Behind the chutes: Sacramento, Round 2

Matt Triplett rides Slinger Back for 87.75 points to win Round 2. Photo by Andy Watson /


  • Matt Triplett jumped to the top spot in the world standings with a fourth-place finish in Sacramento, Calif.
  • Chad Berger's Smooth Operator was the highest-marked bull at the Sacramento Invitational.
  • Reese Cates earned his second BFTS event win of the 2015 season in Sacramento, Calif.

In This Article

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Here are three things we learned from this weekend’s Sacramento Invitational at Sleep Train Arena.

Triplett continues to win rounds and takes over world lead

Matt Triplett picked up his Built Ford Tough Series-leading fourth round win of the season on Saturday night when he covered Slinger Back for 87.75 points to win Round 3 and earn 100 points toward the world standings.

“That’s a really good bull of D&H’s (Cattle Company), and a new bull, and he threw a lot of stuff at me switching up both ways and he bucked really hard,” Triplett said. “It was a lot of fun.”

The round win pushed him past defending World Champion Silvano Alves, who finished the weekend 1-for-2, and into the No. 1 ranking in the world for the first time in his career with 1,405 points. He leads Alves by 165 points.

“It is nice, but it is going to be a long year,” Triplett said. “I am just going to keep going at it like I have been all year and take it one bull at a time.”

However, Triplett once again left the arena discouraged after he bucked off Walk Off in 2.29 seconds during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round, which he entered fourth in the event average.

The 23-year-old has been bucked off in every championship round this season.

“I have to get that short round down,” Triplett, who finished fourth overall, added. “That is what is killing me right now. You can’t dwell on it. My stuff is already packed up and let’s move on to Anaheim.

Matt Triplett puts up 87.75 points on Slinger Back in Round 2.

Smooth Operator makes his case that he can contend with the top bulls

Chad Berger couldn’t help but be a little giddy following the championship round. His bull Smooth Operator took home the high-marked bull title with a 45.5-point score following his 1.64-second trucking against Jordan Hupp.

Hupp had previously faced Smooth Operator during the 2014 BFTS event in Thackerville, Oklahoma, and lasted 4.21 seconds. He believes this time around, the bovine athlete was certainly much stronger beyond just the 1.5-point increase in his bull score.

“Yeah, he was a really good bull,” Hupp said. “I got on him last year at Thackerville and he was a good bull then. He has just gotten better. I don’t know what Chad is feeding him, but he is all there. He has put a little bit of size to him and is hard as a rock. Man, you know you are tied to something rank when you are getting on him.”

Smooth Operator bucked off Cody Nance last week in 2.54 seconds and was scored 44 points in Oklahoma City.

“He had a real comparable out in Oklahoma City and they put him in the long round because it was the first time we bucked him," Berger said. "Cody Lambert told me he was a great bull and he would be in the short round, and he was today.”

Berger said that he has added some weight to Smooth Operator since buying him following the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals.

Berger has high aspirations for Smooth Operator this season and believes Saturday night may be evidence that his bull can potentially put his nose into the World Champion Bull race later this season after going toe-to-toe with some of the early-season favorites.

“What really makes me proud about that bull is this is about as stiff of a competition as it gets right here,” the reigning Stock Contractor of the Year said. “You’ve got the Pages with their very best, Jeff Robinson out here with his very best, Julio Moreno with his two great bulls (Roy and Mr. Bull) and Marlene Henry and Mick E Mouse. For him to beat all of them is quite an honor.

“I am real proud of that bull," Berger said. "He might never do it again, but he looks like he is the real deal, and I think you are looking at a contender.”

Roy finished second in the event with a 45.25-point bull marking after his 5.83-second buckoff against Fabiano Vieira.

Mick E Mouse posted the third-highest bull score with 44.75-points and extended his BFTS buckoff streak to 30 by making quick work of Bryan Titman (1.62 seconds). It was actually a rematch between the two after they met at a non-PBR event when Mick E Mouse was 3 years old.

“He has my number, but I am going to get back on him,” Titman said. “He just left real hard. When I got on him the first time he wasn’t as big. There is something to him. He kind of balls up and lunges forward. If I get another shot at him I will kind of relax and leave square ahead of him, instead of behind him, because all he is going to do is sit you on your butt.”

The rookie says one of his new goals this season is to get another crack at the still unridden bull.

“I want to get on him right now again,” Titman concluded. “I am glad to be here and get on him. If I can get on him again, I want to be the first one to ride him and that is my goal.”

The championship round was pure dominance by all of the bulls, who went a perfect 15-0.

Cates is the first to win two events

Reese Cates has left no doubt through the first month of the 2015 season that he is fully recovered from 2014 shoulder surgery and that he deserves a spot full time on the BFTS.

The 26-year-old notched his second win of the season by going 2-for-3 and earned 455 event points, which carry over to the world standings.

He earned 400 points by winning the event average with a combined ride score of 173.5 points, and his 87.5-point ride on Earl Sports in Round 2 on Saturday night helped him tie for second place with Valdiron de Oliveira, who rode Modified Clyde, and pick up 55 points.

Cates knew nothing about the bull heading into Round 2 and just before pre-event introductions on Saturday night Alves asked the El Dorado, Arkansas, native which bull he had.

“I pointed him out and told him he was the one acting crazy and running back and forth, getting all the other bulls stirred up,” Cates said. “He was just young and nervous. Silvano was the only other person other than Brady Sims who had ever seen that bull. Whenever Silvano tells you have a good bull, you better bear down and make it count. He is the highest money earner of all time. You have to respect what that man says.”

He previously rode Imagine That in Round 1 for 86 points, and he bucked off Percolator in 4.35 seconds in the championship round.

Rounding out the Top 5 was Tanner Byrne (270 points), Sims (225 points), Triplett (185 points) and Oliveira (140 points).

Cates won the BFTS season-opener in Baltimore and is up to third in the world standings. He trails Triplett by 325 points.

“It feels like everything is going in slow motion right now,” Cates said “I feel like I am in the zone.”

Injury updates

Titman nearly almost didn’t have a chance to select Mick E Mouse with the 14th pick of the championship-round bull draft on Saturday night.

The rookie’s 85.25-point ride on Cash Ya Out from Round 1 wasn’t enough to qualify for the championship round, but he slid into the round after Harve Stewart and Ben Jones opted out of the final round due to injury.

Stewart missed the round after hitting the ground hard when he was thrown from Bobby in 5.12 seconds in the second round. According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Stewart is probable for next weekend’s event in Anaheim, California.

Jones did not compete in the championship round due to a tender right groin. He is questionable for Anaheim.

Hupp received the last spot in the championship round thanks to his 85 points on Hotwired in the first round.

Cody Nance competed on Saturday night with a bruised forearm on his free hand after being kicked by Boot Jack in the first round on Friday night.

Jason Malone did not compete in the second round after spraining his riding arm elbow during attempting to ride Barstool Prophet in Round 1. He is questionable for Anaheim.

Billy Robinson missed Round 2 after aggravating his injured right knee. He is doubtful for Anaheim.

There was no official injury update provided on J.B. Mauney from Freeman on Saturday night after Mauney turned down his re-ride option in Round 2, but the 2013 World Champion said following the event that he was still dealing with a left groin injury, as well as a potential pelvis injury.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.


SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Here are three things we learned following Round 1 of the Sacramento Invitational at Sleep Train Arena on Friday night.

Titman notches first BFTS ride

Bryan Titman leaned against the wall outside of the locker room before the start of Friday night’s Sacramento Invitational and spoke calmly about his upcoming Built Ford Tough Series debut.

The 26-year-old rookie talked about how, of course, he was nervous for his debut, but he was surprisingly not as nervous as he expected he would be after winning the Laredo, Texas, BlueDEF Velocity Tour event earlier this month to earn a spot in this weekend’s draw.

Instead of worrying too much about the bright lights and the level of competition he was about to compete against, he was just going to let his riding do the talking.

If there were any first-time jitters left, Titman wasn’t going to allow them to come through in his riding. The East Bernard, Texas, bull rider recorded his first-career ride by covering Cash Ya Out for 85.25 points despite the bovine athlete trying to throw him forward inside the bucking chute prior to the gate opening.

“The bucking chute is where it kind of went bad,” Titman said. “He kind of lunged forward. Everyone told me I should have re-pulled, but if I re-pull I kind of fight my head in there. I kind of just go with what I have and I figured I could ride him with what I had. When he kicked out of there he felt good, he kind of stumbled on his front end and he wanted me over his head a little bit, and when he turned back he just felt amazing. I then kind of lost him a little bit and gathered him back up.”

So was his first BFTS event everything he ever imagined?

“Oh, it is a lot more than I thought it would be,” Titman said. “The fans are a lot louder. The Velocity Tour is great, but these right here are the top of the line. The fans are good. You know the bull riders are going to ride something, so when I see other guys ride and winning that makes me want to win.”

The ride places Titman ninth in the round heading into tomorrow night’s Round 2, where he will face Wilbur.

“I am just going to stay like I was on that first one,” Titman said. “I am not really too excited – I am excited to be here, but I am not letting my nerves get to me. As long as my head games stay where they are at I will be fine.”

Round 1 is déjà vu for Dirteater

Ryan Dirteater is starting to grow fond of the River City after picking up the first-round win by riding Houla Hoop for 87.5 points.

Not only is it the second consecutive year that Dirteater has covered the bull at Sleep Train Arena, but it also is the second time that the Hulbert, Oklahoma, native has won Round 1 in Sacramento. Dirteater split Round 1 with Robson Palermo last year on Houla Hoop.

“It is good to get one underneath my belt,” Dirteater said. “Déjà vu again. I did it last year at this event and I did it again tonight.”

Dirteater took time this week to watch his ride on Houla Hoop just once before taking him on for the second time in his career. He knew Houla Hoop is normally an honest bull with a lot of kick, yet Houla Hoop attempted to fool him with a different trip than last year.

“He had a different trip with me tonight,” Dirteater said. “He was around the right and back around to the left, but I got it done.”

It is also Dirteater’s first round win of 2015 and it provides him with 100 points toward the world standings.

“It helps a little bit knowing I got one down,” said Dirteater, who is 14th in the world. “I got some points. Points are really valuable right now early in the season. It helps quite a bit, so if I just get that one down I can stay on top.”

Dirteater believes he has another solid matchup coming in Round 2 on Saturday night.

“I have a pretty good bull tomorrow, Cowboy Phil, and hopefully I can make 8 on him,” Dirteater said.

Byrne gets to leave a round with a smile

The story seemed to keep on repeating itself for Tanner Byrne.

Whenever the Prince Albert, Saskatchewan bull rider would make the 8-second whistle, he seemingly would always end up placing outside the Top 5 of a round and head home empty-handed with no points toward the world standings.

That nearly happened once again on Friday night, but Byrne’s 86.75-point ride aboard Jeepers Creepers was enough to place him fifth in the round and grant him 30 points toward the world standings.

It is the first time this season Byrne has placed high enough in a round to earn points.

