PUEBLO, Colo. – Mason Taylor hit the hard dirt inside Boardwalk Hall three weeks ago at the Atlantic City Invitational too many times to his liking.
The 19-year-old’s first go at the PBR’s highest level of competition was in no way what he had envisioned after bucking off the first two bulls of his premier series career.
Taylor vowed to bounce back though, and he did just that by going a perfect 2-for-2 the next weekend to win the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event in Rochester, New York.
“Man, it just makes me feel like I am not going to let the big lights get me twice,” Taylor told Colby Yates on RidePass. “I am going to be on there (the 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast) to stay this time.”
The Maypearl, Texas, bull rider is returning to the premier series this weekend at the Ariat Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, in Milwaukee.
Taylor will be look for the first ride of his premier series career aboard Lumberjack in Round 1 at Fiserv Forum. Fans can catch all of the action from Saturday night exclusively on RidePass beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. This weekend will be Lumberjack’s PBR debut. According to ProBullStats, Trey Benton covered Lumberjack for 92 points at the PRCA event in San Antonio in February.
Taylor is ranked 52nd in the world standings and is 332.5 points behind No. 35 Marcos Gloria.
However, Taylor has an alternative route to reach the PBR World Finals if he struggles in Milwaukee. Taylor is currently tied for second in the Velocity Tour standings with Colten Jesse. They trail No. 1 Michael Lane by only 40 points.
The 2018 Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour champion, or the highest-ranked Velocity rider that has not already qualified for the World Finals following the Velocity Tour Finals, will receive a wild card position for the World Finals.
Therefore, there is a variety of avenues for Taylor to make his way to T-Mobile Arena on Nov. 7 for his first World Finals appearance.
Taylor is 6-for-17 on the Velocity Tour, but he has won two of the last three events and ridden five of his last seven bulls at the RVT level.
He went 1-for-3 last weekend at the Huntington, West Virginia, RVT event for an 11th place-finish.
Taylor is 20-for-63 (31.75 percent) at all PBR levels of competition since making his non-premier series debut in West Monroe, Louisiana, on August 26, 2017.
The 2018 Youth Finals Rodeo champion will be focusing on taking things 8 seconds at a time and not letting the big stage get the best of him in Milwaukee this time around.
“Going to the UTB, I kind of clamped up because I was with all of my heroes,” Taylor told Yates of his first premier series event. “I got to go with Derek Kolbaba and Stetson Lawrence. It was a dream come true for me. I clenched up.
“I promise I will go back to the big lights and show them what’s up.”
The Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour is off this weekend before its final two regular-season events on Oct. 13 in Rapid City, South Dakota, and Oct. 26-27 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour Finals take place on Nov.2-3 at the South Point Hotel Casino & Spa in Las Vegas.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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