NASHVILLE – A sense of urgency is necessary for the riders chasing Jose Vitor Leme in the world title race after the world No. 1 bull rider picked up his fifth event win Sunday at the PBR Ariat Music City Knockout, presented by Cooper Tires.
Dener Barbosa, the world No. 4 bull rider, has dropped 898.67 points behind Leme in the race for the PBR’s gold buckle and $1 million, doctoring out of the championship round after landing hard on his right shoulder in Round 2 following a 90-point ride on Young Man’s Blues.
Barbosa has been competing for the last month with a small fracture of his right scapula, and he was clearly in pain throughout the competition this weekend inside Bridgestone Arena.
The 27-year-old told PBR.com after the event that he expects to be ready for next weekend’s PBR Tractor Supply Co. Iron Cowboy, presented by Ariat, PBR Major in Fort Worth, Texas.
One rider can earn up to 345 points toward the world standings, and that chunk could get any of the riders back into the world title conversation with Leme.
ADDITIONAL INJURY UPDATES
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Cody Nance was transported to a local hospital after dislocating his hip when Safe Cracker bucked him off in 1.98 seconds on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Rookie of the Year leader Chase Dougherty will get an MRI on his left elbow (riding hand) after spraining it Sunday when Hanna Motors Power Dozer bucked him off against a post in 2.06 seconds. Dougherty, who also strained his left hip adductor muscles per Freeman, did say following the event he expects to be ready for Fort Worth.
Dougherty holds a slim 25-point lead on No. 2 rookie Rafael Henrique dos Santos.
2018 Rookie of the Year Keyshawn Whitehorse missed Championship Sunday after aggravating injuries he sustained in Little Rock, Arkansas, last weekend when Punisher ran him over in the 15/15 Bucking Battle. Whitehorse explained the biggest reason he was unable to compete in Round 2 was because of a lower back injury.
2012 PRCA champion Cody Teel missed the 15/15 Bucking Battle and championship Sunday because of a sprained right MCL he sustained when his knee brace broke during his 6.79-second buckoff against Good Night Robicheaux in Round 1.
Lucas Divino is in a battle to qualify for the World Finals, and he was able to move up one spot in the world standings despite separating his left lower ribs in Round 1. The now-No. 34 bull rider was pinned against the chutes before riding Big Man for 85 points. Divino competed with the injury Sunday, but WSM’s Trail of Tears bucked him off in 3.01 seconds.
Divino earned 11 world points in Fort Worth with a 16th-place finish. He is 12 points ahead of No. 36 Caic Cassio Carvalho.
World No. 21 Cole Melancon doctored out of Nashville Friday morning because of an ongoing hip injury. Melancon will meet with Dr. Tandy Freeman this week in Dallas for treatment, but the 27-year-old has every intention of competing at Iron Cowboy this coming weekend.
Melancon won the last Iron Cowboy title last season when he made his premier series debut in downtown Los Angeles at STAPLES Center.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media