35 Summer Facts About the Top 35

By: Justin Felisko
August 15, 2016

The Top 35 bull riders in the world will be back Friday in Nashville. Photo: Andy Watson /

The Top 35 bull riders in the world will be back Friday in Nashville. Photo: Andy Watson /

PUEBLO, Colo. – The stretch run to the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals and PBR Finals Week begins on Friday with the Frontier Communications Music City Knockout, presented by Cooper Tires, in Nashville.

With the Built Ford Tough Series returning to action, here is a look at the current Top 35 of the world standings and how each rider’s summer went.

1. Kaique Pacheco

World leader Kaique Pacheco chose not to compete at the 2016 Calgary Stampede and opted to go home to Itatiba, Brazil, and spend time with his family. It wasn’t a complete summer vacation for Pacheco as the current world leader actually tied with Fabiano Vieira for the most summer world points (172.5 points) earned among Top-10 riders.

Pacheco went 11-for-18 (61.11 percent) at PBR events in Brazil and America. His best performance came in Estero, Florida, where he went 2-for-2 to win the Touring Pro Division event.

2. J.B. Mauney

Reigning World Champion J.B. Mauney continued his trend of taking the majority of the summer off in hopes of being as healthy as possible for the stretch run. Mauney was unable to win a third Calgary Stampede title this year, but he did look phenomenal in a 4-for-5 showing. The 29-year-old earned 100 world points in Calgary.

Outside of Calgary, Mauney competed in Rocksprings, Texas, going 0-for-2 at the TPD event, while also bucking off Wicked in a special $25,000 bounty matchup in Vinita, Oklahoma.

3. Fabiano Vieira

Fabiano Vieira also took the majority of the summer off and had the same strategy as Mauney. Vieira went 4-for-6 at the Calgary Stampede and earned 22.5 points toward the world standings. However, he earned 120 points by sweeping both nights of competition in Rocksprings by going 4-for-4.

4. Joao Ricardo Vieira

An injury will follow Joao Ricardo Vieira into the stretch run of the Built Ford Tough Series for the second year in a row. Vieira sustained a slight bicep tear in his riding arm at an open rodeo in Fort Worth, Texas, at the end of May and competed sparingly this summer, instead focusing on rehab and therapy for his arm.

Vieira went 8-for-17 (47.05 percent) this summer. However, Vieira says a TPD victory in Amarillo, Texas, two weeks ago has him feeling confident in his arm. The 32-year-old classified his arm at 75 percent.

5. Paulo Lima

Paulo Lima went 6-for-16 (37.5 percent) in PBR Brazil competition. Lima is on pace for his first World Finals qualification since 2011. This year would be his third career World Finals appearance.

6. Eduardo Aparecido

Eduardo Aparecido also opted for rest this summer. The 26-year-old went 2-for-7 in PBR Brazil and gained no world points. Aparecido was one of three Top-10 riders (Shane Proctor/Derek Kolbaba) that put up a goose egg in the world standings during the BFTS break.

7. Shane Proctor

It has been quite the summer for Shane Proctor. The 31-year-old had 16 screws and two plates removed from his left (free arm) following Last Cowboy Standing. Proctor missed a little under a month of action following the surgery, but returned to competition on June 17 at the Reno, Nevada, PRCA rodeo.

Proctor used the summer run to try and earn enough money to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The Grand Coulee, Washington, bull rider is eighth in the PRCA standings with $67,027.91. Proctor, who also sustained an injury to his ribs this summer, won the Home of Champions Rodeo (Red Lodge, Montana) and the all-around at the Lehi, Utah, Roundup.

The 2011 PRCA champion aspires to be the first rider to win the PBR World Championship and the PRCA bull riding championship in the same season.

8. Cooper Davis

2015 World Finals event winner Cooper Davis concluded his summer with a co-victory at the Santa Barbara, California, TPD event courtesy of two 86-point rides.

Davis went 11-for-21 (52.38 percent), including two 92.5-point rides at BlueDEF Tour events. Davis first rode Beaver Creek Beau for 92.5 points in Bismarck, North Dakota, and reached the 90-point threshold again aboard Set ‘em Up Joe in Big Sky, Montana.

The 21-year-old also won the Young Guns Challenge in Decatur, Texas, with an 88-point ride on Who Dey. Davis failed to convert aboard Jared Allen’s Air Time (2.58 seconds) in the $50,000 bounty bull matchup.

9. Wallace de Oliveira

It wasn’t a mind-blowing summer run, but Wallace de Oliveira (8-for-34) did just enough to overtake the lead in the Rookie of the Year race. Oliveira helped his push by winning the Salinas, California, BlueDEF Tour event with an 87.5-point ride on Captain Jack.

