring finger of his riding hand to no avail. Davis was bucked off by Wiz Train in Round 1 in 4.44 seconds and is 1-for-13 since the injury.
Barbosa, though, leads the PBR in qualified rides (19) and riding percentage (67.86 percent) and is having a career-year.
His pursuit of the gold buckle is likely on hold.
Barbosa trails world leader Ramon de Lima by 210 points, but he may lose further ground this weekend after Lima rode Restless Heart for 83.75 points and a 10th place finish in the round.
No. 4 Claudio Montanha Jr. also rode Crosshairs for 84.75 points and is sitting in eighth place.
No. 2 Luciano de Castro was bucked off by Chocolate Shake in 2.6 seconds.
Chandler earns first round win to push cutline behind him
Tye Chandler was hanging on to the final Unleash The Beast draw spot by a thread when he first walked into Infinite Energy Arena on Friday, but he now has some breathing room after he left the arena with the first Unleash The Beast round victory of his career.
Chandler rode Gangster Boy for a career-high 87 points away from his hand to pick up the Round 1 win and 100 world points.
The victory pushed him from No. 35 in the world standings to No. 28.
“That was really big,” Chandler said. “I knew it was coming. I told you God had a plan and I had to keep trusting it.”
Not only were the world points extremely important for Chandler, but just hearing the 8-second mark go off may go a long way for him.
Chandler began his rookie year 1-for-13 on the Unleash The Beast and got on three practice bulls this week to try and break out of his slump.
“I need the points and everything, but I am not just focusing on the round,” Chandler said. “I want to win. I know I can win. Maybe I just had to prove to myself that I can still ride up here. I was doing good in the practice pen. I just couldn’t put it together up here. I feel good. I feel like I am riding like myself again.”
Chandler has drawn Curly Drifter (0-1, PBR UTB) for Round 2 on Sunday afternoon.
Rounding out the Top 5 in the round was Eduardo Aparecido (86.5 points on Pill Pusher), Jess Lockwood (86.25 points on Cyclone), Marco Eguchi(86 points on Blue Stone) and Cody Teel (85.75 points on Shattered Dreams).
Teel had actually ridden at the Arcadia, Florida, rodeo on Friday afternoon, where he placed second to Brennon Eldred.
“It is just a rodeo I have been to a lot,” Teel said. “The sunshine in Florida this time of year is a nice break in the action. That is why I went. It is a decent rodeo too. I had a good bull too, it was fun.
Teel has ridden five of his last 10 and is 14-for-26 overall.
“Tonight (Shattered Dreams) had me a little shuffling around a little more than I would want to on that bull,” Teel said. “He is a really good draw. He just had me humped up leaving there. I had a bad start. Nothing he did, just the way I left on my rear-end. It kind of just set the tone for the ride. I was a step behind the whole time. I got in there and he let off the throttle. I made it a little harder than I should have.”
Lockwood picks up only third Round 1 ride of the season
Jess Lockwood has spoken a lot about how he has regained his momentum since winning The American two weeks ago in Arlington, Texas.
The reigning PBR World Champion continued to build on that theme Saturday night by placing third in the round with an 86.25-point ride on Cyclone.
“Derek (Kolbaba) rode that bull and won the round in St. Louis and I knew he was good,” Lockwood said. “I knew he had a hold of him and so I was ready for that and he kind of wanted me in there. I just had to spur him and it was good the whistle came when it did.”
It is only the third time in nine events that Lockwood has ridden his first-round bull.
“Whenever you get that first one rode, it is just a relief,” Lockwood said. “You don’t wake up the next morning thinking, ‘Shoot, if I don’t get this one rode then my weekend is done.’ You wake up and you think, ‘I got one down and I am set for the championship round. Now it is time to go ride another and go get Bruiser.’”
SweetPro’s Bruiser bucked Lockwood off in 4.89 seconds last week in North Little Rock and cost the 20-year-old a chance at the event win.
Bruiser is slated for the championship round on Sunday, but Lockwood will first need to get past Red Dawn (2-0, PBR UTB) in Round 2 before attempting to select Bruiser.
Red Dawn bucked off Tanner Byrne in 2.63 seconds in Round 1.
