TACOMA, Wash. – Here are three things we learned from the Tacoma Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, this weekend at the Tacoma Dome.
Pearl Harbor takes over world No. 1 bull ranking with rebound performance
Pearl Harbor regained his World Champion dominance Sunday afternoon less than 24 hours after catching his horn leaving the bucking chute and only being scored 45.25 points for bucking off Jess Lockwood in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
The 6-year-old bovine superstar crushed Fernando Henrique Novais to the dirt in 5.89 seconds during the championship round for a 47.5-point bull score to take over the world No. 1 bull ranking from SweetPro’s Bruiser, who was not competing this weekend.
“It is just such power and strength,” reigning Stock Contractor of the Year Chad Berger said. “He throws them guys so hard. Just look at these guys the last two weeks. (PBR Sports Medicine) has had to carry these guys out. I don’t want that to happen, but I think he has a lot of pure strength.”
Pearl Harbor is now 10-0 this season and has a World Champion Bull average (the average of a bull’s Top 8 outs) of 46.25 points.
“If you keep throwing your name in the hat, it is like winning a door prize,” Berger said. “The more names you have in there; the better chance you have to win. He is feeling good and we will play it by ear if we go to Billings or Columbus with him.”
Berger decided to open the back slide behind Pearl Harbor in the bucking chute on Sunday afternoon and tied a rope on the steel to give his bull a little more room to back up and clear the chute clearly instead of hooking his horn.
“It worked good,” Berger said. “We put that rope behind him and got him a little more room. He busted out of there good. It is something I have done with a lot of my bulls and (PBR Director of Livestock Cody) Lambert mentioned it to me a couple of weeks ago. I figured today would be a good time to try it and see how it works.”
The experiment with the extra room worked on Sunday, and Berger plans to keep that going in the future.
“Oh yeah. I don’t think we will ever try it again without it,” Berger concluded.
Lima takes back the world lead less than 24 hours after losing it
It didn’t take long for Ramon de Lima to regain the No. 1 ranking in the world standings.
Lima rode Rising Sun for 88.75 points to win the championship round and propel himself to a second-place finish overall in Tacoma.
“I was kind of having a bad slump and my shoulder has been hurting a little bit,” Lima said with the help of Paulo Crimber translating on RidePass. “The guys helped me choose a good bull. I picked a good bull and tonight I rode with my heart. Just like a cowboy.”
Lima is once again the No. 1 rider in the world standings after No. 3 Luciano de Castro had leapfrogged him for the top spot by winning Round 1 on Saturday night.
Lima finished 2-for-3 and earned 370 world points to take a 144.17-point lead on No. 2 Cody Nance into next weekend’s Stanley Performance in Action Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, in Billings, Montana.
Nance rode Red Bandana for 88 points in the championship round to cap his 2-for-3, third-place (230 world points) performance.
Castro dropped two spots in the world standings and was unable to finish the event after sustaining a concussion during his 3.61-second buckoff against Dusty’s Revenge in Round 2.
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Castro is questionable for Billings.
Perennial title contender Pacheco wins first event of 2018
Any talk of a slump for Kaique Pacheco can officially be put to rest.
The 23-year-old was flawless and concise during his 3-for-3 performance this weekend at the Tacoma Invitational.
Pacheco notched his first event win of 2018 by riding Indian Medicine for 88.25 points to walk out of the Tacoma Dome with 460 world points.
“I knew about him before that he was a great bull,” Pacheco said with Crimber translating. “My friends in the back told me that it was a great pick and I knew I had everything I needed to win first place and I got the job done. Thank God for that.”
After beginning the season 7-for-27, Pacheco has now posted three consecutive Top 5 finishes and is 10-for-12 in his last three events.
The 2015 Rookie of the Year heads to Billings ranked ninth in the world standings and is only 667.5 points behind Lima.
Pacheco used two 84-point rides in Rounds 1 & 2 aboard Deep Water and Deplorable Me to enter the championship round in third place.
