By: Justin Felisko
August 13, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – The Built Ford Tough Series resumes in less than a week with the Frontier Communications Music City Knockout, presented by Cooper Tires, and the stakes couldn’t be higher for the opening event of the stretch run to PBR Finals Week.
The Music City Knockout will offer up 2,995 points in the final PBR Major of the season. It is the first of 10 regular-season events until the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals. One rider can earn a maximum of 1,205 points, meaning any of the world’s Top 15 riders could leave Nashville atop the world standings.
Kaique Pacheco used a victory in Nashville last year to spearhead his push toward trying to become the 2015 World Champion. The 2015 Rookie of the Year, who is featured in the upcoming Netflix documentary series, “Fearless,” won the event when he rode Percolator for 76.5 points and Fabiano Vieira bucked off Sasquatch in the championship round of the 36-rider tournament.
Today, PBR.com revisits five facts from last year’s tournament.
Top seeds falter in Nashville
Joao Ricardo Vieira, J.B. Mauney and Matt Triplett earned the top three seeds for the 2015 tournament, but the top three riders in the world failed to live up to their rankings for at least one weekend.
Vieira and Mauney both advanced to the Sweet 16 before coming up short against Shane Proctor and Stetson Lawrence, respectively. What was surprising about Vieira and Mauney’s shortcomings was that neither rider was able to post a qualified ride in the tournament to get them back into the Second Chance Bracket.
Triplett, who is likely out until the beginning of 2017 following reconstructive left shoulder surgery, was able to advance to the Elite 8 before getting bounced by Pacheco in the fourth round. Triplett did earn the top seed in the Second Chance bracket because of his 88-point ride on Goin’ Fast, but he would eventually get eliminated by Robson Aragao.
A rookie becomes a superstar; will there be another?
Pacheco is thus far the only rookie to have won a PBR Major in the past two years. However, it was in Nashville where Pacheco really showed the poise and ability to win on the sport’s biggest stage outside of the World Finals.
The current world leader’s victory pushed him to No. 3 in the world standings at the time and his performance was definitely a sign of things to come. Beginning with Nashville, Pacheco finished 2015 14-for-26 (53.85 percent).
Can another rookie claim the Music City Knockout in 2016? Well, there are potentially six rookies competing in Nashville next weekend – Wallace de Oliveira, Derek Kolbaba, Jess Lockwood, Nevada Newman, Cody Heffernan and Jorge Valdiviezo.
Oliveira, Kolbaba and Lockwood have already won a regular-season event this season and are ranked inside the Top 15 of the world standings.
Don’t forget about the importance of winning the Ride Score championship
A big chunk of the potential 1,205 points one rider can win this year in Nashville stems from winning the overall event championship (625 points), but there is also a good portion of points available for the Ride Score champion, which is awarded to the rider with the highest aggregate total of ride scores throughout the tournament. This season the Ride Score championship comes with 300 points toward the standings.
Fabiano Vieira lost out on the event title last year, but his 4-for-5 performance (336.5 points) helped him win the Ride Score Championship over Pacheco (3-for-5, 241 points).
If a rider can sweep both titles, it could result in a seismic shift in the world standings.
*The additional 280 points would come from advancing to Round 3 (50 points), Round 4 (105 points) and the Final 4 (125).
Cinderella story Robson Aragao will not be dancing this year; Who will?
Aragao became a dancing Cinderella in 2015 when the No. 18 seed miraculously made it to the Final 4 courtesy of the Second Chance Bracket. Aragao began the weekend with a win against No. 31 Dave Mason before No. 7 Fabiano Vieira eliminated Aragao in Round 2.
Aragao rose to the occasion in the Second chance Bracket by eliminating No. 16 Tanner Byrne, No. 3 Triplett, and No. 13 Cody Nance.
Spiderman will not have the opportunity for a repeat performance this season as he will not qualify for the tournament based upon his 79th world ranking.
However, there will be plenty of dangerous lower seeds in next weekend’s tourney – three-time World Champion Silvano Alves, summer sensation Chase Outlaw, and BFTS veterans Valdiron de Oliveira and Nathan Schaper.
The 2016 Music City Knockout Bracket will be released early this week on PBR.com and the PBR’s social media channels.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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