Nathan Schaper didn't need a high score on the final bull ride Sunday to win the PBR Express Employment Professional Invitational at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
He just needed to stay on for eight seconds.
The North Dakota cowboy did stay on, but just barely. The bull Percolator put Schaper on his side early in the ride, but the PBR young gun hung long enough on to earn a score of 79 and win the fourth tour stop of the season.
Schaper, 23, entered the championship round in first place and thus had the first pick in the bull draft of the top 15 cowboys advancing to the round. He chose Percolator of Jeff Robinson Bucking Bulls of Mars Hill, N.C.
“I expected to ride that bull a lot better,” Schaper said. “I was really surprised to be on the side that quick, to tell the truth. After that, it was just hang on and pray.”
Schaper, from Grassy Butte, N.D., was the only cowboy to ride all four bulls in the three-day Oklahoma City event. It was his first win in three years on the PBR's Built Ford Tough Series, the highest level of the tour.
“I am so happy,” Schaper said. “I was hoping it was going to come one of these days ...
“It's not easy to win one of these events. There are lots of good riders and the caliber of these bulls is great. If you can get a win, it's pretty special, I think.”
Schaper, who at 6-1 is the tallest bull rider on the Built Ford Tough circuit, won more than $34,000 during the weekend event.
Finishing second was Brazilian bull rider Joao Ricardo Vieira, the reigning 2013 PBR Rookie of the Year, who earned more than $22,000.
Vieira was the leader heading into Sunday's final two rounds but was bucked off by the bull Iron Man on the first ride of the day.
Former PBR world champ Mike Lee of Decatur, Texas, finished third in the event to remain the season points leader on the tour.
Defending PBR world champ J.B. Mauney of Mooresville, N.C., was two for five on bulls over the weekend, including being dusted by world champion bull Bushwacker in Saturday night's bonus round, to finish 11th in Oklahoma City.