SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Newcomer Marco Eguche had
said "the time will come" for him to win a Built Ford Tough Series
That time was Sunday afternoon at Power Balance Pavilion.
For the second consecutive event, Egucke had the first pick in the bull draft for the Built Ford Tough Championship Round. Last week, he came up short when he bucked off Buckey. This time he selected Priceless and rode him for 92.25 points.
"It's not my will that determines it," said Eguche of his first career BFTS win. "It's God's will."
The youngster from Brazil said he "wanted it bad" and was determined to make the 8-second whistle this week.
The Sao Paulo native said, "I am nostalgic and homesick for Brazil and my family. Every day away from Brazil is an inspiration to do well here."
Eguche climbed into the bucking chute needing 85.25 points or better to reclaim the lead from reigning World Champion Silvano Alves, who was atop the average after riding How We Roll for 89.5 points.
Eguche is currently ranked third in the world standings.
The 22-year-old has ridden nine of 14 bulls and qualified for three of four championship rounds. His 64.29 percent riding average is third best among the Top 10 riders in the world. He's recorded back-to-back scores of 90 points or more, and for the second week in a row, he rode Priceless for 90 or better.
"I want to be the World Champion," he said, "and be a champion in life."
'I want to be the World Champion, and be a champion in life.'
NEWS & NOTES
SHIFT AT THE TOP: The top of the world standings changed for the first time in a few weeks. Luke Snyder, who is fourth, was briefly No.1 for a second time this year after covering his first-round bull and watching both Valdiron de Oliveira and Austin Meier buck off.
However, all three rode in the first PBR 15/15 Bucking Battle.
Snyder said with the standings being as tight as they are, round-wins could be the difference. The comment proved prophetic as Oliveira won the round with a crowd-rousing 94 points on Buckey and Meier finished second, while Snyder split fourth and fifth.
Oliveira and Meier both rode again in Round 2, but none of the three made it back to the championship round. Oliveira remains atop the standings with Meier in second, followed by Eguche, who won the Sacramento event. Snyder, who bucked off in Round 2, is now fourth.
Reigning World Champion Silvano Alves, who finished second in the average, is now fifth in the world standings.
ANOTHER BUCKLE?: Prior to Sunday's final two rounds in Sacramento, Guilherme Marchi and Alves were in the locker room when Marchi asked his 24-year-old pal from Brazil if he was feeling the pressure of being the reigning World Champion.
"He said, 'No. I'm good. I'm the same rider,'" Marchi explained. "He said he didn't change anything and 'I love what I do.'" Marchi had good reason for the question. He still remembers what it was like for him in 2009, the year after he easily won the title with little or no competition.
"I am very happy with my performance right now," said Alves. "I want to keep riding all my bulls. I drew good bulls, but some bulls didn't buck really good with me. I just keep riding all my bulls and trying to finish strong again."
Despite having the highest riding percentage (83.33 percent) in the world, this was the first time all season Alves finished a BFTS event in the Top 5, and only the second time in four events he finished in the Top 10. "That happens sometimes," he said. "I don't care. I'm just happy to ride all my bulls."
According to Marchi, Alves is confident he can ride any bull, and that everyone - including himself - will have to wait until after the World Finals to see if he can win a second world title. In 18 previous seasons, there has never been a back-to-back champion in the history of the PBR.
Marchi said Alves is a strong rider, and that last year he showed everyone just how dominant he can be. At 24 years old, he has the potential to win multiple gold buckles. Alves won the 2011 title by riding 11 more bulls than any other rider in the PBR.
Jory Markiss earned 655.5 points in Sacramento, Calif., moving to 22nd in the world in a single weekend.
EYEING THE CUT: No rider made up as much ground
in Sacramento as Jory Markiss, who finished third
in the average. He started the weekend without a single point in
the world standings, but his 655.5 points from the weekend move him
all the way to 22nd in the standings.
Cord McCoy and Ryan Dirteater, who were near the cutline, moved up to 18th and 19th in standings, while Douglas Duncan slipped to 26th and Harve Stewart, who earned a qualified ride in Round 2, dropped three spots from 22nd to 25th.
