SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Lucas Divino sat on the back of the bucking chutes minutes after finishing the PBR First PREMIER Bank PREMIER Bankcard Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, a perfect 3-for-3, and let out a deep breath.
Divino knew his 76.75-point ride on Prince Harry in the championship round would likely not be enough to hang on for the event win on Sunday, but he was totally OK with earning a moral victory inside the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.
The 28-year-old has had to slowly work his way back onto the Unleash The Beast after beginning the 2022 season on the Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour. His second-place finish in Sioux Falls rocketed him from No. 46 to No. 22 in the world standings.
“Yes, I feel very relaxed,” Divino said. “I had the option for a re-ride, but for myself, it’s not just about winning an event. It’s about riding my bull for 8 seconds, and I did 3-for-3 over here. It’s same thing if I were to win this event. I’m very happy. I know I can do better, better, better and better right now because I have my confidence back. I feel comfortable here again. In Albuquerque, the first day, everybody can see I was not comfortable over there. I was thinking, ‘Holy crap, where I am?’ And now I feel comfortable again. I feel myself, and I’m excited to go with the guys again.”
Divino advanced to Championship Sunday courtesy of his 85.5-point ride on White Face in Round 1 on Saturday night. He then kept his momentum rolling with 81.5 points on Sun Dog in Round 2 on Sunday.
The fifth-year pro finished 2021 41st in the world standings after missing four months because of surgery on his left hip. Divino admitted it took longer than he expected to round back into his previous form, but he knew it was only a matter of time.
That moment finally arrived in Sioux Falls.
“You have time for everything,” Divino said. “I think that was just God having come and just prepare myself again, and I think everything’s over. I think I thought too much. I have to do this, I have to do that – and then I just stop everything. I want to go back to like when I started riding here. I want to just get over there, get on my bulls and do my job, no matter what score, no matter which bull.
“I want to just stay on, and that’s it, because if I stay on every single bull, big things come up.”
Rounding out the Top 5 behind event winner Kaique Pacheco and Divino were Eduardo Aparecido (2-for-3, 174.5 points), Alex Marcilio (2-for-3, 173.75 points) and Alisson de Souza (2-for-3, 160.75 points).
Marcilio’s fourth-place finish featured him tying with Pacheco and Luciano de Castro (87 points on Concealed Carry) for the Round 2 win on Sunday when he rode Nature Boy for 87 points.
The 34-year-old went from No. 66 in the world standings to No. 41. He is now only 10 points behind No. 35 Alex Cardozo.
There are five regular-season UTB events remaining until the 2022 PBR World Finals in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 13-22.
Sioux Falls was Marcilio’s first UTB event since 2019. He spent the last two years in Brazil because of the COVID-19 pandemic and recovering from reconstructive left shoulder surgery.
“I have been going to Velocities this year, and I have been trying hard every week,” the 2017 Velocity Tour champion said with the help of Aparecido translating. “I am certainly happy to be back and ride two bulls at this event.”
Meanwhile, this weekend was a big one for Souza, too, as he jumped 27 spots in the world standings. The No. 55-ranked bull rider first rode Simon for 84.25 points in Sioux Falls on Friday night. He then drove 18 hours roundtrip to compete Saturday at the Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour event in Casper, Wyoming. He finished fourth with the first 90-point ride of his career (90.5 points on Hey Bartender) before returning to Sioux Falls.
“I am tired and real sore,” Souza said with the help of Paulo Crimber translating. “I slept about two or three hours, maybe. I had a good first-round bull in Casper, but I was bucked off right at the whistle. I was lucky enough to get back on time for the championship round, and I was really excited to make my first 90-point ride. I am excited to try to make the World Finals again.”
Article Courtesy of PBR
Photo By: Andy Watson/ Bull Stock Media