Sunday, March 4, 2018

SWEETPRO’S BRUISER WINS BATTLE OF CHAMPIONS

 Here are three things we learned from the Bad Boy Mowdown at Verizon Arena this weekend.
SweetPro’s Bruiser wins Battle of Champions
Jess Lockwood is getting sick and tired of making mistakes against reigning World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Bruiser.
For the third time, Bruiser owned Lockwood and sent the defending World Champion rider sailing in 4.89 seconds right when he turned back to the right, away from Lockwood’s hand.
Lockwood was extremely ticked at himself for letting an opportunity to win his first 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast event in 2018 pass him by in the championship round on Saturday night.
“He made me look stupid like he did the last two times,” Lockwood said. “He bucks hard and I am not cowboying up and getting him rode. He is just leaving me each time.”
Bruiser was marked a season-high 46.5 points and has now been scored 46-plus in two consecutive outs.
It was the first matchup between the two PBR champions from last season. It was also the first meeting between the two since Bruiser knocked out Lockwood in Springfield, Missouri, last September.
“You take a hit like I did last time, I was trying harder last time,” Lockwood said.
The two-time World Champion Bull edged out Old Fort Days (45.75 points for 4.16 seconds of work against Keyshawn Whitehorse) and Pearl Harbor(45.5 points for a 2.09-second buckoff of Cody Campbell) to be named the YETI Built for the Wild Bull of the Event.
Bruiser pushed his record to 3-2 this year and raised his average bull score to 45.45 points.
Lockwood wound up finishing fifth overall (2-for-3, 150 world points) and is ranked 16th in the world standings heading into next weekend’s Duluth Invitational in Duluth, Georgia. The 20-year-old rode Missouri Boat Ride for 74.5 points in Round 2, but turned down a re-ride option to face Lester Gillis.
Castro earns first career win to move to doorstep of world No. 1 ranking
Luciano de Castro knew SweetPro’s Bruiser could potentially give Lockwood the event win, but he also knew Big Dutch could be just as lethal with him on the back of the bovine athlete.
Castro was aware that Bruiser can be a tad bit tricky when he turns back, therefore he decided to take Big Dutch with the first pick of the championship-round draft.
The decision worked out just fine as Castro rode Big Dutch for a career-high 91.75 points and his first career Unleash The Beast event win.
“It is so big,” Castro said with the help of Paulo Crimber translating. “It is hard to explain how big this win is and how happy I am right now. I have been getting close to winning and I kept letting it slip away. I had that bull in my mind. Everybody asked why I picked this bull instead of Bruiser, but I had this bull in my mind for quite a time. I followed my heart. I knew I could ride that bull really good. Bruiser has that jump out of the spin and it is hard to make that. He is not an easy bull to ride. I knew I had a better chance to make a great ride on the bull I picked.
“I am happy and hope to continue like this for the next events to come.”
The ride was picturesque and capped off a flawless weekend for the 2015 PBR Brazil champion.
Castro, who had two runner-up finishes already this season, started Little Rock with 85.25 points on Reckless Red before riding Shattered Dreamsfor 84.25 points to move atop the leaderboard in Round 2.
He and Lockwood were the only two riders to cover both of their long-round bulls.
Castro, though, locked down the walk-off victory aboard Big Dutch and moved up to second in the world standings. He is a mere 90 points behind world leader Ramon de Lima, who went 0-for-2 inside Verizon Arena, after earning 525 world points in Little Rock.
The 21-year-old was happy to finish Little Rock with a victory after being pulled out of Iron Cowboy last weekend because of a concussion during his Round 1 winning ride.
“I was really sad because I couldn’t remember,” Castro said. “I knew I made a good ride when I saw the video in sports medicine. I trust PBR Sports Medicine. I knew this wasn’t the time and the time would come.
“That time came a week later. I won a big event.”
Resende says goodbye to the Unleash The Beast cutline
Emilio Resende put any talk of the Unleash The Beast cutline behind him by earning a season-high 360 world points in Little Rock.
Resende finished second overall (2-for-3, 260 world points) after riding Cut The Cord for 88.5 points in the championship round as he bounced back from being cut from the Unleash The Beast following Iron Cowboy last week.
“Well, I am very happy to come back and ride good,” Resende said. “There were good bulls in the draw. This is a pleasure to have a good championship round.”
It was a big sigh of relief for the 30-year-old.
Resende was the top alternate for Little Rock and replaced Rubens Barbosa (back) in the draw on Wednesday.
He didn’t waste any time regaining a full-time spot on tour by riding Little Texas for 88.25 points in Round 1. Resende then bounced back from a 5.87-second buckoff against Wired Child in Round 2 to cover Cut The Cord in the championship round.
Resende goes from being No. 36 in the world rankings to No. 17.
“I feel amazing to be back in the Top 35 now,” Resende said. “Thank you everyone.”
