“Oh yeah, he impressed me,” said Palermo, when asked about his Monster Energy teammate. “He came back and he’s riding everything.”
Palermo added, “He’s been riding really good. He has his confidence.”
Outlaw sat out this season until May and has yet to compete at an elite televised PBR event in 2016.
He’s won five lower-level PBR events and is already ranked 33rd in the world. Most recently, he won an event in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. He also won a pair of events on July 1 and 2 in Edgerton, Alberta, Canada, and Park Rapids, Minnesota, respectively.
Outlaw previously won PBR events in Bismarck, North Dakota, and Swift Current, Saskatchewan.
“It shows he’s got what it takes,” said J.B. Mauney, who is also a fellow Monster Energy teammate. “He’s come back and is riding better than he ever has.”
Mauney, the reigning World Champion, who is currently ranked second in the world, also knows what it’s like to return to competition following one injury after another. The two-time World Champion, who is vying for a record-tying third gold buckle, has seemingly been injured as much as any rider in PBR history.
Like Palermo, Mauney is impressed with Outlaw’s ability to compartmentalize any concern he may have had regarding his injuries, and simply focus on the task at hand.
At this point, Outlaw is certainly unconcerned with his shoulders.
While he may not be able to ride down Mauney for a world title, Outlaw is focused on finishing the season ranked in the Top 10. He’s been riding 47 percent of his bulls since returning, which is his highest conversion rate since riding 44 percent in 2014.
He’ll close out July and open August with a few more lower-level events before gearing up for his first elite televised event in Nashville, which is the next in a series of what are billed as Majors.
The 24-year-old Arkansas native has matured since he last competed on television. Last December, he became a father for the second time and, in June, he married his girlfriend following his win in Bismarck.
Outlaw exchanged wedding vows at the home of PBR stock contractor Chad Berger.
“I see a lot of those young guys are changing,” said Palermo, who joked that Outlaw “just makes money now.
Palermo added, “Those young guys are thinking more about having a career.”