By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – The most grueling event style on the PBR schedule is making a return to the Unleash The Beast for the first time since February 2019 when the second half of the season begins Monday night at Last Cowboy Standing at Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Last Cowboy Standing is a progressive elimination format that first debuted in its current iteration the last time the PBR held an event in Cheyenne two years ago. The format was also used last year at STAPLES Center when Cole Melancon won Iron Cowboy in his debut event.
Melancon, the No. 16 ranked bull rider in the world, is returning to Unleash The Beast competition in Cheyenne following elbow surgery on his right riding elbow in May. Melancon had at least three or four bone spurs, and a series of bone chips, cleaned out by elbow specialist Dr. John Conway.
Short Stack bucked Melancon off in 7.18 seconds at the PBR Big Sky Touring Pro Division event in Montana in his first non-premier series event back Thursday evening.
The 27-year-old has drawn Montana Moon (1-1, UTB) for Round 1 Monday in Cheyenne.
Round 1 airs exclusively on CBS Sports Network live at 10 p.m. ET on Monday.
One rider can earn a maximum of 300 points toward the world standings in Cheyenne and a payday of at least $75,000.
RELATED: Last Cowboy Standing daysheet
Forty-two riders will begin in Round 1 with the Top 25 scores advancing to Round 2. In the event fewer riders have recorded a score than required to advance, the remaining positions will be filled based on the world standings as of July 19.
The Top 8 riders via aggregate score following the second round will then advance to Round 3. Next, Round 4 will then consist of the Top 4 riders in the aggregate based upon the previous three rounds.
Essentially, the first four rounds will be cut down from 40 riders to 25 to 8 to 4.
Round 5 will feature every rider that posted a qualified ride in Round 4. A minimum of two riders will compete in Round 5. If only one rider covers in Round 4, then the PBR will bring back one rider (based on aggregate scores following the completion of Round 4).
The rider with the highest score in Round 5 will win the title of Last Cowboy Standing. If all riders buck off in Round 5, then the LCS crown will go to the rider with the highest aggregate score among those that attempted a bull in Round 5.
The LCS winner receives 150 world points, and the runner-up takes home 94 points.
If the event ends with more than one qualified ride in Round 5, then each rider with a qualified ride in Round 5 will be awarded the world points determined by their final ride scores in Round 5. (The runner-up only receives 94 world points if he rides his bull in Round 5 or if the event winner had also bucked off in Round 5).
If the event ends with no qualified rides in the 5th round, then each rider who attempted a bull in the 5th round will be awarded world points (the 150 and 94) based on their aggregate score earned throughout the event.
RIDERS OUT OF COMPETITION BECAUSE OF INJURY
No. 8 Colten Fritzlan (left shoulder)
No. 12 Rafael Henrique dos Santos (ribs)
No. 27 Kyler Oliver (left shoulder surgery)
No. 32 Caic Cassio Carvalho (left shoulder)
No. 33 Jess Lockwood (core muscle repair surgery)
No. 39 Paulo Lima
No. 42 Michael Lane
No. 46 Connor Halverson
RIDERS COMPETING VIA EXEMPTION –LAWRENCE MAKING UTB SEASON DEBUT
There are three riders competing via injury exemptions in Cheyenne – No. 52 Matt Triplett, No. 76 Stetson Lawrence and No. 78 Daylon Swearingen.
Triplett will have only more event after Cheyenne to get back inside the Top 30 or else he will lose his guaranteed draw spot on the Unleash The Beast. Triplett is 90.5 points outside the Top 30 as of Friday afternoon.
The seven-time PBR World Finals qualifier has drawn Cido 545 (3-0, UTB) for Round 1.
Meanwhile, Lawrence is making his UTB season debut after missing the first half recovering from reconstructive left shoulder surgery following the 2020 PBR World Finals.
Lawrence returned to competition this summer on June 4. He rode three of his first four bulls in June and won the Dusty Gliko Bull Riding Challenge in Great Falls, Montana, on June 5 before dropping into a 1-for-8 slump. However, Lawrence bounced back Thursday night in Big Sky by splitting the Round 1 win with Swearingen by riding WSM’s Foghorn Leghorn for 89 points.
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Lawrence will have four additional UTB injury exemptions post-Cheyenne.
The 32-year-old takes on Dr. X (2-0, UTB) in Round 1.