Following his ride on Indian Medicine, Pacheco then looked on as South Texas Gangster disposed of Eduardo Aparecido in 2.48 seconds and Like A Boss took down Sean Willingham in 3.37 seconds to clinch Pacheco the victory.
“I am really happy about this,” Pacheco said. “I am happy about the work I got done. I felt weak in the past and this weekend was good. I always think when you do a great job, winning is a consequence. I focused on doing my job right, and I knew something good would come with it.”
2017 World Champion Jess Lockwood did not compete in the championship round after bruising his left hand, abdomen and groin during his 4.97-second buckoff against Joe Blow in Round 2.
Lockwood had tried to select Talking Smack from the sports medicine room during a confusing championship-round draft scenario before he ultimately chose not to compete in the championship round.
Three-time World Champion Silvano Alves was bucked off in 7.48 seconds in the championship round by Shelley’s Gangster after bruising his neck during his 79.75-point ride on Set ‘em Up Joe in Round 2.
Nathan Burtenshaw broke his right collarbone when he was hit by Hell Bound’s horn during his second- round buckoff.
Juan Carlos Contreras sustained a right hip pointer when he was stepped on after being thrown from Pile Driver in 3.73 seconds.
BEHIND THE CHUTES TACOMA NIGHT 1 (4-14-18)
TACOMA, Wash. – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Tacoma Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, on Saturday night at the Tacoma Dome.
Castro wins Round 1 to become world No. 1 rider
Luciano de Castro’s voice may have been a little uneasy on Saturday night as he described his nervousness about returning to competition for the first time since tearing his right MCL four weeks ago, but his riding was far from shaky.
Castro rode his re-ride bull Beast of Burden for 88.75 points to win Round 1 and take over the world No. 1 ranking.
“I just want to thank God,” Castro said with the help of Paulo Crimber translating. “It is a really special night. Every cowboy dreams to be in the No. 1 position. I have been hurt and I didn’t know how it was going to be like with my (knee) brace. Everything went fine.”
Castro earned 100 points for the round victory and moves ahead of No. 2 Ramon de Lima by 30 points.
Lima finished in fifth place in Round 1 for 30 world points by riding Stars and Stripes for 86 points.
Castro admitted earlier in the evening that he was unsure how his knee would respond in his first competition since tearing his MCL during his 87-point ride on Acting Crazy at the Ty Murray Invitational.
However, he didn’t hesitate when he was awarded a re-ride option after an underwhelming performance from Drain The Swamp and a 72-point score.
“My knee hurt a little bit, but I figured I could do another one,” Castro said. “It worked out perfect.”
Lima nearly regained the world lead from Castro in the 15/15 Bucking Battle before bucking off More Big Bucks in 7.79 seconds.
Castro had bucked off Livin’ Large in 3.56 seconds in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
The 21-year-old will now look to follow 2017 World Champion Jess Lockwood’s lead and earn the event victory in his first event back from injury.
Castro has drawn Dusty's Revenge (19-1, PBR UTB) for Round 2 on Sunday at the Tacoma Dome.
Lockwood, who was bucked off by Pearl Harbor in the 15/15 Bucking Battle before failing to reach 8 seconds on his re-ride bull I Always Stand, won the Unleash The Beast event last weekend in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, after missing two weeks with a riding hand injury.
Rounding out the Top 5 in Round 1 was Sean Willingham (87.25 points on Jasper), Marco Eguchi (87.25 points on Freckles) Lockwood (86.25 points on Mortimer) and Lima.
Willingham had last made the 8-second mark on the premier series on March 20, 2015.
He also won a premier series event in Tacoma in 2006.
“It has been a long time ain’t it?” Willingham said. “I think it is time to change the date and do it again this year.”
Willingham moved from 50th in the world standings to 42.
The 36-year-old announced earlier this year that 2018 will be his final season.
