LAS VEGAS – Marco Eguchi struggled to speak as the swelling around his mouth continued to grow.
Eguchi had just been released from the PBR Sports Medicine room following his concussion test, and the 29-year-old leaned his head back and raised the bag of ice with his left hand onto his face.
The cold, wet bag was a welcoming relief and remedy for taking a shot to the face from Spotted Demon’s horn during Round 2 of the 2018 PBR World Finals on Thursday night.
The big prize, though, was a massive $35,000 payday and 300 world points.
Eguchi rode the World Champion Bull contender for a career-high 94 points before getting drilled by Spotted Demon’s left horn and knocked out inside the arena.
“My bull came into my hand and I did everything I can to ride,” Eguchi said before sighing and letting out a chuckle.
Rounding out the Top 5 in Round 2 was Jose Vitor Leme (91 points on Bad Beagle), J.B. Mauney (90.5 points on M.A.G.A), Paulo Lima (89.5 points on Southern Style) and Kaique Pacheco (88.75 points on Smooth Wreck).
“Marco made an outstanding great bull ride,” two-time World Champion Justin McBride said on CBS Sports Network. “The bullfighters did an amazing job because let me tell you, this Spotted Demon is mean too. He is a big, mean, old-school bull right here. This is such a great ride. Marco is in it. He is not giving up. He knows this is coming.”
Eguchi had already ridden Velocity for 85.5 points on Wednesday night and he heads into Round 3 Friday sitting second in the event average behind current leader Leme.
Leme and Eguchi are two of six riders 2-for-2 inside T-Mobile Arena so far. Eduardo Aparecido, Pacheco, Guilherme Marchi and Chase Outlaw are also perfect.
Eguchi was diagnosed with a concussion on Thursday night by Dr. Tandy Freeman and is officially questionable for Round 3.
The Poa, Brazil, bull rider will have to clear the PBR’s concussion protocol to ride.
His Round 2 victory gave him the top-pick for the Round 3 draft, and Eguchi selected Stunt Man Ray.
Eguchi made an 89.75-point ride on Stunt Man Ray in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Sept. 16.
“He should be into my hand around the right and I rode him before,” Eguchi said.
Fans can watch Round 3 on CBS Sports Network beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET. RidePass will offer companion coverage at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Thursday night was also a rematch for Eguchi and Spotted Demon.
Spotted Demon previously bucked off Eguchi in 6.59 seconds in the regular-season finale in Nampa, Idaho, two weeks ago.
“Last time, he kept getting me weak and weak, and he won,” Eguchi said. “This time I tried to keep up with him.”
Eguchi knew if he was going to ride Spotted Demon that he was going to have to potentially pay the ultimate price, but such is the challenge sometimes during the rank round of the PBR World Finals.
“He always feels so rank,” Eguchi said. “He was so strong.”
Eguchi is 9-for-24 (37.5 percent) in six trips to the PBR World Finals.
He has never finished inside the Top 10 and his best placement is 12th in 2016.
“Winning the World Finals would be a dream come true,” he concluded.
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Koal Livingston (concussion) is doubtful for Round 3 after Terror Struck fell on him during Round 2 in 1.47 seconds.
Gage Gay had to be helped to the PBR Sports Medicine room after he aggravated his right knee sprain when he was bucked off by Smooth Over in 2.31 seconds.
Lonnie West was transported to University Medical Center in Las Vegas to have his abdominal injury evaluated. West was stepped on by Hostage.
West was an alternate for Ryan Dirteater, who did not compete because of a concussion, in Round 2.
Mauney rode M.A.G.A. for 90.5 points despite a thumb injury on his riding hand from Round 1.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
© 2019 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.