“I am just staying on my bulls and hopefully they will start giving me some points sometime here,” Byrne said. “All I can do is stay on and I can’t make the draw or do anything different. I am going to keep on riding and it will come.”

The 30 points is a season-high for him on the BFTS and his 95 total points on the year bumps him up to 36th in the world standings.

It is his third-highest scored ride of the season.

Coincidentally, Byrne’s highest score of 87.5 points, which he accomplished twice in New York, granted him no points in either the 15/15 Bucking Battle or the Built Ford Tough Championship Round at the Monster Energy Buck Off at The Garden.

It is why it was no surprise to see Byrne walking away with a grin following Round 1 on Friday night.

“I know how to ride bulls one way and I feel like I really dominate bulls and I get tapped off,” Byrne said. “One of my biggest flaws is that I make them look not as rank. Instead of marking me high, a lot of times they mark the bull down. Which I mean it does look like they are not bucking as hard, but that is just the name of my game.

“I am going to keep riding and the points are going to come. There is nothing else I can do but stay on my bulls. I am just worrying about that.”

Byrne faces Grandpa Joe in Round 2.

Injury Updates

Marco Eguchi’s struggles continued Friday night as the 25-year-old was bucked off in 2.2 seconds by Super Cool Cat. He is now 1-for-11 this season on the BFTS.

Eguchi sustained a bruised right thigh when he was struck by the bull’s horn after the buckoff. He is questionable for Round 2, according to Dr. Tandy Freeman.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.



SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The first cut of the 2015 Built Ford Tough Series season is right around the corner and following this weekend’s Sacramento Invitational at Sleep Train Arena, some riders will be subject to losing their automatic spot in the draw at Built Ford Tough Series events and will have to head to the BlueDEF Velocity Tour and Touring Pro Division to fight their way back.

Under the new points system, riders that finished 31-35th in the final 2014 world standings are subject to being cut from the BFTS following five BFTS events if any riders below them in the standings surpass them in 2015. Riders that placed 1-30 last year in the final world standings are guaranteed eight BFTS events.

Therefore, heading into this week, Nathan Schaper (14th) and Jordan Hupp (41st) are the two riders potentially facing the cut. Douglas Duncan (two), Josh Faircloth (one) and Robson Palermo (one) still have injury exemptions remaining before possibly being relegated to the BlueDEF Velocity Tour and Touring Pro Division.

Schaper appears to be in good shape to remain on the BFTS seeing as a variety of riders from last year’s Top 30 have been out of competition (Emilio Resende, Claudio Crisostomo, Markus Mariluch, Kody Lostroh and Ty Pozzobon), which has opened up additional alternate positions for the BFTS event in Anaheim, California, on Feb. 6-8.

The 24-year-old helped his case tremendously last week with his second-place finish in Oklahoma City that netted him 180 points toward the world standings.

“I don’t mind the pressure,” Schaper said in Oklahoma City. “I don’t mind it at all. It makes you bear down and keep your hand shut, that’s for sure.”

Schaper takes on Velvet Revolver, who is making his BFTS debut, in Round 1 on Friday night and Meat Hook in Round 2 on Saturday. Schaper has faced neither bull, and Meat Hook has bucked off four of his past five BFTS opponents.

Hupp currently has 80 points in the world standings and will need to earn additional points, roughly around another 80-100 points, to have a chance to keep his spot on the BFTS based on current projections for Anaheim provided by the PBR competition committee.

Hupp is scheduled to meet Hotwired in Round 1 and Hot Spot in Round 2. He has faced neither BFTS- debuting bulls.

Bryan Titman has a great opportunity in Sacramento to try and earn enough points to earn himself a chance to compete in Anaheim as well. Titman, who has never competed on the BFTS before, is in the draw following his BlueDEF Velocity Tour win in Laredo, Texas, earlier this month. Titman went 3-for-3 with ride scores of 84, 86, and 88 points for his first career BlueDEF Velocity win.

He currently sits 20th in the world standings with 155 points. The 155 points places him just on the bubble as a potential alternate for Anaheim with Robson Aragao (147.5) and Tyler Harr (145).

Harr was the final alternate for this weekend and he will also be in search of points to possibly jump past Titman in hopes of gaining a spot in the draw for Anaheim.

Titman takes on Cash Ya Out in Round 1 and Wilbur in Round 2. Harr faces Mad Max in Round 1 and Jeremiah in Round 2. Neither rider has faced either of their two bulls.

Other alternates in the Sacramento draw include Billy Robinson, Jason Malone, Ben Jones and Harve Stewart

Out of the four, Jones is in the best shape to remain on tour after starting the season 7-for-12. He has accumulated a total of 467.5 points at all levels and heads to Sacramento eighth in the world standings.

Stewart (70 points) and Robinson (60 points) are in a similar situation as Hupp and will need to position themselves better in the world standings to earn a full-time spot on tour this season.

Injured riders not competing this week in Sacramento are: Palermo (concussion), Faircloth (broken ankle), Emilio Resende (multi-ligament knee reconstruction), Claudio Crisostomo (left clavicle fracture), Ty Pozzobon (concussion) and Markus Mariluch (bicep surgery).

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.


OKLAHOMA CITY – Here are three things we learned from the Express Employment Professionals Invitational on Sunday afternoon at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Long John lives up to early-season hype

It was only his first out of the 2015 Built Ford Tough Series, but Long John showed during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round on Sunday that the early-season talk about the bovine’s potential for a World Championship Bull title is serious.

Long John reared out of the bucking chute and sent Guilherme Marchi crashing toward the ground in only 2.08 seconds in a display of pure, brute strength to be marked an event-high 46 points, which is also the highest a bull has been marked this season on the BFTS.

Marchi had previously ridden Long John for 86 points last year in Oklahoma City, but this time around H.D. Page’s bull was that much more difficult and stronger said the 2008 World Champion.

 “He is a really good bull, one of the best ones we have in the PBR right now,” Marchi said. “He is a contender for the Bull of the Year. He has a lot of power, a lot of kick and a lot of explosion in the air. He got me. He put me into my hand and made a quick move to the left. He beat me today.”

CBS Sports Network commentator J.W. Hart reiterated that it is only one out, but it was an impressive start to the season.

“He really bucked,” Hart said. “We have only seen him once, but it looked really good. It looked like he was going to turn and sometimes last year he went straight and that is what hurt him. But, yeah, he looked special.”

RELATED: Long John enters season as potential World Champion Bull contender

Marchi qualified for the championship round after Joao Ricardo Vieira withdrew from the round because of a right knee injury.

Earlier in the day, Marchi rode No Regrets for 87.5 points to win Round 3.

“I drew a really good bull and when you have a chance to get a good spinner like that you need to go hard and give it everything we know,” Marchi said. “I made 100 points to help me in the standings. I made a little money too. It makes me forget the bad things and just think about what I need to do. I think this year I have the potential to be a champion again.”

Marchi finished the event in sixth place with his round win and will head to next weekend’s BFTS event in Sacramento, California, fifth in the world with 630 points.

Triplett cherishes win, wishes he could have ridden Brown Sugar

There was something bothering Matt Triplett after he walked off the shark cage inside Chesapeake Energy Arena with his first event-winning belt buckle in his hands.

“I am pretty upset about that last bull, but we got next weekend,” Triplett said. “It is in the past already so I have to work really hard and prepare for Sacramento.”

Triplett was referring to his championship round matchup with Cooper Tires Brown Sugar. The 23-year-old was determined to receive his fourth score of the weekend before Chad Berger’s bull slid him off his back at the 7.88-second mark.

The buckoff didn’t affect the end result seeing as Triplett had already clinched the victory after a replay overturned what would have been Nathan Schaper’s fourth ride of the weekend minutes before Triplett nodded his head.

It originally appeared that Schaper had barely held on to Honey Hush for a potential event-winning ride, but a replay showed that Schaper’s free arm touched the bovine athlete’s lower right side at the 7.83-second mark.

Triplett understands the heartbreak that comes with coming oh-so-close to a potential event win. Last year, Triplett nearly won his first BFTS event in Laughlin, Nevada, before a replay showed he lost his bull rope at the 7.99-second mark against Compact in the championship round.

“Nathan is the nicest guy on tour,” Triplett said. He is one of my good buddies. That is the sport of bull riding. You are not going to win all of them, but if you keep trying and putting the effort out you know it is going to work your way more than most times.”

Triplett rode Hou’s Back for 87 points earlier in Round 3 in a matchup that he called his toughest of the weekend.

“That bull moves ahead a lot,” Triplett said. “I work my butt off just to stay on that one and it is just the way it goes.”

He won Round 2 on Saturday night with 90 points aboard American Sniper and split Round 1 with J.B. Mauney on Friday night with his 89-point ride on Spin Machine.

Back on the arena floor following the event, Triplett began to finally relax as the victory confetti began to swirl all around him.

“Even though I didn’t finish my last bull, it feels great,” Triplett said. “I have been dreaming about this since I was a little kid and words can’t describe how good this is right now.”

The victory pushes Triplett, who is tied with J.B. Mauney for the BFTS lead in round wins (3), to within 35 points of Silvano Alves for the world lead.

“It is such a long year you just have to keep taking it one bull at a time and I am going to step up my workout programs even more and I have to keep on getting better.”

Mauney was the only rider to make 8 seconds during the championship round and he earned 100 points toward the world standings with his 86.25-point ride on Savage.

Mauney finished second in the event with 280 event points. Rounding out the Top 5 was Schaper (180), Chase Outlaw (150) and Fabiano Vieira (105).

Schaper earns valuable points toward the world standings

Even though he fell short of the event victory, Nathan Schaper earned 180 points toward the world standings via his third-place finish in the event average (249.75 points) to jump to 14th in the world standings after beginning the weekend 41st in the world with only 60 points.

The points are so important for Schaper because he concluded last season 31st in the world standings. Therefore, he is only guaranteed one more BFTS event before being subject to possibly being cut from the tour.

“It was very important,” Schaper said. “I came in here very determined and probably more focused and serious than I have taken the last few weekends, I guess. We try to take it serious every weekend, but when you are backed into a corner it makes it a little different. Some guys handle it good and some guys don’t I guess. I like it.”

Schaper first rode Slash for 83.5 points in Round 1 on Friday night before riding Good Cop for 84.25 points in Round 2 on Saturday. He kicked things off Sunday with an 82-point ride on Deep Water in the third round.

It his first three-ride weekend since he rode all four bulls in Oklahoma City last year for his first career BFTS win.

Schaper is hoping this year’s performance can propel him to more success next weekend.

“I don’t mind the pressure,” he said. “I don’t mind it at all. It makes you bear down and keep your hand shut, that’s for sure.”

Injury updates

A slew of injuries on Sunday afternoon led to some confusion over which two final riders would be competing in the championship round.

Marchi was not on the dirt for the bull draft, but eventually selected Long John after he was informed that Joao Ricardo Vieira had opted out of the round because of his knee injury.

However, the greatest confusion came toward identifying which rider would be tasked with facing Mick E Mouse after it was learned that Eduardo Aparecido would be unable to compete due to a left groin strain.

