Fantasy Focus: Des Moines

By: Justin Felisko
April 23, 2016

Joao Ricardo Vieira is close to breaking out of his slump. Photo: Andy Watson/

Joao Ricardo Vieira is close to breaking out of his slump. Photo: Andy Watson/

THE DES MOINES INVITATIONAL: The Built Ford Tough Series resumes this weekend in Des Moines, Iowa, with the Des Moines Invitational. Don’t forget to set your lineups for Ultimate PBR Fantasy, and if you haven’t already, sign up now for your chance to win.

TIER A: Vieira with great draws in Des Moines

Joao Ricardo Vieira has bucked off seven in a row, but the No. 4 bull rider in the world standings was given two fantastic draws in Des Moines.

Vieira will begin Round 1 with a fourth meeting against Cowtown Slinger (24-16, BFTS). Vieira is a perfect 3-for-3 with an average ride score of 89.25 points against Cowtown Slinger, not including his 91-point ride on him at a 2014 Pueblo, Colorado, Touring Pro Division event.

Vieira then has a rematch in Round 2 against Cooper Tires Semper Fi, who Vieira rode for 87 points in Oklahoma City this year.

World leader J.B. Mauney is returning from a left hip pointer and left elbow injury and will take on Justified (6-3, BFTS) in Round 1. Mauney won the Des Moines Invitational last season inside Wells Fargo Arena in his first event back from a torn left ACL. He had missed the previous five BFTS events because of the injury before going 2-for-3 for the Des Moines victory. If Mauney makes 8 seconds on Justified, he will likely have a strong score and a chance to win the round.

No. 2 Fabiano Vieira has a matchup against Hot Iron (28-7, BFTS). Hot Iron has 28 buckoffs in 35 outs, but he has been ridden twice in his past three outs. He was last ridden by Cooper Davis for 82.25 points in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Paulo Lima has bucked off nine in a row since aggravating his left knee injury at the Ty Murray Invitational. He has only lasted beyond 4 seconds in three of those buckoffs. He will try to buck that trend against Bid D in Round 1.

Shane Proctor has bucked off a career-high 17 in a row since winning Iron Cowboy. Unlike Lima, Proctor has had various close calls. Eight of his buckoffs have come just before 8 seconds.

Proctor has drawn Blue Duck (0-0, BFTS) for Saturday night. Blue Duck is 7-1 at non-BFTS events.

TIER B: Aparecido on the rise

Eduardo Aparecido went 3-for-5 in Billings, Montana, and was the best performer among Top-10 bull riders. He now draws a familiar foe in Round 1 when he takes on Soldier’s Pride. Aparecido rode Soldier’s Pride (8-4, BFTS) for 83.25 points in Sioux Falls.

Tanner Byrne had appeared to be on his way to a BFTS-leading third victory last week before two buckoffs last Sunday afternoon. Byrne still had a relatively good weekend in Billings and will test his merits against Ram It in Round 1. Ram It (0-2, BFTS) has been ridden in both his outs, the last by Fabiano Vieira for 85.5 points in Oklahoma City.

Cooper Davis went 3-for-5 in Billings for his first event with three rides since winning the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals. Davis takes on Comfortably Numb (9-2, BFTS) in Round 1.

In an interesting rematch, Silvano Alves has drawn Legal Tender (13-7, BFTS) in Round 1. Legal Tender is the bull that broke Alves’ hip last season in Nampa, Idaho. Can Alves overcome any potential mental block against the bull?

TIER C: Watch out for Valdiviezo

If you are looking for a sleeper pick that may just be able to steal the round Saturday, then maybe roll the dice with Jorge Valdiviezo. The rider with the fiercest facial expressions in the PBR has drawn Shoot Out The Lights (8-10, BFTS) for Round 1.

Every rider that has made the 8-second mark on Shoot Out The Lights at the BFTS level has been scored 86 points or higher.

Valdiviezo is coming off a 2-for-4 performance in Billings and if not for two buckoffs past 7 seconds he may have won his first BFTS event.

Another potential sleeper could be Jay Miller on Ante Up (3-1, BFTS). Nevada Newman rode Ante Up for 88.25 points to win Round 1 in St. Louis, but Ante Up has bucked off three straight opponents (Valdiron de OliveiraRyan Dirteater and Lindomar Lino) since then.

Also keep an eye on Stormy Wing. The Dalhart, Texas, bull rider has bucked off 13 in a row, but if he can put it all together for 8 seconds on Tom Horn, he may be a dark horse contender to win the round. Jess Lockwood, another left-handed bull rider, won Round 3 in Sioux Falls with an 88.25-point ride on Tom Horn.

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