10. Mike Lee

2004 World Champion Mike Lee continued to be a road warrior this summer. Lee nodded his head 36 times and converted for 14 rides. Lee (38.89 percent) wasn’t as dominant as he has been in past seasons, but he once again found success this year as he posted 10 Top-10 finishes. Lee, who won the June 30 TPD event in St. Paul Oregon, really began to heat up in August with three consecutive Top-3 finishes.

11. Ryan Dirteater

Amidst a career year, Ryan Dirteater only competed in four summer events. Dirteater almost won the Calgary Stampede (4-for-6) after placing 11th and 14th at the Bismarck, North Dakota, BlueDEF Tour events. Dirteater did sustain an unofficial bruised lung at the Santa Barbarba, California, TPD event on Aug. 4 after being stepped on by Macklin.

11. Derek Kolbaba

Derek Kolbaba has also been hot on the rodeo trail this summer. Kolbaba is only up to 28th in the PRCA standings. The 20-year-old is $22,000 away from cracking the Top 15 and being in contention for a spot at the NFR.

13. Tanner Byrne

Top-ranked Canadian Tanner Byrne went 3-for-8, including 2-for-4 at the Calgary Stampede, and is trying to become the first Canadian-born PBR World Champion.

14. Robson Palermo

Three-time World Finalist Robson Palermo competed sparingly during the summer break and went 4-for-13 (30.77 percent). The injury-prone bull rider has had a resurgence in 2016 and is looking to finally win an illustrious PBR world title and win a record-setting fourth World Finals event title.

15. Jess Lockwood

It’s been a tough summer for the PBR’s 18-year-old sensation. Lockwood came up short of his bid of winning a fourth consecutive Montana High School Rodeo State championship and lost out on a high school national title when he bucked off his last bull at the National High School Finals Rodeo.

Injuries also became an issue for the Volborg, Montana, bull rider. A night after blowing the roof off the Bismarck Civic Center with a 93-point ride on Siouxper Stinger and a 92-point ride on Crossfire, Lockwood then aggravated a knee injury attempting to ride Jack Daniel’s After Party. Lockwood, who also gashed open his head during the buckoff against After Party then tried to take on 2012 World Champion Bull Asteroid to no avail. Asteroid (46.5 points) exploded out of the chute to destroy Lockwood in 1.78 seconds.

Lockwood’s injury woes only worsened the next month at the NHSFR when he ended up sustaining soft tissue, as well as nerve damage, in three fingers and his entire riding hand during his last ride attempt.

Despite that, Lockwood said he is ready to go for Nashville and feeling better.

16. Mason Lowe

Exeter, Missouri, bull rider Mason Lowe began the summer with plans of taking the majority of the BFTS break off to rest his riding arm, which he had torn some cartilage in due to an injury in February at RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN SEMIFINALS. However, Lowe got the bull riding itch in June and went to compete at some amateur bull riding events of 2006 World Finals event winner L.J. Jenkins. The decision backfired in ways with Lowe injuring his riding hand when his hand got stuck in his bull rope. Since then, Lowe only competed in one PBR event – the Kasey Hayes and Stormy Wing Invitational – in Guymon, Oklahoma, on July 23. Lowe bucked off Hat Trick in 6.59 seconds.

Lowe threw out the first pitch at the St. Louis Cardinals home game against the Atlanta Braves earlier this month.

17. Lachlan Richardson

Aussie Lachlan Richardson returned home amidst his career-year and continued his first-half success with three PBR Australia victories and a second-place finish at the PBR Australia National Finals. Richardson went 13-for-21 (61.9 percent) at PBR Australia and U.S. TPD events.

18. Gage Gay

Gage Gay went 8-for-20 (40 percent) with four Top-10 finishes this summer. Gay’s best performance came at the Brighton, Colorado, TPD event where he went 2-for-2 with an 87-point ride on Dirty Little Secret.

19. Guilherme Marchi

2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi returned to Brazil for the summer break and competed in three PBR Brazil events. Marchi was 7-for-11 (63.63 percent). The 34-year-old also competed at a couple local rodeo events where he had some success as well. Marchi is on pace to qualify for his 13th consecutive World Finals, which is the second-most among active riders behind Lee.

20. Stetson Lawrence

Stetson Lawrence missed Last Cowboy Standing because of a partially torn left groin and returned to action on June 17 at the Bismarck, North Dakota, BlueDEF Tour event. Lawrence went 4-for-18 (22.22 percent) during the BFTS break. He also competed at some local rodeos while rehabbing his groin injury.

21. Ben Jones

Ben Jones remains in the Top 35 despite undergoing major reconstructive left shoulder surgery following a gruesome injury attempting to ride Swashbuckler in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Jones had three major ligament tears, as well as a sliced artery. Jones said his recovery is going good, but it is going slow.

22. Rubens Barbosa

2011 Rookie of the Year Rubens Barbosa had a very strong summer run at PBR Brazil summer events. Barbosa went an astounding 22-for-24 and posted four Top-5 finishes, including a victory in Sao Jose do Rio Preto with a 91.25-point ride on Cadeado. Barbosa is fifth in the PBR Brazil standings.