The next man in line was Reese Cates, who could not be found by officials and had already changed out of his riding gear. Then, Silvano Alves had already been ruled out by Dr. Tandy Freeman because of a right shoulder injury making Ryan Dirteater eligible to face Mick E Mouse. Dirteater had also already taken off his gear and chose not to face Mick E Mouse.

Therefore, Bonner Bolton, who still had his spurs on, accepted the tall task of facing Mick E Mouse.

Marlene Henry’s bull made the end result very simple though, bucking off this weekend’s BlueDEF Velocity Tour invite in 2.38 seconds. Mick E Mouse was marked 44.75 points.

According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Vieira, Aparecido and Alves are probable for next weekend’s event in Sacramento, California.

Sean Willingham was bucked off by Half Shaved in 2.46 seconds during the championship round after competing with a potentially fractured tibula. Willingham sustained the injury after twisting his right leg dismounting Recovery Time following his 87-point ride.

Mauney competed this weekend with a bruised left groin and pelvis sustained when he was hit by the horn of Crack The Whip in New York.

Robson Palermo (concussion) and Marco Eguchi (right elbow) both missed Sunday’s action due to injuries in Round 2 on Saturday night.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko


OKLAHOMA CITY – Here are three things we learned from Round 2 of the Express Employment Professionals Invitational on Saturday night.

Jones off to best start in four years

Ben Jones is back to dancing his tail off on the BFTS.

Jones notched his sixth ride of the season when he rode Stuntin Like My Daddy for 86 points in the second round.

“I’ve just forgotten about 2014 and look at it as a learning experience,” Jones said. “I was thinking I was too old and playing head games with myself. I can’t let emotions get to me. I’ve just gotten back to being myself and being the man and letting it hang.”

Jones, who has been an alternate in the draw through the first four events, had only five rides in 11 BFTS events last year and is off to his best start since the 2011 season, when he started 8-for-8.

He is currently ninth in the world standings.

“I am having a ball again,” Jones said. “It is great when you are riding good, getting good bulls and riding everything you get on.”

Triplett earns BFTS-high third round win of 2015

Matt Triplett continued his hot start to the 2015 Built Ford Tough Series by winning an organization-leading third round of the year with a 90-point ride on American Sniper on Saturday night.

Triplett was able to easily handle Chad Berger’s bull away from his hand to jump into the lead in the event with 180 points after earning 100 points for his second-round win and tying for the first-round win with J.B. Mauney on Friday night to earn 80 points.

“That bull had me beat there for a second, but I would just breathe and let him pick me back up and I went back at him,” Triplett said. “I love bulls away from my hand – almost more than into my hand.”

It is Triplett’s second 90-point ride ride of the season after making 8 seconds on Delco for 90.75 points two weeks ago in Chicago. He had just two 90-point rides last year and began 2015 with three in his career.

“Making 90-point bull rides is what I am here to do,” Triplett said. “It makes being here that much more fun.”    

Triplett also leads the event average with 179 points on two bulls.

He faces Hou’s Back in Round 3 on Sunday afternoon. It should be a really good matchup for the 23-year-old as Hou’s Back has been ridden in his past three BFTS outs. Mauney rode him for 90.25 points during Round 3 of the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals. 

The 2013 World Champion Mauney is right behind Triplett in the event average with 177 points after tying for second-place in Round 2 with L.J. Jenkins and Chase Outlaw with an 88-point ride on Funeral Wagon. Jenkins rode Crazy Horse and Outlaw covered Legal Tender. The three riders each earned 50 points toward their event totals.

Joao Ricardo Vieira placed fifth in the round with 87.75 points.

Oklahoma boys make Chesapeake Energy Arena roar

Jenkins’ ride was a season-high for the 11-year veteran, and the Porum, Oklahoma, resident received a huge ovation for his effort on Crazy Horse.

“It is awesome,” Jenkins said. “It always makes the adrenaline pump a little more being here in the home state. I wouldn’t say I try any harder, but I seem to do better in front of the hometown crowd.”

Jenkins added that Oklahoma City is one of the three biggest stops on the BFTS schedule that he looks forward to every year.

“Pretty much the three biggest stops for me are here, Tulsa, and Albuquerque,” Jenkins said. “There is always awesome bulls there and the fans get behind me. It is always good to come and they are kind of spread out and it kind of gives me a little bit of momentum going into a few events.”

He was able to rebound from his 3.44-second buckoff against Gangster Roll in Round 1 and once again reiterated that his unstable right shoulder is continuing to improve.

“Yesterday I had one slip under me and today I knew that bull I had was really good and I made it work,” Jenkins said. “It (shoulder) is still sore, but it’s not near as bad as it was. As long as I don’t land on it or land in any kind of awkward way I think I will be able to keep going.”

Fellow Oklahoman Ryan Dirteater shook off his Round 1 buckoff (7.14 seconds) on Spring Fever to ride Redneck for 86.75 points.

“Oklahoma crowd is great and being here riding with these fans,” Dirteater said. “I have a lot of friends and family and awesome fans here.”

Dirteater’s four previous buckoffs all came within the 7-second mark.

“In this sport, they don’t pay for 7-second rides,” Dirteater said. “It is 8 seconds. Nor are they paying for over 8 seconds. They don’t pay overtime here, so 8 seconds and you get off and out of there. I just had been tired of doing it and had to finish my job.”


Josh Faircloth broke his left ankle when Crazy Days stepped on him while he was hung up in Round 1 on Friday night. He is expected to undergo surgery this week.

Emilio Resende (multi-ligament knee reconstruction); Claudio Crisostomo (left clavicle fracture); Ty Pozzobon (concussion) and Markus Mariluch (bicep surgery) all did not compete this weekend.

Pozzobon plans to see a specialist this week in Connecticut, but said his recovery is coming along after getting stepped on by Boot Strap Bill multiple times during the PBR Canadian Finals in November.

“It is getting a lot better than the first month,” Pozzobon said. “I have come a long ways. It is a slow process. A lot slower than I thought it would be. I figured just like any other concussion I would be back riding at the first one of the year in Baltimore. It is just taking a lot longer than any other concussion I have ever had before because I had two blows back-to-back like that.”

Pozzobon hoped to be cleared to start getting on bulls this week, but after meeting with PBR sports medicine and Dr. Tandy Freeman, he is instead going to get some further testing done.

“I’m going to get some further testing with it taking this long (to recover),” Pozzobon said. “I thought I was going to see Tandy this weekend and get on some bulls this week and hopefully start going to some bull ridings. Now I don’t really know.”

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko


OKLAHOMA CITY – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Express Employment Professionals Invitational on Friday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Mauney dealing with groin injury, still splits Round 1 with Triplett

There wasn’t much time for J.B. Mauney to celebrate his 89-point ride on Uncle Tink during the last section of Round 1.

The primary emotion coming from Mauney was a grimacing look of pain as the 2013 World Champion bull rider grabbed at his left groin.

“The inside of my groin is pretty banged up,” Mauney said. “(Crack the Whip) kind of hooked me right alongside the leg (in New York), so when I squeeze my legs on the bull it makes it a little tender. This week I was sore and after about Tuesday, Wednesday it got to where I was moving around fine and felt good.

“Getting on them bulls sores it up pretty good.”

A score on the board is the best cure, says Mauney.

“Anytime you can be 89 points, it don’t matter how bad you are going to hurt,” he added. “You are going to be happy about it.”

Mauney’s last 18 BFTS rides have all been scored 85 points or higher.

Sharing the round win with Mauney on Friday night was Matt Triplett. The 23-year-old covered Spin Machine just minutes following Mauney’s ride. Both riders earned 80 event points for splitting the round win, which also carry over to the world standings.

“He has what it takes,” Mauney said. “I like his style. He tries his guts out every time. That is all it takes to be a bull rider. You have to try hard.”

Triplett called it “remarkable” to share the round win with a rider that he grew up idolizing and watching on television.

“It is just awesome to share a stage with one my heroes,” Triplett said. “I have always looked up to J.B. watching him ride all my life. Being able to call him one of my buddies is just remarkable. I look up to him and he is a hero. He rides the rankest bulls in the world and makes it look stupid easy.”

Renato Nunes placed third with 88.25 points on Brass Rain and earned 50 event points. Harve Stewart earned 40 points in the world standings with a fourth-place finish due to his 87.5-point ride aboard Chantilly Lace.

Stetson Lawrence earned 30 points for riding Destination Unknown for 87 points.

Brutus named high-marked bull of Round 1

H.D. Page had high praise for Brutus during the Denver Touring Pro Division Finals and believed that the PBR and fans had yet to see the best from his ABBI Classic bull.

Well, on Friday night Brutus gave everyone, especially Tanner Byrne, a preview of what he can do on the Built Ford Tough Series.

Brutus turned out of the gate and used his rear strength to toss the 6-foot-4 second-year bull rider to the ground in 2.34 seconds and earn a round-winning bull score of 45.75 points.

“Since he has been a calf he has had that big rear drop and kick out of there and he has never lost it,” Page said. “He has just gotten stronger and has never lost his athleticism. I had high hopes that he was going to turn out like he has, but so far I am really pleased with him.”

Page really thought Byrne was going to make it around the corner on Brutus and give the bovine athlete a chance to show the judges a little more.

Regardless, he still showed enough.

“Somebody will get him warmed up and ride him, that is when you will really see what he has inside maybe,” Page said. “So far I am tickled.”

Friday was Brutus’ second out on the BFTS. He bucked off Claudio Crisostomo in 3.99 seconds last season in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Page said he also thinks Brutus is a little overweight from the winter break and he should shed some pounds in the coming weeks.

Brutus beat out another one of Page’s bulls on Friday night. Bruiser was marked 44.75 points for bucking off four-time PRCA champion J.W. Harris in 4.29 seconds. 

The two bulls flip-flopped their positions following last week’s outs in Fort Worth, Texas, where Bruiser beat out Brutus for the high-marked bull.

Alves record streak comes to a halt

Reigning World Champion Silvano Alves saw his PBR record consecutive ride streak officially end at 24 when Big Dip surprised the Oklahoma City crowd and dispatched the 27-year-old in 2.65 seconds.

Alves felt Big Dip hipped himself leaving the chute, but upon further review the call on the dirt was upheld.

It is Alves’ first buckoff since Panterror took care of him in 5.86 seconds in Oakland, California, last October. He also hadn’t failed to make 8 seconds in the first round of a BFTS event since Sept. 12, 2014, when Diesel displaced him in 5.01 seconds.

The world leader will have a chance to get a score on the board Saturday night in Round 2 against Deja Voodoo.

Injury Updates:

While not officially an injury update from Dr. Tandy Freeman, there were a few riders dealing with a stomach virus this week.

Stormy Wing, Douglas Duncan and Sean Willingham all said they were hit with some sort of virus during the week. However, a ghost-white Wing was the one feeling major effects still on Friday night.

Still, Wing was able to battle through the symptoms and ride Minnie’s Money for 79.75 points. He was awarded a re-ride, but the Dalhart, Texas, native decided to keep his score.

