By: Kacie Albert
Nashville Stampede: 265 / Austin Gamblers: 175.25
LAS VEGAS – The Nashville Stampede continued their Cinderella run through the inaugural PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Team Series Championship Saturday evening, upsetting the league No. 1 Austin Gamblers to punch their ticket to the tournament’s Semifinals. Leading from the first out, the Stampede defeated the Gamblers by 89.75 points, winning the five-vs.-five game 265-175.25.
In the first frame, Joao Henrique Lucas (Bastos, Brazil) struck in the lead-off position for the Stampede, conquering Black Ice (BMC Bucking Bulls/Jenkins Cattle Co.) for a commanding 88.5 points. Competing for the first time inside T-Mobile Arena after earning a first-round bye, the Gamblers looked to 2019 PBR Rookie of the Year Dalton Kasel (Muleshoe, Texas) to give the team their first points. Kasel, however, was upended by Manaba (Joe & Nina Webb/Julian/D&H Cattle Co.) in a swift 2.48 seconds.
As the second got underway, the Stampede failed to add to their lead as Ryan Dirteater (Hulbert, Oklahoma) was dispatched by JAG Metals Grand Theft (D&H Cattle Co./Philip Elkins) in 4.29 seconds. With the door open, the Gamblers pulled within 0.75 points of the lead in the bottom of the frame when Ramon de Lima (Rio Branco, Brazil) covered Chief (Blake Sharp/Michael Floyd) for 87.75 points.
Following a scoreless third, the Stampede’s order shuffled when initial fourth-frame rider Silvano Alves’ (Pilar do Sul, Brazil) bull was unruly in the chutes. As a result, closer and 2018 PBR World Champion Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil) moved up in the order. Poised, the Ice Man rose to the occasion, conquering Gangster Time (Classic Jack Cattle/Viducic Bucking Bulls) for a monstrous 90.25 points to put Nashville up by 91 points. The Gamblers wasted no time in responding. Erupting from the chute and remaining in total control, Lucas Divino (Nova Crixas, Brazil) bested Whip (Obernagel/Sho-Me Rodeo) for 87.5 points to put the Gamblers within 3.5 points of the lead.
With the shuffled order, three-time PBR World Champion Alves found himself in the closing position for the Stampede. Matching Game Over (Cooper/Scruggs/Bishop) jump-for-jump, Alves reached the whistle as the crowd erupted in raucous cheer. Awarded 86.25 points, Nashville pulled ahead by 89.75 points with just one Gambler out remaining.
Needing a score of 90 points or more to win the game, two-time PBR World Champion Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) readied to climb aboard Show Me Homie (Jo-Z Bucking Bulls/K-C/Spark-lin Acres). After appearing in control, Leme was uncentered past the 7-second mark, thrust to the ground before the whistle and subsequently trounced by Show Me Homie after he was slow to his feet. Gamblers Head Coach Michael Gaffney quickly challenged the call. After careful review, Leme was deemed to have lost contact with his rope at a heartbreaking 7.62 seconds, cementing the Nashville Stampede victory.
The No. 8 Nashville Stampede earned the first of four berths to the inaugural PBR Team Series Championship Semifinals and will play the No. 2 Texas Rattlers on Sunday, November 8. The Austin Gamblers returned to the locker room to refocus ahead of the tournament’s final Last Chance Game.
When competition concludes on Sunday, November 6, the following teams will face off:
No. 8 Nashville Stampede vs. No. 2 Texas Rattlers
No. 5 Arizona Ridge Riders vs. No. 3 Oklahoma Freedom
Third-Place Game (Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2)
Championship Game (Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2)
The 2022 PBR Team Series Championship concludes on Sunday, November 6 at 7:45 p.m. PT.
PBR RidePass on Pluto TV will offer replays of all the PBR Team Series action from Las Vegas. Check https://pluto.tv/en/live-tv/pbr-ridepass for the latest programming schedule.
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