RODEO: Healthy Palermo wins in Big Apple

<p>Butch Thurman</p>

Robson Palermo was happy to be back in New York City. The cowboy from Brazil missed the last three events at Madison Square Garden due to injuries and he sealed his comeback with a win Sunday.

Palermo turned in a 90-point ride on Whitewater Trouble to win the short-round and clinch the overall win at the PBR?Built Ford Tough Series event.

“After the (World) Finals was over last year, I went back to my house in Texas and I just tried to stay relaxed and just do nothing,” he said. “Coming out to New York and missing the event the last three years, then to win it this year, it was awesome for me.”

Palermo outrode J.B. Mauney, who entered the championship round with the lead, but bucked off his bull Rock and Roll to open the door for Palermo.

“J.B., he is a tough guy and he was out in front, but drew a tough bull,” Palermos said. “He loves to get on those kinds of bulls and I was 100 percent sure he would win the event, but the bull got him.”

Palermo turned in a score of 261.5 points, while Mauney finished second with 260.5.

Palermo said with injuries behind him now it was good to get back to the winner’s circle.

“Man, I feel like a kid now. I’ve never felt like this before,” he said. “From the first time I started in the PBR I always felt sore and beat up and now this is awesome for me because I come in here and I don’t feel any pain or nothing.”

Palermo credits working out in the gym and getting into shape for helping him get back to where he needs to be to compete at this level.

“This is what I want to try and do (this season) and get back to Texas and hit the gym so I can work out and try to win the next event,” he said.

New York was the first of 26 stops on the 2013 Tour and was a huge success with 43,000 fans turning out for the three performances. The PBR rides to Chicago for the second event on Saturday.

Now in its 20th season, the PBR can be seen weekly on CBS or the CBS Sports Network.

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More tough luck for team roping header Kaleb Driggers, the 2012 reserve world champion.

Driggers suffered a broken right leg on Jan. 4, as the result of an accident while herding cattle on his property in Stephenville, Texas.

“I was loping across the pasture when my horse lost his footing and went head over heels, landing on top of me,” Driggers said.

Friends drove him to Good Shepherd Medical Center in Marshall, Texas, where he was fitted for a splint and sent home after two hours.

Driggers will see an orthopedic doctor to determine if surgery is required or he will have his leg put in a cast.

“I was told the longest I would be out would be two months,” Driggers said. “I broke off a piece of the bone on the inside of my ankle.”

Driggers, who finished just $1,211 behind Chad Masters in his bid for a first gold buckle, was about to begin a new partnership with Kinney Harrell.

This injury comes just 15 months after he broke his left leg (just above the ankle) here at the Pendleton Round-Up.

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Butch Thurman has covered professional rodeo for 33 years. His email address is butch@rodeosportsupdate.com.

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