JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Here are three things we learned following the Jacksonville Invitational this weekend at Veterans Memorial Arena.
Nance comes through with important round win to avoid cutline (3-5-17)
Cody Nance has qualified for the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals for eight consecutive years since beginning his career as the 2009 Rookie of the Year.
However, the 29-year-old was flirting with the Built Ford Tough Series cutline prior to tying with 2017 Rookie of the Year contender Claudio Montanaha Jr. for the Round 2 victory Sunday afternoon.
Nance rode Pneu Dart's Captain for 87 points in dramatic fashion after he was nearly disqualified in the bucking chute with the chute clock running down to three seconds before he nodded for the gate.
“No, I knew I would be ready,” Nance said. “I called for him before I even slid. I was ready. That is the rule. You have to call for the gate. If you call for the gate before the clock runs out you are good.
“He was a good, little black bull. He is electric and fast around to the left.”
Nance earned a highly important 80 points for the round victory and left Jacksonville with 85 world points and a seventh-place finish.
The Paris, Tennessee, bull rider was bucked off by Godfrey’s Red Bull in 7.86 seconds during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
Nance began the weekend No. 33 in the world standings and now moves back into the Top 30 at No. 28.
He had bucked off 11 consecutive bulls before riding Captain and is 3-for-23 (13.04 percent) through nine events.
“I believe I am still one of the best bull riders in the world even though I am pushing 30,” Nance said. “Nowadays, people have learned how to train and eat right. Back in the day, people were starting to retire at my age. I am not ready to retire. I feel like I am as strong and in good of shape as any of these guys here.
I am not ready to quit. I don’t see myself riding anywhere else. This is my ninth year and I am not ready to go anywhere. I just have to remember how I got here and keep doing that.”
Stormy Wing, another veteran dancing near the cutline, finished 2-for-3 in Jacksonville for 30 world points and a 10th-place finish.
The 27-year-old is trying to hang onto a BFTS draw spot and is 32nd in the world standings heading into next weekend’s Bad Boy Mowdown in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Wing rode Millennium's Back for 83.25 points in Round 1 Saturday and Micro Man for 84.25 points in Round 2. The Dalhart, Texas, cowboy then nearly made a sensational ride on Sosa’s Alley Cat (7.21 seconds) in the championship round.
“This is the weekend I have been looking for,” Wing said. “Every weekend is important, but when you don’t show up and do your job it is easy to start going downhill. You have nobody to blame but yourself.”
Aparecido wins third event in four weeks; extends world lead to 887.5 points on Lockwood
Eduardo Aparecido bounced back from a 1-for-4 showing in St. Louis last weekend and re-asserted himself as the rider to beat so far in the 2017 world title race with his third event win in four weeks.
Aparecido capped off a 3-for-3 performance in Jacksonville by riding Bezerk into his hand for a championship-round winning 87.25 points.
“I fell last week, but that didn’t hurt me,” Aparecido said with the help of Guilherme Marchi translating. “I feel strong mentally. I saw the draw this week and knew I had a possible chance to cover those good bulls. I came into the championship round in a good spot with a good chance to pick another great bull and win this event.”
Aparecido selected Bezerk with the third pick in the championship-round draft.
“I have saw that bull before and I didn’t know many of the other bulls,” Aparecido said. “I knew if I ride this bull, I had the possibility of a very good score.”
Koal Livingston (5.95 seconds on Alligator Arms) and Montanha (4.66 seconds on Jammin Jackson’s Handsome Jeff) later bucked off, sealing the victory for Aparecido.
“I am very happy to have won three events this year,” said the surging Aparecido. “I am feeling so strong.”
Aparecido earned 550 points toward the world standings in Jacksonville to extend his lead on No. 2 Jess Lockwood, who did not compete because of a torn groin, to 887.5 points.
Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney finished second after finishing his weekend with an 85.75-point ride on Rebel Yell II. Mauney moves up to ninth in the world standings after earning 311.7 world points.
Meanwhile, 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi is now eight rides away from becoming the first rider to reach 600 rides on the BFTS. Marchi rode St. Patty for 82.5 points in Round 2 and Pneu-Dart’s Southern Style in the championship round for 83 points.
Marchi finished third overall with 275 world points.
Castro has first 3-for-3 event of his career
2015 PBR Brazil champion Luciano de Castro continues to gain momentum during his first season competing in the United States.
Castro finished off his first three-ride weekend on the BFTS by riding a sky-jumping Air Marshall for 87 points in the championship round.
The ride propelled him to a career-best fourth-place finish and 220 world points.
“That bull has a lot of air and a lot of kick, but he felt good,” Castro said. “I was very comfortable riding him.”
Castro entered the championship round in 10th place after turning down a re-ride option following his 77.75-point ride on Rocco in Round 2.
However, he was only able to leapfrog six other riders with his second-place finish in the championship round.
Castro began the weekend with an 87-point ride on Ante Up in Round 1.
