Barbosa gains ground in rookie race; world title race tightens significantly

Dener Barbosa trails Cody Teel in the Rookie of the Year race by 552.5 points. Photo: Andy Watson /


  • Dener Barbosa's second place finish in Springfield helped him gain ground in the Rookie of the Year race.
  • Cooper Davis looked like a World Champion all weekend in Springfield and jumped into the middle of the race after his weekend performance.
  • Meanwhile, both Kaique Pacheco and Jess Lockwood sustained injuries that pumped the brakes on their current runs.

In This Article

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Here are three things we learned from the Invitational, presented by Bass Pro Shops, this weekend at JQH Arena.

Barbosa gains ground in Rookie of the Year race 9-10-17

Dener Barbosa used the first two Built Ford Tough Series round wins of his career Sunday afternoon to propel himself to a second-place finish.

Barbosa first won Round 3 with 85.75 points on Trump Train before riding Black Rose for 86.5 points to win the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.

“I am very happy to win my first two rounds on the Built Ford Tough,” Barbosa said with the help of Guilherme Marchi translating.

Barbosa was able to bounce back from buckoffs in the first two rounds to earn his second runner-up finish on the BFTS.

The 2016 PBR Brazil champion earned 342.5 points toward the world standings and cut 2012 PRCA champion Cody Teel’s lead atop the Rookie of the Year standings to 552.5 points.

“It has been hard to catch him, but I am dedicating myself and trying to take it step-by-step,” Barbosa said. “I am getting closer to Cody and want to win this Rookie of the Year.”

Barbosa has been thankful that an unstable right shoulder earlier in the year has been less of a hindrance of late.

“I am feeling strong,” Barbosa added. “I have more confidence now because my shoulder has not popped out again in six months. With each bull I get on, I get more confidence. This week I was able to move my arm more and ride more loose.”

Barbosa was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal weekend for the riders.

The 23-year-old had two of only four qualified rides on the day.

The two rides in Round 3 were a PBR record-low for a long round.  

Davis makes massive move in the world standings

In the final three-day event of the season, reigning World Champion Cooper Davis refused to let the opportunity pass him by.

Davis won two rounds, a 15/15 Bucking Battle and the event average to earn a whopping 850 points toward the world standings in 36 hours this weekend. 

The 23-year-old moved up to No. 3 in the world standings and only trails world leader Kaique Pacheco by 549.17 points with six events remaining before the 2017 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals (Nov. 1-5).

Davis began the weekend 1,334.17 points behind Pacheco.

“Anytime you can get 850 points, it is a good weekend,” Davis said. “Sure it can always be better, but it dang sure could have been 850 points worse.”

Davis began his weekend by winning Round 1 with 87.5 points on Relentless Friday night. He then came back on Saturday with a Round 2 win on Roll Of The Dice (88.5 points) and a 15/15 Bucking Battle victory on Cut The Cord (90.5 points).

Davis had hoped to become the first rider in PBR history to win every round at a three-day event, as well as the 15/15 Bucking Battle, but came up short when he was bucked off by his Round 3 re-ride bull – – in 2.22 seconds.

With the other leaders in the event – Rubens Barbosa, Eduardo Aparecido and Brennon Eldred – all bucking off in Round 3, Davis had the top pick in the championship-round draft.

Davis elected to face off against Cooper Tire’s Brown Sugar for the fifth time in his career, but Chad Berger’s veteran bull bested the champion rider for the fourth time.   

“He is a smart, old bull that just as soon as you think you have him beat he steps ahead, sucks back, pulls you down,” Davis said. “He is one of the greatest bulls to ever come to the PBR as far as honesty and giving a man a shot, but you just can’t stub your toe and I did.”  

Rounding out the Top 5 in Springfield behind Davis and Barbosa was Rubens Barbosa (2-for-4, 340 world points), Emilio Resende (2-for-4, 262.5 world points) and Eduardo Aparecido (2-for-4, 125 world points.)

