Here are three things we learned from the Wrangler Long Live Cowboys Classic Friday night at the Golden 1 Center.
Nance rides for Marshall County High School (1-26-18)
Cody Nance is a father of three, and he knows the importance of his children getting an education in a safe and caring environment.
There is so surprise that Nance’s heart sunk, as did many other parents and people throughout the world, when they heard the news earlier this week of the school shooting at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky, that has left two dead and 18 injured.
Nance lives about an hour south of Benton and the news hit a little bit closer to home when he received a text from his friend, Beau Brown.
Brown’s son, Blaze, has competed at mini-bull riding events before and he attends Marshall County High School.
“Bless him, he came out alright, but a lot of kids came out injured and last I heard two (were) dead,” Nance said. “There are some at Vanderbilt (Medical Facilities). It can happen to anybody. I have three babies myself. We need to pay attention to this a little bit closer. We don’t have to look at this as a common thing. We need to approach this matter and bring some light to it.”
Nance wore an orange bandana tied around his neck in honor of Marshall County High School on Friday night. Orange is one of the school’s colors.
The 30-year-old rode Hou’s Bad News for 84.5 points and finished the night tied for eighth place.
“It is motivation to ride for those kids and give them some hope,” Nance said. “Anything you put your mind to, you can do. We need these kids to straighten up and to start dealing with matters a little differently so they can give those kids a chance.”
Leme believes he needs to get into the title race quickly
Jose Vitor Leme has been getting anxious.
The 21-year-old has openly discussed his plans of winning a world title in 2018, and he knows he is not in the Top 10 of the world standings through the first three 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast events of 2018.
That is why his first round win of the season was so important to him on Friday night.
“It is very important because I needed points in the world standings,” Leme said. “I (began) the night 17th in the world standings and I need to move up, especially if I am going to make a race for the world title. It is a race sought after and fought after by many.”
Leme won the round on Friday night by riding Reindiction for 87.25 points and earned 100 world points.
The 2017 Rookie of the Year is tied with 2017 World Champion Jess Lockwood, who bucked off Silver Buckle in Round 1, for 11th in the world standings.
Ryan Dirteater (86.75 points on Lifting Lives), Ramon de Lima (86.75 points on Big Slick), Cooper Davis (86.25 points on Tuxedo) and Valdiron de Oliveira (86 points on Stars & Stripes) rounded out the Top 5 in Round 1.
Leme has drawn Hurricane Hustler (9-2, PBR UTB) for Round 2.
He admitted to feeling behind in the world title race, but he is still only 530 points behind world leader Dener Barbosa.
Barbosa rode his PBR leading 11th bull of the season when he covered Yellow Brick Road for 82.25 points. He is tied for 12th in the event with Claudio Montanha Jr. (Blackie Big Wells).
If Leme were to win the event this weekend, he could potentially take over the world No. 1 ranking.
“Yes. In order to get my dream and my objective I have to be No. 1,” Leme said. “To reach it, I have to be No. 1. So, yes, I am behind. You have to take it one week at a time to get your objectives, but I know I definitely have to win.”
Welcome to the big leagues Chandler
The most relaxed Tye Chandler felt all night was inside the bucking chute.
The 22-year-old rookie from Celina, Texas, was making his debut on Friday night and understandably there were some first-time jitters and butterflies in his stomach.
Once that 8-second buzzer went off, Chandler knew he had nothing to be worried about anymore.
Chandler rode James Bond for 80.25 points to finish Round 1 in 16th place. The ride may not be anything special to the judges or the outside world, but it certainly will be one the Texan never forgets, especially with his mom (Vikki), dad (Freddy), sister (Whitney) and girlfriend (Presley) in attendance.
“I have been trying so hard to keep the jitters out, but I had been feeling good all day,” Chandler said. “I thought there was going to be a lot of nerves with all the lights and stuff, but I feel like I am where I need to be.
“I thought maybe it would be a little faster pace here, but I think it is about the same as a Velocity event. They make them a lot alike.”
Chandler showed good poise and didn’t let the anticipation of knowing he has drawn two-time World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Bruiser for Saturday night’s 15/15 Bucking Battle distract him from his long-round bull.
“That would have put a lot of pressure on me, bucking off this long-round bull and going into a 15/15,” Chandler said. “This gives me a little bit more confidence, just to know I can do it here. Whether it be 80 points or 92.”
