By: Justin Felisko
April 01, 2016
First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard Invitational: The Built Ford Tough Series resumes this weekend in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with the First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard 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: CAN MAUNEY BUILD ON WORLD LEAD?
J.B. Mauney has yet to win a Built Ford Tough Series event this season, but his eight round wins – two of which were 15/15 Bucking Battle victories – have propelled him into the world No. 1 ranking.
Following back-to-back round wins to begin the Ty Murray Invitational, Mauney arrives in Sioux Falls for a Round 1 matchup against Speed Dial (1-0, BFTS). Speed Dial bucked off Eduardo Aparecido in 3.57 seconds during his BFTS debut in Duluth, Georgia.
Joao Ricardo Vieira still leads the BFTS in qualified rides (23), and his last two came with a broken nose. Vieira’s toughness in Albuquerque impressed many and now the No. 4 bull rider in the world will head into Sioux Falls in search of his first event win as well. Vieira has drawn Popeye(0-0, BFTS).
Fabiano Vieira is the only other rider with 20 or more qualified rides (20) and he arrives in Sioux Falls having ridden six of his last 10. Vieira has a Round 1 rematch against Catfish John (5-2, BFTS).
Be wary of selecting Paulo Lima. The No. 2 rider in the world standings is returning to action after missing the final two days of competition in Albuquerque because of a left knee contusion/sprain.
While he did have an extra week to rest because of the Easter holiday, Lima’s injury will be worth monitoring as he takes on IROC (0-0, BFTS) Friday night.
Shane Proctor (0-for-7) has yet to make the 8-second mark since winning Iron Cowboy last month. He will attempt to end his buckoff streak against Heat Seeker (3-2, BFTS).
TIER B: CAN DAVIS BUILD OFF 91.5-POINT RIDE ON CROSSFIRE?
Cooper Davis ended the Ty Murray Invitational with a home run on Crossfire (91.5 points). What is next for the second-year pro that became the first rider to make 8 seconds on Crossfire? Well, it is a first-round matchup against Undertaker (1-1, BFTS). Kaique Pacheco rode Undertaker for 83.5 points in St. Louis.
Ty Murray Invitational champion Mason Lowe will look to build off his first career win (3-for-4) when he takes on Rattler (2-0, BFTS). Rattler has limited experience on the BFTS, but he is 12-0 at all levels.
Derek Kolbaba has a solid matchup against Joe The Grinder (13-6, BFTS). However, Joe The Grinder is 3-0 this season including buckoffs against Stormy Wing, Silvano Alves and Cody Nance.
Ben Jones should have a favorable matchup in Round 1 against Secret Agent (0-0, BFTS). Secret Agent has yet to compete on the BFTS, but he is 4-5 in the lower levels of competition.
TIER C: CAN OLIVEIRA END STREAK?
Valdiron de Oliveira has bucked off nine consecutive bulls, but he has a chance to end that streak against Comfortably Numb (7-2, BFTS) in Round 1. Slade Long of ProBullStats.com believes Oliveira and Comfortably Numb match up well together.
Depending how his injured right ankle is, Matt Triplett may be able to begin the three-day event with a qualified ride on Slick Rick (8-4, BFTS). Slick Rick has been ridden in three of his five outs this season.
Aaron Roy has an interesting matchup against Air Bender (5-6, BFTS). Air Bender is certainly rideable, but he may be a challenge for the right-handed rider. Air Bender is 9-1 at all levels of competition against known right handers.
18-year-old Jess Lockwood is making his BFTS debut in Sioux Falls and arrives having ridden seven of his last eight on the BlueDEF Tour and Touring Pro Division. He also has a rematch against Dakota Storm, who bucked him off in 3.59 seconds at the Kalispell, Montana, TPD event last month.
Lockwood has ridden seven of his past eight and is 20-for-45 on the BlueDEF and Touring Pro Division levels.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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