PUEBLO, Colo. – 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis was sitting around the practice pen two weeks ago with a few buddies from around the Jasper, Texas, region when some simple, small talk led to a discussion about bull riding legacy.
At 23 years old and only in his third full season in the PBR, Davis has already accomplished much more than most bull riders.
In 2015, he became the fourth rookie to ever win the World Finals event title, making him one of only 19 men to have ever won the most prestigious bull riding event in the PBR’s previous 23 seasons.
Davis then became the PBR’s 16th different champion last year by riding Catfish John for 91 points on Championship Sunday at the Finals.
Every season the bucket list items continue to shrink for Davis, but the No. 5 bull rider in the world standings admitted that he got chills last week when a buddy of his put into perspective just how historic a second consecutive world title would be.
So far, only Silvano Alves (2011-12) has successfully repeated as PBR World Champion.
“I thought about (my legacy) last week a little bit,” Davis said in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “Some kids around there were saying, ‘Hey you can be the second to win two.’
“That gives you chills in itself because it has only been done one time. If you can get two down, then you can try and be the first guy to do three.”
Davis has rarely talked publicly about the desire to win three world titles, let alone the possibility of becoming the first rider to win three consecutive championships.
However, Davis’ current second-half surge into world title contention has gotten the young bull rider rejuvenated about the sport.
Earlier this year, there was talk of how many years Davis would still want to participate in a sport of life and death. He had already accomplished the two biggest achievements in the PBR, and he was a proud and happy father with a young boy, Mack, and wonderful wife, Kaitlyn.
“All of that is in the back of my mind, but I don’t know how long I will do this,” Davis reiterated.
“I will say this year, especially the second half, has made me want to push a little harder. The second half has made me really want to push along and see how far I can go.”
Davis heads into this weekend’s DeWalt Guaranteed Tough Invitational, presented by Ariat, only 576.67 points behind world leader Eduardo Aparecido.
The third-year pro was frustrated with his 1-for-3 performance in Colorado Springs last weekend, but Davis has a good opportunity to bounce back in Nampa.
Davis has drawn Mortimer for Round 1 on Saturday night before he will attempt to become the first BFTS rider to reach 8 seconds on Gambini (10-0, BFTS) during the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
Davis has previously ridden Mortimer for 88.25 points and 85.5 points.
He also has been the best rider in the 15/15 Bucking Battles this season.
Davis has won the last two 15/15’s with 91.75 points on TLW’s Big Cat and 90.5 points on Cut The Cord. He has ridden four consecutive bulls in the 15/15’s as well.
In fact, Davis is 5-for-8 in 15/15 Bucking Battles this season for a PBR-best 510 world points.
“He has been great in the 15/15 Bucking Battles,” two-time World Champion Justin McBride told Craig Hummer on CBS Sports Network. “Lots of points available in those things. With those guys making this push into the World Finals, they have to get as many points as they can.”
Davis said, “After the first half I didn’t have much of a shot,” Davis said. “I have a lot to prove and I have a chance to complete (my goal).”
A year ago, Davis went into the final three regular-season BFTS events 875.33 points behind then world leader Kaique Pacheco.
This year the title race is much more contested with five riders separated by 577 points compared to last year when it was ultimately down to only Pacheco, Davis and two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney.
Last year, the No. 5 rider in the world standings – Jess Lockwood – was 1,709.5 points behind the top ranking.
“It is not that much different,” Davis said. “It is still really close between a bunch of us. It is going to come down to the Finals again. I am just trying to stay in my own lane. I can’t go watch those guys. I have to put my head down and not pay attention to anyone’s name being called.
“All I can think of is I have bulls I can win on.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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