He still has a matchup against Acting Crazy (11-5, PBR UTB) in Round 2, but of course Chandler is excited to show what he is capable of on national television with Bruiser during the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
“Do everything right,” Chandler said. “You have to stay forward on him. You can’t get lean back on him or miss the front one time because he will make you pay for it. I ride the front pretty good, so it will be good.”
Sacramento draw: Barbosa and Eguchi return; Mauney to get MRI (1-24-18)
PUEBLO, Colo. – Two veteran bull riders – Rubens Barbosa and Marco Eguchi – are set to return for the Wrangler Long Live Cowboys Classic this weekend in Sacramento, California, while questions still surround two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney.
Mauney is set to miss his third consecutive event because of a right groin and lower abdomen injury, and the North Carolina native said on Wednesday morning via text message that he is looking to get an MRI “ASAP” to make sure he is not dealing with a sports hernia.
There is still no set timetable for Mauney’s return to competition and he remains week-to-week.
Barbosa and Eguchi are coming back to the arena after missing the Express Employment Professionals Invitational in Oklahoma City with back injuries.
Barbosa, 34, said he has been dealing with a back injury since the Dec. 16 Kearney, Nebraska, Velocity Tour event, while Eguchi, 28, said he had aggravated his back in Chicago.
Both riders have been rehabbing at Fit-N-Wise Rehabilitation Center in Decatur, Texas.
Eguchi will take on Haberdasher (0-0, PBR UTB) and Barbosa will look for 8 seconds on Who’s That (0-0, PBR UTB).
Also not riding in Sacramento is Gage Gay (torn right ACL/MCL), Stormy Wing (knee injury) Chase Outlaw (reconstructive shoulder surgery), Matt Triplett (reconstructive shoulder surgery), Shane Proctor (personal decision), Mike Lee (personal decision), J.W. Harris (personal decision), Sage Kimzey (personal decision) and Koal Livingston (reconstructive shoulder surgery).
There will be 10 alternates/invites/injury exempt riders competing in Sacramento – Troy Wilkinson (alternate), Alex Marcilio (alternate), Kurt Shephard (alternate), Tye Chandler (alternate), Nathan Burtenshaw(alternate), Edgar Durazo (alternate), Tanner Byrne (injury exemption), Wallace de Oliveira (injury exemption), Valdiron de Oliveira (PBR CEO Sean Glean invite) and Juan Carlos Contreras (PBR CEO Sean Gleason invite).
As a reminder, riders that placed 1-30 in the 2017 world standings are guaranteed eight events before being subject to the cutline, while riders ranked 31-35 are guaranteed five events before being subject to being cut.
Byrne and Wallace de Oliveira will have one remaining injury exemption following this weekend.
Byrne has drawn Pearl Pistol (0-0, PBR UTB) for Round 1. The 25-year-old has only earned 45 world points at all levels of competition by going 5-for-13.
Heading into the weekend, a rider needs 108 world points to be ranked inside the Top 30.
Oliveira has fared a little better than Byrne so far, primarily because he earned 120 points for winning the Denver Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event. Oliveira is 29th in the world standings, but he has yet to earn any other world points outside of Denver.
The 38-year-old, though, is 2-for-4 in two 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast events and will take on Monster Jam (0-0, PBR UTB) in Round 1.
Chandler is making his 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast debut after beginning the season 11-for-20 (55 percent) at lower-level PBR events. Chandler won the North Charleston, South Carolina, Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event with an 84.5-point ride on Scratch Off last weekend to push himself into an alternate position for Sacramento.
The 22-year-old did not compete in junior or high school rodeos after first getting on a calf at 5 years old. Instead, Chandler began to compete in amateur bull ridings throughout Texas at 15 years old.
Chandler is currently 13th in the PBR world standings, having earned 217.5 points at non-premier series event, and will face James Bond (0-0, PBR UTB).
The Celina, Texas, bull rider’s performance at the non-premier events also drew him a spot in the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Saturday night. Chandler has drawn two-time World Champion Bull Bruiser (37-10, PBR UTB) for that matchup.
World leader Dener Barbosa will look to extend his 45-point lead on No. 2 Cooper Davis when he takes on Yellow Brick Road (0-0, PBR UTB) on Friday night.