Rounding out the Top 5 behind Castro and Resende was Eduardo Aparecido (2-for-3, 230 world points), Derek Kolbaba (1-for-1, 165 world points) and Lockwood.
Injury Updates
There were only 13 riders in the championship round after Kolbaba (torn ACL/MCL) and Jose Vitor Leme (stiff neck & riding arm) were ruled out for the championship round by Dr. Tandy Freeman.
Kolbaba will get an MRI on Monday in Dallas to determine the severity of his knee injury.
Kolbaba wins Round 1, but needs to get MRI
Derek Kolbaba tried to stay positive as Rich Blyn of the PBR Sports Medicine team worked on the finishing touches of strapping Kolbaba’s right knee into a brace.
Kolbaba had won Round 1 with an 89-point ride on Bottom’s Up, but his immediate future is now in jeopardy after Bottom’s Up stepped on his right knee following the ride.
Dr. Tandy Freeman has initially diagnosed Kolbaba with a torn ACL/MCL, but he will need to see an MRI on Monday to get a clear picture of how severe the damage is and if surgery will be necessary.
“It was a really good bull and I felt really good,” Kolbaba said. “I thought I had a good get off and I thought he was kind of bucking straight for a second and that was my chance to step out and he decided to turn back and apparently my leg was underneath his and it tweaked my knee wrong.
“We will see what Tandy says after I get an MRI.”
Kolbaba earned 100 points toward the world standings via the round win, but he knew something was wrong when he heard a pop as he tried to crawl to safety.
The 21-year-old is up to eighth in the world standings, but Kolbaba knows the injury will likely have him headed to the sidelines.
“It is very frustrating, especially when you win a freaking round,” Kolbaba said. “You make a good ride and I thought I had a good get off. It sucks. What do you do? This is something that happens. Look at Gage Gay. He wins the first PBR Major of the year and is leading the world and gets took out. Shit like that happens in our sport.”
Kolbaba is the latest Top 10 rider to sustain a significant injury this year.
Gay was the No. 1 rider in the world when he tore his right ACL/MCL in Chicago and Ryan Dirteater was No. 3 when he fractured four ribs and bruised his lung in Anaheim, California.
Meanwhile, current No. 5 Cooper Davis is trying to ride through a partially torn ligament in the ring finger of his riding hand, No. 9 Stetson Lawrencehas a fractured ankle and defending World Champion Jess Lockwood has a torn MCL.
“A lot of it is how you come back from it,” Kolbaba said. “You can either let it suck you in and ruin you for a month, a year or the rest of your career, or you can just do what you have to do to get it right and come back that much better.”
Resende needs just one ride to earn back full-time draw spot
Emilio Resende was originally the first alternate and odd man out for this weekend’s 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast event.
Resende was told by the PBR competition department that he could probably get into the PBR Canada event taking place in Lethbridge, Alberta, but Resende said the flights were so expensive that he decided to roll the dice and hope a spot would open up in Little Rock.
Sure enough, Rubens Barbosa informed the PBR on Wednesday afternoon he would be unable to compete because of his on-going back injury. Therefore, a spot opened for Resende.
“I didn’t see my name Wednesday morning and I was scared,” Resende said. “They then asked me if I was ready to ride. I said I am ready. My house is only a six-hour drive.”
Resende, who was the only rider from last year’s Top 30 to have been cut from the premier series so far in 2018, didn’t waste any time in getting back on tour.
The 30-year-old finished second in Round 1 by riding Little Texas for 88.25 points and an extremely important 60 world points.
“I have seen this bull a couple of times,” Resende said. “I expected to ride good. I knew to ride better I had to make the first jump and get to the spin. I am very happy.”
Resende heads into his Round 2 matchup against Wired Child (23-7, PBR UTB) ranked 28th in the world.
“I am happy I am back to the Top 30 because I am from Brazil. If I want to stay comfortable in the USA, I need to stay in the Top 35,” Resende said. “There is a lot of points and money here.”
Resende wasn’t the only bubble rider to come up with a clutch ride in Little Rock.
Cody Campbell moved up four spots – going from 33rd to 29 – thanks to an 87-point ride on Clover Mountain Beau that put him tied for third in the round with Lockwood (87 points on Wild Onion) for 45 world points.
Campbell entered the event with only one qualified ride in his last 14 attempts and was flirting with being cut from the premier series.
“I didn’t know anything about that bull,” Campbell said. “This is a Classic, but I knew I had to show up, keep my head down and start moving forward. I tried to put a little more focus into it this week and get stuff going. Sometimes I rather be doing stuff with family instead of focusing on me. I just focused on getting it right for this weekend and getting things rolling.”
Campbell takes on Black Rose (4-4, PBR UTB) in Round 2.
Lockwood continues to roll
Injuries are continuing to mount at the top of the world standings, and that is creating an opening for riders outside of the Top 10 to slowly make up ground.
