For Robson Palermo, right now, it’s all about getting to Las Vegas.
Whether it’s the World Finals – an event he won in 2008 – or the World Cup, Robson Palermo thrives in the desert where, in the PBR, fortunes are won and lost in a matter of 8 seconds.
“I love going to Vegas,” Palermo said. “Every time I go to Vegas, I tell everybody, ‘Vegas looks like my town.’
“Every time I go over there, it feels good. I ride my bulls. I have confidence there, and I don’t care what kind of bull.”
Palermo, who came into the second-to-last Built Ford Tough Series event in seventh place in the world standings, followed up his first-round win Friday by winning the fourth Final Five Showdown on Saturday night with a 90.25-point ride on My Space.
His score, coupled with the 200 bonus points for winning the bonus round, moved him in front of Ryan McConnel in the world standings, as Palermo looks to give himself an opportunity to contend for his first world title. Listen to the full post-event interview with Palermo here.
“Right now, it’s a little bit hard, because all the guys in the Top 3 have a little bit more points in front,” Palermo said. “But right now, I have an opportunity to catch them.”
Palermo went from 3,043.75 points off the world lead to 2,753.5 points behind Austin Meier, who came down off of his second round bull, as well as his Final Five bull.
In three previous Final Five rounds, seven of the 10 qualified rides have been made by the Top 5 bull riders, but Saturday, all four qualified rides came from the bottom half of the round qualifiers. Aside from Palermo, McKennon Wimberly (90 points), Skeeter Kingsolver (88.75 points) and Shane Proctor (83.5 points) all made the whistle.
J. B. Mauney and Renato Nunes – ranked second and third in the world, respectively – both went 0-for-2 on Saturday, allowing Valdiron de Oliveira to move within 1,918.25 points of the lead. Oliveira finished third in Round 2, and also sits third in the event average after the first two rounds of the Mohegan Sun Invitational.
In addition to moving from seventh to sixth in the world standings, Palermo is also now within a couple hundred points of Mike Lee. Palermo is sitting ninth in the average in Uncasville, while Lee is 28th.
However, all eyes are on the tightening of the world standings, and mathematically, any one of the Top 4 riders in the world still have an opportunity to go to Vegas as the top-ranked rider in the world.
Anyone else with aspirations of winning the $1 million bonus, as the 2010 PBR World Champion – like Palermo – will have to do so at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Palermo has an opportunity this weekend to move up another spot, as he circles Oct. 20-24, on his calendar.
“Oh yeah,” said Palermo, who believes he still has a chance, “getting to Vegas, riding the bulls, and trying to put the buckle on my belt.”
NEWS AND NOTES
Live Event Center: Follow all the action from this week’s BFTS event in Uncasville, Conn., by logging on to the Event Center at www.pbr.com/live. The multimedia center provides live scoring, live photos, live blogging and event-related interviews.
— by Keith Ryan Cartwright
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