Aparecido will head into next weekend’s Wrangler’s Long Live Cowboys Classic, presented by Frontier Communications, in Austin, Texas, 150 points behind Pacheco for the world No. 1 ranking.

Pacheco breaks buckoff streak, but joins Lockwood on the injury report

Pacheco was able to finally put to rest his streak of eight consecutive buckoffs when he rode Opus for 84.75 points and a second-place finish in Round 3 Sunday afternoon.

However, Pacheco wound up sustaining a concussion during the championship round when Mudshark slammed him onto the arena floor in 2.39 seconds.

According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Pacheco is questionable for Austin.

Pacheco said prior to the championship round that it was good to finally get back to reaching the 8-second mark.

“I had seen him buck a couple of times and he was a little hard in the chute,” Pacheco said. “He was staying against the gate, but I am happy to do my job.”

The eight consecutive buckoffs had tied Pacheco’s career-high.

The third-year pro, though, said he wasn’t concerned or letting his frustration get the best of him.

“No, this is part of the life,” Pacheco said. “It is part of the sport. These things happen sometimes. All the bull riders stay at the top. Sometimes they buck off. I am just very happy to do my job.”

Meanwhile, No. 4 Jess Lockwood missed Championship Sunday because of a lower back injury he sustained during Saturday night’s 15/15 Bucking Battle when he got wrecked out by SweetPro’s Bruiser.

Lockwood believes the injury is more muscle-related, but he will head to Dallas Monday to get X-rays done and visit with Freeman, who listed Lockwood as questionable for Austin.

“My back is really sore and we did some tests on me,” Lockwood said. “Tandy said we should get some X-rays because there is a possibility there could be a little fracture in the vertebrae.”

Lockwood is only 590 points behind Pacheco in the world title race.

“We didn’t discuss any time table,” Lockwood said. “It is frustrating, but, heck, Cooper went through (an injury) last year and still won a world title. J.B. (Mauney) sat out two, three, four events this time last year and was one ride from a world title. It all just depends.

“It all boils down to how you ride at the Finals more or less. The points there are substantial.”

Lockwood plans on being cautious with the injury and listen to Freeman’s advice.

“Whatever I can do to make season easier,” Lockwood said. “It is a marathon, not a race.”

Injury Updates

Pacheco and Lockwood were not the only top riders hit with injuries this weekend.

No. 5 Derek Kolbaba bruised his right (free) hand when he was stepped on by Element 79 (6.54 seconds) in Round 3.

Kolbaba is tentatively scheduled to compete at the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event Tuesday night in Pendleton, Oregon, but will wait until then to decide if he will still compete.

There were only 10 riders available for the championship round after Lockwood, Gage Gay and Koal Livingston were unable to compete because of injuries.

Gay bruised his right arm (riding arm, triceps) and ulnar nerve when he was injured inside the bucking chute trying to get out on Switch Hitter. He was unable to take his re-ride and is questionable for Austin.

Livingston will go get X-rays done on his left ankle after spraining his ankle attempting to ride Smooth Over (1.85 seconds) in Round 3.

Ryan Dirteater will also be getting X-rays this week after being unable to compete Sunday because of right hip injury he sustained attempting to ride Catfish John (3.23 seconds) in the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Saturday.

Dirteater is questionable for Austin.

Cody Nance (concussion) did not compete Sunday, but is probable for Austin. 

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Aparecido in position to leave Springfield as new world No. 1 9-9-17

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Here are three things we learned from Round 2 and the 15/15 Bucking Battle of the Invitational Saturday night at JQH Arena.

Reigning World Champion Cooper Davis is on fire in Springfield with two round wins and a 15/15 Bucking Battle victory, but world No. 2 Eduardo Aparecido is right on his heels and quickly gaining ground on world leader Kaique Pacheco.

Aparecido rode La Malta for 86 points and a fifth-place finish Saturday night in Round 2 for 30 world points.