Willingham is only 65 points behind No. 35 Cody Heffernan to re-gain a spot on the Unleash The Beast heading into Round 2.
“Time never runs out in this sport,” Willingham said. “You never know what to expect or what is going to happen. You just keep plucking along every weekend going, going and going. When it is meant to be, it is meant to be. I got the call late this week on Wednesday and I said I will be there.
“I am here now and I need to capitalize on it tomorrow and be here for the rest of the year.”
World No. 4 Leme tears left ACL during 15/15 Bucking Battle
Jose Vitor Leme sat in the PBR Sports Medicine room and tried to comprehend what tearing his left ACL may mean.
Leme was bucked off by Shelley’s Gangster in 4.94 seconds and landing awkwardly on his left knee.
The 21-year-old will undergo an MRI on Tuesday to determine the extent of his injuries, but Dr. Tandy Freeman has initially diagnosed Leme with a torn ACL.
“When I got bucked off, I had one leg in the air and the other one touched the ground,” Leme said with the help of Crimber translating. “Then I felt my knee pop. I hope for the best it won’t be too bad. I feel like tomorrow I will be good to go, but I will do an MRI on Tuesday to make sure it is nothing worse.”
Leme is fourth in the world standings and only 120 points behind Castro.
The 2017 Rookie of the Year may still ride on Championship Sunday, but he is unsure of how his body will respond or how he will respond.
If the MRI confirms the tear, it would be the first time Leme has ever tore a ligament.
“It is hard to say how bad it is because I have never been hurt before,” Leme said. “I am not proud to be like this. I have never been injured in my whole life and to be out of competition. If it does get to a point where I can’t ride, this would be a first.”
Nance wins 15/15 Bucking Battle
In an unexpected turn of events, all it took to win the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Saturday was a qualified ride.
Cody Nance was the only rider to cover his bull and rode Painted Pudge for 84.75 points as the other 14 riders in the bonus round all bucked off their respective bulls.
“A win is a win,” Nance said. “Painted Pudge was supposed to jump and kick and go out there either way. They said he had been rode a couple of times, but I never had seen him. I looked up some videos this week and he looked good. Justin (McBride) came up to me before the bull riding and said that bull fits me good. He said, ‘You just stay up there at that front end like you do and keep scratching and clawing and you will ride him.’ That is what I did. Praise God.”
Nance earned 150 world points for his second career 15/15 Bucking Battle win and the No. 3 rider in the world standings is a mere 64.17 points behind regaining the world No. 1 ranking for the first time since 2014.
“Every one of them counts toward the world title like they announce all night long,” Nance said.
It was a 15/15 Bucking Battle of what ifs and close calls with four riders bucking off past the 7-second mark – Lima, Lockwood, Eduardo Aparecido (7.51 seconds on Fire & Smoke) and Cooper Davis (7.32 seconds on Catfish John).
Spotted Demon was the high-marked bull of the 15/15 Bucking Battle with 45.5 points for taking care of Kaique Pacheco in 4.23 seconds.
“I was a little nervous because he had ridden him before so for him to have a good trip makes me happy,” stock contractor Julio Moreno said. “I want the guys to ride them, but to see him buck him off was pretty good. That helps Spotted Demon stay in the race.”
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Paulo Lima sustained a bruised right elbow (riding arm) when he was stepped on by Clifford in Round 1. Lima is questionable for Round 2.
Rosendo Ramirez is questionable as well after sustaining a concussion when he was bucked off by White Dynomite on Saturday night.
Wallace de Oliveira aggravated a pre-existing right knee sprain when he was
thrown from Humberto in Round 1.
TACOMA DRAW: TITLE CONTENDERS CASTRO AND DIRTEATER RETURNING (4-11-18)
PUEBLO, Colo. – World No. 2 Luciano de Castro had to miss two events after tearing his right MCL during his 87-point ride on Acting Crazy at the Ty Murray Invitational.
The good news, though, is that Castro wound up not losing any ground to world No. 1 bull rider Ramon de Lima, and Castro is still only 40 points behind Lima.
