PUEBLO, Colo. – 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis was working a bull riding and bullfighting school with Matador Beef Jerky Bull Fighter Frank Newsom last week in Mound City, Kansas, when he simply couldn’t take it any longer.
Davis had been teaching aspiring bull riders throughout the three-day school and being back on the bucking chutes only added more gasoline to the fire that has been building up in Davis’ body for the last month.
The Jasper, Texas, cowboy wanted to get on a bull and he didn’t feel like waiting another week until the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event in Big Sky, Montana.
Therefore, Davis borrowed some gear and hopped on a practice bull.
“Man, I am kind of feeling like I am ready to go again,” Davis said this week before heading to Big Sky Country for this weekend’s event. “I just entered it last minute. I kind of got that itch back again. I am ready to get on something again.
Davis has not competed since being bucked off by Seven Dust in 2 seconds during a $25,000 matchup against two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney in Vinita, Oklahoma, on June 17.
The 24-year-old doctored out of the Calgary Stampede earlier this month and has taken the last 40 days off to rest his injured right groin, which held him out of the final night of Last Cowboy Standing at the end of May.
The time off not only helped him physically improve, but it also let his mind escape the rigors of the Built Ford Tough Series grind and his first run as the defending World Champion.
In comparison, Davis had 59 days from winning the 2016 world title to the start of the 2017 season. However, those 59 days featured a slew of media requests, a championship parade, celebration parties and a recovery from broken ribs.
This recent break is the most time Davis has ever gone without getting on a bull during the summer months in his brief three-year PBR career.
“I don’t know if I have ever felt this rejuvenated because I have never taken this long off,” Davis said. “I feel great now.”
Davis is 10th in the world standings and very much alive in the 2017 world title race. However, he is a decent 1,501.67 points behind world leader Eduardo Aparecido.
It is a stark difference to the 795.33-point deficit Davis faced last year in mid-August.
“I rode like crap, honestly,” Davis said of the 2017 first half. “For me to even be close to within reason, I think I always have a chance. The first half, I was kind of just there to be there. I wasn’t really feeling it a whole lot. As long as I am having fun, I will probably be staying on bulls. That is something I didn’t do a whole lot in the first half. Whether it was worrying about (my son) Mack or winning the year before and having to deal with all the added pressure. I don’t know. It wasn’t fun to me.
“Taking the summer off for the most part was going to make a difference of it being fun again. I am just ready to be back. Whether the second half is different or not, at least right now I want to go back and get on bulls. “
Davis may be able to sneakily become the second back-to-back World Champion in PBR history if he can channel the kind of run he had last year, when he rode 63.63 percent of his bulls (21-for-33) and won three events during the final three months of the season and the World Finals.
He also admits he did some bull riding soul searching this summer.
“If anything, I reflected this summer on what it took to get there,” Davis said. “This summer has been fun. We had fun at home. I guess sitting there thinking about it and going to the gym. I don’t know. My fire is back in me. That is one way to put it. It has just been fun being a home and not worrying about getting on a plane for a few weeks.”
During a 20-minute phone interview with PBR.com this week, Davis sure sounded a lot like Mauney normally does towards the end of the summer break.
Mauney, who underwent season-ending shoulder surgery on July 18, has historically taken the summer off from competition to recharge mentally and physically.
“He doesn’t go near as much other guys go in the summer time. I don’t know his reasoning, but I can definitely see an upside for it now,” Davis said. “With me being off, I don’t know. That break is good for everybody, but I don’t know. I don’t know if I have ever been this excited to get on a bull.”
Matter of fact, Mauney overcame a 1,350-point deficit in 2015 to win the world title after competing in only two summer events.
Big Sky will be Davis’ third and final event before the BFTS resumes on Aug. 12 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Davis can take a small stab – 80 points – out of Aparecido, who has only competed in one PBR Brazil event this summer, with a victory at the Big Sky Town Center – Sage Brush Field.
Fans can watch the event this weekend exclusively on Ultracast beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
Available for iOS and Android devices, fans simply need to download the Ultracast app in the App store or by visiting www.ultracast.com/app to watch this weekend’s action in 360˚.
Davis finished second in Big Sky last year with a 92.5-point ride on Set ‘em Up Joe.
“Big Sky is one I don’t want to miss,” Davis concluded. “The groin is fine. Giving it a little over two months to heal and it feels great and strong. Along with the rest of my body.
“This weekend will be a fun one to be back at.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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