FORT WORTH, Texas - What a week it was for Robson Palermo.
Just one day before leaving for Las Vegas he dislocated his left shoulder after hitting the ground awkwardly in the practice pen; just three rounds into the event he dislocated his left kneecap.
Those two injuries coupled, with the fact that finished the entire second half of the Built Ford Tough Series with a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, made Palermo a less-than-probable favorite to lead this year's World Finals event average.
Palermo believed otherwise.
He wound up covering five of six bulls and won the year-end event. In the process he became the first to do so in back-to-back season and the first to win the event, which pays $250,000 to the winner, three times in the past five years.
No words could explain how the 28-year-old - he turns 29 a week from today - felt afterward.
A stream of tears, however, captured the power and emotion of the moment more than words ever would have.
Needing a moment to hold back his emotions, Palermo said, "It was really important for me. I've been trying so hard to do this, and thank God I came here and rode good.
"I'm so proud of myself. I came to Vegas and everything was torn - my knee, both shoulders - and I still rode good. God helped me do that."
A few days earlier, Palermo talked about his desire to win a world title, but that injuries have kept that from happening.
However, in his daily podcast recorded throughout the World Finals, nine-time World Champion Ty Murray likened Palermo's feat to winning a world title. He went so far as to say he had never even contemplated a rider being able to win the Finals three times, much less back-to-back years.
"I love this city," Palermo said. "Every time I come here it makes me feel good. I want to have about 20 events in Las Vegas.
"I love it," he added, before pausing to regain his composure once again. "I love it. I can't say enough."
Palermo started the week off with an 86.75-point ride on Ball Peen in the opening round. He was one of only six riders to make the whistle Wednesday night and moved to second in the average in Round 2 when he covered Skatman Hou for 88.25 points.
In Round 3, he stayed right with Luke Snyder in the average.
Snyder scored 90 points for an aggregate score of 267 points followed by Palermo, who had 264.75. Palermo took the lead in the average in Round 4 when he rode Multi Min 90 Dark Shadow for 87.25 points.
At that point, he was the only rider to have gone 4-for-4.
Despite coming down early in Round 5 - "I should have ridden" - he was the No.-1 rider in the average coming back for the championship round, and drew Pawnbroker.
"I came to Vegas and everything was torn - my knee, both shoulders - and I still rode good. God helped me do that," said Robson Palermo.
After Renato Nunes and Edevaldo Ferreira both bucked off, Palermo had clinched the event win, but he wanted to finish the week off as strongly as it had begun. He expected the bull to spin back to the right, but Pawnbroker stayed left and Palermo rode him to the whistle for 87.25 points.
"I just closed my hand and I stayed on," Palermo said.
Last week he earned $304,333, including $250,000 for the World Finals event title. He also won the Finals title in 2008 and 2011, and has earned $2,339,783 in his career.
More important, he was able to move to seventh in the world standings, and for the sixth year in a row he finished the season ranked in the Top 10, despite missing 10 events to start the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder.
Physically exhausted and emotionally drained, he concluded, "It feels awesome."
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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