Duncan finished Round 1 in sixth place after riding Painkiller for 86.5 points.

It was a tough night for Josh Faircloth, who broke his left ankle when Crazy Days stepped on him while he was hung up after his 4.49-second buckoff.

Faircloth is out for the remainder of the event and is expected to undergo surgery this week.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.


OKLAHOMA CITY – There is no question that the bull power during the Express Employment Professionals Invitational will be the first major test of the season for the PBR’s top riders.

Defending World Champion Silvano Alves has continued to defy the odds and continuously make it to the 8-second whistle since his 2014 march to the world title. This weekend, Alves will look to add his to PBR consecutive ride record (24) when he first takes on Big Dip, who is making his BFTS debut, in Round 1.

He is then slated to face Deja Voodoo in the second round on Saturday night.

Alves has been by far the top bull rider through the first three events of the season and already has more than double the world points of No. 2 Matt Triplett. He is coming off a 5-for-5 performance last weekend in New York and leads Triplett by 645 points.

Triplett will face Spin Machine in Round 1 and American Sniper in Round 2.

Two matchups to keep an eye on in Round 1 on Friday night include J.W. Harris vs. Bruiser and Tanner Byrne vs. Brutus.

Byrne said Thursday that he has seen some past videos of Brutus. Friday night is Brutus’ BFTS debut and he is 10-0 so far in his young career.

“I got a really good one,” Byrne said. “He looks real good. He looks really up and down and a pretty good- sized bull. They haven’t rode him by the looks of it. Those are the ones I like to get on.”

Just last week, Byrne was the first rider to cover Raven Flyer in 20 BFTS outs and 28 overall when he made the 8-second mark for 87.25 points.

Bruiser has only been ridden two times in six BFTS outs, including J.B. Mauney’s 93.25-point ride during the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals.

Billy Robinson will not compete this weekend because of his sprained MCL that he sustained last weekend when he was stepped on by Gentleman Jim in the second round of the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden.

Other riders that remain out because of injury include: Emilio Resende (multi-ligament knee reconstruction); Claudio Crisostomo (left clavicle fracture); Ty Pozzobon (concussion) and Markus Mariluch (bicep surgery).

Bonner Bolton is set to make his first appearance on the BFTS courtesy of his win at the Bakersfield, California, BlueDEF Velocity Tour event last November. It will be the eighth event of his career, but only his second since 2012. He went 2-for-3 in the final regular-season BFTS event of 2014 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Bolton is currently 29th in the world standings and takes on Godfrey’s Red Bull in Round 1 and Buster in Round 2.

The three alternates this weekend include Ben Jones, Jason Malone and Harve Stewart.

Jones, currently ranked ninth in the world, has been one of the more impressive alternates in the first month of 2015, going 4-for-8. He has drawn Bert in Round 1 and Stuntin Like My Daddy in Round 2.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.


Mike Lee was making his final turn around the corner on the Madison Square Garden dirt when he pointed his finger high in the air in celebration on Saturday night.

The New York crowd was on its feet cheering as the 2004 World Champion finished off his celebration of his 88.75-point ride on King Buck during the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

Throughout the course of the three-day event, Lee became somewhat of a hometown favorite with his wife Dana Lee being born and raised on Long Island.

“I was so excited for him because he was having a hard time getting older and thinking, ‘Can I still ride? Can I not still ride?’ I still believe in him so much. When he feels (the crowd) and you see him ride you know what he is feeling afterwards. I am just so happy for him and you know he has that passion and drive.”

Mike placed fourth in the 15/15 Bucking Battle and earned 60 points toward the world standings. The Decatur, Texas, bull rider is ranked 16th in the world.

Dana was the subject of a profile in the New York Daily News last week and she had CBS and CBS Sports Network cameras zoomed in on her whenever Lee nodded his head at the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden.

“Yeah, it is very weird,” she admitted. “I am very used to being in the background and taking the pictures and not being in the pictures. They just wanted to know how we met.”

Dana met Mike at Johnny Utah’s following the 2011 Built Ford Tough Series event in New York and they eventually got married in 2012.

Therefore, New York is always a special place for the two to return to. Their first date was at TGI Fridays and they make it a habit to return to their favorite restaurant whenever they return to New York.

“We love Fridays,” Dana said. “It’s only been four years (since they met), but it (feels like) it has been so much longer.

“He is my best friend and I am his best friend and we will support each other in every decision.”

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.


NEW YORK – Here are three things we learned following this weekend’s Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden.

Alves extends record streak to 24 and extends world lead

He may not have been victorious inside Madison Square Garden, but Silvano Alves once again continued to conquer bull after bull on the Built Ford Tough Series.

Alves finished the weekend a perfect 5-for-5 by going 4-for-4 in the regular event, while also riding Ranga for 87.5 points on Saturday night during the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

The three-time World Champion finished the event in fourth place with 220 points and placed third in the event average with his four rides scores totaling 306.50 points.

Alves extended his Built-Ford-Tough-Series-record streak to 24 consecutive rides by riding Delco for 77.25 points in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round. The defending World Champion was offered a re-ride, but decided to keep the score. At the time, the score had put him first in the event average, but second behind J.B. Mauney in the event standings.

It was the second consecutive re-ride that he declined, after he kept his 59-point score on The Rev in Round 3, which put him third in the event average heading into the championship round.

Even though his decisions cost him an opportunity at winning the event title, the No. 1 bull rider in the world picked up a total of 220 points toward the world standings. He is the first rider to surpass the 1,000-point mark in the standings and has an unofficial total of 1,240 points through the first three weeks of the BFTS.

KISS Animalize is the lucky charm of the weekend

Guilherme Marchi notched his first-career win in New York by riding KISS Animalize for 86.75 points in the championship round to knock off a perfect Shane Proctor (4-for-4) to win the event average, which then pushed him past J.B. Mauney in the event standings with 480 points to Mauney’s 315.

It was the second consecutive day that KISS Animalize rewarded a rider with a victory. Eduardo Aparecido had ridden the bovine athlete for 90 points to win the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Saturday night.

Marchi was very familiar with the bull and decided to use the first pick in the championship-round bull draft to select KISS Animalize. He previously had ridden him for 90 points last year in Anaheim, California.

“That is the best bull for the riders,” Marchi said. “He is not to rank, but he fits you. He has a lot of up and down and a lot of kick and spins into my hand. He is one of the best bulls we've got in the PBR. He brings a lot of 90 points, 89, 88, and is one of the best we got here for sure.”

Marchi earned 400 points for winning the event average, and then picked up an additional 80 points via his round finishes. The 2008 World Champion rode Justified to finish third in Round 1 (50 points) on Friday night and then placed fifth in the third round with an 86.25-point ride on Imagine That.

He earned no event points for his 80.75 points on Pandemonium Gold in the second round.

It is Marchi’s first event victory since winning Last Cowboy Standing last year and the 21st of his career. The win also pushes him to third in the world standings with 530 points.

“I feel happy to win this event, I have never won here before,” Marchi said. “It is one of the most famous arenas we have here in the United States – Madison Square Garden. It is a fun event.”

Rounding out the Top 5 in the event standings were Proctor (285), Alves (220) and Chase Outlaw (215).

Championship round features marque moments

There were a slew of top moments in the championship round on Sunday afternoon that got the crowd on its feet throughout the final rides of the weekend.

Tanner Byrne kicked things off by becoming the first rider in 28 outs to ride Raven Flyer when he covered him for 87.25 points.

Byrne made easy work of Gene Owen’s bull by finding a strong seat aboard the bovine athlete that spun right into his hand.

“It feels good to get one down like that and ride him,” Byrne said. “I had seen him a few times and I felt like he would fit my style pretty good underneath myself.”

Chase Outlaw tied a career-high by riding Crack the Whip for 90.75 points to earn the championship-round victory and an additional 100 points toward the world standings.

The 22-year-old said he decided to pick the bull with the sixth pick of the bull draft after talking with Kasey Hayes on Saturday about how he could ride the bull that has dropped many riders into the well. 

“I said, ‘If I had him when he cracked out there and went left, I would start whooping and I wouldn’t quit,'” Outlaw said. “He likes to drop everybody in there or right around there. I figured if I started spurring right around there and stay aggressive and don’t quit.”

Outlaw is now 5-for-9 on the BFTS this season and is ranked fifth in the world.

The Hamburg, Arkansas, native is happy with his start to the 2015 season, but understands there is much to do.

“Absolutely, but it is just a start,” he said. “It is long way until the Finals.”

It was just one of a series of impressive moments for Robinson’s bulls in the final round of action.

Walk Off was named the high-marked bull of the event after he sent Matt Triplett airborne at the 7.14-second mark and was awarded a bull score of 45 points.

“He is a bull that got better all year last year,” Robinson said. “He had an amazing Finals and (Triplett) was 92 points on him. Man, he comes every weekend and puts forth an effort. We think he is getting better. It is hard to really have crisp bulls this time of year. It is just tough. New York City is a great place to win. That bull is kind of coming into his own and I think he will be short rounder all year I think.”

Robinson’s Stanley FatMax bucked off his second rider in the past 24 hours, and 20th consecutive on the BFTS, when he bucked off Kaique Pacheco in 4.32 seconds to kick off the championship round.

“He has always been a tough one,” Robinson said. “He is a trooper. He can go on the truck every weekend. He is just a really good bull.”

Pacheco qualified for the championship by winning Round 3 with 87.75 points on Rough’em Up Tuck – another one of Robinson’s bulls. It was the first ride of Pacheco’s BFTS career.

Injury updates:

Pacheco was able to sneak into the championship round after, according to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Jordan Hupp opted out due to a an aggravation of a wrist injury on his riding arm.

Billy Robinson did not compete on Sunday after spraining his right knee (MCL) when he was stepped on by Gentleman Jim. He is questionable for Oklahoma City.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.


NEW YORK – Here are three things we learned from Round 2 of the Monster Energy Bucking Battle:

Aparecido gets rewarded in the standings

Eduardo Aparecido was one of the most consistent riders on the BFTS this year who was struggling to receive any points in the world standings.

He had covered 3-of-6 bulls prior to Saturday night, but hadn’t scored high enough this year to place in any rounds or in the event average.

That was until Aparecido rocked Madison Square Garden aboard KISS Animalize with the first 90-point ride of the weekend to win the first 15/15 Bucking Battle of 2015. He earned 150 points toward the world standings courtesy of the victory.

“I am really happy to have a 90-point ride and I am pumped up to ride better,” Aparecido said with the help of Robson Palermo translating. “I have been riding good, but I didn’t have points. Now, God helped me get some points and I feel healthy and good and am just going to keep trying to get more high scores and points.”

It is Aparecido’s second 90-point ride of his career after riding Roy for 93.25 points at the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals.

Aparecido originally rode South Paw for 80 points in the 15/15, but decided to accept his re-ride option knowing far too well he needed a high score to win.

“I knew he was a real good bull and that if I rode the bull I would get a real good score,” Aparecido said. “That is why I got on him.”

