The 24-year-old rode off with several lower-level events during the summer months – those wins came in the U.S. and Canada – in anticipation of finally competing with the Top 35 riders in the world.
Outlaw rejoined the elite tour in early August.
In spite of how well his summer went, unfortunately, he dislocated his shoulder in Nashville, Tennessee, and missed another couple months of competition.
Thankfully his success in the summertime still put Outlaw in a position to qualify for the World Finals.
However, this past weekend’s event win moved him all the way 23rd in the world standings and gives the married father of two the confidence that he can win the World Finals event in Las Vegas, which pays $250,000 to the winner.
Asked during the broadcast on CBS Sports Network about how he felt, Outlaw said, “Like a dream.”
Like Outlaw, fellow Monster Energy bull rider Guilherme Marchi is experiencing a late-season resurgence.
The 34-year-old veteran from Brazil heads to Las Vegas ranked 12th in the world.
He’s recorded four Top 10 finishes in a row and qualified for the Championship Round in three consecutive televised events, including a second place finish on national television in the 15/15 Bucking Battle a week earlier in San Jose, California.
He finished the actual event, in San Jose, seventh in the average and improved his standing yet again, in Tucson, with a fourth place finish to close out the regular-season.
“I tried hard today,” said Marchi, who added, “I put it all together.”
Derek Kolbaba and Robson Palermo are currently ranked 16th and 17th respectively, while Gage Gay is 19th in the world standings.
The reigning and two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney is still poised to defend his world title and pocket a $1 million bonus for the third time in four years.
He’s third in the world.
The Top 3 riders are all within 678 points of one another, but Mauney is the only one of them who has ever been in this type of situation and dealt with the pressure of knowing that only on remaining event separates the trio from where they are today and actually being awarded a $1 million payday.
Will those six bulls be enough to defend his title as the best bull rider in the world?
“I don’t worry about it,” said Mauney, in classic fashion. “I’ll worry about it when the last bull bucks in Vegas.”