Castro is set to return for this weekend’s Tacoma Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, in the same world ranking where he left off.
“My knee is very good,” Castro said via text message. “Thanks to God this week I will be back.”
Castro has drawn Drain The Swamp (0-0, PBR UTB) for Round 1. Fans can watch Round 1 on RidePass beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
The 21-year-old is 16-for-30 this season in 11 events and his 53.33-percent riding average is the third highest in the PBR.
Castro had been on a tear prior to his injury. He had four consecutive Top-6 finishes, including a victory in North Little Rock, Arkansas, as well as a second and third-place finish in St. Louis and Arlington, Texas.
Also returning in Tacoma is No. 12 Ryan Dirteater, who will square off against Chopper (1-2, PBR UTB) in Round 1.
Dirteater had originally thought he needed to undergo surgery to repair a torn meniscus following the Ak-Chin Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, in Glendale, Arizona, but tests eventually revealed no tear.
“I didn’t have to have surgery,” Dirteater said. “My prayers were answered. Everything looked good except for my PCL, which I tore it a few years back. It was really a bad sprain and bruised knee. I’ll be 100 percent ready to go next weekend.
“Don’t give up on me.”
Dirteater sat out last weekend’s event in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but he did get on two practice bulls on Tuesday evening thanks to his friend Jerry Halpain.
The 28-year-old has also been doing daily resistance band exercises to help strengthen his knee.
Meanwhile, injuries continue to ravage the Top 35 in the world standings with 11 riders not competing in Tacoma.
The biggest name is two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney, who is out for six weeks, according to Dr. Tandy Freeman, because of T1 and T2 compression fractures in his back.
Also not competing is No. 8 Dener Barbosa (broken right foot), No. 9 Cody Teel (broken left ankle), No. 13 Derek Kolbaba (torn right ACL/MCL), No. 17 Guilherme Marchi (fractured sternum/broken rib/right sternoclavicular sprain), No. 18 Dakota Buttar (illness), No. 19 Gage Gay (right reconstructive knee surgery), No. 22 Emilio Resende (left shoulder surgery), No. 29 Fraser Babbington (ineligible), No. 31 Chase Robbins (right elbow) and No. 34 Brady Oleson (wrist/shoulder).
There will be 12 alternates trying to catch No. 35 Cody Heffernan in the standings – No. 37 Juan Carlos Contreras (-15 points back), No. 38. Cody Campbell (-41.67 points), No. 39 Colten Jesse (-45 points), No. 40 Brock Radford (-52.5 points), No. 41 Paulo Lima (-59.17 points), No. 42 Lindomar Lino (-70 points), No. 42 Justin Granger (-70 points), No. 44 Wallace de Oliveira (-72.5 points), No. 47 Michael Lane (-100 points), No. 49 Rubens Barbosa (-103.34), No. 50 Sean Willingham (-120 points) and No. 51 Fernando Henrique Novais (-135 points).
Heffernan is making his season debut on the UTB after going 13-for-30 (43.33 percent) in PBR Australia. The 2016 PBR Australia champion has been on a surge of late with six consecutive rides.
The 28-year-old has won two events this season and is coming off a third-place showing at the Wadonga Invitational.
Heffernan takes on Dennis The Menace (1-2, PBR UTB) Saturday night.
Radford has also used international success to push himself back onto the Unleash The Beast after competing in two events earlier this season.
The 22-year-old won the PBR Canada Monster Energy event in Calgary on March 24 for 120 world points and won last weekend’s Touring Pro Division event in Irvins, Utah, for an additional 60 points.
Radford will see Crazy Days (19-11, PBR UTB) inside the Tacoma Dome.
Rosendo Ramirez (PBR Mexico) is competing via an exemption.
World leader Ramon de Lima takes his 40-point lead atop the world standings into his Round 1 matchup with Wolf Cry (6-3, PBR UTB).
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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