Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the First PREMIER Bank PREMIER Bankcard Invitational Friday night at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.
Lockwood returns with second-place finish in Round 1
It was a night of multitude of successes for reigning World Champion Jess Lockwood.
Not only did the 20-year-old feel little to no pain during his 87.75-point ride on Smoke Signals, but he also successfully landed on his feet with his get-off and walked away unscathed and a second-place finish in the round.
“I felt awesome, and, shoot, I even landed on my feet,” Lockwood said. “That is a rare sighting for me. If you land on your feet that is going to prevent injuries for everything.”
The third-year pro earned 60 points toward the world standings in Round 1 to move up to 11th in the world standings.
“I knew that bull was going to be good, but second jump out I was like, ‘Holy crap he is going right,’ and he swapped it back around the left hard. Then I was like, ‘Alright, give it to him.’
“I ride better when I spur bulls, and I let him have it.”
Lockwood had missed the Ak-Chin Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, two weeks ago because of a bone bruise and sprained ligaments in his riding hand.
“I am excited my hand didn’t hurt,” Lockwood said. “On Wednesday, my ring finger and middle finger started cramping, and Dave (Edwards of PBR Sports Medicine) told me that is good because that means the other part is healed. My muscles had been compensating for the other one being hurt for so long. Now that the other one is feeling good, I can feel I was compensating and it was like I over-worked the others and it was cramping.”
Lockwood made his PBR premier series debut in Sioux Falls three years ago with a seventh-place showing.
So far he is off to a good start this weekend in front of the Lockwood-friendly crowd at the Denny Sanford Premier Center.
Lockwood will face I Always Stand (37-7, PBR UTB) in Round 2 on Saturday night. Fans can watch Round 2 exclusively on RidePass beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.
It is a great matchup for Lockwood, who rode I Always Stand for 92 points in Bismarck, North Dakota, during summer of 2016 Velocity Tour event.
“Heck, any event is awesome to win,” Lockwood said. “But it makes a difference when you are up north when family can come. I have my dad, my mom and my new girlfriend here. I just feel great.”
Leme continues to rack up round wins
Jose Vitor Leme’s mental clock went off around 3-4 seconds on Friday night, and once that happened he knew it was time to really turn things up a notch.
Leme got aggressive and churned out a round-winning 89 points aboard Red Bandana to win himself a PBR-best seventh round win of 2018.
“For sure, it is great when you feel like at about 2-3-4 seconds you have the ride and you have a good seat,” Leme said with the help of Paulo Crimber translating. “I really try to do something different just to create more points. It is really good when you feel that way. You know it is already over and are just having fun.”
Leme has been almost dominant when bull’s turn into his left riding hand. Once Red Bandana did that Friday night, it was lights out.
The Ribas Do Rio Pardo, Brazil, bull rider has ridden seven of his last 10 bulls with four round wins.
Leme earned 100 world points with his ride on Red Bandana and now trails world leader Ramon de Lima by 375 points.
Lima is sitting in ninth place in Sioux Falls after riding Check Mate for 84.75 points in Round 1.
The 27-year-old takes on Moto Moto (20-7, PBR UTB) in Round 2, while Leme will look to continue his march to the top of the standings when he faces Stretch (2-1, PBR UTB).
Burtenshaw rolling on full cylinders
Team Australia coach Troy Dunn has yet to announce his roster for the upcoming Global Cup in Sydney, Australia, but it will be no surprise when Nathan Burtenshaw is named to the team.
The highest-ranking Australian bull rider in the world continued to roll on Friday by riding Aristokat for 86.75 points.
“That was a little bull away from my hand,” Burtenshaw said. “Usually I ride better away from my hand, but I don’t know. I think I am just starting to settling in a little bit. I am not getting freaking worried about anything.”
Burtenshaw has now ridden four consecutive bulls dating back to his career-best, 3-for-3 third-place finish two weeks ago in Glendale, Arizona.
He has earned 320 points toward the world standings with those four rides to move from 36th in the world standings to 23rd.
The 23-year-old has also put together his best run to date on the premier series despite a left groin injury.
“It is sore now, but it is getting better slowly,” Burtenshaw said. “I have been doing therapy on it with an ultrasound twice a week.”
Burtenshaw is slated to face Livin’ Large in Round 2.
