Sunday, April 8, 2018


Here are three things we learned from the First PREMIER Bank PREMIER Bankcard Invitational this weekend at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.
Pearl Harbor marked 47 points; Mauney injured
History did not repeat itself in Sioux Falls when titans J.B. Mauney and Pearl Harbor matched up in the championship round.
Two years after Mauney made a memorable 94.25 points on the back of Pearl Harbor inside the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, it was Pearl Harbor launching the two-time World Champion to the dirt in 2.17 seconds.
Pearl Harbor was marked 47 points, while Mauney had to be attended to by the PBR Sports Medicine Team after landing on his shoulders and folding over.
Mauney was diagnosed by Dr. Tandy Freeman with a back injury and was transported to a local hospital to undergo further evaluation and a CT scan.
Chad Berger was thrilled with his bull’s performance, but he certainly was not happy to see Mauney go down.
“I would have loved to see him ride him for 95 points,” Berger said. “I still think he is the greatest bull rider that ever lived and I hope everything is OK and we will see him back soon.”
Pearl Harbor’s second consecutive 47-plus out has him right on the cusp of surpassing two-time World CHampion Bull SweetPro’s Bruiser for the No. 1 ranking.
Pearl Harbor raised his World Champion Bull average to 45.94. He is .03 points behind Bruiser (45.97).
“He was really rank, strong, powerful and kicked over his head,” Berger said. “He finally got his head clear without hanging it in the gate. He busted out of there so strong and hard that if we can get him to do that every time then he is going to jerk them so hard that first jump that it is going to be hard for them to ride him.”
Mauney selected Pearl Harbor with the 12th pick of the championship round draft and his motor was revving for the matchup from the word go.
The 31-year-old was jokingly taunting Berger behind the bucking chutes and had an eye of confidence before the gate opened.
“He was over there licking his chops toward me, and he knew it was going to come down to him,” Berger said. “He was excited to have a shot at him. Hell, I was excited. There is no guy in the world I rather have on my bull than J.B. Mauney. He don’t fart around. He nods his head. It was a great opportunity for both of us and Pearl Harbor came out on top today.”
Mauney is now 1-3 against Pearl Harbor, but Berger says that once Mauney he is healthy you can expect another showdown.
“When J.B. is 100 percent, he can ride any bull here, including Pearl Harbor,” Berger said. “Never count him out.”
Lockwood wins first event of 2018
Jess Lockwood began his final push at the 2017 World Championship aboard Big Dutch at the 2017 World Finals, and he may have begun his true climb at defending his world title in 2018 aboard Gene Owen and Jane Clark’s bovine athlete.
Lockwood rode Big Dutch for 91 points on Sunday afternoon and then looked on as Kaique Pacheco bucked off Shelley’s Gangster in 4.18 seconds to win his first 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast event of the year.
“I knew he was going to be bad in the chutes,” Lockwood said. “Shoot, really the hardest part of him is getting out on him because God it takes forever. It started to piss me off.
“Once we went, I was behind and I was throwing hail marys.”
The 20-year-old went 3-for-4 in Sioux Falls, winning both rounds on Sunday afternoon, to surge to seventh in the world standings by earning 760 world points.
“Cody Lambert and I were talking down there in Bowie the last three weeks that no one has done much (this year),” Lockwood said. “He said it is time for me to stop screwing around and letting everyone else win. This is my title to win. Not that it kick started me, but it reminded me to get my ass in gear and be more clutch.”
Lockwood is only 215 points behind world leader Ramon de Lima in an extremely tight title race.
Jose Vitor Leme’s second-place finish (3-for-4, 415 world points) has the 21-year-old up to third in the world standings. He trails Lima by 60 world points.
Meanwhile, the Top 8 riders in the world standings are separated by less than 275 points.
Rounding out the Top 5 was Cooper Davis (2-for-4, 235 world points), Pacheco and Brennon Eldred (2-for-4, 127.5 world points).
Lockwood, though, is heating up after missing the Ak-Chin Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, in Glendale, Arizona, because of a hand injury.
