Rubens Barbosa won the Oct. 6-7 Professional Bull Riders event in Pala.
The 28-year-old Sao Paulo, Brazil, native rode Curveball for 88 points in the Oct. 6 finals after a 79 1/2-point ride on Lemon Drop Kid in that day’s long go.
“He rode his bulls the way he could,” said Barbosa’s interpreter. “The other guys didn’t.”
The PBR format involved 35 entries each day, and a cowboy was allowed to enter more than once. Those with the top 10 scores after each day’s long go advanced to the finals, and if a rider was successful in the finals his score in the short go was added to his initial score. The top scores from Saturday and Sunday combined determined the winner and the other positions.
Exactly 10 riders had scores during the Saturday long go. Zack Brown of Kurtistown, Hawaii, and Josh Moerer of Oneonta, Ala., shared the lead entering the short go with 86 points apiece. Barbosa’s score in the long go placed him fifth entering the finals.
“He rode the best he could,” Barbosa’s interpreter said.
Two other Saturday riders rode both their bulls; Moerer’s 79-point ride on El Wapo in the short go gave him 165 points and Travis Briscoe of Edgewood, N.M., had 161 points after scoring 85 points on Judgement Day in the short go.
The PBR event across the parking lot from Pala Casino was part of the Touring Pro Division series. The PBR’s highest-paying division is the Built Ford Tough Series, which had a competition in Philadelphia Oct. 5-6. Several riders flew in from Philadelphia for the Oct. 7 Pala performance.
Barbosa’s interpreter noted that the Pala winner wasn’t concerned about the Built Ford Tough riders who came in from Philadelphia. “He didn’t fear them at all. They didn’t bother him,” the interpreter said.
“He was relaxed here and very confident,” the interpreter said. “He’s been with those guys at that level.”
Barbosa’s 88-point ride was matched in Sunday’s long go by Jared Farley, an Australian cowboy who stayed on Spidermonkey for the required eight seconds. None of the cowboys who rode their bulls in the Oct. 7 long go had an official qualified ride in the finals, although Briscoe entered on both days and rode two bulls on Sunday as well as Saturday. If a rider is fouled in the chute, he is automatically given the option of a reride. A reride option can also be given if the judges determine that the animal failed to buck sufficiently. If a cowboy had a qualified ride and accepts the reride option, the score or lack thereof on the reride replaces the score on his first ride.
Briscoe rode Hazard Pay for 77 1/2 points in the long go. He was fouled by Black Cat in the chute in the finals but still stayed on for eight seconds. Judges Kenny Behling and Steve Yoast gave Briscoe 76 points, which would have put him in fourth place immediately behind himself. Briscoe took the reride.
“If I wouldn’t have taken it, it would have always been on my mind,” Briscoe said. “I’d rather try and fail than not try at all.”
Briscoe was bucked off of Internal Interrogation during his reride, leaving him with only his third-place score from the day before which paid $2,682.60. Two riders in Sunday’s short go took rerides; Mike Lee of Decatur, Tex., did not have a qualified ride on the bull which fouled him but was also bucked off Bring It to end the rodeo. Lee, who spent the previous day in Philadelphia, entered three times and made the short go on two of those rides, so his reride was his sixth ride of the day.
Barbosa took home a first-place check for $6,259.40. “He’s very happy that he could win this event and real excited with the crowd,” Barbosa’s interpreter said.
The Pala event had a total purse of $22,355 which included eight positions in the average (aggregate) and four payouts for the highest long go scores.
The first two PBR events at Pala were held in May, but there were five May weekends in 2010 and 2011 and only four this year. This year’s calendar made Flying U Rodeo Company stock and equipment unavailable for Pala in May, as Flying U had rodeos in Hayward and Las Vegas the weekend when the Pala competition had previously taken place.
“I’m really tickled with the crowd, and the weather was perfect,” Cotton Rosser of the Flying U Rodeo Company said of Pala’s first Oct. PBR. “I’m really happy with it.”