Aparecido, who finished runner-up to Joao Ricardo Vieira for the 2013 PBR Rookie of the year and sixth last year in the world standings, added that he is now comfortable and more familiar with the BFTS bulls after competing on the BFTS the past two years.

“I have watched a lot of bulls every week and watching on YouTube has helped a lot,” Aparecido said.

Vieira finished second in the 15/15 Bucking Battle with his 89.25-point ride on Pound the Alarm, earning 90 points toward the world standings.

Mauney placed third with an 89-point performance on Crack The Whip to pick up 75 points toward the world standings, while Mike Lee earned 60 points in the world standings for his 88.75 point-ride on King Buck.

Silvano Alves and his 87.5-point ride on Ranga granted the defending World Champion a fifth-place finish and 45 world standings points.

Alves uses gutsy effort to keep streak alive

Just when it looked like Silvano Alves PBR record streak was about to fall, the three-time World Champion put forth his gutsiest effort of the 2015 season to ride his 22nd consecutive bull on the Built Ford Tough Series.

Alves came out of the right side of the chute in good position on Ranga, who broke into a quick and steady spin. However, Jeff Robinson’s bovine athlete tested Alves near the end of his ride by making a nose dive toward the dirt following a strong buck mid-spin.

Ranga’s dirt dive pulled Alves toward his right side and put plenty of strain on the 27-year-old’s positioning.

“That was really hard,” Alves said. “I ride good, but the bull bucked hard. He went to the right and in the middle of spin he made a big jump and then he jumped moving toward the right to. I am concentrating all the time, but it was really hard.”

The Pilar Do Sul, Brazil, bull rider was credited with 87.5 points and the Madison Square Garden faithful gave him not only a standing ovation, but also voiced their displeasure toward the judges about the score.

Alves said the energy in the building after his 84-point ride on Fat Chance got his adrenaline revved up in anticipation of the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

“It was very exciting,” he said. “All of the fans were loud and (having) more adrenaline is good for riding.”

Alves also had ridden RMEF Big Bull for 69 points in Round 2, but decided to accept his opportunity to face Fat Chance instead.

He is currently 2-for-2 in the Monster Energy Bucking Battle and sits second in the event average with 170.25 points. Chase Outlaw currently leads the event average with 171.25 points.

Matt Triplett congratulated Alves following both of his successful 8-second rides and said that the defending World Champion is inspiring to him and a great example for young bull riders to look up to.

“When you are going against the best bulls in the world and you see Silvano make 22 great bull rides, words can’t describe how much of a perfect bull rider he is,” Triplett said. “Little kids should be watching him and looking up to him and following his ways. He has a winning attitude and that is what makes him such a great bull rider. He doesn’t quit, he gives everything he got and he never quits.”

Aparecido echoed Triplett’s comments, calling Alves not only a close friend, but a great mentor.

“I am so happy to see Silvano do well because he is a good friend and we travel together all of the time,” Aparecido said. “I am happy to see Silvano break all of these records and I am pumped for him too. He helps make my confidence better.”

Alves will look to ride The Rev in Round 3 on Sunday to extend his PBR record to 23 consecutive rides. It will be the first time that the two will go head-to-head.

Oliveira says Round 2 injuries no big deal

Valdiron de Oliveira became the first man on the BFTS to win two rounds this season following his 88.5-point effort on Little Red Jacket, which ties him for the event lead with Round 1 winner J.B. Mauney.

Oliveira was able to overcome his sprained left ankle, a pulled groin and a minor riding hand injury to earn the 8-second qualified ride.

“Well, I am very happy because this year I have won two rounds in a row,” Oliveira said. “I feel OK. My ankle is taped up. It is no big deal. It will be OK. I put on ice on it every day. My (groin) is no big deal. It is getting better. I can feel the inflammation is much better.”

Chase OutlawMatt Triplett and Stetson Lawrence all earned 86 points in Round 2 to tie for second place and earn 50 event points each, which also count toward the world standings. 

J.W. Harris finished fifth in Round 2 with 85.5 points on Mr. Bojangles, and earned 30 event points.

Injury Updates

L.J. Jenkins had a tough Saturday night as he continues to try and ride with his unstable right shoulder that he injured last week at the Touring Pro Division event in Madison Square Garden.

Jenkins was bucked off by The Crippler in 5.5 seconds during Round 2 before being dispatched by Walk Off in 2.53 seconds.

The 27-year-old was able to grind out an 82-point ride on Pandemonium Gold in Round 1 on Friday night.

“Yeah he kind of started out dirty, but that is a bull everybody here should ride,” Jenkins said during Round 1. “It feels alright. It didn’t bother me riding, but getting on I have to watch putting my hand down. I felt it pop again. Usually, I will hurt it and I will be good the next week. But this week it still really isn’t as good as it should be.”

Zane Lambert sustained a concussion when he was thrown from Gonzo in 3.87 seconds during Round 2. According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Lambert is questionable for Round 3.

Emilio Resende (multi-ligament knee reconstruction); Claudio Crisostomo (left clavicle fracture); Ty Pozzobon (concussion) and Markus Mariluch (bicep surgery) all missed their third consecutive BFTS events.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.


NEW YORK – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden.

Alves extends streak to 20

Defending World Champion Silvano Alves extended his PBR record Built Ford Tough Series consecutive ride streak to 20 on Friday night when he rode Big Sleazy for 86.25 points.

He finished fourth in the round to earn 40 points to his lead atop the world standings.

The 27-year-old has now ridden 11 of his last 13 for 85 points or more and will have the potential to add two more rides to his historic streak tomorrow night. He is first slated to take on RMEF Big Bull in Round 2 for the first time in his career before facing Ranga in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.


Travel exhaustion

Renato Nunes, Valdiron de Oliveira, Marco Eguchi and Kaique Pacheco competed on Friday night following a long week in Colorado.

The four Brazilians landed in New York at 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon and roughly got only one hour of sleep after competing in the Pueblo, Colorado, Touring Pro Division event on Thursday night following the three-night Touring Pro Division Finals on Monday-Wednesday.

“We got no sleep,” Nunes said before the start of Round 1. “Hopefully we will ride well tonight and then get a good night’s rest; but it was a long night.”

Thursday night was expected to be tiresome for the group, which had to make the two-and-a-half hour drive north to Denver following the event, but it only got longer when they had to help fellow rider Robson Aragao change a flat tire without a car jack.

The lack of sleep and energy may have played a factor during Round 1 in New York as Nunes, Oliviera, Eguchi and Pacheco were all bucked off.

Pacheco was making his BFTS season debut following his BlueDEF Velocity Tour event win in Ontario, California. 

The 20-year-old remembers watching the PBR on television in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“I am very happy,” Pacheco said with the help of Oliveira translating. “In Brazil, I watched TV all the time and I saw all of the Brazilians riding in the PBR. This is my dream. This is my dream to come over and compete with these guys. I have worked a lot to make it here and if I ride better, I will stay here.”

Mauney continues to be money in New York

J.B. Mauney holds the PBR record with three event wins in New York and has taken a step toward winning a fourth time in the Big Apple with his Round 1 winning 88-point ride on Electric Prune.

Electric Prune almost squatted all the way down on his way out of the chute, before Mauney readjusted and fought his way to the 8-second mark for his first round win of 2015, while also earning 100 points toward the world standings.

Judges had to review the ride after it appeared that Mauney may have fallen just short of 8 seconds when he let go of his bull rope. However, upon further review, Mauney was awarded his score.

“I knew that bull. I won before on him,” Mauney said. “I knew he was a good draw. It was kind of a rocky start at the beginning. He kind of backed down. I didn’t start in the best shape I wanted to, but that is what bull riding is all about. You have to go with you are dealt. I wasn’t going to bail off and I was going to try until the bitter end.”

Mauney has been historically dominant in New York. He has ridden 29-of-33 bulls inside Madison Square Garden for an 87.88-point riding percentage.

The 2013 World Champion says he isn’t sure exactly what it is that causes him to ride so well in New York, but he thinks it may just be the energy of the crowd.

“I don’t know, maybe it is the fans,” Mauney said. “Like tonight, I couldn’t hear the whistle blow because the fans are so loud. Then they reviewed it and it was almost 10 seconds. I knew my internal clock wasn’t that far off.

“When the fans get into it like Vegas and here it kind of pumps you up even more and makes you want to ride better than you do. It kind of makes you ride better I guess.”

Rounding out the Top 5 was Billy Robinson with 87.5 points on Western Way, Guilherme Marchi with 87.25 points on Justified, Silvano Alves with 86.25 points on Big Sleazy and Kasey Hayes and Shane Proctor with 85.5 points on Let er Rip and Blue Gangster respectively.

Following Mauney’s post-event interview, Robinson came up and congratulated Mauney on the victory.

Mauney replied before laughing, “Thanks, sorry about that.”

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.



PUEBLO, Colo. – Silvano Alves heads to New York for the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden looking to extend his PBR record consecutive ride streak to 20.

Alves takes on Big Sleazy on Friday night in the duo’s second meeting. Alves was awarded a re-ride after failing to get out of the chute on the bull last year in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Big Sleazy has yet to be ridden on the BFTS in five career outs. Fabiano Vieira did make 8-seconds on him in Allentown, but accepted his re-ride option, while Skeeter Kingsolver was bucked off by Big Sleazy last weekend in 2.95 seconds during the Chicago Invitational.

There will be five alternates competing in New York, including BlueDEF Velocity Tour invite Kaique Pacheco.

Pacheco is currently riding at the Touring Pro Division Finals this week in Denver, where he rode Compact for 88 points Tuesday night, and will compete in New York thanks to his victory at the Ontario, California, BlueDEF Velocity Tour event last November.

The young Brazilian bull rider has been off to strong start in 2015 and also won the Touring Pro Division event in Columbus, Georgia, last week with a 2-for-2 performance. Pacheco heads to Madison Square Garden ranked eighth in the world standings and faces Fat Chance in the first round.

The other four alternates in New York are Tyler Pankewitz, Ben Jones, Billy Robinson and Jason Malone.

Pankewitz has been invited to New York after winning the 3D Bull Riding Touring Pro Division Series in Canada last year. 

Reese Cates, currently second in the world standings, and Shane Proctor, ninth in the world, are both in the draw once again via their injury exemptions.

Emilio Resende (multi-ligament knee reconstruction); Claudio Crisostomo (left clavicle fracture); Ty Pozzobon (concussion) and Markus Mariluch (bicep surgery) remain out of competition.

Two riders are making their 2015 BFTS debuts following injuries from 2014. Douglas Duncan and Stetson Lawrence are riding this weekend after missing the Baltimore and Chicago Invitationals.

Duncan returns after being out because of a torn ligament in his right thumb that he aggravated at the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals, while Lawrence is back in action following a torn PCL in his right knee.

Lawrence got on his first bull since the injury Wednesday night at the Touring Pro Division Finals and was bucked off by Air Up There.

“I feel good, just a little rusty yet,” Lawrence said.

The 26-year-old is competing with a brace on his knee, something he has never ridden with before in his career.

