By: Darci Miller
PUEBLO, Colo. – With two weekends of competition in the books, the PBR Monster Energy Team Challenge, presented by U.S. Border Patrol, has already changed the face of Western sports.
And it’s not even halfway done.
Running from June 5-28 at the South Point Hotel Casino and Spa in Las Vegas, the series will culminate in a Championship Weekend Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on July 10-12 in front of fans. The event features 12 teams and 48 bull riders, with each team consisting of four riders, and two divisions of six teams. The Top 3 teams in each division will then qualify for Championship Weekend.
Each of the 12 competing teams is comprised of three active riders, one of whom is the Captain, an alternate, and a supervisory General Manager.
With Division A completed, Division B will compete the weekends of June 19-21 and June 26-28. Each night of televised action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, will feature three games, with each team competing once per night at the Pendleton Whisky Let ‘Er Buck Saloon at South Point Arena.
Each game will be comprised of 12 collective outs, with each team attempting six bulls. In each game, three riders per team, as selected by the General Manager, will attempt two bulls each. The winner of each game will be the team with the top combined aggregate score from their six outs.
With Division B competition on the horizon, PBR.com will be diving deeper into each roster.
Team Cat, led by general manager Paulo Crimber, features team captain Valdiron de Oliveira, No. 22 Alex Cerqueira, No. 27 Joao Lucas and Clayton Sellars.
Read on to learn more about Team Cat, and stay tuned for more on the rest of Division B.
VALDIRON DE OLIVEIRA
He’s baaaaack. For the second time in three years, Valdiron de Oliveira is coming out of retirement. He initially stepped away from the sport in 2016, and did so again following the 2018 PBR World Finals. At that point, he’d been suffering from an intestinal infection, and now that he’s recovered, the 40-year-old is ready to give things another go.
Oliveira has 429 qualified rides in his premier series career, which ranks fourth all-time in PBR history, 23 of which have been for 90 or more points. He has won 12 premier series events, qualified for the PBR World Finals 11 times and concluded 2018 ranked 20th in the world standings.
Cerqueira is still new to the United States, making the move from Brazil to begin the 2020 season. He earned the first Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour win of his career at the North Charleston Invitational in February, and made his Unleash The Beast debut at the Bad Boy Mowers Mowdown in Little Rock, Arkansas, the following week. In four premier series events, Cerqueira is 4-for-10, and is ranked No. 22 in the world standings. He ended the first half of the season on a high note, finishing a career-best second overall at the Lucas Oil Invitational in Guthrie, Oklahoma, where he went 3-for-3.
After competing in PBR Brazil in 2017 and 2018, Lucas came to the United States for the first time in 2019, when he competed at several Velocity Tour events. He’s been in the U.S. full-time in 2020, earning his first Velocity win at the Knoxville Invitational in February. He made his premier series debut at Last Cowboy Standing in Los Angeles, and is 4-for-19 in eight premier series events. He finished a career-best sixth at the Cooper Tires Invitational in Guthrie, going 2-for-3, and is ranked No. 27 in the world standings.
Sellars has competed in five PBR-sanctioned events in his career, all Touring Pro Division events, and all in 2019. The 22-year-old qualified for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2019, placed in two rounds and finished that season ranked No. 12 in the PRCA bull riding standings. In 2018, he was named the PRCA’s rookie of the year. Sellars has spent most of 2020 recovering from a torn ACL and PCL in his left knee he suffered on Jan. 22 during the Division 1 Xtreme Bulls event in Fort Worth, Texas.
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