Village News Correspondent
The Professional Bull Riders competition May 22-23 in the pasture across the parking lot from the Pala Casino saw Kasey Hayes make an 82 1/2-point ride in the short go to win first place by half a point.
Hayes’ ride on the Flying U Rodeo Company bull Tobassco was originally announced as an 81-point ride, which gave first place to Sevi Torturo by one point. The revised score gave Hayes, who travels with Torturo, the win by half a point and $7,841 in prize money in the PBR Touring Pro Division event.
“They hosed my traveling partner, but it helped me,” Hayes said.
The PBR format consisted of 35 riders each day with the top 12 riders each day returning for a short go. If fewer than 12 riders made the required eight-second rides for scores, those who stayed on the longest before being bucked off were taken for the short go to round out the field. The highest scores from both the May 22 and May 23 sessions were utilized for the final places.
PBR judges can award half-points, and Mark Lopes of Oakdale, California, led the May 22 session with 88 1/2 points. Lopes did not stay on his bull during Saturday’s short go, nor did any of the cowboys who had a qualified ride during the long go.
During Sunday’s session, Hayes, whose hometown is Liberal, Kansas, earned entry into the short go with an 88-point ride on Zip Code. The ride on Zip Code was also the highest-scored ride that day.
The seven qualified rides May 23 included Torturo’s 85 1/2-point performance on Yellar. Yellar had followed two Anza bulls: Dr. Pepper, whose clockwise spin allowed Cody Nance to earn 86 1/2 points by staying on for eight seconds, and Boo Boo Berry, who bucked off Jesse Chisium. Torturo and Yellar were followed by Will Rasmussen’s attempted ride of Tiger Bomb, a Temecula bull owned by Alec Hauser. After bucking off Rasmussen, Tiger Bomb went after the rider and knocked out both Rasmussen and bullfighter Aaron Hargo. Hargo was taken out of the arena on a stretcher but was responsive when removed from the arena. Hargo received five stitches above his right eye but was released from the hospital with no sign of permanent injury.
The short go competitors drew both for bulls and for riding order. Temecula’s Ryan Brown started the short go on Airwolf, who stayed unridden after bucking off Brown. Eric Ferreira was then bucked off the Anza bull High Octane Hurricane.
Torturo, whose hometown is Wayne, Oklahoma, drew the bull Johnny Ringo and rode him for 84 1/2 points to become the first cowboy to make two qualified rides.
The final rider of the short go was Hayes, who had never previously mounted Tobassco. “I hadn’t even heard of him, but they said he was supposed to be good,” Hayes said. “I didn’t know which way he was going to go.”
Tobassco went straight forward before spinning. “I just wondered when he was going to turn back. When they cover that much ground, it’s hard to track him,” Hayes said.
Tobassco eventually tried to spin to buck off Hayes. “He went into my hand,” Hayes said.
“I was just a step behind,” Hayes said. “I caught up and made it work.”
Judges Steve Yoast and Jim Bob Custer tallied the points, and originally Hayes was announced with 169 points for a second-place finish to Torturo. “I was okay with that,” Hayes said.
The revision of the score gave Hayes 170 1/2 points and Torturo 170 points.
The win was the second in May for Hayes, who won the May 1-2 competition in Worcester, Massachusetts. Hayes had ridden in Denton, Texas, prior to the trip to Pala.
“Been all over the country the past two weeks,” he said.
Hayes has competed in the PBR World Finals in each of the past four years and has been in PBR for five years. “It was a great event,” he said of the first-ever PBR competition held in Pala.
The bleachers had a capacity of approximately 4,200 spectators while the VIP seating accommodated approximately 600 people. The seats were mostly filled both days. “I just think it was successful,” said Pala tribal chairman Robert Smith. “It’s a good partnership.”
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