By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer
A Texico teenager won $225,000 Sunday in Las Vegas, Nev., and the only thing he gambled on was his health.
L.J. Jenkins, 19, captured the Professional Bull Riders World Finals event title at the Thomas and Mack Center. Jenkins was one of three cowboys to successfully ride six bulls in the eight-round event. He finished with 536.5 points.
With his big weekend, Jenkins climbed to second in season earnings with $369,627 on the top professional circuit for bull riding.
Two PBR titles were at stake — the world title and the finals title. The world title is based on points accumulated throughout the season and at the World Finals, while the finals title is based solely on points scored in the eight rides.
Brazilian bull rider Adriano Moraes was named world champion.
Moraes was second at the finals with 532.5 points and Kody Lostroh of Longmont, Colo., followed at 530.
Jenkins got off to a slow start this year, missing six weeks after suffering a punctured lung when a bull stepped on him in January.
“When I came back, I was 100 percent healthy, but my head wasn’t right. I couldn’t have ridden any of the bulls that I rode this weekend,” he told The Dallas Morning News. “It took me almost a whole year to finally get right mentally, and to finally start riding like I used to.”
The second weekend of PBR World Finals was Thursday through Sunday. The first three rounds were held last week.
Clovis resident Stan Patterson has known Jenkins’ family for more than a decade.
“He (Jenkins) has a baby face and probably doesn’t even shave yet,” Patterson said. “But, he is helping put Clovis on the map.”
Jenkins was second in short-go with a 92.75, and Mike Lee of Decatur, Texas, was third at 92.5. Only three of the 15 riders covered their bulls during the last round.
He scored 90 points on Black Smoke in the first round and 90.75 on Sir Patrick in the second round. He finished with an 85.25 on Red Alert.
Jenkins could not be reached for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.