Behind the chutes: Atlanta

Highlights

  • Chris Shivers is refocused as he finishes out the final year of his career.
  • Asteroid scored 46.5 points to earn top bull honors in Atlanta.
  • Justin Koon notched his first 90-point ride on the Built Ford Tough Series.

In This Article

ATLANTA - It's been an emotional week for Chris Shivers.

The 33-year-old two-time World Champion announced Wednesday that 2012 would be his final season.

"This week I stopped and I was thinking about it - I have a lot accomplished at home," he said. "I've done a lot at home with what I've achieved in the PBR, and I think I need to just focus on bull riding for the rest of this year."

With renewed determination, he went 2-for-2 at the Atlanta Invitational, and for the 22nd time in his career he won a Built Ford Tough Series event.

The win included his 93rd career 90-point ride when he covered Delco in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.

"I'm just going to show up every week and expect myself to win," he said.

Shivers interior

Chris Shivers earns his ninety-third 90-point ride, on Delco in Atlanta Saturday.

Shivers finished third in the opening round with 87.75 points on Frontier Fighter, behind J.B. Mauney and Douglas Duncan, who split the round with 88 points.

Shivers didn't hesitate when he selected Delco in the bull draft.

The Louisiana native brought the crowd to its feet with another in his record-setting list of 90-plus point rides. This one moved him to first in the average and eventually gave him a quarter-point win over Mauney.

"I'd love to get a hundred 90-point rides, and I'm going to shoot for every ride to be 90," he said. "If you approach every one of them like that, I don't see how anything can go wrong."

After deciding in Oklahoma City to make his retirement announcement, he said he logged onto YouTube during the trip home to Jonesville and watched some of his past rides.

"It was pretty neat to see," Shivers said, "and there were some rides that I didn't even remember. It was pretty entertaining.

"Sometimes you have to be reminded of some things. You get caught up in the same old thing every week, and that's what you go through-the same whiny attitude. Sometimes you need somebody to pick you up or be around somebody, or just watch videos to lift your spirits and remind you of what you could do."

Shivers is among the most accomplished bull riders in PBR history.

He's currently ranked 11th in the world standings, and has ridden just shy of 53 percent of his bulls this year. The more than $47,000 he's already earned in the first seven events puts him in position to qualify for a record 15th PBR World Finals appearance.

He won the world title in 2000 and 2003, and has twice won the Touring Pro Division title (1997, 2000), as well as the Lane Frost/Brent Thurman Award for the highest scoring ride at the Finals (1999, 2000).

NEWS & NOTES

TOP BULL: A deep pen of bulls in Atlanta was again led by Asteroid, who was the high-marked bull of the event. Judges marked him 46.5 points after he bucked off Stormy Wing at 6.11 seconds.

'Those guys came to ride, and I think it showed.'

"This was a real hard event on these bulls," said Gene Melton, who hauls the top-ranked bull for Circle T Ranch and Rodeo. "Those guys came to ride, and I think it showed. I mean, when Stormy was on him, he really [bore] down and tried to ride him."

Like the crowd of onlookers, Melton was rooting for Wing to make the whistle. "You hope they do," he said. "You want to see the whole deal and see what happens."

Asteroid is unridden in four outs this year. He will compete again next week in Houston, and again the following week in Arlington, Texas.

FIRST TIME'S A CHARM: Justin Koon earned his first career 90-point ride in the championship round when he covered T-Rex. "It was great," he said. "I hope there's a lot more coming. I just needed to relax and get that one under my belt, and I'm ready to ride some more now."

Koon interior

Justin Koon sticks it to T-Rex on Saturday in Atlanta.

He was the first rider to cover two bulls, and held the lead with a combined 174.5 points until Marco Eguche passed him with 175 on two bulls. Chris Shivers took the lead two outs later.

Koon finished fifth in the average - it was his second Top 5 finish this year - and moved to 18th in the world standings. "It couldn't have worked out any better," said Koon, who nearly bucked off T-Rex early. "I about lost my bull rope at 6 seconds, but besides that I was relaxed, and it felt like I was sitting on him where I needed to be."

WELL ARMED: Renato Nunes was already closing in on the Top 5 of the world standings, and now that he has corrected a free arm issue, he said, "If I can keep doing it like that, it's going to be very good for me all year long."

In the past few weeks, Nunes admitted that he was keeping his free arm too high and it was getting behind him. Last week he practiced putting it in the "perfect position." He added, "You've got to be strong in order to control your body."

Now he's focused on keeping it down with his elbow coming into his ribs, and in Atlanta, he said, "I moved really good."

BUM KNEE: Canadian rider Aaron Roy will likely miss one or two BFTS events following the four Stadium Tour events. He's been bothered much of the season by a bad right knee, and after having it examined by a specialist near his home, he is awaiting the date in which he'll have it scoped.

If surgery is needed - something that won't be decided until he undergoes the scope procedure - he'll wait until November. Recovery from the surgery is estimated at four to five months.

He laughed that doctors were less concerned about his right knee than they were about the absence of an ACL in his left knee. He told them it doesn't bother him, and that he'll wait until after his career to address the issue.

THE ROAD BACK: Fan favorite Matt Bohon was in the draw again this week after winning another event in Canada. He won the first two Canadian Cup events north of the border.

'It's still about making the Finals.'

He said that had his second win come a week earlier, he would have been among the Top 5 money earners on the Touring Pro Division and earned a spot in five BFTS events. Instead he continues to earn his way as a high alternate, but added, "It's still about making the Finals."

HARD HAT: Colby Yates was in Canada when he took a hard shot to the head on Friday night. Yates said the InVinci Bull helmet he wears did its job in protecting him. He told his wife, "This thing is for real. I didn't feel a thing, and everybody knows I would have been knocked out cold." However, he did have to order a new facemask. While it didn't move or bend, there's a hairline crack between two of the breathing holes in the lower portion of the mask.

MIGHTY SHOW: Mike White will be hosting a bull riding event featuring J.B. Mauney on Friday, April 6, and his annual pasture roping event on Saturday, April 7, in Dekalb, Texas. The cost of attending the bull riding, which also features a performance by the Luke Kaufman Band, is $10, with proceeds benefiting Western Wishes.

The pasture roping event is $5 for spectators and free with an armband from Friday night's bull riding event. The entry fee for the roping event is $150 per team.

For more information, log onto: www.facebook.com/mwroping.

UP NEXT: Watch the WinStar World Casino Invitational in Houston next Saturday at 9 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

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