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Misssion (almost) Accomplished

11/6/2009

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LAS VEGAS — The way he figures it, Kody Lostroh is halfway home, and that applies on multiple levels.

The Longmont, Colo., cowboy is halfway to riding all eight of his bulls at the Professional Bull Riders World Finals, making it four in a row on Thursday with a Round Four-winning 90.25-point ride on the bull Mission Accomplished of 4L and Diamond S Rodeo Company.

He's halfway to what would be his first PBR World Championship after leading the standings virtually the entirety of the regular season.

If the 24-year-old Lostroh is feeling any pressure, he certainly isn't showing it, and he's planning a date with an old friend — Troubadour of Julio Moreno Bucking Bulls — that could make today's Round 5 just as successful, if not more, than Round Four.

"It feels great to be in the position I'm at," Lostroh said. "I've been at the other end of the ladder, too, and been the guy that is barely on tour, so to come from there to here, shoot, I don't know, I'm living a dream."

Lostroh earned $25,000 for the round win, and more importantly, stretched his lead in the PBR's World Standings to 480 points over second-place J.B. Mauney, who is doing his best to keep the pressure on Lostroh. Mauney, of Mooresville, N.C., finished second in the round with an 89-point ride on Fire Plug of K&K Cattle Company. He won $18,000, but slipped further behind Lostroh in the world standings.

Lostroh, who has been the last rider out each go-round, said he can't worry about what Mauney does.

"I expect J.B. to stay on every time he nods his head, so I'm not even watching him, and to be honest with you, I don't care what he does," said Lostroh, who insists he only focusing on what he has to do.

He said waiting for 39 other riders to go each night isn't his preference, but it's something he has had to deal with much of the season as the world standings leader.

"I don't really like going last," he said. "It's fun really when you're in the first section and they just made the intros and the energy level is up there. For me, that's the funnest time to ride, but last is what I get."

He said he just tries to stay relaxed as the event unfolds.

"I just find out when my buddies are up and I just go help them out and go hang out, stay in a clear mind and in the zone all night," he said.

Lostroh said he intended to pick Troubadour in the Round Five draft on Thursday night. Twice during the regular season, he drafted the 1,500-pound bull in the championship round and, both times, took home event titles.

"Troubadour fits me and most of the top riders so well because he's bucking really hard but he's got super timing," Lostroh said. "You get in time with that bull and it's just a blast. I can't really describe it other than it's a whole lot of fun."

While the race for the PBR World Title appears to now be a two-man race between Lostroh and Mauney, particularly after defending world champion Guilherme Marchi bucked off his fourth consecutive bull of the event on Thursday, the race for the event title at the World Finals is still wide open.

Manuey leads the event average with 358 points, 4.5 points ahead of Lostroh and Brazilian Valdiron de Oliveira, who both have ridden all their bulls for 353.5 points.

De Oliveira stayed perfect with an 88.75-point ride on Copp Hou of Lightning C Cattle Company, good for third place in the round and $12,000.

They are the only three men to have ridden all four bulls, but four other riders — Robson Palermo, Ryan McConnell, Aaron Roy and Dustin Elliott — have ridden three of four.

Palermo appeared to have ridden all five, but a judge's review of his ride on Thursday night showed he touched the bull Keepsake with his free hand at 4.5 seconds and was given a no score. Roy finished fourth in the round with an 87.5-point ride on Migraine of Silverado Rodeo Company, good for $10,000.

Today's fifth round starts at 6 p.m PST, 9 p.m. Eastern.

Make sure to follow ESPN Rodeo + Bull Riding @ www.twitter.com/espnrodeo for live updates from inside the Thomas & Mack Center.

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Check back with ESPN.com and pbrnow.com all week long for continuing coverage of the 2009 PBR World Finals in Las Vegas.