The 20-year-old is third in the Rookie of the Year race behind Dener Barbosa and Montanha.
Montanha (2-for-3) overtook the No. 1 rookie ranking from Barbosa after earning 161.7 points in the world standings this weekend.
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Marco Eguchi did not compete on Sunday because of an old right rib injury.
Robson Palermo was unable to attempt Jug Head in Round 2 after his left knee (preexisting PCL and meniscus tears) locked up as he was trying to mount the bull in the chute.
Matt Triplett sustained bruises and abrasions of his right hip when he was stepped on following his 80.75-point ride on Pitch Black.
Wallace de Oliveira bruised his left ankle when he was stepped on after being thrown from One Like That (3.41 seconds) in Round 2. Oliveira returned to competition earlier in the day after passing the PBR’s concussion protocol.
Mason Lowe sustained a right hip pointer and abdominal bruising when he was stepped on by Richard (6.61 seconds) in Round 2.
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Marchi 10 rides away from 600 (3-4-17)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Jacksonville Invitational Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Arena.
2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi is getting closer to history following his 87-point ride on Red Fury.
The 34-year-old now has 590 career rides on the Built Ford Tough Series and is 10 rides away from becoming the first rider to record 600 qualified rides at the PBR’s highest level of competition.
“We are getting closer,” an animated Marchi said. “It feels good. I feel strong. I see the bull. I feel so light. That bull come to the right and away from my hand. I see everything. I am so happy for everything and to have a very good ride today.”
Marchi finished Round 1 tied with Luciano de Castro (87 points on Ante Up) for second-place. Marchi earned 55 points toward the world standings and moves up three spots to No. 23.
The 14-year veteran is one of only two riders in PBR history to ride 500 or more bulls on the BFTS.
2004 World Champion Mike Lee picked up career ride No. 516 during Round 1 when he began the event with 83.75 points on Scream Tested.
Marchi will look to earn his 20th career victory Sunday afternoon.
He has drawn St. Patty (1-0, BFTS) for Round 2.
Make sure to stay tuned to the PBR’s social media channels and PBR.com as the PBR counts down Marchi’s Road to 600 throughout the month of March.
Livingston wins Round 1 during impressive rookie night
18-year-old rookie Koal Livingston won Round 1 with a career-high 87.5 point ride on Ram It after accepting his re-ride option.
“Man, he was right there to the right and a good one to get on,” Livingston said.
The decision paid off big time as Livingston was able to hold off 19 other riders with a qualified ride for the victory.
Saturday night was an impressive one for Livingston and the three talented Rookie of the Year candidates from Brazil.
Fresh on Livingston’s heels was 2015 PBR Brazil champion Luciano De Castro.
Castro’s 87-point ride was a career-high, while Claudio Montanha Jr. (85.25 points on Lights Out) tied with two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney (85.25 points on Mr. Big Stuff) and Chase Outlaw (85.25 points on Johnny B) for fifth-place in the round.
“Shoot, they are all riding really good,” Livingston said. “I try not to really pay attention to it and just ride everything I get on. I give it everything I got every time and just do what I do.”
Castro, with the help of Robson Palermo translating, said, “I am so happy all the rookies are doing good. In Brazil, all three of us competed there and now here we are doing it too. I am so proud to see us all doing good.”
Livingston has been riding with an unstable free arm all season long and said it has been a struggle trying to get by the ranker bulls of the PBR without being close to healthy.
He had bucked off eight in a row prior to his round win.
“My shoulder is not healthy at all,” Livingston said. “I can go reach out to crawl away and it will come out. Certain movements just do it. Last week, I went to crawl away from Power Plant and it came out. Nothing even happened. I was just crawling.”
Livingston hasn’t been riding with a shoulder brace and instead has elected to focus on rehabbing during the week.
“The brace wasn’t doing jack so I just threw it off,” he admitted. “I’m using bands working out to try and save it.”
Livingston earned 100 points toward the world standings to not only jump up to the No. 24 ranking, but to fourth in the Rookie of the Year standings.
The Burleson, Texas, bull rider has a phenomenal draw for Round 2 Sunday afternoon against King Buck (10-26, BFTS) and may be in position to win another round, and perhaps even the event.
Livingston has won three rounds at the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour level this season, but Saturday was his first BFTS round win.
“It feels so good,” Livingston said. “It is a dream come true.”
2016 Rookie of the Year Jess Lockwood, as an 18-year-old, won a record-setting eight rounds last year.
If he rides like he did Saturday, Livingston may join Lockwood as a Rookie of the Year.
“That is the goal,” Livingston concluded. “It would be very special.”
Buttar makes his return with fourth-place finish
Dakota Buttar is not Rookie of the Year eligible because of his 30th place finish in the 2016 world standings, but Buttar began 2017 with only one regular-season BFTS event on his resume.
You could argue that, experience-wise, Buttar is basically a rookie and going through the same learning process as Livingston, Castro, Montanha and Barbosa.