“It is the first time I tried it out,” he added. “I felt like it slid a little down on me, but it is no excuse. I just didn’t set my hips.”

Lawrence doesn’t think his knee will ever get back to 100 percent, but he classified it around 90-95 percent and is ready to start riding full time.

“I can’t wait to be back,” Lawrence concluded. “I have to work some kinks out, but other than that I am happy to start the year off right.”

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.


CHICAGO – Here are three things we learned from this weekend’s Chicago Invitational at Allstate Arena.

Alves’ second chance on Jared Allen’s Hy Test pays off

Defending World Champion Silvano Alves would not have been in position to win his first regular-season Built Ford Tough Series event since 2013 if it had not been for his seemingly-easy decision to ask for another chance against Jared Allen’s Hy Test in Round 2 on Sunday afternoon.

Alves was awarded a re-ride when Hy Test left the bucking chute and proceeded to fall over after roughly 3 seconds. The 27-year-old then approached stock contractor Matt Scharping of Jared Allen’s Pro Bull Team about getting another chance at Hy Test instead of facing a different bull for his re-ride.

The decision paid off as Alves stayed aboard Hy Test the second time around for 86.25 points and his 18th-consecutive ride on the BFTS.

“He is a good bull and they opened the gate and he fell off,” Alves said. “I didn’t want to try the second bull because (Hy Test) is a good bull for a good score. The stock contractor said OK and I tried, and it was a good score on the same bull.”

Alves then went on to ride his 19th-consecutive bull and earn the event title in Chicago by riding Flint for 87.75 points in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round. He was the only rider to cover a bull in the championship round, therefore winning the round and earning 100 event points. Alves also won the event average (with a combined 259 points on his bulls) to win an additional 400 points and the event title with 500 total event points.

The 500 points carry over into the world standings, pushing the three-time World Champion into sole possession of the No. 1 spot in the world.

Rounding out the Top 5 in Chicago was Matt Triplett (370 event points), Chase Outlaw (240), Shane Proctor (145) and Cody Nance (105).

Triplett wins Round 2; finishes second in event

Triplett began the championship round with the top pick in the bull draft and selected Percolator, a bull he had ridden for 88.5 points in Clovis, New Mexico, at the 2013 L.J. Jenkins Invitational.

However, the decision did not pay off as Jeff Robinson’s bull bucked off the 23-year-old in 2.02 seconds and prevented him from earning his first victory on the BFTS.

However, not to be overshadowed was the fact that Triplett earned his first round win of 2015 when he made 8 seconds on Delco for 90.75 points. It is the second time he has ridden Delco after previously covering him for 89 points at the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals.

“I got along good with that bull at the Finals and I knew usually when I draw bulls that I have already rode, I overthink it or I go at it not as hard as I usually do, but my attitude this year is totally changed,” Triplett explained. “I am not even looking at what I got. I waited until I got here until I knew what I had, and I just have to go at them every single jump and try my best.

“I ride a lot to the front end of my rope and really drive forward and that bull has a lot of rear and a lot of kick. So he just fits me really good, because I got way out over bulls and that is what it takes to ride the rank ones.

In two weeks, Triplett has earned round points in three of the six BFTS rounds. He finished fifth in Round 1 on Friday night with 86.25 points on Justified, and placed third in the first round of the Baltimore Invitational with an 87-point ride on Shoot Out The Lights.

Triplett will head to New York next weekend ranked third in the world standings.

Cooper Tires Brown Sugar and Who Dey tie for high-marked bull title

Who Dey made his BFTS debut in Chicago last year, and on Sunday afternoon he celebrated his return to the Windy City by tying Cooper Tires Brown Sugar for the high-marked bull title after being scored 45.25 points for his 5.83-second buckoff of Chase Outlaw.

It was Who Dey’s first bull score of over 45 points in his past seven BFTS outs.

Cooper Tires Brown Sugar made his mark by whipping Guilherme Marchi high into the air and flat on his back in 2.12 seconds.

Sunday was Cooper Tires Brown Sugar’s first 45-plus bull score in 14 career BFTS outs.

“He is a great little bull,” Chad Berger said on top of the shark cage. “He is just young and gets better all the time.”

Injury Updates

Mississippi Hippy is intimidating to even the healthiest of bull riders, and Skeeter Kingsolver had to try and ride the 2,000-plus pound bovine athlete in the championship round after straining his left groin attempting to ride Big Sleazy in the second round.

“The way you adjust your rope is the bigger the bull, the smaller the loop. I had my rope all the way down. It wasn’t getting any smaller,” Kingsolver said. “He is the biggest bull I have ever been on. They say he is 2,500 (pounds). He is a big ole’ bull. He fills up the bucking chutes. You can’t get up there and feel comfortable in the bucking chute. You just can’t because he fills it up.” 

Robson Palermo competed in Round 2 despite straining a tendon in his left wrist (riding hand) after riding Neon Nightmare for 80.5 points in the first round on Saturday night.

Valdiron de Oliveira, who sprained his left ankle dismounting RMEF Big Bull on Friday night, could not bring over any momentum Sunday from his Round 1 victory on Saturday night and went 0-for-2. Oliveira finished the event in sixth place.

L.J. Jenkins finished 0-for-2 in Chicago after trying to compete with an unstable right shoulder that he aggravated during a Touring Pro Division event in Madison, Wisconsin, Friday.

Emilio Resende (multi-ligament knee reconstruction following the World Finals); Claudio Crisostomo (left clavicle fracture); Ty Pozzobon  (concussion sustained at the PBR Canadian Finals); Markus Mariluch (bicep surgery) and Stetson Lawrence (torn right PCL) did not compete in Chicago.


CHICAGO – Here are three things we learned from the Chicago Invitational on Saturday night at Allstate Arena.

Alves sets all-time PBR consecutive ride record

Silvano Alves set the all-time PBR consecutive ride record on the Built Ford Tough Series by riding Redbone for 85 points on the final ride of Round 1.

The 27-year-old has now ridden 17 consecutive bulls dating back to last season, which includes his perfect 6-for-6 showing at the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals.

“I am very, very happy to ride 17 bulls,” Alves said. “I am thankful for my family to support me, my sponsors and God.”

Full story on Silvano Alves record-breaking night in Chicago

Oliveira earns his first round win of 2015

There were a total of 18 qualified rides in Round 1 of the Chicago Invitational, but it was one of the elder statesmen on the BFTS taking home the first-round victory and the 100 event points.

Valdiron de Oliveira rode RMEF Big Bull for a round-winning 89 points.

“That is very important for a win in the go round,” Oliveira said. “All of the points now have changed. Now it is more easy for the guys in the Touring Pro to go up and all the guys in the Built Ford Tough Series can go down. You have to be careful. You have to be more serious because it is more easy to go down.”

It was Oliveira’s third 89-point or higher ride in the past year.

J.B. Mauney placed second in the round by becoming the first rider to reach 8 seconds aboard Diesel in six BFTS outs and the 2013 World Champion was rewarded for his efforts with 88.75 points, earning 60 event points.

Rounding out the Top 5 was Ryan Dirteater, Skeeter Kingsolver and Matt Triplett.

Dirteater is one of only three remaining riders (Alves and Shane Proctor) in the BFTS to have started the year 4-for-4. Dirteater rode Off The Grid for 87.75 points in Round 1, while Proctor earned 84 points on More Big Bucks.

Kingsolver takes advantage of alternate position

Skeeter Kingsolver knows he may not get many opportunities to earn significant round points on the BFTS until the first cuts come in a few weeks; therefore, he was extremely pleased to ride Pretty Wreckless for 86.5 points and finish fourth in Round 1 – earning 40 event points toward the world standings.

“That was big time,” Kingsolver said. “Realistically it kind of is (one chance) right now. It was a must-need step up (situation) the way the points are this year. I placed in the round, so I am trying to get all them points while I am here in Chicago as I can.”

Saturday night was Kingsolver’s first 8-second ride on the BFTS since April 27, 2012, in Uncasville, Connecticut, when the McLouth, Kansas, cowboy covered Blue Canyon for 83.25 points.

“This feels like home being here,” he said. “This is where I know I belong, but also whenever I go out there and do my job just like that I don’t expect anything less of myself. It is very satisfying at the end of the day when you do your job.”

Injury Updates

L.J. Jenkins nearly came up with his third qualified ride of the season before falling short against Mac-Nett’s Southern Wine at the 6.41-second mark on Saturday night in Round 1 despite riding with an unstable right shoulder that he aggravated Friday night in Madison, Wisconsin, at a Touring Pro Division event.

“I entered it twice thinking that was a great idea and I am still 18 years old,” Jenkin said. “I rode both of my long-round bulls and my second one kind of came up on my head and (I) kind of tried catching myself. I have shoulder problems anyways and it felt like it possibly tried coming out, but it didn’t. I got on my first short-round bull and I couldn’t raise it. I stayed on and I just figured there is a lot more money here (Chicago) so I turned down my second one.

“I felt good today. I can’t raise it, but it didn’t hurt me riding. I couldn’t feel it when I was riding, but I could feel it when I got off.”

Five riders were officially ruled out by Dr. Tandy Freeman:

Emilio Resende (multi-ligament knee reconstruction following the World Finals); Claudio Crisostomo (left clavicle fracture); Ty Pozzobon  (concussion sustained at the PBR Canadian Finals); Markus Mariluch (bicep surgery) and Stetson Lawrence (torn right PCL).

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.


PUEBLO, Colo. – Skeeter Kingsolver will head to Chicago for this weekend’s Chicago Invitational as the top alternate thanks to his victory at the San Diego BlueDEF Velocity Tour event this past November.

Kingsolver went 2-for-2 at the Valley View Casino Center and used an 85.5-point ride on Woody to earn a spot on the BFTS for one event.

“I know my abilities,” Kingsolver said at the time of the victory. “There is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to do this each and every weekend. I know my job is to ride my bulls, but showing up and doing it is another thing. I’m going to have a different mindset for 2015.”

Kingsolver, who will face Pretty Reckless in Round 1, is one of six alternates set to compete in Chicago at the Allstate Arena.

Jason Malone is set to make his BFTS season debut after competing in a career-high 11 events in 2014, and Tyler Harr will also be appearing this year for the first time on the BFTS after making his career-debut last season in five events.

The other three alternates include Ben Jones, who is currently fourth in the world standings, Billy Robinson and Harve Stewart.

Three-time World Champion Silvano Alves will look to set the all-time PBR BFTS consecutive ride record on Saturday night by riding Redbone for his 17th consecutive ride on the BFTS. Alves has never faced Redbone and this will be the bovine athlete’s third out on the BFTS.

Redbone’s last out came at the Desert Showdown in 2014 when Ryan Dirteater covered him for 82 points in the second round. Mike Lee was bucked off at the 7.34-second mark in Nashville, Tennessee, earlier last year. Overall, Redbone has bucked off nine of his 11 challengers at all levels. Malone is the only rider to reach 8 seconds on Redbone in the Touring Pro Division, earning 85.5 points in Little Rock, Arkansas, last February.

