By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – A number of PBR standouts, including world No. 1 Jose Vitor Leme, were on the sidelines for this past weekend’s PBR Lucas Oil Invitational, but that led to some new names and old faces rising to the occasion in Des Moines, Iowa.
Three-time PBR World Finals qualifier Brennon Eldred, who is still only 25 years old, got his long desired first career victory on the premier series with the first 90-point ride of his career (92.25 points on Crossover) Sunday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.
“I wasn’t sure the whole ride if I was going to make the whistle or not. I just thank God it worked out okay,” Eldred said. “This is one of the biggest moments of my career. I’ve been on this tour for three or four years battling it out trying to get an event win, and it finally came. This money I’ll spend, and this buckle will fade. But the way you all make me feel here tonight I will have forever.”
Meanwhile, two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney used his first round win since September 15, 2019 to make a massive surge up the world standings as he looks to keep his World Finals qualification streak alive.
Here is a by-the-numbers look at the PBR Lucas Oil Invitational
1: Eldred had never surpassed the 90-point threshold on the premier series until his effort Sunday. In fact, he had gone more than three years without a 90-point ride since he posted two 90-point rides at the 2017 Bismarck, North Dakota, Velocity Tour event.
26: The Sulphur, Oklahoma, native finished the 2019 season a career-best 26th in the world standings. However, Eldred did not compete at the World Finals after he dislocated his hip three days before the season-culminating event at the 2019 Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour Finals. At the time of his injury, Eldred was ranked 23rd in the world. The current No. 20 bull rider in the world is on pace to post his first Top-20 world standings finish of his career.
14: Eldred has not surpassed 14 qualified rides in one season since his 2017 rookie season. The fourth-year pro is 13-for-37 (35.14%) and should likely set a new career-high in 2020 with four regular-season events and the World Finals remaining.
44.5: Points two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney is out of the Top 35. The 14-time World Finals qualifier has never missed the Finals in his career, and he earned a season-best 37 points in Des Moines with his 88.5-point ride on Show Me Homie.
5: The 2020 Rookie of the Year class has quietly been close to having quite the breakout year. Cole Melancon is the only rookie with an event win this season, but Andrew Alvidrez (2), Alex Cerqueira (2) and Mauricio Moreira (1) have combined for five second-place finishes in 2020. Cerqueira was the latest runner-up this past weekend.
88.34: Total points separating the Top 4 riders in the Rookie of the Year race: Melancon (302.5 world points), Cerqueira (-54 points), Moreira (-80.67 points) and Alvidrez (-88.34 points).
13: Season-low number of rides at the PBR Lucas Oil Invitational this weekend. The previous low was 16 (Fort Worth, Texas; Little Rock, Arkansas). The 13 rides is the fewest at a premier series event since there were 13 rides at the 2011 Iron Cowboy event in Arlington, Texas, which is tied for the fourth fewest all time.
42.8: Jess Lockwood is winning rounds at a 42.86% clip this season. He has nine round wins in 21 qualified rides. World No. 1 Jose Vitor Leme has a 39.47% rate with his 15 wins in 38 qualified rides.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media
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