The bodies in the seats told the story. The best action in Rapid City Saturday night was at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center as the first PBR Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour (RVT) grabbed the spotlight in the Barnett Arena.
And when the dust settled, the the Rapid City Rumble featuring 45 of the best bull riders in the world. A Brazilian cowboy, Reubens Barbosa, took home the top prize following an 86-point ride in the long round with the best ride of the night, an 89-point effort aboard Dakota Rodeo’s Red Dawn for an aggregate total of 175.
Texas bull rider Taylor Toves claimed second (173), and Cody Casper rounded out the top three (169.5).
Barbosa credited a little familiarity with his good fortune as he both rides were a rematch of sorts.
“I had ridden the first bull before and I was glad to have him again tonight. And, I have had the short go bull before too, so I was kind of lucky to know what he would do,” said Barbosa of a rank bull that came out and though staying put gave him lots of air time and considerable jerking of his riding hand. “I stayed in the middle all the time, and when you do that you are usually all right. It was important for me to win this event because this could get me into the event finals.”
Oklahoma bull rider, Cody Tyler, fired up the large crowd early with an 87-point ride to set the early pace toward gaining a spot in the 10 man short go round.
“I had a really good bull that I’ve seen for a couple of years now and I’ve been wanting to get on him so when I saw Thursday that I had drawn him I was super excited ,” Tyler said. “The bull normally goes around to the left after a couple of rounds to the right, but he just stayed right there in my hand and it worked out perfectly.”
Second in the short go, Tyler came down off early on a rank bull aptly named Pile Driver.
Heading into the second section, the bull riders and the boisterous crowd appeared properly warmed up, but the bull appeared to take the section off as five cowboys covered bulls with Brazilian rider Lucas Divino posting the best score (86) to move into second overall in the long go round.
Another Brazilian rider, Lindomar Lino, moved to the overall lead with an 88-point ride aboard a rank bull with a name familiar to South Dakotans, or at least Lead-Deadwood residents, Cadillac Jack.
Unfortunately, Belle Fourche cowboy Wyatt Gregg exited early in his trip out in the same section. And even more on the negative side, Jake Gowdy’s ride ended with a head butt from a rank bull though Gowdy, after a minute or two to regain his bearings was able to walk out of the arena.
The final section of the night featured Mason Taylor, a 19 year-old bull rider out of Maypearl Texas, who came into the Rapid City event on a hot streak having won two out of the last three RVT events.
“It’s been a really good year for me, and going according to plan right now,” said Taylor, an outstanding youth baseball player who at age 16 who opted to pursue a career in bull riding. “I’ve won the two out of the last three (RVT) events. I’m really blessed right now to be able to do what I do so I guess we will try to keep it rolling here tonight.”
Fate determine otherwise as Taylor failed to advance to the short go though the young cowboy, one of the true up-and-comers in the sport of bull riding, will likely be back.
“I have a bunch of people who tell me I make it look easy, so I guess that would be it,” Taylor said. “I don’t really try to set traps or nothing, but they all have to come up in the front end and kick in the back end so if you meet them in the front and ride them with their jump kicking it don’t matter where they go.”
A majority of the bull on display on Saturday night came out of the Dakota Rodeo’s pen, and owner Chad Berger likely highlighted the reason that PRB bull riding has become popular for cowboys, stock contractors and fans.
“I got into the PBR because I saw it was a place where you could show some bulls and actually make some money doing it,” Berger said. “My dad was in the bull business his whole life and didn’t make much money doing it back in the '60s and '70s. I loved it, but I swore I wouldn’t do it unless I could make a little money doing it and the PBR gives me that chance.”
The Rapid City Rumble was the 34th of the 36 event schedule leading to the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour Finals in Las Vegas (Nov. 2-3).