Reigning World Champion Jess Lockwood is trying to get himself back into the 2018 world title race and he built off his victory at The American by riding Wild Onion for 87 points on Friday night.
Lockwood finished tied with Campbell for third in Round 1 and picked up 45 world points to move to 16th in the world standings.
“I started terrible this season and it always takes that one break through. I feel good. I feel confident as ever and it showed in my riding tonight. I spurred on him a little. We are doing good now.”
Lockwood has drawn Missouri Boat Ride (4-10, PBR UTB) for Round 2 on Saturday night.
With Kolbaba out of the competition, Lockwood is one of only four riders in the Top 16 with a qualified ride heading into Round 2.
No. 3 Luciano de Castro rode Reckless Red for 85.25 points, No. 7 Guilherme Marchi made 8 seconds on Ellis 1413 for 82.75 points and No. 15 Jose Vitor Leme covered After Party Blues for 82.5 points to wrap up the seven total qualified rides in Round 1.
Alves now on World Champion provisional status
Some may be surprised when they see three-time World Champion Silvano Alves in the draw on Friday night for the Bad Boy Mowdown in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
Alves is currently tied for 40th in the world standings following the first eight events of the 2018 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast.
If Alves was not a World Champion, he would have been relegated to the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour now that he has used up all eight of his guaranteed Unleash The Beast events for his 11th-place finish in the final 2017 world standings.
However, Alves notified the PBR two weeks ago with his intention of enacting rule 3.1.15 “World Champion Provisional Status,” if it was necessary.
The rule (3.1.15.2) states, “A World Champion has a provisional status exemption for any 10 events in a season, and after the completion of those 10 events must qualify to remain as a seated rider under the eligibility for PBR 25th Tour Events. If the World Champion then qualifies for the next World Finals under applicable rules, his provisional status exemption continues for the next successive year. If the prior PBR World Champion fails to qualify for the World Finals in any year, his World Champion Provisional Status shall be revoked.”
Rule 3.1.15.3 states a World Champion must notify the PBR no later than two weeks before an event to use the exemption. Therefore, even though Alves was not cut yet, he still made sure to inform PBR of his decision just in case.
The PBR competition department confirmed this week that the World Champion Provisional Status is in addition to the eight events a rider earns for finishing in the Top 30 of the final world standings from a previous season.
Alves said last weekend he was not concerned about having to use additional exemptions to crack the Top 35 of the world standings after being eliminated from the WinStar World Casino & Resort Iron Cowboy, powered by Kawasaki.
“If I get cut, I will go to the Velocity events and make my way back,” he said.
Alves is 9-for-21 (42.86 percent) with only one Top-5 finish, which was a fifth-place finish in Anaheim, California. Outside of the 135 world points he earned in Anaheim, Alves has picked up only 15 world points in the other seven premier series events.
He began the event with an 82.25-point ride on his re-ride, Chute Boss, to finish Round 1 in 10th place for 5 world points. Alves was then bucked off Sky Harbor in 2.44 seconds to Round 2 to be eliminated from the competition.
“It is hard for us because the judges have had trouble with us,” Alves said in Anaheim. “The (chute) clock. The scores. All I can do is try to ride my bulls. It is a long season. Right now, I want to ride my bulls.”
No. 8 Stetson Lawrence, No. 11 Derek Kolbaba, No. 16 Kaique Pachecoand No. 33 Cody Campbell are the only riders that have competed in all eight premier series events that are ranked higher than Alves who have nine or less qualified rides on the premier series.
There are other riders with less rides than Alves, but they have either competed in Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour events or have yet to compete in every event like Alves.
Alves has drawn Big Black (2-0, PBR UTB) for Round 1, and he can easily crack back into the Top 35 this weekend. The 30-year-old trails No. 35 Aaron Kleier, who is not competing in Little Rock as he remains in Australia, by 40 points.
There are only four riders ranked inside the Top 35 not competing this weekend – No. 6 Ryan Dirteater (fractured ribs), No. 9 Gage Gay(reconstructive knee surgery), No. 32 Lindomar Lino (fractured sternum) and No. 35 Kleier (personal decision).
The four spots have been filled by three exempt riders – No. 37 Ueberson Duarte (Youngstown, Ohio), No. 77 Stormy Wing (three exemptions remaining), unranked Jake Gowdy (final injury exemption) – and alternate No. 36 Emilio Resende.
Resende is a meager five points behind Kleier and has drawn Little Texas (1-1, PBR UTB).
Gowdy has zero world points after making his debut last weekend following two torn groin muscles (left and right) that cost him eight months last season. The 20-year-old is slated to face Detective Crockett (2-0, PBR UTB) in Round 1.
Ramon de Lima will begin his first defense of the world No. 1 ranking by taking on Mr. Majestic (5-1, PBR UTB) in the first round.

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