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Fantasy Focus: Chicago Invitational

Defending World Champion Silvano Alves heads to Chicago this week for an opportunity to set the PBR all-time record for consecutive of rides on the Built Ford Tough Series.

Alves is currently tied for the record with J.B. Mauney and can take over sole possession by extending his ride streak to 17 when he faces Redbone for the first time in his career.

The 27-year-old has led the BFTS in qualified rides in each of the past four seasons and his consistency is always a good reason to consider selecting him as your Tier-A pick.

However, Kasey Hayes and Reese Cates are both coming off 3-for-3 showings in Baltimore as well.

Hayes comes to Chicago following a strong 89.25-point ride on Fire & Smoke. It was his second-highest-scored ride on the BFTS in the past five seasons. The only higher score he earned was when he rode Shepherd Hills Tested for 91.5 points in Colorado Springs, Colorado, last season. Hayes will face XD Sports Double Agent in Round 1.

Cates will be looking to build off his first career victory after demonstrating in Baltimore that – when healthy – he has what it takes to cover bulls at the BFTS level. The El Dorado, Arkansas, bull rider is slated to face Mr. Bojangles in Round 1 on Saturday night.

Keep an eye on Matt Triplett this weekend. The 23-year-old bull rider says he is feeling better after injuring his thigh in Baltimore, but that the injury still felt a little sore.

Shane Proctor and Ryan Dirteater were also perfect in Baltimore and may be solid options in Tier B. Proctor looked healthy and fully recovered from the two shoulder surgeries that wiped out his 2014 season, while Dirteater finished fifth in the event.

Proctor should have a favorable matchup against More Big Bucks on Saturday. More Big Bucks has been ridden in five of his seven outs, including by Sean Willingham last week for 84.75 points. Dirteater rode him for 87.25 points at last year’s World Finals, as did Mauney for 88 points.

Speaking of Mauney, the 2013 World Champion is one of three World Champions (Guilherme Marchi and Renato Nunes) available for players to select in Tier C.

Mauney nearly qualified for the Built Ford Tough Championship Round in Baltimore with his 85.5-point effort on True Grit, but fell just shy on a weekend that saw 44 total qualified rides.

He will look to start Round 1 with a ride aboard Diesel. It should be an intriguing matchup as no rider has been able to make 8 seconds on the bovine athlete in the BFTS. Diesel is 5-0 on the BFTS and has bucked off three-time World Champion Alves twice. Diesel also dumped Joao Ricardo Vieira last season in 4.22 seconds.

Four-time PRCA champion J.W. Harris is also listed in Tier C this week, and Harris has a very favorable matchup against Skid Row Joe. The bull has been ridden in his past four outs – three times by right-handed riders. Therefore, it should be a solid matchup for the right-handed Harris.

Potential sleeper picks this weekend include Jason Malone, who had the strongest season of his career in the Touring Pro Division last year, and Skeeter Kingsolver, who earned a BFTS invite due to his win on the BlueDEF Velocity Tour in San Diego.

The top two scoring bulls from last weekend will once again be in the short round on Sunday. Beaver Creek Beau and Mississippi Hippy posted 45-point scores against Harris and Mike Lee, respectively, in Baltimore.

Stanley FatMax is also back for the short round and is looking for his 18th consecutive buckoff on the BFTS. His streak is the second longest active streak on the BFTS behind Mick E Mouse’s 28 consecutive buckoffs.

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