Castro’s career-best performance not enough for first win

Luciano de Castro went 4-for-4 in Sacramento. Photo: Andy Watson/BullStockMedia.com.

Highlights

  • Luciano de Castro went a career-high 4-for-4 in Sacrameno.
  • Ramon de Lima was just as good and edged Lima for his first event win.
  • Brennon Eldred won the first round of his career by riding Set 'em Up Joe for 87.75 points.

In This Article

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Here are three things we learned from the Wrangler Long Live Cowboys Classic this weekend at the Golden 1 Center.

Castro’s career-best performance not enough for first win

Luciano de Castro had a feeling it would be hard for him to make a run at Ramon de Lima and win his first career event on Sunday afternoon.

With Lima selecting More Big Bucks, Castro knew his chances were going to be slim even if he took care of business aboard Blue Stone.

Castro was right as Lima converted for an event-winning 89.25 points on More Big Bucks on the final ride of the weekend.

“He got the first pick and he had the best bull,” Castro said with the help of a translator. “He did a good job and deserved to be the champ.”

Regardless, that didn’t take away from Castro’s own noteworthy performance.

The 21-year-old capped off his 4-for-4 performance by riding Blue Stone for 88 points and a second-place finish overall.

It is the first time in Castro’s career that he has ridden four bulls in one weekend.

“This was a good weekend,” Castro said. “I got the lucky on the first couple of rides in the draw and I was able to pick the right bull in the championship round. I knew Blue Stone could go either way, but I could control him.”

Castro began Sacramento with 84.75 points on Chump in Round 1 and 86 points on Crazy Days in Round 2. On Sunday, Castro was able to handle a gnarly Widespread Panic for 84.5 points in Round 3 to head into the championship-round draft sitting second overall.

“I am pretty high on that guy,” two-time World Champion and CBS Sports analyst Justin McBride said. “He is a really good bull rider because he rides either direction really good.”

Castro earned 330 points toward the world standings and is ranked ninth heading into the Anaheim Invitational next weekend at the Honda Center.

“I am happy with this,” Castro concluded. “I had a high riding percentage in Brazil and I am happy to do it here again. It’s going to be a good year.”

Lima wins first career premier series event

Judging by the veins popping out of his riding arm just before Ramon de Lima nodded for the gate, it sure seemed likely that Lima was not going to let go of his bull rope with a chance at his first career victory.

The 27-year-old’s ride aboard More Big Bucks was one of four great rides that Lima used to earn his first career premier series victory.

Lima opened the weekend with two second-place round finishes aboard Big Slick (86.75 points) Livin Large (87.5 points) before finishing ninth in Round 3 after riding Juice for 83.25 points.

The second-year pro didn’t waste any time in making a decision for the championship-round draft and quickly selected More Big Bucks with the top selection.

“I had the first pick for the draft, but you need to know how to ride or otherwise they will take you out,” Lima said. “I am happy to do it.”

Lima earned 715 world points to move from 61st in the world standings to No. 3.

“I am happy to be around the best,” Lima said. “I am feeling good and feeling like the champ.”

Lima trails world leader Dener Barbosa by 120 points heading into Anaheim.

Barbosa finished 15th overall despite going 3-for-4. The 23-year-old turned down a re-ride option in Round 3 after riding Hillbilly Rock for 75.75 points. He was then bucked off by Sosa’s Alley Cat in 3.34 seconds.  

“Dener is going to have to learn that there is times when he is going to need to take the re-ride and better himself,” McBride said. “I think we saw that this week. Dener needs to draft a little better too. Dener passes by Indian Medicine to get to Sosa’s Alley Cat. That isn’t a good strategy.”

Rounding out the Top 5 in the event behind Lima and Castro was Cody Teel (3-for-4, 270 world points), Derek Kolbaba (3-for-4, 140 world points) and Brennon Eldred (1-for-4, 105 world points) and Emilio Resende (1-for-4, 105 world points).

Eldred wins first career premier series round

Brennon Eldred is admittedly frustrated that he has yet to win an event of his own on the PBR’s premier series, but he did check off a bucket list item on Sunday.

Eldred rode Set ‘em Up Joe for 87.75 points in Round 3 for his first career round win.

“Man, I seen I had him last night and I knew I better come here riding,” Eldred said. “I got tired of falling off. I am glad I stayed on.”

It was the bright spot on an otherwise rough weekend (1-for-4). It has been a tough start this year for the second-year pro as Eldred is 4-for-12.

Eldred, who was bucked off by Fire & Smoke in 4.37 seconds during the championship round, believes the round win can point him in the right direction.

“You have to start somewhere,” Eldred said. “Starting with a round win is huge. Getting a round win at the PBR is special to me. It is a stepping stone for me and I am making my way up.”

Injury Updates

According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Mason Lowe did not compete in Round 3 after sustaining a neck injury when he was bucked off by Wiz Train in 2.37 seconds in Round 2 on Saturday night.

Lowe said he would get X-rays this week in California prior to the Anaheim Invitational, and Freeman has listed Lowe as questionable.

