Once again the time has come to round out the east coast run for the Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series for another year. Tonight, the place to be was Raleigh, North Carolina as the top 35 bull riders in the world converged upon the PNC Arena before heading west next weekend. Including this event here this weekend, only two remain before the field is set for the 2017 PBR World Finals that will begin November 1st from the T-Mobile Arena. That being said, there are still many unknowns as the season begins to wind down and who exactly will be invited to compete is still in question as many of those look to have big weekends here in Raleigh to end out their season strong in hopes of earning 1 of the 35 spots available. As round one began some new players look to make a statement while others are making their triumphant returns to the arena floor!
Once the doors opened and the fans began finding their seats, the atmosphere inside of the PNC Arena came alive as they all waited to see what would transpire and see how two of the top contenders would make their way back to the arena as they vie to contend for the 2017 PBR World Championship Title. Those two that everyone was waiting to see return would be fan favorites Mason Lowe and Jess Lockwood. Lowe, who sits in 17th, 2,642 points behind the world leader, needed to have a fantastic weekend to begin earning points once again on the BFTS level. On the other hand, Jess Lockwood comes back earlier than expected to try to stay in contention for a world title run beginning the event in 5th place, only 495 points behind the world number one which could be made up here this weekend making it possible that he could leave Raleigh as the new world number one!
Chase Outlaw Splits The Round One Win With Rubens Barbosa
Photo Credit: Andy Watson / Bull Stock Media
As the action began here in round one, it looked as if tonight would turn in the cowboy’s favor once again with numerous qualified rides making it a tight race to make it to the championship round tomorrow night. Round one would feature a few bucking bulls making their debuts mixed with a number of “rider friendly” bovine athletes that should have made for a fantastic round of bull riding action. That being said, this round would follow suit as to what we have seen over the past couple of weeks where a majority of the time the match-ups on paper looked favorable and the bull riders would prove our theories correct. Section one would bring us three straight rides while many other rides would be scattered in throughout the round, some of those on the low end but qualified rides none the less.
After the dust settled and the final bull was bucked we would see what things looked like and who would be able to take advantage here in round one of the Frontier Communications Invitational. When things were all said and done there would be 16 of the top 35 bull riders in the world that would fair better than the bovine beasts placed underneath of them earlier tonight. Although some solid rides were made there were two men that would fair better than the others to split the round one win. Tonight those men with that distinction would be Chase Outlaw and Rubens Barbosa who would put up a nice 86.50 point rides aboard their bovine dancing partners to earn 80 world title race points and gain even more confidence on the last major push towards the end of the 2017 PBR Built Ford Tough Series season!
Complete List Of Round One Qualified Rides Listed Below:
Chase Outlaw (86.50) Rubens Barbosa (86.50)
Dakota Buttar (86.00) J.W. Harris (86.00)
Emilio Resende (85.75) Cody Campbell (85.75)
Cooper Davis (85.75) Eduardo Aparecido (85.75)
Silvano Alves (85.50) Claudio Montanha Jr. (84.75)
Joao Ricardo Vieira (84.50) Marco Eguchi (84.00)
Luciano De Castro (83.50) Dener Barbosa (82.25)
Brennon Eldred (79.50) Gage Gay (72.00)
Jess Lockwood And Mason Lowe Make Their Returns Here In Raleigh
Photo Credit: PBR.com
Tonight had a whole new meaning for two cowboys as they made their way back to competition among speculation as to if it was too early or not by many. One of those returning to the arena tonight was a man that has been through many ups and downs this season, Mason Lowe. Many wondered if now was the right time for him to return since he was virtually out of the running to contend for a world title. The question on everyone’s mind was why come back now instead of healing up another two weeks and come to the World Finals healthier. As it looked tonight, he still had to shake some rust off as he was dispatched in a timely fashion by Jenkins Cattle Company’s Two By Four, a bull that has been very rider friendly throughout the year. He heads into tomorrow afternoon’s action behind the eight ball and it will be interesting to see if he decides to sit out of the San Jose event next weekend to get ready for the 2017 PBR World Finals.
Another one of those cowboys that came back weeks earlier than expected was the young gun Jess Lockwood, who sat in an interesting position before the start of this weekend’s event. Even after sustaining what was supposed to be a season-ending injury, keeping him out of action until the World Finals, he still was only 495 points out of the number one spot in the world. This is the very reason that he decided to give it a go here tonight to see how his body would respond to coming back early. Here in round one, he faced Mike Miller / Torres Brothers’ Captain and would give it all he had to try to make the eight-second buzzer. Once things were said and done he would come up a bit short sending him into tomorrow afternoon’s action much the same as Lowe, without a qualified ride on the board.
Tonight was huge for the confidence of those 16 that were able to make qualified rides while the others try to find that fire they need to finish out the season strong. As we look ahead to tomorrow afternoon’s final rounds, the bull power only gets tougher as we look to close things out on the east coast run. With only one event remaining in the regular season following tomorrow afternoon’s action, the time is now for those that need a miracle to see that happen. As everyone knows the bovine athletes are always something to be feared on the west coast which is where we will head to close out the season as San Jose, California plays host one more time before we all head to our second home, Las Vegas, to show our love for those affected by the tragedy that unfolded and to crown a new 2017 Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series Champion!
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