BOYD, Texas - It's been a long road for Ben
Jones in the past few months.
He was cut from the Built Ford Tough Series and relegated to riding his way back at Touring Pro Division events for much less money, but after missing nine BFTS events, he returned in Des Moines, Iowa, and again last weekend in Billings, Mont.
Jones was 4-for-4 last weekend and finished third in average - his first Top 5 finish since last season.
Ben Jones rides Cooper Tires Grey Ghost for 87.75 points in
the championship round to take third at the Stanley Tools and
Security Invitational in Billings, Mont.
"It was the best thing," said Jones of being cut after the fifth event of the year. "It's got me hungry and back where I want to be."
He said the TPD is "nothing like (the BFTS), but it makes you more of a bull rider. You haven't got the indoor arenas, you don't know what you're getting on, you have to drive 14 hours one way and then drive 16 hours the next day, so yeah, it's all there."
Jones was one of three riders to cover all four bulls in Billings. Austin Meier won the event, while Guilherme Marchi finished second in the average.
In a matter of one weekend, Jones moved up to 27th in the world standings, and is less than 500 points outside of the Top 25. As one of the Top 5 money earners from the TPD who is not already ranked in the Top 25 of the world standings, he'll have four more events in which to make up the ground.
'It makes you more of a bull rider. You
haven't got the indoor arenas, you don't know what you're getting
on, you have to drive 14 hours one way and then drive 16 hours the
next day, so yeah, it's all there.'
One reason for his overall point total in Billings - he earned 789.75 points - was the fact that he turned down two re-ride opportunities.
He kept a 65-point ride in Round 1 after sustaining a concussion when he ran head-first in the metal fencing after dismounting Dirty Deeds. And he surprised everyone the next evening when he declined a second opportunity in Round 2 after scoring just 70 points.
"I'm traveling with the Brazilians for the first time this weekend," he explained, "and I listened to them for once, and they said I had two bulls rode, so just take the scores.
"It worked out good."
Jones and his wife, who live in Boyd, are within 10 miles of several of the Brazilian riders, most of whom live outside of nearby Decatur.
Last weekend he roomed with Marchi.
Leah Garcia speaks with Ben Jones, who finished third at the
Stanley Tools and Security Invitational in Billings,
After the Pueblo, Colo., event in two weeks, Jones said he intends to have a full summer of TPD events to keep his momentum moving forward as he looks to qualify for the PBR World Finals.
He's currently 26th in the qualifier standings.
"I'm going to keep going to these (TPD) events all through the summer," he said, "and just keep being Ben Jones - just go back to riding."
NEWS & NOTES
WHERE TO WATCH: Catch the action from Idaho Saturday at 9 p.m. ET on YouTube. Then see the next 15/15 Bucking Battle Sunday at 4 p.m. ET on CBS, followed by Round 2 and the Built Ford Tough Championship Round Sunday at 6 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
© 2013 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.