By: James Youness
PUEBLO, Colo. – With the second electric season of 5-on-5 competition coming to an end inside T-Mobile Arena just one month ago, with the Texas Rattlers being crowned the 2023 PBR Teams Champions, there is A LOT to say about the revolutionary Camping World Team Series.
From the dramatic postseason gauntlet and blockbuster trades to energetic home stand events and tons of records being broken, year two was definitely one for the history books.
Featuring 33 outs throughout the 11-event season to meet the coveted 90-point mark, the summer series is far from the offseason for riders, as these cowboys are bringing their best each and every attempt.
*Whispers* Hell, depending on who you ask … Is this to become the new “actual season?”
Nonsense: World Finals will always reign supreme, situated deep in the heart of Texas … right?
The scariest part of the engaging new format?
Fans, owners, even the riders themselves, can’t get enough …
… and PBR is just getting started, with expansion plans for the 2024 season expected to be shared soon.
In the meantime, we’ll ride the tail of October’s unforgettable ending to the season as PBR.com takes a look back at some of the rankest rides from the 2023 PBR Camping World Team Series campaign!
Cassio Dias vs. Mike’s Motive: 91.25 Points
The PBR Camping World Team Series is known to bring the world’s best bull riders into the summer circuit and let them do their thing. But with the overwhelming amount of youthful, up-and-coming riders that continue to find their way onto one of eight rosters, it’s quickly becoming the industry’s breakout platform, with guys entering the tour nearly unheard of and exiting with a spot on Unleash The Beast. While Cassio Dias had made a bit of a name for himself prior to his first season with the Kansas City Outlaws, he essentially solidified his stardom over the past five months, riding everything in sight for J.W. Hart and company. Finishing just one ride score short (87 points) of eventual 2023 PBR Teams MVP Jose Vitor Leme in the individual aggregate race, he dominated throughout his rookie campaign, including this matchup against Mike’s Motive in extra outs. Fueling his team to its second event title of the season in Nashville, Tennessee, Dias went the distance atop one of the tour’s most rank athletes, eventually scored 91.25 points and greeted on the dirt by flying hats, hugs and every one of his teammates.
Jose Vitor Leme vs. Flapjack: 91.5 Points
The only man to outperform Dias in year two, Leme doubled down during his second trip around the circuit, claiming his second PBR Teams MVP after earning the honors during the league’s inaugural season. Teaming up with Dalton Kasel to help the Austin Gamblers secure their second-consecutive regular season title, it was rides like his 91.5-point conversion atop Flapjack in Glendale, Arizona, that quickly remind fans why he’s still regarded as both “Champ” and unofficially as the best rider in the world. After finishing No. 2, No. 5, No. 1 and No. 1 throughout the past four premier series campaigns, those are titles he’s earned. Representing the highest score of the veteran’s season, yet just one of five outs to go for 90 or better, Leme teamed up with another of the tour’s prized animal athletes (surprisingly, his first matchup against Flapjack) to produce one of the year’s top scores!
Nick Tetz vs. Sonny B: 91.5 Points
Similar to Dias, when the 5-on-5 series rolled around and Nick Tetz was signed to the Arizona Ridge Riders’ squad, he had not only recently participated in several UTB events from the 2023 slate but actually placed 16th at the 2023 PBR World Finals: Unleash The Beast, the industry’s biggest stage. All of that, of course, since the young Calgary, Alberta, native had been crowned the 2022 PBR Canada Champion. Paulo Crimber, Colby Yates and Arizona’s front office understood they secured some talent ahead of the second season of PBR Teams, but it wasn’t until midway through the season they realized they may have landed a star in his own right. Marking the second-highest score of his budding career, Tetz bested Sonny B for an insane 91.5 points as the Ridge Riders battled the Missouri Thunder. However, receiving scores from Felipe Furlan and Joao Lucas Campos, it was Missouri who exited the game in the win column.
