Decatur’s Mike Lee advanced to the semifinals of the Professional Bull Riders Iron Cowboy IV Saturday, but his 2.97-second ride in that round was not enough to hold off L.J. Jenkins’ 3.28. But the points he garnered along the way propelled him to fourth in the overall Built Ford Tough Series standings.
Lee bested Aaron Roy of Canada, Guilherme Marchi of Ferris and Robson Palermo of Tyler in previous rounds of the bracket-style event at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
After barely missing a qualified score in the first round with a 7.9-second ride, the local cowboy earned an 87.5 over Marchi in the second and 88.75 points over Palermo in the third.
Of the five Wise County competitors who participated in what riders call the most physically grueling one-day event in the BFTS, only Lee and Silvano Alves, also of Decatur, were left standing going into the third.
In that round, top-seeded Alves was ousted by last year’s Iron Cowboy J.B. Mauney. Alves had previously eliminated Canadian Ty Pozzobon in the second round of competition after a first-round bye.
Bracket seeding was based on last year’s final world standings, and those who finished in the top eight got a free pass through the first round of Saturday’s event.
No. 4-seed Valdiron de Oliveira of Boyd and Marco Eguchi of Decatur – who moved to Renato Nunes’s sixth-seed spot after the Boyd resident bowed out due to an injured right shoulder – were eliminated by Chase Outlaw and Cody Nance, respectively, in their first-go.
Eduardo Aparecido – who took Eguchi’s original place on the bracket – fell to Outlaw in the first round.
Austin Meier of Oklahoma edged half-a-second past his cousin, Jenkins, to win the event.