SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis had a request for event organizers when he arrived in Big Sky, Montana, at the end of July for the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event.
Davis wanted to change his pre-ride music for when he was inside the bucking chute.
Normally, Davis had been famously known to get ready inside the chutes with “All The Way Up” blaring out of the speakers inside various arenas across the United States.
It was fitting last year as Davis made it all the way to the top of the PBR world standings to take home the 2016 world title.
This year is different, though.
Davis is trying to become just the second rider in PBR history to repeat as World Champion and join three-time PBR World Champion Silvano Alves in the record books.
So he decided to make a change.
Davis wanted to make his new song Drake’s “Back to Back.”
It was a subtle sign that Davis was kicking off his second half run with a little swagger in his step. Davis was confident he could overcome a 1,501.67-point deficit in the world standings and make a serious run at the 2017 world title.
A little over a month later and Davis is doing just that.
Thanks to his 3-for-5 winning performance at this weekend’s PFIWestern.com Invitational, presented by Bass Pro Shops, Davis is now ranked third in the world standings.
Davis used three round wins, including a 15/15 Bucking Battle victory, to earn a season-high 850 world points.
Most of all, he trails world leader Kaique Pacheco by only 549.17 points with a little under two months before the 2017 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals (Nov. 1-5).
“Anytime you can get 850 points, it is a good weekend,” Davis said. “Sure it can always be better, but it dang sure could have been 850 points worse.”
But back to Davis’ riding song, which has since become a blend of both “Back to Back” and “All The Way Up” thanks to PBR Music Director Marc Stephenson.
The decision to switch was less of being a Drake fan, but rather being a Conor McGregor supporter.
McGregor has famously promoted his belief in Law of Attraction and the notion of visualizing your future success.
Way before he became an international superstar, McGregor would sit at home in Ireland and visualize himself making it to the UFC and one day becoming a champion. He would also visualize himself escaping poverty and owning the fanciest cars of his imagination.
The Law of Attraction is an ideology that dates to the 19th century, but enjoyed a resurgence in popularity thanks to the 2006 book and movie, “The Secret,” by Rhonda Byrne.
The theory’s core principles are that anything is possible and that an individual can imagine a new reality for themselves and by vocalizing those desires can “speak them into existence.”
“It is the most powerful thing in the world,” McGregor told USA Today Sports. “It is the belief that you are able to create whatever situation that you want for yourself and no one can take it from you. It is believing something is already yours, and then doing whatever you have to so that it comes true.”
The prized UFC fighter’s mentality – and confidence – struck a chord with Davis.
“I watch a lot of Conor McGregor’s promo videos and he says you have to envision it, speak it and then it happens,” Davis said. “Envisioning it is just helping me get my mind right.”
Davis is now envisioning himself on top of the shark cage inside T-Mobile Arena on Nov. 5 hoisting the World Championship trophy for the second consecutive year.
“That is all part of it,” Davis said. “If you can see it and believe it, you can make it happen. That is what I was lacking at the beginning. Not that I didn’t know I could do it, but I just wasn’t putting the work into seeing it I guess.”
Davis also read the book, “How Successful People Win: Turn Every Setback into a Step Forward,” by John C. Maxwell this summer in Big Sky.
Two-time World Champion and CBS Sports Network analyst Justin McBride said all of the greats have to have that mental tenacity if they hope to succeed.
“You can credit that to Conor McGregor, but I think that is what winners in sports have been doing as long as there has been sports. That is what champions do.”
McBride said he was never too concerned with Davis’ riding this season, but that Davis is now riding with the same intensity and determination that won him a gold buckle in 2016.
Davis leads the PBR with eight qualified rides and four round wins since the stretch run to the World Finals began in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last month.
“I really wasn’t panicking on Davis the entire year,” McBride said. “He wasn’t bad. He hadn’t went off the rails by any stretch, and he made some good rides here and there. He just hadn’t returned to that dominant rider we are seeing right now and that we had seen win the World Championship in 2016.”
Davis is well aware he has more work to do, especially with only six regular-season events remaining before the 2017 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals begin on Nov. 1, but he is ready.
“That is the point right now,” Davis said. “I have to make a run, and I have something to prove. I am trying to itch away at it and at the Finals have a chance again.”
And what is he trying to prove?
“(Last year) was not luck,” Davis responded. “It is hard work and dedication. I had a slow start to this year, but I am here to get number two.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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