Lockwood had placed second in Round 1 with 87.75 points on Smoke Signals bounced back from his Round 2 buckoff against I Always Stand (7.57 seconds) Saturday night in dominant fashion on Sunday.
He won Round 3 with 88 points on Hangman and then selected Big Dutch with the second pick of the draft.
“Ever since the beginning of the year, I haven’t made the most of each one,” Lockwood said. “He is a good little bull and was whirling up. I wanted to spur on him, but I felt like I would buck off if I did.”   
Pacheco’s streak comes to an end, but he feels he is back
Even though Pacheco was unable to win his first event of the year, the 23-year-old believes he finally has gotten things back on track.
Pacheco finished 3-for-4 in Sioux Falls and saw his streak of seven consecutive rides come to an end.
Still, his seven rides in two events is a huge improvement from his 7-for-27 run during the season’s first 11 events.
“I am happy to ride my bulls,” Pacheco said before the championship round. “I feel good and feel I am making the same (rides) like all of the years. I am keeping my focus the same.”
Pacheco rode Red Sails In The Sunset (86.75 points), Line Me Up (84.75 points) and Element 79 (83 points).
When asked if he finally feels like he did before his 2017 injury woes, Pacheco responded with a firm, “Yup.”
If Pacheco believes he is truly healthy and back to his prior form, it may be only one more week before he is back in the Top 10.
Pacheco heads into next weekend’s Tacoma Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, ranked 11th in the world standings.
Injury Updates
Fabiano Vieira was unable to compete in the championship round because of a bruised knee trying to get out of the chute aboard Acting Crazy.
Brady Oleson did not compete in Round 3 in Sioux Falls after spraining his right wrist (riding hand, TFCC) and dislocating his left shoulder when he was bucked off by Acting Crazy (3.25 seconds) in Round 2 on Saturday.
Oleson said he will likely need to get shoulder surgery, which would put him out of competition for six months.
Behind the Chutes: Sioux Falls Round 2 (4-7-18)
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Here are three things we learned from Round 2 of the First PREMIER Bank PREMIER Bankcard Invitational Saturday night at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.
Buttar and Byrne ride with heavy hearts
Dakota Buttar finished Round 2 in fourth place with his 87.5-point ride on Clover Mountain Beau, but the 25-year-old’s thoughts were with his native country north of the border.
Buttar lives only 3.5 hours from Tisdale, Saskatchewan, which was the sight of the tragic Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team bus crash on Friday night that has left 15 dead.
The hockey community, as well as all of Canada and most of the world, has been left saddened and in mourning after the bus carrying a team of 29 players, ranging in age from 16 to 21 years old, and coaches was struck by a semi-trailer as the team was on its way to Nipawin for a playoff game. Fourteen people were also injured.
“It is pretty sad that many young kids have been killed,” Buttar, who played minor hockey until he was 18, said. “It has been hard to go on social media and see that. Everyone is talking about it. So many young lives that had bright futures ahead of them.”
Tanner Byrne, who was bucked off by Rebound in 5.97 seconds, posted his support on his social media accounts late on Friday night and on Saturday afternoon.
Byrne said before Round 2 that he doesn’t believe he knows anyone directly on the team, but that the crash certainly strikes a chord to him as he grew up playing hockey in Saskatchewan and traveling to hockey games on similar buses.
“It is terrible man,” Byrne said. “The accident was just outside of Tisdale, which is an hour-and-a-half from my house. Growing up being a hockey player, and playing developmental hockey, we were in those buses all the time. Anyone from Saskatchewan or Canada that is a hockey player knows most of your hours are spent on that bus.”
The crash reminded him of the one that his friend and former NHL hockey player and PBR supporter Sheldon Kennedy was a part of on Dec. 30, 1986, that took the lives of four players from the Swift Current Broncos.
This weekend was also was another harsh reminder to Byrne how quickly a life can be taken away from someone.
“To hear news like that is an utter tragedy,” Byrne said. “Those kids were 16 to 20 years old and had their whole futures ahead of them. It was cut down. It makes you realize anything can happen and to hold your loved ones close. You never know what can happen in life and that is evidence of it.