“This is only my sixth one, but I am starting to feel a lot better,” Buttar said. “I have a lot of confidence coming in regardless of what bulls are drawn.”
Buttar finished fourth in Round 1 with 86.5 points on GAH's Lil Man for 40 world points.
The two-time Canadian Professional Rodeo Association champion had missed the past two weeks because of a concussion. He was cleared to return to competition on Saturday after passing the PBR’s concussion protocol.
“This helps my confidence a lot,” Buttar said. “After Kansas City, my head was a little unsure coming into today with everything that has gone on the last few months with Ty (Pozzobon.). It was really tough. That hits close to a guy when that happen.”
Buttar is up to 30th in the world standings following his Round 1 performance.
The 24-year-old takes on Classic Whoppin' (6-4, BFTS) in Round 2.
“My body needed some time off,” Buttar said. “It is tough going week after week. For the last couple of months, I had only been home for Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Traveling really gets to you.”
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Mason Lowe sprained his right shoulder when he landed on his right elbow after being bucked off by Whiskey in 2.6 seconds. Lowe is questionable for Round 2.
Wallace de Oliveira is questionable for Round 2 after sustaining a concussion in Round 1. Oliveira was bucked off by Purina Athlete in 4.63 seconds.
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Lowe ready to build off St. Louis; Jacksonville draw notes (3-1-17)
PUEBLO, Colo. – Mason Lowe may have come up just short of an event victory in St. Louis, but Lowe’s 3-for-4 showing last weekend has the 23-year-old up to sixth in the world standings.
Lowe is third in the PBR with 13 qualified rides on the Built Ford Tough Series and he is well on his way to breaking his career-high ride mark of 22 that he set last season.
He has ridden two or more bulls in three consecutive events and has a 46.43 percent riding average.
“I quit being a sissy, I guess,” Lowe joked about his career-best start. “I just have been healthy really. I ain’t hurting no more. That was a mindset deal for me last year. I was expecting to be hurting when I was getting on. Once I realized I am not hurting anymore, I just really stepped up.”
Lowe dealt with an on-going wrist/hand injury for the majority of last year’s first half.
The Exeter, Missouri, has been healthy in 2017 and will face a familiar foe this weekend during the Jacksonville Invitational when he takes on Whiskey (3-0, BFTS). The bovine athlete bucked off Lowe in 2.61 seconds at the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden in January.
It is one of four matchups taking place this weekend inside Veterans Memorial Arena.
Two of the rematches will involve last week’s event winner Kaique Pacheco.
The No. 3 rider in the world standings has drawn Trick Shot (2-1, BFTS) for Round 1 and Cowboy Phil (12-5, BFTS) for Round 2. Trick Shot bucked off Pacheco in 7.23 seconds in New York during the season-opener, while Pacheco covered Cowboy Phil for 88 points at the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
The only man to have finished better in the PBR than Pacheco last season was 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis.
Davis is set to return to competition this weekend after tending to a family matter last weekend.
The 22-year-old has drawn Mighty Man (0-0, BFTS) for Round 1.
Gage Gay (clavicle injury) Joao Ricardo Vieira (shoulder separation) and Tanner Byrne (groin/hamstring) are joining Jess Lockwood (torn groin), Nevada Newman (shoulder surgery), Lachlan Richardson (bicep surgery) and Aaron Roy (leg) on the riders out of commission because of injuries list.
Gay said he had yet to send X-rays to Dr. Tandy Freeman to determine if he has a broken clavicle, while Vieira and Byrne said they were taking a precautionary week off and didn’t expect to be out long term.
Meanwhile, Dakota Buttar (concussion) and Paulo Lima (fractured ribs) are both returning to competition.
Buttar has drawn GAH’s Lil Man (3-2, BFTS) for Round 1 and Lima takes on Sunburn (0-0, BFTS).
Lima has two exemptions remaining and is one of four riders competing with exemptions.
Wallace de Oliveira (four), Fraser Babbington (one) and Robson Palermo (three) need to crack the Top 35 soon or else they will be relegated to the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour.
No. 34 Troy Wilkinson is making his season debut after going 4-for-14 in PBR Australia and earning 136.25 points toward the world standings. The 26-year-old has never earned a qualified ride on the BFTS and is 0-for-15 in his career.
Wilkinson takes on Backfire (11-1, BFTS).
The Top 35 may be set for this weekend’s draw, but some shifting is certainly on the verge of happening if riders ranked 30-35th don’t earn some points this weekend.
No. 35 Sonny Schafferius (132.5 world points) only leads No. 36 Robson Aragao and Cody Ford by 12.5 points.
In fact, any of the riders ranked between No. 36 to No. 65 could mathematically bump Schafferius out of the BFTS if he doesn’t’ earn any points in Jacksonville.
Schafferius will look to earn his first BFTS qualified ride when he takes on Whiskey Trip (2-0, BFTS).
World leader Eduardo Aparecido takes a 337.5-point lead atop the world standings into Jacksonville.
Aparecido faces Power Trip (2-0, BFTS).
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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