It will be a rematch between the two athletes after Livin Large knocked Burtenshaw out after the 8-second whistle three weeks ago at the Ty Murray Invitational. It appeared as if Burtenshaw had made a great bull ride, but an instant replay review of the ride showed Burtenshaw to have slapped the bull when he was leaving the bucking chutes.
Rounding out the Top 5 behind Leme, Lockwood, Burtenshaw was Kaique Pacheco (86.25 points on Red Sails in The Sunset) and Emilio Resende(85.75 points on Chute Boss)
Resende will likely be unable to compete on Saturday night after dislocating his left shoulder during his ride on Chute Boss. The 30-year-old is doubtful for Round 2 according to Dr. Tandy Freeman.
In other injury news, Matador Jerky Bullfighter Shorty Gorham may have sustained a broken right foot after being stepped on by Sarah’s Terror. Gorham is out for the remainder of the weekend and will need to get X-rays to determine the extent of his injuries.
Sioux Falls draw: Eldred looks to pick up where he left off (4-4-18)
Brennon Eldred went from being 8 seconds away from winning his first career premier series event three weeks ago in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to being sent home with a partially torn MCL in his right knee.
Eldred now hopes to regain the momentum he lost from bucking off two-time World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Bruiser when he returns to competition Friday at the First Premier Bank Premier Bankcard Invitational in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
“It is not 100 percent, but it feels better,” Eldred said. “I have been riding the bike and stuff. The way it is progressing, by the end of the week it will feel pretty good.”
The No. 19 ranked bull rider in the world had ridden his first three bulls at the Ty Murray Invitational in impressive fashion before bucking off Bruiser. Eldred had ridden White Omega (87.75 points), Mac’s Barbeque (88.25 points) and Chocolate Shake (86.75 points) before selecting Bruiser with the top selection of the championship-round draft.
Eldred, who was recently named to Team USA, had entered the event 6-for-23 on the 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast after struggling with a torn groin from the 2017 Global Cup event in Edmonton.
The 23-year-old admitted it was frustrating to have to sit out a week after finally feeling like he was healthy again.
“It sucked for sure,” Eldred said. “Coming off the groin injury at the first of the year, and finally getting over that and finally starting to feel good. It is not the first time I have been hurt. I definitely know how it goes and what can happen. It is just part of it.”
Eldred had surgery on his right knee four years ago to repair a torn ACL and meniscus.
Also returning from injury in Sioux Falls is World Champions Cooper Davisand Jess Lockwood, as well as Emilio Resende and Stormy Wing.
Wing is down to his final guaranteed event on the premier series before being relegated to the PBR’s developmental tours.
The eight-time PBR World Finals qualifier needs to pick up 245 world points to crack the Top 35. He is 0-for-15 on the premier series and has missed the last two events.
There are eight additional alternates also trying to earn full-time spots on tour – No. 38 Cody Campbell (-26.67 points behind No. 35 Juan Carlos Contreras), No. 39 Colten Jesse (-30 points), No. 40 Paulo Lima (-44.17 points), No. 41 Lindomar Lino (-55 points), No. 42 Wallace de Oliveira(-57.5 points), No. 43 Ueberson Duarte (-77.5 points) and No. 44 Rubens Barbosa (-88.34 points).
Contreras is holding onto that No. 35 ranking with 285 world points. He has drawn Heat Wave (6-0, PBR UTB) for Friday night.
Still out of competition because of injuries or personal decision is No. 2 Luciano de Castro (torn right MCL), No. 6 Dener Barbosa (broken right foot), No. 8 Cody Teel (broken left ankle) No. 10 Ryan Dirteater (torn right meniscus), No. 11 Derek Kolbaba (torn right ACL/MCL), No. 12 Guilherme Marchi (fractured sternum/broken rib/right sternoclavicular sprain), No. 16 Gage Gay (right reconstructive knee surgery) and No. 28 Fraser Babbington (ineligible).
World leader Ramon de Lima will try to break out of his 3-for-11 slump when he squares off vs. Check Mate (0-0, PBR UTB) in Round 1.
Check Mate is making his PBR debut after going 13-0 on the rodeo trail. He bucked off four-time PRCA champion Sage Kimzey at the NFR last year in 3.4 seconds.
Chad Berger’s bovine athlete was marked 47.5 points, according to ProBullstats, at the San Angelo, Texas, rodeo last month for disposing of Cody Rostockyj.
World No. 2 Bull Pearl Harbor is slated to compete in the championship round, while 2017 World Champion Bull contender TLW’s Big Cat is making his season debut in Round 3.