Swearingen will have six more exemptions after sitting out the first five-and-a-half months of the season after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder the day before Thanksgiving and having his hip repaired by Dr. J.W. Thomas Byrd on Feb. 9.
The 22-year-old is 4-for-11 in PBR competition since returning from surgeries on his right shoulder and hip. Swearingen also went 3-for-5 at the Calgary Stampede.
Swearingen has drawn Midnight Flyer (4-0, UTB) for Round 1 in Cheyenne.
LEME CONTINUES WORLD TITLE DEFENSE / WOOPAA TO BUCK IN ROUND 2
Reigning World Champion Jose Vitor Leme will resume his title defense in Round 1 against Combustion (3-0, UTB).
Leme begins the second half of the season with a 68.5-point lead on No. 2 Kaique Pacheco.
The bull Leme rode to clinch his world title – Woopaa – will also be competing in Cheyenne.
The No. 1 bull in the YETI World Champion Bull race (46.45) will buck during Round 2 on Tuesday night when the bull power will increase significantly. Also bucking in Round 2 is No. 2 Ridin Solo (45.53), No. 4 Marquis Metal Works Coriolis Effect (45.38) and No. 5 The Right Stuff (45.31).
MARIANO & GARLAND MAKING UTB DEBUTS
Vinell Mariano is set to make his Unleash The Beast debut as a Native American invite at Last Cowboy Standing. The 20-year-old made his PBR debut on the Touring Pro Division in March and he is 6-for-21 so far in his early career. The Church Rock, New Mexico, native is competing in Big Sky this weekend and bucked off Kyno in 4.58 seconds on Thursday night.
Mariano competed for New Mexico State University at the College National Finals Rodeo last month in Casper, Wyoming, and he was a regional champion in the regular season. In 2018, Mariano won the 2018 New Mexico High School Rodeo Association bull riding state title by winning the event average at six rodeos during the regular season, per the Navajo Times.
Mariano has drawn Hard Not To Get (3-0, UTB) for Round 1 at Last Cowboy Standing.
Deklan Garland, who is also making his UTB debut, and Thiago Salgado, are competing as two invites from the Last Cowboy Standing Stockyards Showcase.
Garland won the 2020 IPRA bull riding championship and made his PBR debut on June 11 in Deadwood, South Dakota. The 21-year-old is also a two-time National Little Britches Rodeo Association World Champion (2016/2018). Garland’s father, John, is a well-regarded U.S. National cutting horse champion trainer originally from Australia. John Garland used to compete in the PRCA as a bull and bronc rider.
The Foster, Oklahoma, native is competing in Big Sky and rode Get Shorty for 85.5 points on Thursday night.
Whiskey Bent (19-9, UTB) awaits Garland in Round 1 in Cheyenne.
Salgado is also amidst his first PBR season, and he is 7-for-29 at all levels of competition. Salgado has already competed at three Unleash The Beast events, but is still looking for his first qualified ride on then premier series (0-for-4).
Salgado, who is now 19 years old, became the second youngest, Brazilian bull rider to reach the PBR’s premier series when he made his debut on Feb. 26 in Fort Worth, Texas. Ten-time PBR World Finals qualifier Paulo Crimber is the youngest to debut on the premier series.
The No. 53 ranked bull rider in the world standings is also in Big Sky and was bucked off by The Tickler in 3.52 seconds.
Salgado will look for his first UTB ride against Marquis Metal Works Draggin Up (8-12, UTB/METC) in Cheyenne.
ROUND 1 REMATCHES
There are 11 rematches set for Monday night.
Cody Nance vs. Oz (3.78 seconds in Greensboro, North Carolina in 2019)
Cooper Davis vs. PBR on TikTok (4.15 seconds at the Las Vegas Invitational)
Dener Barbosa vs. Good Night Robicheaux (0-2)
Derek Kolbaba vs. Stretch (1-1; 89.5 points in Columbus, Ohio in 2019)
Jesse Petri vs. Why Hell Ya (2.3 seconds in Billings, Montana)
Junior Patrik Souza vs. Strange Cargo (6.76 seconds in Belton, Texas in 2019)
Kaique Pacheco vs. Sky Harbor (1-1; 84.5 points at the 2020 World Finals)
Keyshawn Whitehorse vs. Zorro (0-2)
Mason Taylor vs. Total Feeds Bushwacked (0-2)
Paulo Lima vs. Whatchamacallit (0-2)
Silvano Alves vs. Crazy Doc (5.37 seconds in Louisville, Kentucky)
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media
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