Current world leader Reese Cates has a first-round date with Mr. Bojangles. Jeff Robinson’s bull bucked off Malone in 2.09 seconds last year in Biloxi, Mississippi, in his only career BFTS out.

Matt Triplett (bruised left thigh) is expected to compete Friday night and said earlier this week that he was feeling better after being thrown by Cooper Tires Brown Sugar last weekend in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round. He has drawn Justified for Round 1.

Emilio Resende (multi-ligament knee reconstruction following the World Finals); Claudio Crisostomo (left clavicle fracture); Ty Pozzobon (concussion sustained at the PBR Canadian Finals); Markus Mariluch (bicep surgery) and Stetson Lawrence (torn right PCL) are out for the Chicago Invitational.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.


PUEBLO, Colo. – The PBR announced in November a new points system for the 2015 season that changed how points are accrued throughout the regular season towards the PBR World Championship and how event winners on the Built Ford Tough Series are determined.

With one event officially in the books, here are how things shaped up for those still looking to learn more about how the points system played out during the Baltimore Invitational.

Before taking a round-by-round look at the Baltimore Invitational, here is a refresher on the changes made for 2015.

Built Ford Tough Series Event Scoring

The 2015 PBR Built Ford Tough World Champion will be the rider who has accumulated the most points during the regular season and the Built Ford Tough World Finals. The PBR’s new system puts an emphasis on winning and rewards bull riders who perform at the highest level both within individual events (i.e. round placement) and throughout the season.

Riders earn points at BFTS events based on where they place in a round and the event average.

The first-place finisher at a BFTS round receives 100 event points. Riders placing second through fifth receive event points on a graduated scale (60, 50, 40, 30).

The first-place finisher in the event average, which is based on a rider’s total combined ride score, will receive 400 points. Riders placing second through 10th receive points on a graduated scale (240, 180, 105, 65, 45, 20, 15, 10, 5).

The Top 15 riders with the highest-combined ride scores following Rounds 1 & 2 (or three during a three-day event) will advance to the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.

How did the new points system work in Baltimore?

Starting with Round 1, Mike Lee rode Pecos Bill for a Round 1-high of 87.75 points. Therefore, Lee was awarded 100 event points.

Kasey Hayes finished second in the round by riding Loco Lizard for 87.25 points, earning him 60 event points.

J.W. Harris earned 50 event points with the third-highest scored ride of Round 1 when he covered Alternator for 86.75 points, and Nathan Schaper was awarded 40 event points for placing fourth in Round 1 with 86.25 points on Nefarious.

Guilherme Marchi placed fifth in Round 1 with 85.75 points on RMEF Big Bull for 30 event points.

Therefore, the event leaderboard following Round 1 appeared as follows:

1.       Mike Lee (100 event points)

2.       Kasey Hayes (60 event points)

3.       J.W. Harris (50 event points)

4.       Nathan Schaper (40 event points)

5.       Guilherme Marchi (30 event points)

The remaining 15 riders that posted qualified rides earned no points toward the world standings or the event standings. However, they remained in the hunt for the event average title, which awards 400 points to the bull rider who accumulates the highest-combined ride score. Those 400 points are crucial when it comes to potentially winning a BFTS event.

Baltimore Round 2

In Round 2, there were a total of 18 qualified rides. Using the same approach as Round 1, here is how event points were awarded:

Reese Cates earned the Round 2 victory and 100 event points with an 88.5-point ride on KISS Animalize.

Cody Nance earned 60 event points courtesy of his 87.5 point-ride on Modified Clyde – the second highest-scored ride of Round 2.

Third in the round was Matt Triplett with 87 points on Shoot Out The Lights, providing him with 50 event points, while Renato Nunes was credited with 40 event points for a fourth-place finish on Slappy.

Rounding out the Top-5 of Round 2 was Silvano Alves with his 86.25-point performance on Rough ‘em Up Tuck.

Once again, the other 13 riders that posted qualified rides in Round 2 did not earn any event points or points toward the world standings. However, some of these riders were a perfect 2-for-2 on the weekend and in prime position for making a run at the 400 event points that come with winning the event average.

Therefore, here are the event standings (based upon event points earned) following Round 2.

1/2. Mike Lee (100 event points)

1/2. Reese Cates (100 event points)

3/4. Kasey Hayes (60 event points)

3/4. Cody Nance(60 event points)

5/6. J.W. Harris (50 event points)

5/6. Matt Triplett (50 event points)

7/8. Nathan Schaper (40 event points)

7/8. Renato Nunes (40 event points)

9/10. Guilherme Marchi (30 event points)

9/10. Silvano Alves (30 event points)

Who qualified for the Built Ford Tough Championship Round?

Here are which riders qualified for the Built Ford Tough Championship Round based on the event average (total combined ride scores).

Below in parentheses are the number of event points that each rider earned towards winning the Baltimore event following Round 1 and Round 2. Remember, these 15 riders were jockeying to earn the important 400 event points for placing first in the event average, as well as the additional points awarded to the remaining nine riders that round out the Top 10 in the event average.

1. Reese Cates 2-for-2  for 174 ride points (100 event points)

2. Matt Triplett 2-for-2 for 172 ride points (50 event points)

3. Renato Nunes 2-for-2  for  170.5 ride points (40 event points)

4. Sean Willingham 2-for-2 for 169.75 ride points (0 event points)

5. Kasey Hayes 2-for-2 for 169.25 ride points (60 event points)

6. Brady Sims 2-for-2 for 169 ride points (0 event points)

7. Ryan Dirteater 2-for-2  for 168 ride points (0 event points)

8. Silvano Alves 2-for-2 for 167.25 ride points (30 event points)

9. Shane Proctor 2-for-2 for 166.5 ride points (0 event points)

10. L.J. Jenkins 2-for-2 for 159.5 ride points (0 event points)

11. Eduardo Aparecido 2-for-2 for 151 ride points (0 event points)

12. Mike Lee 1-for-2 for 87.75 ride points (100 event points)

13. Cody Nance 1-for-2 for 87.5 ride points (60 event points)

14. J.W. Harris 1-for-2 for 86.75 ride points (50 event points)

15. Nathan Schaper 1-for-2 for 86.25 ride points (40 event points)

Championship Round Results

Kasey Hayes rode Fire & Smoke for 89.25 points to win the round and earn 100 event points.

Silvano Alves placed second in the round with 88 points on Yo Yo and earned 60 event points, Cody Nance finished third with 87.5 points aboard I’m a Gangster Too for 50 event points, Reese Cates rode Percolator for 86.5 points and 40 event points and Ryan Dirteater finished fifth in the round with 84.5 points on Cooper Tires Semper Fi and was awarded 30 event points.

Shane Proctor earned no event points in the championship round, seeing as he finished outside of the Top 5 with 83.75 points on Freakster.

However, once again the majority of points available at a BFTS event still remain within the event average and Proctor finished 3-for-3 with a combined ride score of 250.25 points. Therefore, he finished fifth in the event average and earned 65 event points, which also carryover to the world standings.

Here is how the top event average finishers were awarded event points in Baltimore:

The riders that are in the Top 10 of the event average are awarded significant event points at a BFTS event.  These are the Top 10 riders in the event average from Baltimore:

1.       Reese Cates, 260.5 ride points on three bulls (400 event points)

2.       Kasey Hayes, 258.5 ride points on three bulls (240 event points)

3.       Silvano Alves, 255.25 ride points on three bulls (180 event points)

4.       Ryan Dirteater, 252.50 ride points on three bulls (105 event points)

5.       Shane Proctor, 250.25 ride points on three bulls (65 event points)

6.       Cody Nance, 165 ride points on two bulls (45 event points)

7.       Matt Triplett, 172 event points on two bulls (20 event points)

8.       Renato Nunes, 170.5 ride points on two bulls (15 event points)

9.       Sean Willingham, 169.75 ride points on two bulls (10 event points)

10.     Brady Sims, 169 ride points on two bulls (5 event points)

How were the final event results decided in Baltimore?

Based on the new points system, event finish at a BFTS event is determined based upon total event points earned and not total ride score. Consequently, here is how things finished in Baltimore.

1. Reese Cates (500 event points)

2. Kasey Hayes (400 event points)

3. Silvano Alves (270 event points)

4. Cody Nance (155 event points)

5. Ryan Dirteater (135 event points)

6. Mike Lee (100 event points)

7. Matt Triplett (70 event points)

8. Shane Proctor (65 event points)

9. Renato Nunes (55 event points)

10. J.W. Harris (50 event points)

11. Nathan Schaper (40 event points)

12. Guilherme Marchi (30 event points)

13. Sean Willingham (10 event points)

14. Brady Sims (5 event points)

These are the only points that carry over into the world standings from a BFTS event. Ride scores from an event do not count toward the world standings. 

Riders may also earn points toward the world standings based upon how they finish in the event average at BlueDEF Velocity Tour, Touring Pro Division and international PBR events. However, riders at those events do not earn any points for where they finish in a round.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.


BALTIMORE – Here are three things we learned from this weekend’s Baltimore Invitational at the Royal Farms Arena.

Alves ties all-time consecutive ride record

Defending World Champion Silvano Alves carried over his torrid pace from the final month of the 2014 Built Ford Tough Series to go 3-for-3 in Baltimore and tie J.B. Mauney’s PBR record consecutive ride streak.

Alves tied Mauney’s record by riding Yo Yo for 88 points in the championship round for his 16th consecutive ride on the BFTS dating back to last season.

“I am very happy because I needed to just stay on the bull,” Alves said. “I am excited to start this year to ride all three bulls. I am just happy for the support of my family, fans and sponsors.”

It was the third time that the three-time World Champion had faced the bovine athlete, and he is now a perfect 3-for-3 against him. The last time Alves made the 8-second aboard him was at the 2013 Built Ford Tough World Finals when he covered Yo Yo for 89.5 points. The bull had bucked off five consecutive riders at BFTS events since then.

When asked how happy he would be to officially set the record next week in Chicago, Alves simply smiled and said, “Oh, I don’t know,” and pointed out that he was more focused on starting off the New Year on the right foot more than anything else.

Alves began the 2015 season on Friday night with an 81-point ride aboard Little Red, before making the 8-second whistle on Rough'em Up Tuck in Round 2 for 86.25 points on Saturday night.

Overall, Alves finished third in the event with 270 event points for finishing third in the event average (180 points), second in the championship round (60 points) and fifth in the second round (30 points).

Cates edges Hayes for event win

 Just before the start of the championship-round draft on Saturday night, Reese Cates admitted that it was in the back of his mind that he needed a strong performance to start off the 2015 season if he wanted to do all he could to try and earn a spot back on tour following an injury derailed 2014 season.

Cates didn’t want to think too much about the fact that he had only three more remaining injury exemptions to make it back to the BFTS.

Well, Cates is now off to one fine start and took a major step toward regaining a full-time spot on the BFTS by going 3-for-3 to win this weekend’s season opener at the Royal Farms Arena and leave Baltimore as the No. 1 rider in the world standings.