“This bull with Emilio (Resende) spinned left and last week in Thackerville he spinned right,” Aparecido said. “I was prepared for him to spin left or right. 86 points is a good score.”

The 27-year-old now trails world leader Pacheco, who was bucked off by Jesus N' Bocephus (4.36 seconds) in Round 2 and Jack Shot (3.09 seconds) in the 15/15 Bucking Battle, by 150 points.

Pacheco has bucked off eight consecutive bulls.

Meanwhile, Aparecido can leave Springfield on Sunday night as the new No. 1 bull rider and is in position to earn a PBR-best fourth event win.

The Gouvelandia, Brazil, bull rider is a flawless 2-for-2 and sitting third in the event average heading into Championship Sunday.

“This event is one of the most important before the Finals,” Aparecido said. “500 points is a lot.”

He will take on Call the Law (4-4, BFTS) in Round 3.

Aparecido now leads the PBR with 31 qualified rides and a 50-percent riding average, but he was bucked off by Burn It Down (6.21 seconds) in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

The five-year pro is attempting to go toe-to-toe with Davis in Springfield.

The reigning World Champion is leading the event average after winning Round 2 with an 88.25-point ride on Roll The Dice and is now within 984.17 points of Pacheco.

Davis is 4.25 points ahead of Aparecido in the average.  

The 2017 world title contenders are two of four riders that are a perfect 2-for-2 in Springfield. Rubens

Barbosa is splitting Davis and Aparecido after covering Seeing Red for 86.5 points.

Brennon Eldred is in search of his first Built Ford Tough Series win after notching his second ride of the weekend – 84.5 points on Devil’s Due.

Eldred – the No. 31 rider in the world standings – is 2-for-2 at a BFTS event for the first time in his career and is competing in just his sixth BFTS event.

“I am pretty happy to get my first two under my belt and am looking forward to tomorrow,” Eldred said. “That bull had a lot of forward movement in the front end so he tried to sit me on my ass the whole time and he just had me moving.”

Eldred takes on Vahalla (0-0, BFTS) in Round 3 and an event win would go a long way toward helping the Oklahoma bull rider earn his trip to the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals in November.

“It would be awesome to get that first win,” Eldred concluded. “That is what I came for and that is what I am looking for. I am just going to take it one bull at a time and let the chips fall as they may.”

Davis moves up to fourth in the world standings; wins 15/15 Bucking Battle

Don’t blink now, but 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis may just be making his biggest move of the year.

Davis continued his dominant surge in the Show Me State by riding Cut the Cord for 90.5 points to win the 15/15 Bucking Battle Saturday night less than an hour after winning Round 2 of the Invitational aboard Roll The Dice.

“He left with me really hard and I was sitting on my butt and I just had to keep making moves to get over there,” Davis said. “He definitely left hard today.”

The 23-year-old had already won Rounds 1 and 2 in Springfield to move up to No. 4 in the world standings before riding Cut the Cord for the second time this year. No other rider has successfully ridden the bull.

Joao Ricardo Vieira was the only other rider with a qualified ride in the 15/15 Bucking Battle after becoming the first rider to reach 8 seconds on Dusty’s Revenge, doing so for 87.5 points.

The three round wins gives Davis the PBR-lead with nine BFTS round wins this season and has helped him earn 350 world points in 24 hours.

Just like that and the defending champ is within 1,000 points of the world No. 1 ranking.

Davis has drawn Death Row (2-0, BFTS) for Round 3.

“I feel like I am in the zone right now,” Davis said. “When I get in the chute, I don’t think there is a bull in there that can beat me so I have the mindset that you have to have to win.”

SweetPro’s Bruiser earns 47.25-point bull score; knocks out Jess Lockwood

In the marquee matchup of the 15/15 Bucking Battle, SweetPro’s Bruiser put a licking on world No. 3 Jess Lockwood.

Bruiser was marked a career-high 47.25 points after bucking off Lockwood at the 6.06 second-mark in the bonus round on Saturday night.

