By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – It has been an odd scene in 2020, scanning the PBR world standings and not seeing future Ring of Honor inductees Silvano Alves and J.B. Mauney sitting inside the Top 30 of the world standings.
Injuries and slumps had kept two of the greatest bull riders of all time way too close to the possibility of not qualifying for the PBR World Finals in Arlington, Texas, on Nov. 12-15 at AT&T Stadium.
However, Alves and Mauney brought back some sense of normalcy to this year – or maybe it was more so a temporary blast from the past – as the two legends finished in first and fourth place, respectively, at the PBR Express Ranches Classic, presented by Bass Pro Shops, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to get themselves further down the road to Arlington.
Alves used his first victory since 2016 to put the talk of him missing the World Finals for the first time in his career to rest as he moved up to No. 25 in the world rankings. Mauney extended his streak of consecutive events with at least one round win to three, and he is now in control of his World Finals destiny as the No. 30-ranked bull rider in the world.
It was a busy weekend across the PBR with multiple events across the world affecting the 2020 World Finals race.
Here is a by-the-numbers look at PBR action from the past few days.
1,471: Number of days since Alves had previously won a premier series event – October 2, 2016 in Eugene, Oregon. The more than four-year gap was the longest drought of Alves’ career. He had not ridden three bulls at one event since going 3-for-4 at the January 27, 2019, event in Sacramento, California.
4: Alves has surprisingly only four qualified rides at all levels of PBR-sanctioned competition inside AT&T Stadium. He has not competed at the home of the Dallas Cowboys since The American rodeo in 2018, and he is 4-for-16 (25%) in his PBR career at AT&T Stadium. In comparison, Alves is 36-for-53 (67.92%) in his PBR career at the World Finals with one victory (2014) and three runner-up finishes. Alves was unable to compete at the 2019 World Finals because of a lacerated kidney.
89.33: J.B. Mauney has won a round at each of the last three Unleash The Beast events and is averaging 89.33 points per round-winning ride. Mauney’s 90.5-point ride on Concealed Carry was his first 90-point ride since he rode Big Black last year for 90.75 points when he won the Little Rock, Arkansas, premier series event. The march to a 15th consecutive World Finals is alive and well for Mauney.
16: Mauney finished 2017 16th in the final world standings after he sustained his career-altering right shoulder injury at the Calgary Stampede. He has had two surgeries on his shoulder in the past three seasons, including one this past January that kept him out of competition for the first seven months of 2020. Mauney’s fourth-place finish in Tulsa this weekend has him now ranked 30th in the world standings, and he may be on pace for his best finish in the world standings since he first injured his shoulder. Mauney finished the 2018 season in 28th place, and last year he concluded the season 30th after being unable to compete at the World Finals because of multiple injuries to that shoulder.
$260,000: Valdiron de Oliveira won $260,000 at the inaugural Iron Cowboy competition 10 years ago inside AT&T Stadium. The now-41-year-old is trying to make a last-minute push for the 2020 World Finals so that he can return to Arlington to attempt to win the $300,000 event title. Oliveira won the final Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour regular-season event this past weekend in Casper, Wyoming, to move up 78 positions in the world standings. He now has a Velocity Tour invite to compete this coming weekend at the PBR Cooper Tires Take The Money and Ride, presented by Union Home Mortgage, in Nampa, Idaho, and the No. 66-ranked bull rider in the world is only 76 points outside of the Top 35. Oliveira also could fight for a World Finals spot at the Velocity Tour Finals on Nov. 6-7 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
6: World No. 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira took a sliver out of Jose Vitor Leme’s massive lead atop the world standings with his 1-for-3, 12th-place finish (six world points) in Tulsa. Vieira will head into Nampa 563.09 points behind Leme, who went 0-for-2 for the first time since Aug. 14-15 at PBR Bullnanza in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Leme had earned world points in four consecutive UTB events.
46: Bull score for Blue Crush – the YETI ‘Built for the Wild’ Bull of the Event in Tulsa – who bucked off Cody Nance in 2.51 seconds in the championship round. Blue Crush has posted the two best bull scores of his career in his last two outs; he was marked 45.75 points two weeks ago in Des Moines, Iowa, for disposing of Mason Taylor in 2.57 seconds.
10: Brendon Clark owns the PBR record for most World Finals qualifications for an Australian-born bull rider with 10. Lachlan Richardson may be able to notch an eighth qualification if the No. 1 rider in PBR Australia can get government approval and a visa to compete at the Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour Finals on Nov. 6-7 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Richardson clinched the invite to the Velocity Tour Finals this past weekend, and he would then need a top-two finish to earn a wild card qualification to the World Finals.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photos courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media
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