Alex Cerqueira vs. Ricky Vaughn: 91.75 Points
Just his second out to result in a 90-point ride, Alex Cerqueira posted the highest-marked ride of his career as he willed his Oklahoma Freedom to a win over the Nashville Stampede at Ridge Rider Days. Teaming up with Ricky Vaughn en route to making the requisite 8, the pair danced for an impressive 91.75-point score, tying Chase Dougherty for the tour’s second-best score of the season. More than any other team, the Freedom showed up and performed as a Top 3 competitor in more than half of their games this season, but it was the nights when the squad wasn’t on the same page that eventually plagued their season. The nights things were going right? Cerquiera was in the lineup, usually throwing down rank rides like this one!
Chase Dougherty vs. Ivy League: 91.75 Points
Between Dougherty and Tetz, two of this season’s top scores were produced by members of the Arizona Ridge Riders. Yet with the talents of Vitor Losnake, Eduardo Aparecido, Keyshawn Whitehorse and beyond, Aparecido was the only other teammate to meet the 90-point mark. Nonetheless, this is Chase’s time to shine, as the 25-year-old logged one of the flashiest rides in PBR Teams history. Dispatched in 3.31 seconds and 6.77 seconds during his first two matchups against Ivy League, surely it would be a third’s time charm-type situation, right? Exactly that. Matching the bovine’s every move, remaining in complete control throughout, Dougherty survived a drastic change of direction before eventually hearing the whistle. Unfortunately, he was tied up a bit during the dismount, but managed to exit without further repercussions once freed from his dancing partner.
Wingson Henrique da Silva vs. Flyin Wired: 92.5 Points
Just like Cerqueira, Wingson Henrique da Silva only had one 90-point conversion to his name entering the 2023 PBR Camping World Team Series campaign. Following suit of his fellow countrymen, he also went on to produce the best score of his career during the summer slate, scored a brilliant 92.5 points during a postseason showdown paired against Flyin Wired. Seeing his Outlaws squad relegated to the playoff gauntlet’s Last Chance Game on Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nevada, the skilled 24-year-old rider knew exactly what Kansas City needed: An elite strike. Providing just that, it may have been his final out of the season, but he definitely made it count. And boy, oh boy, was this bull jumping! Officially the highest-scored ride of the 2023 season, the score comes in tied for the fourth-best in PBR Teams history, with both Daylon Swearingen (paired with I’m Legit Too) and Daniel Keeping (aboard Blue Duck) earning identical marks in year one. Swearingen, who’s already won a pair of events in St. Louis, including a 15/15 Bucking Battle (2020) and the premier series event itself in 2022, en route to earning his world title.
PBR fans can catch many of the 5-on-5 circuit’s riders within various individual tours throughout the next six months, with each of Jose Vitor Leme (3-for-3), Alex Cerqueira (1-for-2), Cassio Dias (3-for-3) and Chase Dougherty (1-for-2) having already logged some reps during Unleash The Beast’s 2024 season kickoff event in Tucson, Arizona, two weekends ago. Tetz, who turned in a fifth-place finish at the 2023 PBR Canada National Finals, presented by Command Tubular Products, is expected to join the premier series as soon as this weekend, with Silva opting out of the first event (spending time with family back in Brazil before the tour’s schedule heats up heading into the holiday season).
This weekend’s PBR St. Louis, set to invade Enterprise Center Saturday, Dec. 2 and Sunday, Nov. 3 will begin on Saturday evening at 6:45 p.m. CT and conclude Sunday afternoon beginning at 2 p.m. CT. Saturday’s opening action will broadcast live via RidePass on Pluto TV, with Championship Sunday’s coverage set to air on CBS Sports Network beginning at 2 p.m. CT.
Fans can stay tuned to PBR.com and PBR social media channels for the latest news, injury updates and beyond as the premier series prepares to dig into the 2024 slate!
Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media
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