posted on October 25, 2009 13:43
One ride in Vegas
Title race could come down to one ride, or even one point
LAS VEGAS (October 23, 2009) - Eight days from now, the Top 40 professional bull riders in the world will converge upon Las Vegas.
Legends will be made. Dreams will come true, or become nightmares, 8 seconds at a time.
And while any of the 40 cowboys there can ride off with the 2009 PBR World Finals event title, the Top 3 riders in the world standings – Kody Lostroh, Guilherme Marchi and J.B. Mauney – remain the odds-on favorites to win this year’s World Championship.
Any one of the three, if successful, will mark a historic moment if he wins.
No former Daisy Rookie of the Year winner has ever gone on to win a world title. Lostroh was the top rookie in 2005, while Mauney won the honor a year later in 2006. Mauney would also be the first rider from east of the Mississippi River to a win a PBR Championship.
Of course, Marchi is vying for an elusive back-to-back World Championship … the first in the 16-year history of the PBR.
The 2009 Built Ford Tough Series has been the tightest race the PBR has seen. In the words of country singer Deryl Dodd, it just might come down to “One Ride in Vegas.”
He'll ride ‘em all from Portland to Texas / And dreamin’ of one ride in Vegas / One ride in Vegas.
The race is too close to call. It’s all in the numbers.
Lostroh has won five events, more than the other two, who have combined for six. Lostroh has also won more go-rounds, 12, than Mauney, 9, and Marchi, 6, but Mauney has won more short go rounds, 4, than Lostroh, 3, and Marchi, 3.
However, Marchi has a slight edge in riding percentage.
Marchi’s season average is 62.9 percent, while Lostroh is at 62.1 and Mauney is at 60.4. But in Vegas it’ll come down to who rides more bulls, and to this point, Marchi holds the advantage with 56 qualified scores, compared to 55 by Mauney and 54 for Lostroh.
Ultimately, it’s about who’s on top of the world standings, and currently Lostroh has been there for the past 20 events – 24 throughout the season. Mauney, who held the top spot for a seven-week stretch following Dallas, is the only other rider to have been ranked No. 1 this year.
During a recent Versus broadcast, Ty Murray and Justin McKee talked about how close a race it’s shaping up to be.
The two surmised that it could not only come down to one ride, it could very well come down to less than that.
“This race could come down to one point,” Murray said.
Lonely nights, run down motel rooms / Achin’ bones from yesterday's ride / It's takin’ more than he thought he could give it / But he's holdin’ on for one ride in Vegas / One ride in Vegas.
In a Podcast recorded last weekend, Murray recalled one of his title seasons as a means of illustrating just how important each and every decision can be in whether or not you win a world title.
Murray recalled getting on a bull in the second round of the NFR. Earlier that year he been over 90 points, but this time the bull “blows out of the chute, falls down and gets right back up” and Murray ends up with a 78 and an option of a re-ride.
Had he kept the score, he would have won fourth for the round, but Murray took the option and finished the round second.
By the time it was all said and done, Daryl Mills made a run at him, and Murray won the title by only $95. Had kept the initial score in Round 2, he would have been the reserve champion.
“Every single ride, every single move you make counts,” Murray said, “and at this point in the season, it’s real easy to see how important all those decisions are.
“But those decisions are important at the very first event of the year if you are seriously going for a World Championship. You gotta stay focused and you gotta believe in yourself, have that confidence and always try to better your position.”
He's riskin’ it all, driven by a hunger / That never will let him give up / And with a fire in his eyes he dances with thunder / ‘Til one day his day finally comes.
Mauney, who said he’d like to have a couple outs back, has said in recent weeks that he’ll continue picking rank bulls when given the opportunity, but that he needs to bear in mind which of those bulls better fits his style.
Unlike last year’s Finals – which featured seven drafts to one draw – this year’s format calls for three draws and four drafts.
But at this point, there’s no going back. It’s time for all three – and anyone who intends to challenge them – to step up, ride all eight bulls and win a round or two.
“We’re talking about such a tight race that every bull counts,” said Murray.
However it all shakes out, 2009 will be the most eagerly awaited Finals in 16 years.
His hearts beats fast with anticipation / Brighter lights then he's ever seen before / He's waited his whole life for the next 8 seconds / And he'd do it all again for one ride in Vegas / Just one ride in Vegas.
—by Keith Ryan Cartwright