PUEBLO, Colo. - With the first half of the 2017 Built Ford Tough Series now in the rearview mirror, and the stretch run to the 2017 Build Ford Tough World Finals on the horizon, PBR.com is taking a look back at the story so far. The first half of the season was full of history and memorable moments, meaning anything is possible once the BFTS returns to Tulsa, Oklahoma, Aug. 12-13.
Pacheco stands tall in Las Vegas
Kaique Pacheco is a creature of habit, always keeping his cool and focusing on bringing the consistency he needs to give himself a shot at a World Championship.
True to his nature, Pacheco used a 2-for-3 performance to be the Last Cowboy Standing in Las Vegas for the second year in a row. He closed things out with a 90-point ride on Spotted Demon in Round 3, his first 90-point ride of the year.
“I am very happy for this win,” Pacheco said. “This is a very important event. This is one of the biggest events of the year. I am very proud of this accomplishment. I am also very happy God has been with me throughout my entire life. This event helps me get more points and more money.”
The win was Pacheco’s third PBR Major victory of his career and earned him a career-high $150,100 and, more importantly, 825 world points.
Unlike last season, Pacheco did not take over the lead in the world standings. World No. 1 Eduardo Aparecido did pick up some points in Las Vegas, and headed into the BFTS summer break 180 points ahead of his countryman.
Considering that Pacheco came up short in the chase for his first World Championship on the last day of the World Finals last year, it’s not out of the question to say that still having a hill to climb could provide Pacheco with the push he’ll need to finally break through.
Shane Proctor shocks the Tacoma Dome
The conversation for the best bull of the first half of the BFTS season begins and ends with Pearl Harbor. Chad Berger’s dominant bovine athlete had destroyed every rider brave enough to face him, while also putting up massive bull scores.
Before arriving in Tacoma, Washington, Pearl Harbor had set a career-high when he disposed Matt Triplett to the tune of a 47.5-point bull score in Billings, Montana.
So it was understandable that, despite having the home state crowd on his side, Shane Proctor was the underdog in their 15/15 Bucking Battle matchup.
Proctor reversed that narrative 8 seconds later when he conquered the World Champion Bull contender for 93.5 points.
“Everything went my way today,” Proctor said. “I bucked off the not as hard to ride one (Long Haired Outlaw in 5.86 seconds) in the long round, so I couldn’t finish the day with two buckoffs. In front of the home state crowd, they are very supportive of Derek (Kolbaba) and I. It means the world to me to have that bull and that matchup here.”
The score was the highest of Proctor’s career, and it quickly became one of the most memorable moments of his bull riding life.
“The stars aligned and it was meant to be,” Proctor said.
Stormy Wing strikes twice in Tacoma
Stormy Wing had never won more than one BFTS event in season before his victory in Tacoma, Washington. He had also never had quite the first-half he has enjoyed so far this season. But if you ask him, he will act like it’s just another day at the office.
Wing went 3-for-3 in Tacoma, including an 89-point ride on More Big Bucks to win the championship round, and seal the victory. He became the fourth rider this season to win multiple events in the first half.
Wing has not let the success of his career year distract him, though, and he has maintained that he is still the rider he has always been. The difference now, is that the breaks have gone his way.
“You could say that,” Wing responded, “but I always rode good. Things are just coming together. My ducks are in a row. It is all just coming together because of the man upstairs. I have a good family. Good sponsors and a little girl I love.
“It is very humbling.”
J.B. Mauney, one of Wing’s best friends, always knew he had the talent. According to Mauney, it is less about doing anything new, and more about the time just being right.
“He has kind of been on and off in the past,” Mauney said. “When he first showed up on tour as a rookie, he rode like that. Then he went through a couple of years of dry spells, but he knows how to ride bulls and he is putting it all together now.”
For his part, Wing has made sure to not get too high or too low during his run, and just focus on showing up and hanging on.
“I just have to keep that train on the tracks,” Wing said.
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