Dusty Ephrom, competing as an alternate, recorded two qualified rides in the long rounds and moved to within one spot of the Top 25 with one BFTS event remaining before the first cut of the 2012 season.
In addition to Duncan, Dustin Elliott, Stormy Wing, Douglas Ferreira, Elton Cide, Cody Campbell, Colby Yates, Elliott Jacoby and Ben Jones are all 2011 PBR World Finals qualifiers who are currently outside the Top 25.
Ephrom is a mere 20 points out of the Top 25, while Jones is 320 points behind the current cutoff.
INJURY REPORT: According to Dr. Tandy Freeman's post-event injury report, Luke Snyder aggravated a chronic left shoulder injury during his ride in the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Saturday night, and again Sunday during the second round.
He also reported that Cody Campbell aggravated a chronic right shoulder (riding arm) injury when he was slammed hard on the ground by his second-round bull. He is probable for next week's BFTS event in Baltimore.
ROY'S KNEE: Canadian rider Aaron Roy isn't sure when he'll have his injured right knee surgically repaired. He's yet to hear from the specialist he saw, and said he may or may not give him a notice beforehand. Roy said, "They might call and say, 'Come in tomorrow.'" The knee isn't bothersome at this point, so he said he hasn't been thinking about the pending procedure. Last weekend he rode two of three, finished fourth in the average and is currently ranked sixth in the world standings.
LOSTROH'S HIP: After spending the week stretching and icing his injured hip, Kody Lostroh said, "It feels better as long as I keep moving." The 2009 World Champion showed no signs of the injury in Sacramento.
He covered two of three, and with the third pick in the bull draft for the championship round, he was in a position to win the event. Lostroh bucked off Red Hot and finished fifth, which was his first Top 5 finish of the year. He's currently ranked 13th in the world.
Lostroh did admit that at night, when he tries to sleep, the hip tightens up and hurts when he tries to move.
After the 20-minute ride to the arena, Nunes
asked [his cab driver] 'Want to come?'
NEW FRIENDS: All he wanted was a ride from the hotel to the arena, but by the time Renato Nunes got there he made a friend and had a last minute request for a guest. Cab driver Israel Williams, who had never been to a PBR event, admitted that when he saw Nunes and two others hailing his taxi he thought they might be MMA fighters and was unsure of whether or not to stop.
After the 20-minute ride to the arena, which is northwest of downtown, Nunes asked, "Want to come?" He said he's an independent driver so he parked his car and watched the first section of Round 1 from behind the chutes before moving to a seat in the stands.
HOOPSTERS: Sunday afternoon's final two rounds brought out a pair of NBA players - DeMarcus Cousins and Travis Outlaw - who play at the Power Balance Pavilion for the hometown Sacramento Kings. Cousins, a second year-player out of Kentucky, and Outlaw, a ninth-year veteran, watched from a suite parallel to the front of the bucking chutes. They were asked if they wanted a closer look from behind the chutes, but both were uneasy with getting that close to the action, and elected to remain in the Kings' private suite.
FARLEY ON THE MEND: Jared Farley said his younger brother Pete continues to get better since suffering what Freeman termed a traumatic brain injury. Jared said Pete's memory "is as good as it ever was," but he continues to have issues with his vision and shaking of his left extremities.
Jared explained that Pete continues to experience double vision, which he combats by wearing an eye patch. Doctors have said it'll take time to return to normal, but have given no timetable. He also said Pete's experiencing shaking of his left arm and leg. He's currently undergoing rehabilitation on an outpatient basis.
JAWING ON TWITTER: In a pair of text messages on Friday afternoon, Reese Cates indicated that the swelling is beginning to go down after undergoing surgery to correct a broken jaw. The injury required four plates and more than a dozen screws. He said he's hungry and has lost 10 pounds, but that doctors insisted he remain on a liquid diet because they "were worried about re-breaking it while chewing."
Cates has been communicating on a daily basis via Twitter - @ReeseCates - with fellow riders and fans."I'm feeling pretty good," he recently tweeted.
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