NEW YORK – It has been awhile – four seasons, to be exact – but Stetson Lawrence has been in this opportunity at a PBR Major before.
Lawrence came oh so close in 2015 to picking up a PBR Major victory when he finished runner-up at Iron Cowboy and Last Cowboy Standing to Joao Ricardo Vieira.
The Williston, North Dakota, bull rider is once again back in contention for a potential $100,000 payday when he heads to Madison Square Garden on Sunday for the final two rounds of the Monster Energy Buck Off at The Garden, presented by Ariat.
The 30-year-old split the Round 2 victory Saturday night with Emilio Resende when he covered Kimes Jeans Church Bells for 87.25 points.
“I got that first re-ride and I’d been on that bull two years ago in Sioux Falls,” Lawrence said. “I was 86 or something on him then. He’s just a good, solid bull. He has great timing that you can set your hips on and get a lot of points.”
Lawrence is in fifth place in the event average after previously riding Bad Black for 82 points in Round 1 on Friday. He trails event leader Jess Lockwood by 5.5 points.
Lawrence is set to take on Top Hat (2-1, UTB) in Round 3 and pursue his first PBR Major victory.
Fans can watch Round 3 on RidePass at 1:45 p.m. ET and CBS Sports Network at 8 p.m. ET.
“It’d be special,” Lawrence said of getting his first PBR Major victory. “We’ll talk about that if it happens. It would get the monkey off my shoulders, for sure, but I ain’t worried about it until it happens.”
After finishing 26th in the world standings last season, Lawrence wants to make sure he rides more loose and cool in 2019.
That kind of composure will be essentially necessary if he hopes to pick up a career-changing victory on Sunday.
“This whole year I’ve just tried not to think about it too much,” Lawrence said. “Just do my job and don’t get overexcited. Last year, I was trying so hard at the end there, and I was just fighting my head. So this year’s a clean slate, and just go and do my thing.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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