Cody Campbell turned down his re-ride option in Round 1 after riding Black Visa for 68.75 points. According to Dr. Freeman, Campbell bruised his chest and is probable for Round 2.
Fabiano Vieira is questionable for Championship Sunday after sustaining a concussion attempting to ride Teer Jerker (7.9 seconds).
Lowe to match-up with Wild Goose
Mason Lowe’s back may be up against a wall, but he still has a chance to get things back on track this weekend at the Duluth Invitational.
Lowe has missed the past two weeks with a right arm and rotator cuff injury he sustained in St. Louis when he was bucked off by Speed Demon in 3.44 seconds and the No. 86 bull rider in the world standings is down to his final 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast exemption.
The 24-year-old needs to earn at least 182.5 world points to potentially crack the Top 35 and avoid losing his draw spot.
Lowe, who confirmed with the PBR competition department that he will ride this weekend, is 4-for-16 in seven events and has drawn Wild Goose (4-3, PBR UTB) for Round 1 on Saturday night.
Wild Goose could be exactly the bull the right-hander needs.
The D&H Cattle Company bovine athlete has been ridden in three consecutive outs for an average score of 88.16 points, but Ramon de Lima,Stetson Lawrence and Dener Barbosa are lefties. No righty has covered Wild Goose yet.
Speaking of Lawrence, the No. 9 ranked bull rider is out for this week, and possibly one more week, because of a fractured right ankle. Lawrence sustained the injury attempting to ride Mighty Mouse (6.6 seconds) and is 0-for-3 since getting hurt.
“I will be sure be back for Glendale,” Lawrence said. “I got hung up and stomped on by that little bull. I fractured the inside of my tibia and broke my fibula. It is a little painful on the right side. I am more worried about the actual getoff than the riding. Riding I use my feet quite a bit, but not as much as most riders do.”
For now, Lawrence doesn’t believe he will need surgery. That would be the case if his fractures become displaced (when two ends of a fracture don’t line up straight).
Meanwhile, No. 80 Stormy Wing will have one more guaranteed exemption before being subject to the cutline. Wing is 177.5 points behind No. 35 Tye Chandler and is still in search of his first qualified ride on the premier series (0-for-13).
Wing will square off against Decoded (5-1, PBR UTB).
Three-time World Champion Silvano Alves remains on World Champion Provisional status and has eight events remaining. Alves is 43rd in the world standings and 67.5 points behind Chandler.
Alves has drawn Face Jerker 9000.
No. 51 Sean Willingham is set to compete in his first Unleash The Beast event in two years (Springfield, Missouri, 2015). Willingham’s last premier series win came in 2014 in Duluth and he is in the draw this week as a Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour invite.
The 36-year-old announced earlier he will retire at the end of the season and went on to win the Biloxi, Mississippi, Velocity event on Dec. 9. The Summerville, Georgia, native is coming off a 0-for-2 showing last weekend in Hampton, Virginia, and is 4-for-12 at all levels of competition.
Willingham is 122.5 points behind the Top 35 and takes on Slingin Tears (1-0, PBR UTB).
Bryan Titman has also earned an invite to the Duluth Invitational courtesy of his Velocity Tour win in Greenville, South Carolina. This is his second Unleash The Beast event and he is 97.5 points behind Chandler.
Titman faces Jug Head (2-1, PBR UTB) in Round 1.
There are five riders inside the Top 35 out of competition – No. 7 Derek Kolbaba (torn right ACL/MCL), No. 9 Stetson Lawrence (fractured ankle), No. 11 Gage Gay (reconstructive knee surgery), No. 25 Fraser Babbington(personal decision) and No. 31 Aaron Kleier (personal decision).
Lawrence said he is week to week after breaking his ankle at The American Semi-Finals in Fort Worth, Texas, two weeks ago.
The Williston, North Dakota, bull rider tried to ride through the injury, but has gone
Therefore, No. 37 Nathan Burtenshaw (-12.5 points) and No. 39 Ueberson Duarte (-35 points) are competing as alternates to round out the draw. They take on See Ya and Blue Boy (0-0, PBR UTB), respectively.
World leader Ramon de Lima has drawn Restless Heart (0-0, PBR UTB) and has a 90-point lead atop the world rankings ahead of No. 2 Luciano de Castro.