WATCH: PBR Australia Monster Energy Adelaide Invitational (4 a.m. ET on RidePass)
PUEBLO, Colo. – Rubens Barbosa seemed poised for a victory last weekend at the PBR Australia Melbourne Invitational, but the 35-year-old’s chronic back injury flared up on him following his Round 2 winning ride.
Barbosa had tied for the round win in each of the first two rounds with 84.5 points on Windy Gale and Down Under before his back locked up on him.
To his dismay, he then had to withdraw from the championship round and not pursue the victory because he was in so much pain.
“I was feeling good when I rode my last two bulls, but when I went to get on the chute for the short go I felt (pain) in my back,” Barbosa said. “But I'm much better.”
Barbosa, who has back issues because one of his legs is shorter than the other, is not planning on letting his back be a problem this weekend at the PBR Australia Adelaide Invitational on Saturday.
The 2011 Rookie of the Year has been getting treatment all week long in Australia and expects to be able to ride.
“I just left the chiropractor and I am feeling much better,” Barbosa said on Tuesday.
Fans can watch the Adelaide Invitational exclusively on RidePass beginning at 4 a.m. ET.
Also competing in Adelaide are reigning PBR Australia champion Aaron Kleier, 2017 PBR Australia champion Troy Wilkinson, 2016 PBR Australia champion Cody Heffernan and seven-time PBR World Finals qualifier Lachlan Richardson.
Barbosa has been in Australia for a month and is 7-for-10, including a second-place finish at the 2018 PBR Australia Finals, to earn 132.5 points toward the world standings.
He is fifth in the very early 2019 PBR world standings.
Barbosa concluded 2018 41st in the world standings and was 175.84 points outside of the Top 35.
It was a major step back from his career-best 15th place finish in 2017 and it ended a streak of three consecutive World Finals qualifications.
Barbosa explained earlier this year that his back does not hurt when he rides, but the pain sometimes makes it hard for him to sleep and he will sometimes spend multiple hours at night after riding in pain.
Spending so much time focusing on his back has prevented him from attempting as many practice bulls as he would like.
Barbosa knows he gave all he could in 2018.
“I did what I could to get to the Finals this year, but unfortunately things are not as we expected,” Barbosa said.
Thanks to his success in Australia so far, Barbosa has already earned 21.93 percent as many points as he did in all of 2018.
Back injury and all, Barbosa is still off to a much better start in 2019. It took him until Dec. 9 last year to earn 100 points, and he did not earn any additional world points until Jan. 26.
“I'm good and I hope to have a good season in 2019,” he said.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
© 2018 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.