PBR Title Race Tightens in Minneapolis

Written by Marcus

Professional Bull Riders (PBR) completed an exciting and intense return to Minneapolis. Saturday’s Round 2 delivered tremendous action, and the race for world champion and Rookie of the Year race had interesting implications heading into the Championship round and the event title. There as also a very touching moment in round two tonight.

A young girl named Molly Steffl was introduced .as an honorary bullfighter, and her story in embodying the Cowboy spirit brought the crowd to their feet. Nine-year-old Molly, born with cleft palate and lip, has been bullied so badly her hair fell out. She has since taken up cross-fit and appeared on American Ninja Warrior. Molly used PBR as a platform for sharing her own experience in not backing down in the face of bullies. She gave the bull riders an inspirational pep talk before they put it all on the line. One bull rider, Chase Outlaw was so taken by Molly’s courage, he shaved his head so she would not be the only bald person in the locker room.

To start the second round, Derek Kolbaba attempted to ride Bottom’s Up up and add a second ride on the weekend. Derek looked comfortable on Bottom’s Up but got bucked off in 6.22 seconds. He will have to look to Greensboro to improve his riding percentage.

Cody Nance was bested by Blue Crush, a difficult bull to ride, when the bull pulled him into the well and eventually bucked him off. Nance was able to make it back to the championship round with his 84.25 points from round one.

Chase Outlaw was unable to carry the momentum forward from his round one ride after bucking off in the 15/15. This might give Outlaw even more focus and desire to ride great and challenge for the event title. Chase was able to make it to the championship round based on his 86.25 point ride from round one and with a banged-up elbow was questionable to compete in the championship round. He did make it to the championship round a few minutes after being bested by Preachers Kid.

Cody Jesus and his pairing with Sitting Bull went the bull’s way shortly after leaving the chute. Jesus may have been bested by the bulls this weekend he has the skills to make things work next weekend as the young rider has he can put together high point-rides. One thing is for certain; Cody Jesus should not be counted out of the Rookie of the Year race and may surprise everyone next weekend.

Jess Lockwood was able to come back with an emphatic answer for bucking off during the first round. He scored an 87 point ride to find a spot in the championship round. It looks like the momentum of winning the final 15/15 Bucking Battle may have worked in his favor tonight.

The biggest shock of round two came when Jose Vitor Leme bucked off in the long round, which ended his weekend before the championship round and opened the door to world champion race contenders to gain on him. Jose bucking off came as a surprise as it appeared he was in a comfortable spot. So world champion race contenders – Jess Lockwood and Chase Outlaw – the door was open to gain on the world leader heading into the championship round.

The championship round also just as intense and exciting as the previous two rounds of the event have been this weekend. The rides were great and fans in attendance saw some great bull power on display inside the Target Center over the weekend – capped off by the bulls in the championship round.

Cody Nance was able to capitalize on his opportunity in the championship round in gaining a ride worth 88.25 points and treating the fans to the “Nance Dance”. Cody can take his momentum into Greensboro and build on his successful championship round ride and look to gain more points at that event. His grit and willingness to not open his hand until his head hits the dirt is something fans always notice and see in Cody Nance.

Cooper Davis was able to shock the crowd with his ride on Speed Demon who he has been paired up with previously and got a huge score worth 90.75 points propelling the Texas cowboy to a second-place finish leaving the event with 400 points which may help him make a run at the world championship inside T-Mobile Arena if he continues to gain points in the next two events. Cooper may be considered a long-shot pick in the world title race but he is someone who can’t be overlooked with the amount of points available at World Finals.

Jess Lockwood was able to connect on his bull in the championship round. He earned 89 points and finished third overall gaining 240 world points from the overall event, cutting into Jose’s lead further given Jose bucked off both of his bulls and left the door open for the contenders close behind him to gain on him. Lockwood now trails Leme by 671.66. With only two events left until World Finals, the world title race will become more interesting and intriguing heading into Las Vegas.

The other shock was Chase Outlaw coming so close to making the 8-second whistle on Sky Harbor – a bull he has picked in the championship round previously. He looked comfortable and at home on the back of the bull and then lost his rope at what appeared to be 7.91 seconds. Outlaw pushed the challenge button and the replay-official determined the ride was just short of the 8-seconds at 7.68, which means Chase will have to take his laser-focus and determination to hoist the gold buckle inside T-Mobile Arena on Championship Sunday, November, 10th in Las Vegas to the Greensboro event.

The biggest shock of the championship round was Alan De Souza taking the event title and gaining 460 points. Alan was the only rider to remain perfect this weekend. He did not have an easy path to the event title, but it appears that the rookie will have great momentum heading into Greensboro as the other Rookie of the Year contenders such as Dalton Kasel and Mason Taylor who were in the championship round but both were bested by their bulls. Kasel had a good weekend overall and is now leading the Rookie of the Year race at World No 10 as Ezekiel Mitchell did not make the championship round after bucking off both of his bulls in the rounds leaving the door open for others to gain on him in the race.

Fans who did not watch the listen LIVE coverage of round and championship round on PBR subscription-based digital network will be able to watch all of the action on CBS Sports Network Sunday starting at 6:00 p.m. and with all of the action and excitement from round two and the championship round are both must-see television.

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