ONTARIO, Calif. (Sept. 28, 2009) — If the PBR is about how well you're riding at any given moment, then Kody Lostroh is the man of the hour.
A week after Guilherme Marchi reminded everyone that he is still the defending World Champion, Lostroh made a statement of his own, expanding his lead atop the world standings.
The fifth-year veteran won his fifth Built Ford Tough Series of the 2009 season and now leads Marchi by 1,107.5 points, and J.B. Mauney by 1,118.5 points.
Going into the weekend, Mauney was within one event of Lostroh's lead. Now, with three events left in the regular season, it'll take more than an event to catch the current points leader.
Lostroh has now accumulated a total of 11,225.75 points on the season.
"I know what the end of the year's like," he said. "Everyone's either trying to get money or points. My job is to just stay on my bulls and let the judges figure out who's the winner. I'm not going to get in the habit of looking over my shoulder to see who's there."
Lostroh was one of three riders to cover all three bulls at the Dickies Invitational in Ontario, Calif., but his 91.75-point ride on Troubadour in the short go gave him the event title by 8 points over Marchi, and 12.75 points over L.J. Jenkins, who finished in the top three for the fourth time in the past six events.
His weekend started Saturday with 85.5 points on Shaggy in the opening round, followed by an 88-point effort on Devil's Night in Round Two for a total of 173.5 and the first pick in the championship round draft.
It was Lostroh's second win this year on Troubadour — he's now been ridden five times this year, all of which were for the event win — and the Colorado cowboy's third BFTS win in California.
"I don't know what it is about winning here," Lostroh said. "Every time I win, the Governator [California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger] gets a chunk of it, so I think maybe this is just my California stimulus plan."
He later added that he had come out to California early to work with bull riding instructor Gary Leffew. "He showed me what I was doing wrong, and I was just confident in the fact that I could fix my mistake and do better this weekend."
Aside from his win this weekend, he's also claimed event titles in Anaheim and Fresno. And he is an impressive 9-for-10 in California for a 90 percent average.
Though it had nothing to do with Lostroh's success in the Golden State, J.B. Mauney, who was 1-of-2 this weekend and missed making the short round by half a point, didn't think Lostroh's recent injuries would keep him from having a weekend like he did.
Saturday night, Mauney told the television audience watching, "It probably won't bother him because he's a tough guy."
However, a trio of former riders — Michael Gaffney, Justin McBride and J.W. Hart — all predicted his injury would play a significant role. They all opined that Lostroh would finish the race for a world title in third place. Gaffney predicted Marchi to be the first back-to-back champion in PBR history, while McBride and Hart went with Mauney to win his first title.
"Well, crap, I don't care what they think," Lostroh said. "I'm just going to do my best. I'm not riding bulls to impress them or anybody else. I'm doing it because I love it.
"I don't give a friggin' rats hind end about what people predict or what they think I can do or whatever, because the bottom line, I'm the one doing it and I know what I'm capable of."
A week after finishing first in Springfield, Mo., Marchi looked equally focused this week in finishing second. Unfortunately, the one rider who had a better weekend is ahead of him in the World Standings, so he actually lost some ground in the race for a world title.
But he did surpass Mauney in the standings, and again finds himself in second place.
There are three events remaining on the Road to Vegas, and the top three contenders in the world have now accounted for five wins in the past six events, including one apiece in the past three.
"For the past couple years I hadn't been riding up to my potential and this year I feel like I have been," Lostroh said. "The last couple of weeks I had some problems, but I got 'em fixed and I'm back to where I need to be."
One of the most intriguing storylines of the weekend had to do with Elliott Jacoby's decision to keep his 63.25-point effort in Round Two, in spite of being offered a re-ride option.
Jacoby took the points because as the Round One winner, he only needed a qualified score to earn a $5,000 Enterprise Ride with the Best bonus. The rookie started the weekend 47th in the Qualifier Standings. With the $9,330 he won, he moved into 40th.
Jacoby is now a mere $115.88 ahead of fellow rookie Edvaldo Ferreira.
Aside from Lostroh, Marchi and Jenkins finishing in the top three, Austin Meier and Renato Nunes rounded out the top five in Ontario followed by Shane Proctor, Rocky McDonald, Ednei Caminhas, Jacoby and Dustin Elliott.
Next week the Top 40 riders will be in Portland for the GoDaddy.com Invitational presented by Cooper Tires, the 29th of 31 BFTS events, at the Rose Garden Arena.
For more on the PBR, check out out www.pbrnow.com.