23. Valdiron de Oliveira

37-year-old Valdiron de Oliveira spent the summer traveling to bull ridings with longtime buddy Wallace de Oliveira. Valdiron recently won the Sterling, Colorado, Touring Pro Division event on Aug. 2 and finished the break 11-for-22 (50 percent).

24. Cody Nance

2009 Rookie of the Year Cody Nance won three TPD events, posted 11 Top-5 finishes and went 20-for-38 (52.63 percent) in a strong summer run. Nance earned one of his three victories at the PBR Mexico event in Zacatecas, Mexico, while in the country for fellow bull rider Luis Blanco’swedding.

25. Nevada Newman

After struggling to reach the 8-second mark during the last three months of the BFTS (three qualified rides) and dealing with injuries to his right PCL and left ACL, Nevada Newman believes he is finally getting back on track in time to make a run at his first career World Finals. Newman is coming off a second-place finish at the Livingston, Montana, TPD event with an 87-point ride on Old Brindle. Newman went 2-for-8 in limited action.

26. Silvano Alves

Three-time World Champion Silvano Alves returned home to Brazil for the summer break and competed in a few PBR Brazil events. However, his best performance came when he returned to the United States. Alves rode Buck Dynasty for 87.5 points for a second-place finish at the Estero, Florida, TPD event. Overall, Alves went 6-for-13 (46.15 percent) following Last Cowboy Standing.

27. Tyler Harr

26-year-old Tyler Harr picked up three TPD wins this summer, including two at PBR Canada events, to maintain his spot on the BFTS as he tries to earn his first World Finals berth. Harr went 10-for-25 (40 percent).

28. Kasey Hayes

Kasey Hayes spent the summer welcoming a new child to his family (Lathan Gunner Hayes) and focusing on building his new home near Liberal, Kansas. During the time off, Hayes had time for his separated right shoulder to heal before he got the itch to return to bull riding on July 23 at him and Stormy Wing’s namesake event in Guymon, Oklahoma. Hayes eventually won the Goodland, Kansas, TPD event and went 5-for-11 (45.45 percent) in seven events.

29. Chase Outlaw

The 24-year-old is 25-for-49 (51.02 percent) and has risen to 29th in the world standings since returning to competition at the end of May from his second reconstructive shoulder surgery in six months – Dr. Tandy Freeman repaired his right shoulder in April 2015. Outlaw earned the most world points this summer by winning seven events and compiling 512.5 points. He is making his 2016 BFTS debut this weekend at the Frontier Communications Music City Knockout, presented by Cooper Tires.

30. Cody Heffernan

Cody Heffernan made headlines this season when he said his first and foremost priority was winning the 2016 PBR Australia championship. Heffernan was so committed toward that goal that he said he was willing to miss BFTS events if it was necessary. Well, Heffernan made true on his word and accomplished that goal by claiming the 2016 Australian title this summer. Heffernan also won PBR Australia’s Last Cowboy Standing with an 89.25-point ride on Hillbilly Deluxe.

31. Jorge Valdiviezo

Rising star Jorge Valdiviezo headed back home to Mexico to visit family and friends after his participation in the Young Guns Challenge at the J.W. Hart PBR BlueDEF Tour event in Decatur, Texas. Following a few weeks home, Valdiviezo returned to go 2-for-10 (20 percent). He placed fourth at the Brighton, Colorado, TPD event.

32. Aaron Roy

BFTS veteran Aaron Roy went 11-for-28 (39.29 percent) on the summer trail. The 29-year-old’s top performances came on the BlueDEF Tour. Roy placed second in Bismarck, North Dakota, and third in Big Sky, Montana.

33. Nathan Schaper

Nathan Schaper has used the summer to work his way back onto the BFTS. Schaper’s turnaround began in July with a second- and third-place finish at the Park Rapids, Minnesota, TPD event. Schaper then built off his 4-for-4 performance in the North Star state with a 4-for-6 showing at the Calgary Stampede. He then put the nail on the hammer with a 3-for-3 victory at the Big Sky, Montana, BlueDEF Tour event. Schaper posted two 90-point rides in Big Sky – a 92.5-point winning ride on Modified Clyde and a 90-point ride aboard Pistol Whip. He had entered the weekend with only two 90-point rides at all levels of competition in his career.

34. Kurt Shephard

The Australian Shephard had a tough go of things this summer with a 7-for-35 (20 percent) run. It wasn’t all bad for Shephard, who still had three fourth-place finishes.

35. Stormy Wing

Stormy Wing came through when it mattered most this summer, picking up an important second-place finish and 30 world points at the Aug. 10 TPD event in Missoula, Montana. Wing’s 2-for-2 performance did just enough for him to maintain his draw spot for the Music City Knockout. Overall, Wing went 7-for-24 (29.16 percent) this summer.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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