PUEBLO, Colo – The draw for Round 1 of the PFI Invitational, presented by Bass Pro Shops, was released Wednesday night by the PBR competition committee and the round will feature a couple of interesting matchups.
Joao Ricardo Vieira, who lost his No. 1 ranking to J.B. Mauney last weekend in Thackerville, Oklahoma, will get an opportunity to try and answer Mauney’s recent surge when he takes on Red Moon.
Coincidentally, Red Moon is the bull Mauney rode last weekend in Thackerville for 90.5 points to win Round 1.
Red Moon went to the left with Mauney, which would be right into Vieira’s wheelhouse.
Vieira has struggled (4-for-10) since the BFTS resumed in August and he trails Mauney by 252.5 points with four regular-season events remaining.
An 8-second ride on Red Moon could be the kind of ride that can turn things around for Vieira.
On the flipside, Mauney also has a great matchup against Spin Machine (0-5, BFTS).
Brady Sims rode Spin Machine for 86.25 points last weekend, and Mauney will likely be able to have a qualified ride on the board by the time Round 1 is over inside JQH arena.
According to ProBullstats.com, Spin Machine is 2-2 against known left-handers.
In other draw news, world No. 8 Guilherme Marchi is out with a torn left MCL and PCL in his left knee.
Marchi sustained the torn MCL in Thackerville when he was thrown by Cut The Cord in Round 1.
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Marchi will need surgery, but the 2008 World Champion plans to postpone the surgery until after the World Finals. Marchi will go to physical therapy in the meantime.
Valdiron de Oliveira is returning to competition for the first time since Biloxi, Mississippi, (Aug. 7) when he broke his sternum attempting to ride Whiskey.
Oliveira – ranked seventh in the world standings – trails Mauney by 1,984.17 points.
The 36-year-old has drawn Bruiser, who bucked off Luis Blanco in 3.39 seconds last weekend.
It won’t be an easy matchup as only one right-handed rider (Kaique Pacheco, 94 points) has ridden Bruiser in 10 career outs at all levels.
There will be 41 riders competing in Springfield rather than the standard 35 riders. The 40 rider-draw is in celebration of PFI’s 40th anniversary, while Billy Robinson is in the draw because of an injury exemption.
Robinson hasn’t competed at a BFTS event since Last Cowboy Standing in May.
He has drawn Brutus (3-2, BFTS) and trails No. 35 Dave Mason by 390 points.
With the 41-rider draw, that opens up another opportunity for riders chasing the final qualification spots for the World Finals after the majority of them failed to make any substantial moves last weekend.
No. 36 Robson Palermo, No. 37 Tyler Harr, No. 38 Neil Holmes, No. 39 Alexandre Cardozo and No. 40 Douglas Duncan are all separated by 23.75 points.
No. 44 Sean Willingham is also in the draw and the 34-year-old only trails Palermo by 150 points.
Palermo is 47.5 points behind Mason.
Chase Outlaw is also back this week after missing last weekend with a sprained left shoulder injury.
The No. 26th ranked bull rider faces What A Burger (3-1, BFTS) in Round 1. Gage Gay rode What A Burger for 84.75 points in Thackerville.
Zane Cook is competing as a Native American invite, while Lane Lasley is making his BFTS debut with a BlueDEF Velocity Tour exemption because of his win in Moline, Illinois, in June.
Cook takes on Screamer (0-0, BFTS) and Lasley will see Shattered Dreams (0-0, BFTS) in Round 1.
According to the PBR competition department, Emilio Resende has decided to hold his four remaining BFTS exemptions for the 2016 season.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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