DENVER – While some would be completely frustrated about being cut from the PBR’s top tour, it may have been a blessing in disguise for Paulo Lima.
Lima is in the process of trying to regain a spot on the 25th PBR: Unleash the Beast Series after losing his spot from the 2017 tour in March.
However, Lima was happy to go home seeing as his wife, Maria Eduarda, had given birth to the couple’s first child, a baby girl named Maria Flor, that same month.
“I went back to Brazil to see my baby and I decided to stay and ride there seeing as I was out here,” Lima said with the help of Silvano Alves translating on Monday night. “I rode in some rodeos there. I was happy to stay with my family there, but riding bulls I was little sad because I want to stay here in ride bulls.”
Lima’s family has since joined him back in the United States in December, and Lima is giving them plenty to cheer about of late.
The 30-year-old is leading the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour Denver PBR Chute Out at the National Western Stock Show following an 87.5-point ride on Foolish & Cruel on Monday night.
“I am very happy because the bull bucked really good and I was in perfect position on top of the bull. I was 100 percent with the bull. It was a good score.”
Lima had his right shoulder (free arm) in a sling after hitting the ground hard on his get off. Lima doesn’t expect to let the injury keep him from riding during Wednesday night’s finale.
“I don’t think I dislocated it,” Lima said. “I just hit it hard when I got off tonight. It was a bad position to fall. Sports medicine looked at my shoulder and they said I just need to do a lot of exercise. (The sling) is to keep it safe so I can ride Wednesday.”
Lima has been one of the hottest riders on the Velocity Tour since he won 2018 season-opener in Ontario, California.
He is 7-for-10 on the Velocity Tour with a victory, a runner-up finish in Peoria, Illinois, and a fourth-place finish in Bakersfield, California.
In fact, Lima’s seven qualified rides match the seven rides he had in all of 2017 at all levels of PBR competition.
Lima competed primarily at ACR rodeos in Brazil during his time home before he returned to the United States in October for the final three regular-season Velocity Tour events.
He is 16th in the PBR world standings.
“I am very happy,” Lima said. “I have had my concentration. With all of my family here together it is a good support system. All of the things are good for me here. This is the first time they will stay for a year.”
It was only two years ago that Lima was the No. 1 bull rider in the world standings after winning the Monster Energy Buck off at the Garden.
The Top 30 riders from the first two nights of competition qualify to ride on Wednesday in Denver. The winner of this event will earn an exemption to Iron Cowboy on Feb. 24.
Zane Cook finished second in Denver on Monday with 86.5 points on Big Sexy.
“That was much needed,” Cook admitted. “I haven’t been capitalizing like I should. I felt really good tonight. He was really good. He had a lot of timing and was right around the left away from my hand. I just tapped off and felt perfect on him.”
18-year-old Coy Robbins was third with 84.5 points on Compact for his first qualified ride since breaking his wrist and sustaining a concussion at the PBR Global Cup in Edmonton.
“I never did nothing for about a month and even when I started working out again I could tell my cardio was down,” Robbins said. “Compact was an old bull and I saw they were 88, 89, 90, 91 on him quite a few years ago, but I came in here with the same attitude I had my whole bull riding career. One jump at a time.
“It worked out super good.”
Rounding out the Top 5 was Todd Chotowetz (84 points on Juicy Fruit) and Riker Carter (83 points on Lucky Sevens).
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
© 2018 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.