The 6-year-old bull erupted out of the bucking chutes with Lockwood and reared backward a tad, dislodging Lockwood from his bull rope. Lockwood then came crashing down as Bruiser’s horn clipped Lockwood in the helmet and sent the second-year pro hard to the ground.

Lockwood was boarded out of the arena by the PBR Sports Medicine team and diagnosed by Dr. Tandy Freeman with a concussion.

According to Freeman, Lockwood, who rode Snowball for 86.25 points in Round 2, is questionable for Championship Sunday.

Lockwood was talkative after the event as he went through the PBR’s concussion protocol and testing. The 19-year-old also was complaining of lower back pain and left the arena with a bag of ice wrapped around his back.

The Volborg, Montana, bull rider is 540 points behind Pacheco in the world standings and is attempting to become the youngest World Champion in PBR history.

For Bruiser, the career-high bull score is a game-changer in the World Champion Bull race.

The race between Bruiser and No. 1 Pearl Harbor was already close heading into Springfield, but Bruiser’s score raises his World Champion Bull average – a bull’s top eight scores – to 46.25 points, which is only .03 points less than Pearl Harbor’s 46.28.

Injury Updates

Lockwood, who was also riding with a sprained left shoulder from Round 1, was not the only rider to get roughed up on Saturday night.

Cody Nance is also questionable for Round 3 because of a concussion. Nance was hit in the head by Hammer It Again’s horn during his 5.22-second buckoff in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

Matt Triplett did not compete in the 15/15 Bucking Battle and is out of competition because of a contusion of his left chest, shoulder blade, and latissimus from when he was kicked by Decoded in Round 2.

Mason Lowe is out of competition after aggravating his sprained right elbow in Round 2 attempting to ride Lucas Oil Air Up There.

Shane Proctor elected not to replace Lowe in the 15/15 Bucking Battle and will instead accept a one-week suspension for violating PBR rule

“In the event that a rider withdraws himself from competition in any round due to an injury that does not prevent him from being able to compete on the basis of being medically unfit as described in rule, that rider will be deemed ineligible for competition for the next BFTS event on the schedule.”

Proctor said he understood the rule and was OK with missing next weekend’s event in Austin, Texas.

Kurt Shephard was bucked off in Round 2 by Locke & Loaded after being diagnosed with a sprained left knee when he was stepped on Friday night in Round 1. 

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Aparecido cuts Pacheco’s lead to less than 200 points 9-8-17

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Invitational, presented by Bass Pro Shops, Friday night at JQH Arena.

Eduardo Aparecido was the man in the driver’s seat for the majority of the season, but the No. 2 rider in the world standings has since become the hunter.

Aparecido once again dialed in on his prey for a second week in a row.

The 27-year-old covered Smooth Over for 85.5 points, using his strength to counter Smooth Over’s high explosions in the arena, to finish Round 1 in fifth place.

“I had ridden this bull in Tulsa, and he bucked good with Emilio in Thackerville,” Aparecido said. “I knew I had to concentrate to ride this bull more. He really exploded. This is a good score for me.”

The finish earned Aparecido 30 points toward the world standings, and he now trails world leader Kaique Pacheco by only 180 points heading into Round 2 and the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Saturday night.

Pacheco was bucked off by CVM 346 in 2 seconds. The 22-year-old has bucked off six consecutive bulls.

It was another impressive showing from Aparecido, who has failed to earn world points in back-to-back weeks only one time this season.

Aparecido can gain even more ground, and potentially the world No. 1 ranking, on Saturday night.

He will first square off against La Malta (1-0, BFTS) in Round 2 before taking on Burn It Down (10-1, BFTS) in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

La Malta bucked off Ryan Dirteater in 4.17 seconds last week in Thackerville, Oklahoma, while Burn It Down is undefeated at 8-0 this season.

“Tomorrow is a 15/15 and there are a lot of points with three days,” Aparecido said. “This is important.”

