NEWARK, N.J. – Chase Dougherty is still awaiting the arrival of an elbow brace that will hopefully help him finish out the 2021 season despite a torn UCL in his riding arm, but he finally got something else he thinks he needed Sunday.
Dougherty earned his first qualified ride since being diagnosed with the injury in the middle of August by riding Dr. X for 89.75 points on Sunday during Round 2 of the PBR ZipRecruiter Invitational, ending a streak of six consecutive buckoffs.
“I just needed that little bit of confidence,” Dougherty said. “Like, ‘I know you’re hurting, but you can still do this.’ And I knew that’s what I needed, too. That’s why I’m still going, even though I don’t have that brace on. I just need that little bit of confidence.”
Dougherty, who also got dirt and rocks in his eye during his Round 1 buckoff on Saturday, was unable to ride Preacher’s Kid (6.1 seconds) in the championship round Sunday. He saw his lead in the Rookie of the Year race get cut to 16.5 points as Rafael Henrique dos Santos finished Newark 2-for-3 and in seventh place.
Santos was competing for the first time after sitting out the past three events because of broken ribs. Santos, who still has four broken ribs, looked pretty impressive despite the injury. The 26-year-old began his weekend with 86.76 points on Step That Step and 87.25 points on Pneu-Dart’s Coal Miner.
I’m a Secret bucked Santos off in 4.72 seconds in the championship round.
There are five regular-season Unleash The Beast events remaining before the 2021 PBR World Finals on Nov. 3-7 in Las Vegas.
The UTB heads to Deadwood, South Dakota, next weekend for the PBR Monster Energy Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires.
Dougherty, the No. 9-ranked bull rider in the world, joked that he looked like a bareback rider in Newark with the amount of tape wrapped around his elbow and that he is looking forward to finally getting his brace this week.
“My elbow hurts, and it sucks,” Dougherty said. “But I can’t really tell when I’m riding, but then when I get off, it’s like, ‘Man, that really hurts.’”
Dougherty then laughed.
“But no, it ain’t too bad.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media