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 Lucas Oil, led by general manager Jerome Davis, features team captain and world No. 13 Matt Triplett, 2019 Rookie of the Year Dalton Kasel, 2016 PBR World Finals event winner Ryan Dirteater and Dylan Smith.
Read on to learn more about Team Lucas Oil, and stay tuned for more on the rest of Division B.
Despite suffering some broken ribs early in the 2020 season, Triplett got off to one of the best starts of his career this year following a 5-for-6, runner-up showing at the 2019 PBR World Finals. He’s cooled down a bit since February, but is still ranked No. 13 in the world standings. He finished a season-best fourth at the PBR Iron Cowboy in Los Angeles, and most recently placed 10th at the Lucas Oil Invitational in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
Triplett also has team experience under his belt, having competed for the Team USA Eagles at the PBR Global Cup in Arlington in 2020 and Sydney in 2018. He’s 3-for-4 in his two Global Cup appearances, including an 88.75-point ride on La Grande in the Eagles’ winning campaign in 2020.
Kasel made his PBR debut less than a year ago, but he has already made quite the name for himself. He won the 2019 Rookie of the Year title in less than three months of PBR competition, and quickly established himself as a round- and event-winning threat. However, he underwent surgery to repair two torn groins following the 2019 PBR World Finals, and he is yet to truly regain his form. Upon his return to the Unleash the Beast in February, he reinjured his groin, and subsequently was back on the sidelines until April.
Since returning – for real – Kasel, ranked No. 46 in the world, placed third at the Cooper Tires Invitational in Guthrie, Oklahoma, in May, which included a 90.75-point ride on Soup in a Group.
The Monster Energy Team Challenge will see the long-awaited return of the Cherokee Kid, who will be retiring following the 2020 PBR World Finals. Dirteater has been out of action since sustaining multiple thoracic fractures at Iron Cowboy in February. His last qualified ride was a huge one, though, as he rode Smooth Over for 92.75 points to win Round 2 in Los Angeles. His fifth-place finish there is his highest of the season thus far, though he placed in each of the five Unleash The Beast events in which he’s competed, and he finished fourth in the 15/15 Bucking Battle in New York City.
Currently ranked No. 26 in the world, Dirteater also missed the 2020 PBR Global Cup USA. He competed for the Team USA Wolves at the 2019 edition, though, and went a perfect 3-for-3 to place second in the individual aggregate as the Wolves finished third overall.
Smith began the 2020 season on the premier series, finishing 15th at the season-opening Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden in New York. Since January, he’s been competing on the Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour, with a season-best finish of eighth in North Charleston, South Carolina, and is ranked No. 96 in the world standings.
© 2020 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.