2016 World Champion Cooper Davis (sprained right ring finger) and Stetson Lawrence (right knee sprain) failed to reach 8 seconds on Sunday after beginning the final day of competition with injuries.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Here are three things we learned from Round 2 and the 15/15 Bucking Battle at the Wrangler Long Live Cowboys Classic Saturday night at the Golden 1 Center.

Ramon de Lima in hot pursuit of first victory (1-27-18)

There has been much talk about the new incoming wave of Brazilian talent with 2017 Rookie of the Year Jose Vitor Leme, world leader Dener Barbosa and Brazilian champions Luciano de Castro and Claudio Montanha Jr.

However, Saturday night was about another member of the 2017 rookie class rising to the occasion.

Ramon de Lima rode Livin Large for 87.5 points and combine that with his Round 1 ride on Big Slick (86.75 points) and Lima is heading into Championship Sunday in Sacramento atop the leaderboard.

“I ride a good bull (Livin Large) tonight,” Lima said with the help of Fabiano Vieira translating. “Chad (Berger) is the best contractor. His bulls are very good, and I am happy to ride one good bull.”

Prior to his post-event interview, Lima sat down next to Vieira, slapped the veteran bull rider on the leg and let out a hearty laugh.

A year ago, Lima kept to himself in the locker room and kept his personality tight to the vest. Fast forward to this year and Lima is joking around with his friends.

Lima couldn’t help but laugh as Vieira was playing with the surround sound and a microphone inside the locker room before the beginning of Round 2.

“Last year I was a little scared of the PBR,” Lima admitted. “My first year, I was scared of how everything was different here. The bulls. The language. This year I have more confidence for the PBR. I am focused this year.”

Lima finished his rookie season 30th in the world standings.

He heads into his Round 3 matchup against Juice ranked 25th after beginning The 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast 6-for-10.

Lima is one of 10 riders a perfect 2-for-2 in Sacramento.

Rounding out the Top 5 in the event average is Stetson Lawrence, Valdiron de Oliveira, Castro and Cody Teel.

“I am putting it in God’s hands,” Lima said about the possibility of winning his first event. “I am ready to ride tomorrow.”

Resende wins first premier series round since October 2014

It appeared as if Lima was poised to win the first round of his career until Emilio Resende channeled his 2012 Rookie of the Year form and rode Shelly’s Gangster for 88 points

“Well, I fixed my head,” Resende said. “I need say thank you very much to all of my Brazilian friends. My last bulls I have not ride pretty good. Everybody has been telling me, ‘Come on. You are a good bull rider.’

Resende had begun the season 1-for-8 and zero points in the world standings.

In a sport that is all about momentum, Resende had lost his confidence quickly as the taste of dirt was more common than the 8-second buzzer.

“If you ride good for one or two weeks you are ready for the next week,” Resende said. “If you don’t make a good job, you don’t have inspiration for your next bull.”

Resende kept his focus as Shelly’s Gangster laid down a couple of times in the chutes before Resende found a way to get out cleanly with the bull.

The 30-year-old also knew he had a potential round-winner on his hands after watching videos of two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney.

“I saw J.B. had two rides with him,” Resende said. “I saw he bucked with him. He can go either way.”

The round win earned Resende 100 points toward the world standings, and he is now 35th in the rankings.

It is his first round win since October 2014 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

“I fight every week to stay in the Top 35 because it is a bull rider’s dream to be here. There is a lot of points and money in the game. I am very, very happy.

“I rode good today and made some points. Tomorrow I want to do more.”

Coming in behind Resende and Lima to round out the Top 5 in Round 2 was Jess Lockwood (87.25 points on Relentless), Teel (87 points on Element 79) and Lawrence (86.25 points on Rising Sun).

Pacheco remains perfect in 15/15 Bucking Battles; ties PBR record

Kaique Pacheco didn’t like getting slammed on the back of his neck by Incredibull in a quick 1.78 seconds in Round 2.

The good news was he had the perfect medicine for it: a matchup against Jack Shot in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.  

Pacheco rode Jack Shot for 88.5 points to win the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Saturday night. The 23-year-old has won both 15/15 Bucking Battles this season. He previously won the New York 15/15 Bucking Battle with an 87.75-point ride on Moto Moto.

Saturday was the sixth time Pacheco and Jack Shot have matched-up at any PBR event, and the two are now tied at three wins a piece.

“He is a really good bull,” Pacheco said. “Five times last year and this was the first this year. He is hard because all the time he moves forward. I pushed myself to the outside (to counter).

Pacheco was the only rider to cover his bull in the 15/15 Bucking Battle, and he is now tied with Eduardo Aparecido and Joao Ricardo Vieira for the most career 15/15 Bucking Battle wins (4).

The 2015 Rookie of the Year earned 150 points toward the world standings and moves up to seventh in the world.

Reigning two-time World Champion SweetPro’s Bruiser bucked off Tye Chandler in 2.95 seconds for a 45-point while score, while Pearl Harbor earned 45.75 points for taking down Dakota Buttar in 2.65 seconds despite catching his horn leaving the bucking chutes.

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.

RELATED: Leme admits to feeling homesick in the United States

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.

Fans can watch the 15/15 Bucking Battle exclusively on CBS Sunday at noon ET.

“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).

RELATED: Round 1 draw for Sacramento

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.

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