One year ago Davis left Springfield in tears, this year it’s all smiles

A year ago, Cooper Davis left JQH Arena in tears during the middle of Round 1 after Dr. Tandy Freeman informed him he had a broken right clavicle.

Davis believed his season was potentially over and his hopes and dreams of a world title were possibly shattered.

What ensued is now history as Freeman used a plate and three screws to repair Davis’ shoulder, and Davis returned 17 days later to continue his eventual successful run at winning the 2016 world title.

Davis is now healthy and hoping to put together another run at the world title.

On Friday night, the No. 6 ranked rider in the world standings took another step toward repeating as World Champion by riding Relentless for 87.5 points to win Round 1.

“That was a really good bull that I had seen go left and go right,” Davis said. “I did my best to not set a trap for him and just ride him jump for jump.”

Davis reflected on how his emotions were a wreck a year ago in Springfield as he celebrated his Round 1 victory Friday night.

“I had tears in my eyes last year,” Davis admitted. “I thought it was over after Tandy told me I had a broken collarbone. I really didn’t give myself much of a chance not knowing. It feels really good to be back here and have a smile on my face walking around.”

Davis later added that without Freeman he would not have been introduced in Springfield this year as the reigning World Champion.

“I owe Tandy $1 million,” Davis said. “There is no way I can ever repay him. He is one of the biggest factors in our sport. If it was any other doctor, they probably would not have done the surgery and they probably wouldn’t have known how big the circumstances were and I would have been out probably until the Finals.”

The round win Friday gives Davis seven round wins this year and moves him to within 1,234.17 points of Pacheco.

He is tied with Chase Outlaw, Aparecido and Stormy Wing for the most round wins in 2017.

Davis will look for win No. 8 when he takes on Roll of the Dice (0-5, BFTS) in Round 2 and Cut the Cord (18-1, BFTS) in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

Roll of the Dice has been ridden in all five of his outs on the BFTS.

Davis previously rode Cut the Cord for 91 points in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in April.

“I am ready for it,” Davis said. “I had seen him go left last week and it is the same as today. I can’t set a trap for him. I have to take it jump for jump and keep sticking them.”

Livingston trying to earn World Finals berth despite needing shoulder surgery

Fresh on the heels of Davis Friday night was 19-year-old Koal Livingston.

The rookie is trying to battle through a left shoulder injury that will likely need to be repaired via surgery at some point this year, but that didn’t stop Livingston from riding Trump Train for 86.75 points and a second-place finish.

Immediately following the ride, though, Livingston went to grabbing at his left shoulder (free arm).

“It came completely out,” Livingston said. “Every time it rolls right out and then rolls right back in. I hit the ground and it was out and I went to roll over and it (was back in). I have a fracture and something is torn.

“I will get surgery done and hopefully it will be after the Finals if I make it.”

Livingston’s second-place performance earned 60 world points, which increases the No. 28 bull rider’s lead ahead of No. 35 J.W. Harris to 142.09 points.

“Man, I am just glad I can tough through it and do it,” Livingston said. “That is a confidence-builder. I have been needing to get one rode. I have been way past due and I finally got it done.”

Livingston will take on Pyscho Kid (1-0, BFTS) in Round 2.

The Burleson, Texas, native had thought about shutting his season down and getting surgery immediately, but Livingston doesn’t want to give up on his dream of making the World Finals just yet.

“The main reason I want to stay is I want to make my first run at the Finals,” Livingston said. “I have that determination. There are only six events left.

“I know I can tough through it.”

Rubens Barbosa (86.5 points on In Like Flynn), Mike Lee (86 points on Big Dirty) and Aparecido rounded out the Top 5 in Round 1.

There were a total of eight qualified rides. 

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

PUEBLO, Colo. – Only three days after being transported to a local hospital with multiple injuries, world No. 7 Fabiano Vieira was already thinking about the possibility of competing in less than two weeks at the Wrangler’s Long Live Cowboys Classic, presented by Frontier Communications, in Austin, Texas,

Vieira was bucked off to the inside of What the Heck during Round 2 of the WinStar World Casino & Resort Invitational on Sunday and was originally diagnosed with a dislocated left shoulder, concussion and broken jaw.

