ALBUQUERQUE — “It’s the rankest pen of bulls we’ll see all year,” was the way the announcers opened Round 3 of the Ty Murray Invitational at The Pit Sunday afternoon.
They were right, and while the bulls of the Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series lived up to the description, the riders — most notably the “Killer B’s” — stepped up to the challenge.
That’s “Killer B’s,” as in Brazilians; the top four — and five of the top six — finishers were from Brazil as the three-day event concluded.
Marco Eguchi posted the highest score of the weekend, riding Rango for 92.25 points to win the championship round and the Ty Murray title. It was his second event win of the season.
Eguchi, Fabiano Vieira (90 points), Emilio Resende (89.50) and Joao Ricardo Vieira (86.75) all covered their bulls in the championship round. Joao Ricardo Vieira, the defending Ty Murray Invitational champion, placed second, Fabiano Vieira was next in line in third place and Resende finished fourth. Murray invited the top Native American bull rider to compete alongside the BFTS’s Top 35 at The Pit again. Guytin Tsosie of Farmington accepted the invitation and impressed the crowd and the PBR with his talent, not only making the 14-man championship round but also being the first man to record a qualified ride in the championship round after his 88.75 point-performance on David’s Dream.
His performance prompted the PBR to extend Tsosie a three-event invitation as an exemption to the next three BFTS events: in Fresno this weekend, followed by events in Nampa, Idaho (April 4-5) and Billings, Mont. (April 11-13).
The humble 2013 International Indian Finals Rodeo champion tipped his hat and thanked the cheering Albuquerque crowd and the PBR for the honor.
Bushwacker made his fourth appearance on his farewell tour Sunday in the championship round, taking on a man who had once gotten the better of him. More than four years ago, Markus Mariluch became the first man to ride Bushwacker, scoring 88 points on the then- 3-year-old rookie in 2009. Sunday, Mariluch selected Bushwacker in the championship round and lasted only 2.27 seconds. Bushwacker earned the highest bull score of the event (46 points) and was given $1,000 as the Salem National Lease High-Marked Bull of the Event.