LAS VEGAS – Here are three things to watch for in Round 1 of the Built Ford Tough World Finals on Wednesday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The time is ticking for Vieira and Pacheco
Is the 2015 World Finals going to be a celebration of J.B. Mauney or a competition?
That will be partially up to how Joao Ricardo Vieira and Kaique Pacheco begin the World Finals on Wednesday night.
Both riders trail Mauney by more than 1,300 points and can’t afford to lose any more ground on the world leader if they have any hopes of making a late push to hunt down Mauney for the gold buckle and $1 million.
Pacheco will be the first of the three world title contenders out in the final section of the evening when he faces Chocolate Shake (1-0, BFTS).
Vieira will follow suit with a matchup against Pile Driver (7-1, BFTS), while Mauney will conclude Round 1 against Wicked Stick (1-1, BFTS).
Bruiser takes center stage
In a rare occurrence at the World Finals, ABBI Classic 4-year-old Bruiser is not only in contention for the Classic championship, but he also is in the running for the World Champion Bull title.
Therefore, Bruiser will be the only non-World Champion Bull contender bucking on Wednesday night – the first of two ABBI Classic nights in Las Vegas.
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert called Bruiser a young veteran on Wednesday morning and has him beginning the Finals ranked third in the race for the World Championship behind Jared Allen’s Air Time and Smooth Operator.
Bruiser will get his first of two outs at the Finals against Eduardo Aparecido.
It will be the first time the two have ever met.
Can Palermo will play spoiler?
Robson Palermo owns the PBR record with three World Finals event titles, but his laundry list of injuries to his shoulders and biceps have plagued him since winning that record-setting third World Finals title in 2012.
However, Palermo worked three-time World Champion Adriano Moraes last week in Texas and is ready to give this year’s Finals all he has. Moraes said earlier this week that people should watch out for Palermo and that you can never rule out the heart of the 32-year-old.
Palermo has gone 32-for-52 at the World Final in his 10-year BFTS career. He has seven 90-point rides and five World Finals round wins.
He has drawn Cowbanger (1-1, BFTS) for Round 1.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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