The 35-year-old will be unable to compete at this coming weekend’s Invitational, but Vieira isn’t ruling out an ambitious return to competition potentially in Austin.

RELATED: Click HERE for the complete Friday daysheet.

“Maybe, I’ll have to wait until Monday to listen to what Dr. Tandy (Freeman) will tell me,” Vieira said. “My shoulder is fine. If I’m OK, I will go compete in Austin.”

Vieira said that he will undergo a small procedure for his jaw Friday that will involve braces and elastic bands.

“Thank God, I do not need surgery,” Vieira said. “I just cracked the jaw. Only need to put braces on.”

Vieira is seventh in the world standings with seven events remaining in the Built Ford Tough Series regular season.

The Perola, Brazil, bull rider trails world leader Kaique Pacheco by 1,481.67 points.

He has only been able to eat soup since getting injured on Sunday afternoon, but had plans on beginning physical therapy at Fit-N-Wise Rehabilitation and Performance Center in Decatur, Texas, ASAP.

Vieira is one of three riders in the Top 10 of the world standings unable to compete because of injury.

Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney is continuing to recover from season-ending should surgery, while No. 5 Chase Outlaw is set to miss his second consecutive event because of a separated right shoulder.

Therefore, No. 36 Cody Rodeo Tyler, No. 37 Lachlan Richardson and No. 37 Kurt Shephard will continue their pursuits of a Top 35 spot as alternates.

Tyler fell to No. 36 in the world standings after PBR Canada sensation Brock Radford used a fourth-place finish in Stavely, Alberta, at the Glen Keeley Memorial bull riding to move inside the Top 35 of the world standings.

Radford had previously won the last four PBR Canada events he had entered in, and the 22-year-old is now set to make his Built Ford Tough Series debut this weekend.

Dating back to July 27, Radford has ridden 52.17 percent of his bulls (12-for-23).

Radford turned down an invitation to compete in Thackerville last weekend, and he told last week his goal is to win the 2017 PBR Canada championship.

RELATED: Radford wants to claim Canada championship. 

However, with no PBR Canada events on the schedule until Sept. 21, Radford can make the trek to the United States for his BFTS debut.

Radford has drawn Zorro The Torro (1-0, BFTS) for Round 1.

No. 35 J.W. Harris (lower abdominal injury) is opting to ride at the Fredericksburg, Texas, Touring Pro Division event on Saturday instead of Springfield.

Harris is only five points ahead of Tyler, while Radford sits 8.75 points ahead of Tyler.

Tyler has drawn High Test (7-1, BFTS) for Round 1.

Richardson and Shephard are 12.91 points behind the Top 35.

The two Team Australia Global Cup riders will take on Hangman (2-0, BFTS) and Call the Law, respectively, in Round 1.

Stormy Wing won Round 1 in Thackerville aboard Call the Law (3-4, BFTS).

No. 31 Aaron Kleier – a Global Cup representative for Team Australia as well – also turned down his Springfield invitation and is competing in Australia.

Riders are only required to compete at the BFTS level, barring an injury or excused absence, when they are ranked inside the Top 30 of the world standings.

Therefore, No. 39 Luis Blanco will get the final alternate position in Springfield. Blanco is 15.83 points behind Harris and will face Show Me Homie (4-0, BFTS) in Round 1.

No. 51 Nevada Newman is once again competing with an injury exemption and will have one more remaining after Springfield.

Newman is 140.41 points behind the Top 35 and will take on Sky Rocket (9-3, BFTS) in Round 1.

Zane Cook is competing as a Native American invite and has drawn Clover Mountain Beau (1-0, BFTS).

The Round 1 winner will attempt Shakey for an additional $5,000 Friday night.

Fans can watch Round 1 exclusively on PBR LIVE beginning at 8:45 p.m. ET.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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