Cates, the 2008 Rookie of the Year, earned his first career victory by riding Percolator for 86.5 points to finish first in the event average with 260.5 points and earn 400 of his 540-event winning points.

“Man, as I was sitting back there behind the chutes getting ready to get on, Silvano told me that bull really wanted to go to the outside either way he went, and when the gate come open all of that went out the window. It was just hold on. That bull has some pretty big horns and so it can kind of be intimidating, but it worked out.

“I picked him because I watched that bull for a long time and he looks like something that would be cool to get on. He really gets in the air and kicks hard and he just looks like everything you would want in a championship round bull. I knew if I didn’t pick him, one of the other guys in the Top 15, who were also having a great weekend, would pick him and probably stay on top of him, too.”

The El Dorado, Arkansas, bull rider earned 100 event points when he held on to KISS Animalize for 88.5 points to win the second round and head into the championship round with the first selection in the bull draft.

“I knew that bull and had been watching him at some of the Velocity Tour events throughout the fall and I had wanted to get on him,” Cates said. “He is one of them bulls where if you make a mistake he is going to put you on the ground and if you don’t make a mistake you are going to win. So I was extremely excited this morning whenever I found out that I had him and it worked out.”

Kasey Hayes posted the top ride of the championship round to propel him to a second-place finish with 400 event points when he lasted the full 8-seconds aboard Fire & Smoke for 89.25 points.

Hayes previously rode Fire & Smoke for 94 points at Chad Berger’s Touring Pro Division event last season.

“Them judges didn’t think it was as good up here in the major leagues as they did in the minors,” Hayes joked. “I like the way he feels. He goes left and that is into my hand. I don’t say I favor him into my hand, but I seem to ride him better.”

Hayes went 3-for-3 and finished with 258.5 points in the event average. The 29-year-old rode Marty for 82 points in Round 2 after placing second in Round 1 on Friday night with 87.25 points aboard Loco Lizard.

Rounding out the Top 5 in event points was Alves (270), Cody Nance (155) and Ryan Dirteater (135).

Cates, Hayes, Dirteater and Shane Proctor, who finished eighth overall, all went a perfect 3-for-3 for the weekend, which featured a total of 44 qualified rides.

Mississippi Hippy and Beaver Creek Beau post highest bull scores

Mississippi Hippy once again proved fits for his challengers as Mike Lee was tossed hardly to the ground in a matter of just 2.71 seconds during the championship round.

Hippy has bucked off 27 of his 29 challengers on the BFTS in his five-year career and has become a bull that some riders have shied away from wanting to face.

Lee was pleased with the bull despite being slammed onto the arena floor.

“Hippy felt good, but I over road him,” Lee said.

Mississippi Hippy was marked 45 points Saturday and tied with Beaver Creek Beau for the event-high. Beaver Creek Beau earned 45 points for bucking off J.W. Harris in 4.75 seconds.


Matt Triplett sustained a bruised left thigh when he was stepped on by Cooper Tires Brown Sugar after being thrown off in the championship round in Baltimore. According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, he is expected to compete in Chicago.

Kody Lostroh did not compete on Saturday night after hanging his left foot in the shark cage during his 59.5-point ride on Rag Town on Friday night. He was offered a re-ride, but had to turn it down to the injury. 

Ben Jones bounced back from his Round 1 injuries (facial abrasions and contusions) to ride American Gangster for 84 points in the second round.

Five riders ranked inside the Top 35 of the world standings following the 2014 season were unable to compete this weekend:

Emilio Resende (multi-ligament knee reconstruction following the World Finals); Claudio Crisostomo (left clavicle fracture); Ty Pozzobon  (concussion sustained at the PBR Canadian Finals); Markus Mariluch (bicep surgery) and Stetson Lawrence (torn right PCL).

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.


BALTIMORE – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of this weekend’s Baltimore Invitational at the Royal Farms Arena.

Schaper records first ride of 2015; 20 total qualified rides in Round 1

It didn’t take long for Nathan Schaper to record the first ride of the 2015 Built Ford Tough Series when he held on to Nefarious for 86.25 points in the second out of the New Year.

“It feels good to start it off like that, for sure,” Schaper said. “That bull had a lot of timing. I felt good. The breaks does me really good. I don’t need to be getting on a lot of practice bulls. I try not to think about bull riding a whole lot in the offseason and you get as far away from it as possible. You come back and everything is fresh, new and you are just reacting.”

Schaper kicked off a strong night of bull riding as the Top 35 bull riders in the world combined for 20 qualified rides, eight of which were scored 85 points or higher.

The 24-year-old finished Round 1 fourth and is hoping to repeat his similar success that he had to begin the 2014 season when he went 9-for-12 in the first four BFTS events.

“I don’t know what it is, but I seem to ride good in the beginning of the year,” Schaper said. “Everyone is a lot healthier. I am not the only one that stayed on. Most everyone stayed on tonight. Everyone is feeling good. There are not a lot of injuries and everyone is excited and happy to be here.”

Mike Lee wins Round 1 on Pecos Bill

The first round win of the 2015 season went to 2004 World Champion Mike Lee as the Decatur, Texas, cowboy conquered Pecos Bill for 87.75 points.

Lee was able to bounce back from a rough moment in the bucking chute when Pecos Bill lunged the 31-year-old head first into the chute in front of him. However, Lee, who was wearing his standard blue helmet, said the blow didn’t faze him too badly.

Instead, he had to contend with Pecos Bill’s hard bucking style that proved to be a further challenge, especially around the 5.5-second mark.

“That bull really kicks hard. That is a rodeo bull and been around a long time, so I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Lee said. “An older bull like that, he is smart enough to (not let you) make any dumb moves and he will go the other way or something. I felt really good on him. He was pretty heavy and was jerking on me a few times and I remember myself grunting. He pulled me down a little bit once and was kind of pulling and jerking on me a little bit and I was just grunting my way through it. I figured if I held my breath he would get me down. I was just trying to let some air out and go with the ride.”

Lee added that he spent the final month of the offseason getting on some practice bulls and going to a few smaller, local rodeos to regain his timing following his left shoulder injury at the World Finals, which led to a seventh-place finish in the world standings.

“I was nervous coming here tonight and was kind of wondering if I still had it to be at this kind of level and I think I do,” Lee said. “I have a lot of people believing in me and I believe in myself. I have a right to be here as long as I ride this good.”

Lee is also one of a group of bull riders that will be visiting the Believe in Tomorrow Children’s House at Johns Hopkins on Saturday afternoon.

Rounding out the Top 5 in Round 1 were Kasey Hayes (87.25 points on Loco Lizard), J.W. Harris (86.75 points on Alternator), Schaper and 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi (85.75 points on RMEF Big Bull).

Hayes, who had received a motivational text from Chicago Bears defensive end Jared Allen this week, was one of three bull riders (Kasey Hayes/Jordan Hupp) competing for Allen’s new Jared Allen’s Pro Bull team.

Proctor records first ride in nearly a year and unveils new hairstyle

Shane Proctor rang in the New Year with a completely shaved scalp thanks to father-in-law Tim Mauney and picked up his first qualified ride since Jan. 3, 2014, when he made 8 seconds aboard Billy Jack for 83 points in Round 1.

Friday night was Proctor’s first BFTS event since last year’s season-opener in New York before two separate surgeries to his right and left shoulders forced him to miss the remainder of the 2014 BFTS.

“It’s been a while,” Proctor said. “It’s great to be here in this Built Ford Tough Series atmosphere. There is nothing like it when it comes to riding bulls. It is hard being away from it for so long. I hadn’t been released (to ride) until a couple days ago officially. I got on four bulls yesterday and J.B. helped me get on them.”

In terms of his shoulders, Proctor said he felt good in the practice pen and just as good riding Billy Jack.

“My shoulders are doing good and I feel comfortable with them,” he explained. “It is just getting the timing back. I couldn’t have drawn a better bull for the first one back. It went right into my mitt. It is just fun getting on bulls again.”

And about that new haircut?

“Man, I had to try something different,” Proctor said before laughing. “2014 was fun because I got to go travel with my wife a bunch, but I didn’t get to get on many bulls. I needed to do something different. Hopefully I start 2015 in the right direction.

“It is a new look, but I don’t mind it at all.” 


According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Ben Jones is probable for Round 2 on Saturday after sustaining facial abrasions and contusions when he was stepped on after being thrown from Wreck It Ralph during Round 1.

The PBR announced just before Round 1 that Stetson Lawrence was a late scratch from the event because of the torn right PCL that he sustained at the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals attempting to ride Feeling Blue.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.


BALTIMORE – The 2015 Built Ford Tough Series has finally arrived and the PBR’s best are returning to action this Friday night at Royal Farms Arena in hopes of beginning the long, grueling march toward a potential World Championship.

One rider that has a taken a small step toward starting the 2015 season on the right foot is Ben Jones. The 35-year-old is competing in Baltimore courtesy of his BlueDEF Velocity Tour event victory at the L.J. Jenkins Invitational in November when he rode Nefarious for an event-winning 89 points.

Jones is currently the world leader by a small margin after earning 257.5 points toward the standings because of the PBR’s new points system that awards riders points for competing at BlueDEF Velocity Tour, Touring Pro Division and international events, as well as on the BFTS.

He will face Wreck It Ralph for the first time in his career on Friday night.           

RELATED: Baltimore Round 1 Daysheet

Defending World Champion Silvano Alves begins his quest for a fourth gold buckle when he takes on Little Red in Round 1. Alves accumulated 140 points toward the world standings after competing in Australia this offseason.

J.B. Mauney, who won the last BFTS event in Baltimore in 2012, is slated for a rematch against Ranga in the first round. Mauney rode Ranga for 87.5 points last season in Colorado Springs, Colorado, before Ranga bucked him off in Laughlin, Nevada.

Shane Proctor and Reese Cates are both using injury exemptions to compete in Baltimore. This will be Proctor’s first BFTS event since last year’s BFTS season opener in New York. The 29-year-old then decided to undergo surgery on his left shoulder to fix a torn labrum and rotator cuff that was still hindering him from the 2013 season. Proctor had expected to return to action during the second half of last season before he had to undergo surgery again following a July 1 rodeo in which he did damage to his opposite shoulder.

Finally healthy, Proctor is excited to return and will have four injury exemptions to work his way back on tour.

“I’ve just been figuring out how to push myself so I can be back and ready for the 2015 season and be in the best shape possible,” Proctor said last week. “I’m looking forward to 2015, because I’ve spent the whole year thinking about it.”

Cates has three exemptions remaining after also undergoing shoulder surgery last season. He returned from the injury last August and competed in Nashville, Tennessee, only to suffer a groin injury that also cost him an additional two events.

“Tandy (Freeman) fixed me up great and I took those six months off to kind of work on myself and getting better,” Cates said in November.

Billy Robinson, Harve Stewart and Luis Blanco are in the draw this weekend as alternates because of injuries that are preventing Ty Pozzobon, Douglas Duncan, Emilio Resende, Claudio Crisostomo and Markus Mariluch from competing.

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