OKLAHOMA CITY - Valdiron de Oliveira's lower
right leg was in so much pain Sunday that he had Silvano
Alves select his Built Ford Tough Championship Round bull
in the draft while he was back in the sports medicine room.
Oliveira had come up limping after covering Red Hot for 82.5 points in the final out of Round 4.
Walking gingerly on the injured leg with little time to prepare, Oliveira was helped to the back while Alves selected Mellow Yellow Jacket for him with the first pick in the draft. Oliveira had ridden the bull once before for 91.5 points in New York in 2011.
On Sunday, he was only 88 points, but it was enough to win the event.
"For me, it was important because it gives me more power to continue," said Oliveira, as he slowly made his way back to the sports medicine room for more treatment afterward. "I won the event and it gives me some more points.
"Three weeks, four weeks ago I didn't ride very good. I'm riding good now, and I need some work to continue to get better and better every week."
Oliveira collected 971.25 points in Oklahoma City to move within 39.25 points of J.B. Mauney at the top of the world standings. The 32-year-old from Brazil, who now makes his home in Decatur, Texas, had previously led the world for three of the past six weeks.
Valdiron de Oliveira wasn't at 100 percent when he covered Mellow Yellow Jacket for the win Sunday.
"I feel better now," said Oliveira, who earned $37,325 for his
effort, "but after I got on the last bull it was sore."
He was the only rider to cover four of five bulls on the weekend.
He was lucky even to get out on his last bull. After Oliveira had climbed into the chute with Red Hot, the bull shifted around inside the box and rattled Oliveira's injured lower leg off the steel fencing.
"I forgot I had pain in my leg," Oliveira said. "I forgot about everything and said, 'Now I need to focus on my bull.' It didn't matter that the bull moved in the chute. It didn't matter that (Ryan Dirteater) put pressure on me. I rode my bull."
Three riders earlier, Dirteater had taken a nine-point lead in the average with a 90.75-point ride on Too Sexy. His second-place finish - his second Top 5 this year - vaulted the home-state favorite to third in the overall standings.
Mauney managed to remain atop the standings with a 92.25-point effort on Smackdown and a third-place finish, which was his second straight Top 5 finish after winning a week earlier in Baltimore.
J.B. Mauney rides Smackdown for 92.25 points in Oklahoma City.
Renato Nunes, who is ranked fifth in the world
standings, and Rubens Barbosa rounded out the Top
5 finishers at the Winstar World Casino Invitational.
NEWS & NOTES
BREAKING THE SOPHOMORE SLUMP: Barbosa, last year's Rookie of the Year, came into this weekend needing to make up 518.75 points in two events to keep from being cut from the BFTS. His quest took a turn for the better when midway through intermission Saturday, he was told Kody Lostroh wasn't going to be able to compete in the first short round because of a concussion.
Fifteen minutes later, Barbosa was in the chute, and rode Priceless for 87.5 points to go from 11th in the average to leading the event after two rounds. Barbosa finished fifth in the event average and moved all the way to 28th in the world standings after scoring 582.25 points, where he's 91.75 points outside of the Top 25. He has one injury exemption remaining.
Rubens Barbosa notches 87.5 points on Priceless.
THE HITS KEEP COMING: After going 0-for-the-weekend, Colby Yates, Cody Campbell and Elliott Jacoby were cut from the BFTS. Last week, Elton Cide, Douglas Duncan, Dustin Elliott, Douglas Ferreira, Ben Jones and Paulo Lima were cut from the tour after five events.
NO THANKS: Friday night, Cord McCoy followed Nunes' high-flying back flip with what turned out to be a round-winning 87.5-point ride on Ragin' JT. He joked that he needed a signature celebration of his own. When it was suggested that he could try doing a back flip, he quickly replied, "No. Dr. Tandy Freeman isn't close enough. … It's suicide if I'm anywhere near the top rail."
MANY THANKS: Prior the start of the Oklahoma City event, Mauney walked into the bullfighters' locker room and placed a signed photo in Shorty Gorham's locker. In the photo, Gorham is standing in front of Play Harder and Mauney is nowhere to be seen. However, it's signed, "Thanks man!"
Every time the bullfighters make a save, Mauney purchases a photo from Bullstock Media and signs it to them as a show of appreciation for keeping him and all the riders safe.
This particular photo was from the opening round of the Baltimore Invitational a week earlier, when Gorham allowed Mauney to continue competing after scoring a 90-point ride that set up his event win.
J.B. Mauney runs to safety while Shorty Gorham distracts
Play Harder in Baltimore last week.
INJURIES: According to injury reports provided by Dr. Freeman, Marco Eguche did not compete on Sunday "due to pain from aggravation of a right rib fracture sustained in Baltimore. He is questionable for Atlanta." Freeman's report also said that Mauney, Chris Shivers, Jordan Hupp, Ty Pozzobon and Chase Outlaw finished the event despite injuries.
Mauney and Pozzobon strained their lower backs, Shivers sprained his wrist in the opening round and Outlaw bruised his left leg in the same round. Hupp strained his neck in Baltimore and re-aggravated the injury in Oklahoma City.
SKEETER ON TRACK: Skeeter Kingsolver, who has been out with a surgically repaired left shoulder dislocation, was in Oklahoma City last weekend. He was in town for some sponsor obligations and met with his agency, Express Sports.
He also confirmed that he plans to return to competition in Glendale, Ariz., on March 17. In the meantime, he's headed to L.J. Jenkins' nearby ranch in Porum, Okla., to get on practice bulls for the first time in eight months. "I can't believe it's been that long," he said.
UP NEXT: Watch the Atlanta Invitational this Saturday on NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus - same number, new name) at 9 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. CT, 7 p.m. MT, and 6 p.m. PT.
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