“I can’t imagine what the families and everyone is going through up there. It is brutal. A brutal accident.”
Davis wins Round 2 with first 90-point ride in 83 days
It had been 83 days since 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis surpassed the 90-point threshold. He had also only posted one qualified ride on the 25thPBR: Unleash The Beast during that same timeframe.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise to see Davis let out a sigh of relief as he pumped his fist into the air following a sensational 90.25-point ride on Nailedto win Round 2.  
“It is night and day compared to what it has been,” Davis said. “It has been zero. To be 90 on my first ride back, man it feels good.”
Davis nearly lost his bull rope leaving the bucking chute and had to regain position in the opening 2 seconds.
“I was kind of fighting to get back to the middle the whole time and I figured while I was doing that i would go ahead and throw my leg up in the air,” Davis said. “I don’t know. It felt really good.”
Davis earned 100 points for the round win and the No. 9 ranked bull rider trails world leader Ramon de Lima by 750 points heading into Round 3.
The Jasper, Texas, bull rider has drawn Wild Side (4-1, PBR UTB) for championship Sunday. Wild Side bucked off Colten Jesse in 4.34 seconds in Round 1.
Davis could have easily been in the event lead if not for his 7.6-second buckoff against Fire & Smoke
“Naturally, I would like to make the whistle,” Davis said. “But I felt good and that was something I hadn’t felt in a while. Feeling good is the main thing. Being confident in myself, I can’t take it as a loss.”
Another rider that let out a sigh of relief was Claudio Montanha Jr.
The No. 3 bull rider in the world standings rode Stunt Man Ray for 88.5 points and 50 world points.
Montanha is only 154.17 points behind Lima in the world standings and will face Sitting Bull (3-2, PBR UTB) in Round 3. Sitting Bull bucked off Stormy Wing in 4.82 seconds in Round 1.
Eldred leading heading into championship Sunday
Davis is chasing Brennon Eldred in the event standings as Eldred continues to prove this weekend that his partially torn MCL in his right knee won’t slow his mojo.
Eldred finished second in the round and is leading the event average after riding Twinkle Toes for 89 points.
“That bull is kind of tricky,” Eldred said. “He is kind of tricky and hops, skips in the front and tries to get you down. Man, that felt really good.”
The 23-year-old began his weekend with 85.25 points on Embers in Round 1.
Kaique Pacheco (2-for-2, 171 points) and Lucas Divino (2-for-2, 170.75 points) are the only other two riders perfect in Sioux Falls.
Pacheco has ridden six consecutive bulls after riding Line Me Up for 84.75 points in Round 2.
Rounding out the Top 5 in Round 2 behind Davis, Eldred, Montanha and Buttar was a trio of PBR veterans. Eduardo Aparecido (87 points on Cooper’s Comet), Silvano Alves (87 points on Catfish John) and J.B. Mauney (87 points on Rocket Man) each picked up 16.66 world points.
Eldred, though, is the man to beat heading into Championship Sunday.
He earned 60 points toward the world standings on Saturday and his first event win Sunday would potentially push him inside the Top 10.
Eldred has ridden six of his last eight bulls and has drawn Milky Jones (19-5, PBR UTB) for Round 3.
“I am tired of waiting on that gold buckle,” Eldred concluded. “It is not going to come and get me, so I guess I better go get it. I am tired of saying, ‘Oh, I will get it next year. Oh I will get it next year.’”
Injury Updates
Emilio Resende did not compete in Round 2 and is out for the remainder of the weekend because of his dislocated left shoulder from Round 1.
Matador Jerky bullfighter Shorty Gorham’s X-rays on his right foot came back negative and showed no fracture. Gorham is out for the remainder of Sioux Falls, but he hopes to return for next weekend’s Tacoma Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires.
Behind the Chutes: Sioux Falls Round 1 (4-6-18)
 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)
Injury Updates
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.
The Sulphur, Oklahoma, native is slated to face Embers (0-1, PBR UTB) in Round 1 on Friday night at the Denny Sanford Premier Center. Fans can watch the event exclusively on RidePass beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET.
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.

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