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Fantasy Focus: Sioux Falls

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Sioux Falls has been experiencing a record-breaking heatwave this week and there may be no hotter rider on the Built Ford Tough Series than Joao Ricardo Vieira.

Vieira heads into the First PREMIER Bank PREMIER BankCard Invitational with a BFTS-leading consecutive ride streak of six and should be a popular selection among Ultimate PBR Fantasy players.

The No. 5 bull rider has drawn Butcher’s Nightmare (3-2, BFTS) in Round 1. Butcher’s Nightmare has bucked off three straight riders (Shane ProctorRyan Dirteater and Renato Nunes) since being ridden by Reese Cates for 87.25 points in Oklahoma City.

Matt Triplett, the man Vieira is chasing in the world standings, is facing Marshall Law (2-1, BFTS). Cody Nance most recently rode the bull for 85 points in New York.

Three-time World Champion Silvano Alves has quietly been dealing with an undisclosed groin injury and has been going to physical therapy in Decatur, Texas. However, Alves says he should be good and the injury isn’t.

Alves will take on Closing Time on Friday night. In his last out, J.W. Harris had ridden the bull for 86.5 points in Kansas City, Missouri.

If history is any sign of things for Cates, then the current No. 3 bull rider in the world, should ride Good Cop (0-1, BFTS) on Friday night. Cates begins the weekend on an 0-for-4 buckoff streak and he has yet to buck off five in a row all season despite having two previous 0-for-4 streaks.

Kaique Pacheco was able to break out of his 0-for-4 slump last weekend in Fresno, California, with a 85.75 –point ride on Black Ninja.

Tier B features all four riders – Fabiano Vieira, Valdiron de Oliveira, Cody Nance and Guilherme Marchi – that rode all three of their bulls in Fresno.

Valdiron de Oliveira also has a rematch in the first round when he takes on HD. Oliveira rode the bull for 86.75 points at the Bass Pro Chute Out in St. Louis, Missouri, earlier this season for a second-place finish in Round 3.

Fabiano Vieira will try and build off his win in Fresno when he squares off against Vegas Outlaw (2-0, BFTS). Vegas Outlaw has bucked off Robson Palermo (5.75 seconds) and Joao Ricardo Vieira (1.83 seconds) this season.

Nance takes on Cowtown Rock (1-1, BFTS) and Marchi has Slick Rick (1-1, BFTS).

If you are looking to play the home area momentum card, take a shot on either North Dakota natives, Stetson Lawrence or Nathan Schaper.

Lawrence takes on Barracuda – a brand new BFTS bull – and Schaper will look for 8 seconds aboard Soldier’s Pride (1-1, BFTS), who is also making his season debut. Nance had ridden him for 87.5 points last year in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Aaron Roy has one of the better matchups in Tier C when he takes on Cash Ya Out (2-3, BFTS). Tanner Byrne (87 points) and Bryan Titman(85.25 points) have ridden the bull already in 2015.

Claudio Crisostomo also has a good draw against the bull that Roy won the 2014 PBR Canada Finals on.

Bonner Bolton heads into Sioux Falls after a career-best performance in Fresno, California, and will try to build off his 2-for-3 showing against Joe The Grinder (3-2, BFTS). Marchi rode the bovine athlete for 86.25 points in his last outing in Kansas City, Missouri.

A sleeper pick this week may be Kasey Hayes. The 29-year-old has struggled to develop any consistency (10-for-27) this season, but he has a knack for riding some of the ranker bulls on the PBR when it is least expected.

He will get a shot against Shaft on Friday night, a bull that has averaged 43.25 points per out, but has bucked off all eight of his challengers.

Jared Allen’s Air Time (45.75 points per out this season) will highlight this weekend’s championship round and is bucking for the first time since earning a 46.75-point bull score after tossing Hayes in 4.21 seconds at Iron Cowboy. It was Air Time’s highest bull score since he scored 47 points for a 3-second buckoff against Hayes last season.

Other bulls to keep an eye in Sioux Falls include Beaver Creek Beau (44.38 points), Cooper Tires Brown Sugar (44.35 points) and Smooth Operator (44.7 points).

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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