STEPHENVILLE, Texas - Two-thirds of this year's Built Ford Tough
Series events are in the record books.
In the 19th and final event leading into the two-month summer break, each of the Top 10 riders has scored more total points than the amount by which he trails the world leader.
While the others are not mathematically eliminated from contending, they would have to mount spectacular turnarounds.
Listen to "The Ty Murray Report."
In his weekly podcast, nine-time World Champion Ty
Murray called the 2012 season a "perfect storm," noting
that five riders - Valdiron de Oliveira, L.J. Jenkins,
Silvano Alves, Guilherme Marchi and J.B.
Mauney - are in "easy striking distance" of a world
Murray said among the top contenders are men who want it badly and have been close before.
'You look at Valdiron and J.B., and those
are two great bull riders, and neither one of them have a gold
"You look at Valdiron and J.B., and those are two great bull riders," Murray said, "and neither one of them have a gold buckle."
Alves is the reigning World Champion, and is looking to accomplish something that hasn't been done in 18 previous seasons - winning back-to-back world titles.
One rider who has gone largely unnoticed is Jenkins.
Jenkins finished second last weekend in Pueblo, Colo., to record his eighth consecutive Top 10 finish. Seven of those have been in the Top 5, and he won outright in Kansas City, Mo.
L.J. Jenkins puts up 88.25 points on Rowdy All Night in the
championship round at the 2012 PBR BFTS Pueblo Invitational in
"This guy has quietly asserted himself into second place," Murray said, "and he's making a serious charge."
Murray added that if Jenkins can maintain the momentum in early August when the BFTS resumes in Tulsa, Okla., he will be a "big-time threat" to win his first title.
With the race as tight as it is - Jenkins is 632 points behind Oliveira, while Alves is 788.25 points back - Murray was surprised when Oliveira opted out of the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Saturday night with a sore shoulder.
"That was shocking to me, and especially when we see the things he has ridden through," said Murray, who pointed out that the No. 1 rider returned from a concussion and has been riding with a broken eye socket.
Earlier this season, he rode so easily with a broken foot that it almost became a nonstory.
'His shoulder gets a little sore and he
turns down Smackdown.'
"His shoulder gets a little sore and he turns down Smackdown," Murray said.
"That could be one of those moments where he could come up short of a World Championship, and look back on it and say. 'Right there, I had a bull that I could have won the 15/15 on, double the points, and I just elected to take the night off.'"
Murray wonders why he wasn't well enough to get on Saturday night if he was good enough to finish the event on Sunday on two bulls.
Valdiron de Oliveira puts up 87.75 points on Altercation in Round 2 of the 2012 PBR Pueblo Invitational in Pueblo, Colo. He would sit out of the 15/15 Bucking Battle immediately following this ride.
He acknowledged he can't feel the pain Oliveira felt, and that
riders have to manage their entire seasons, but added that it's too
tight of a race to pass on an opportunity to earn double points on
a potentially round-winning bull.
"If that injury was bad enough to miss the 15/15, then that injury was bad enough that he would have needed to miss the final day and the championship round as well," Murray said.
'If that injury was bad enough to miss the
15/15, then that injury was bad enough that he would have needed to
miss the final day and the championship round as
During the podcast, he also talked in depth about Renato Nunes' first BFTS win of the season, Stormy Wing missing the Built Ford Tough Championship Round, Harve Stewart's emergence in recent weeks, Cody Nance getting away with catching knots, and how that could affect the world standings.
He also covered Robson Palermo and Fabiano Vieira, as well as the "serious bull power" on display in Pueblo.
Although some riders will continue to compete at various Touring Pro Division and international events throughout the summer, last weekend's BFTS event is one that riders will have to live with until they return in Tulsa.
"I saw it not being a confidence-boosting event," said Murray, who pointed out that there was only one qualified ride in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
Except for a few special recordings, Murray will take a hiatus from recording his weekly podcast for the next two months.
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