By the Numbers: Cassio Dias Racking Up Records Ahead of 150th Career Out

By: James Youness

PUEBLO, Colo. – When half of the pack rides on Friday night, bull riding fans knew the boys aren’t just warmed up for the season. They realized they were in for quite the treat!

With Round 1 of last weekend’s Tractor Supply Co. PBR Chicago presenting an epic 22 rides, the second event of the 2024 calendar year did NOT hold back by any means.

Neither did Cassio Dias, who turned in yet another 3-for-3 performance to capture his third Unleash The Beast event title within the first seven events of the season.

Which very much is a record for a storied organization with more than 30 years of bull riding greatness.

(More on that later this week, as we give Dias his flowers for his epic start!)

Finishing just one ride score behind two-time World Champion Jose Vitor Leme for the second-ever PBR Teams MVP this past summer (which is awarded to the rider at regular season’s end with the highest individual aggregate score) competing with the Kansas City Outlaws, it’s no surprise that the talented Brazilian has what it takes to show out within Unleash The Beast.

But bringing an unheard-of event victory percentage of 42.9% into the tour’s eighth event of the season (which is higher than more than half of the tour’s riding percentage) couldn’t have been forecasted inside anybody’s crystal ball, as the 22-year-old is quite literally re-writing the record books.

Now 15-for-22 (70%) on the year, Dias “stormed” into Chicago Friday night beside 21 other riders to meet the requisite 8 once again in the Windy Cindy.

Initially dancing with IHOP for a sound 87 points in Round 1, Dias tapped into some of his momentum from last weekend’s epic short-round conversion atop UTZ BesTex Smokestack (scored a flashy 90.5 points) to keep his UTB ride streak alive.

Off to a hot start after tying Mason Taylor for the fourth-place honors from the opening night of competition, he decided to double down Saturday during his first matchup of the night.

Matching Grey Fox’s every move for 86.75 points, his date to a tour-best sixth championship round of the season was punched. Selecting a head-to-head showdown with Do Dat Eddie, Dias had the No. 1 rank in his sights once again.

With then tour-leader Austin Richardson ruled out of Saturday’s slate after taking a nasty shot from his Friday night opponent Slingin’ It, all Dias needed to do was find the 8 for a third-straight time to re-establish himself as the best in the world.

And that’s exactly what he did.

Becoming the first premier series rider this season to meet the 15-ride mark, Dias sealed the deal, earning 136 UTB points and a career-high check of $48,906 for his record-breaking feat.

Now 94-for-149 throughout his PBR-sanctioned career, his attempt Friday night in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will represent the talent’s 150th career out.

If we had to guess, it’ll be a memorable one.

That’s all he produces these days.

With Unleash The Beast set to storm into Tulsa, Oklahoma, for its eighth event of the 2024 season, we’re taking a quick look back at some of the numerical takeaways from last weekend’s action inside Allstate Arena during this week’s By the Numbers!

3-for-3 for No. 3: Second on the weekend and now third on the year, Fast Eddy is NOT playing around in 2024. While it very much looks like he’s enjoying his time on the dirt, it’s been all business once the established rider climbs into the chutes. With his last Unleash The Beast event buckle being claimed in April of the 2023 season, when the tour invaded Everett, Washington, last spring, the second-place showing was plenty a good sign for the trending 33-year-old. Trending, of course, because he’s been the model of consistency over the past season and a half. Since Arizona Ridge Riders’ coach Paulo Crimber noted just how well his veteran had been riding over the summer, he’s turned in Top 13 performances in all six events he’s participated in, including second, 11th, 11th, eighth, 13th and third-place finishes. Having found the 8 in all six of said events, last weekend’s showing in Chicago marked his first 3-for-3 effort on the season.

Four Years in the Making: Now ranked No. 15 overall after exiting last weekend’s Tractor Supply Co. PBR Chicago with a podium finish, 30-year-old Alex Cerqueira earned a campaign-high 76.5 UTB points en route to collecting a $12,628 check for his epic 3-for-3 showcase. Getting the job done with three quality scores, he warmed up in Round 1, paired against Rank Frank for a healthy 84.5 points. Destined to keep the momentum flowing on Championship Saturday, the Brazilian doubled down, besting Rooster for 82.5 points. Eventually opting into a short round showdown with Roc Wit It, he was scored a season-best 89 points for the flashy dance.

With the mark serving as the cowboys’ highest since the summer series, when he championed Ricky Vaughn for an epic 91.75-point score, it’s a good sign for the veteran who’s looking to end the premier series season ranked inside the Top 20 for the first time in his career. While the talent has been competing on Unleash The Beast for a few seasons now, his third-place finish Saturday night inside Allstate Arena represents his best finish since the 2020 season when he turned in a pair of runner-up finishes in Nashville, Tennessee, and later Des Moines, Iowa.

First Weekend on Tour: What an insane week of PBR action it was for rookie Cort McFadden, who now finds himself ranked No. 30 in the world following a fifth-place finish during his premier series debut. Starting a long week on Monday night during a Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour event in Denver, which he eventually exited as the event’s winner (marking his first PWVT event win), the talented 19-year-old kept his momentum flowing when he arrived to the Windy City for his very-first UTB action. Converting during his first opportunity to show the world’s best riders he’s got what it takes to fit right in, McFadden teamed up with Nightmare Friday night to begin his career 1-for-1.

Returning to competition Saturday night, he next readied for a matchup against Sly. Quickly advancing his ride streak to a perfect 2-for-2, his ticket was punched to the short round. Wasting no time in making a name for himself, he accepted a dance with Polar Express during the championship round, but was dispatched prior to the requisite 8. Regardless of the buckoff, the Novice, Texas, native completed his first UTB event with a strong Top 5 finish, taking home 59 Unleash The Beast points en route to securing his spot during this weekend’s competition in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Of the eight riders to record two or more qualified rides inside Allstate Arena, McFadden was the lone American representation, with Australian Brady Fielder joining six Brazilian natives in setting the bar.

Flight 8, Please: By now, most fans and tour personnel are well aware that Chicago and the greater Midwest portion of the country was hit with quite the winter weather storms last weekend. Causing travel problems and delays for thousands around the country, not even 2022 World Champion Daylon Swearingen got a pass from Mother Nature Friday night as the world’s best bull riders flew into Chicago O’Hare. Initially slated to compete in the first half of Round 1, due to this No. 25 rank coming into the event, he was later bumped to a later bucking flight as his travel schedule became elongated. Knowing the Piffard, New York, native would miss his originally scheduled spot in the bucking order, he was moved to the third-from-last spot, just before Cassio Dias and Austin Richardson, arguably two of the tour’s hottest riders. Arriving to the arena shortly before his rescheduled out, he tapped a bit of late-round magic and stole the show!

Scored a round-winning 88.25 points for his time aboard Midnight Magic, Swearingen came out of nowhere to secure the Round 1 win. Unable to go the distance in Rounds 2 or 3, he still managed to tie his season-best finish with a ninth-place exit, matching his result earlier this season in St. Louis, Missouri, (the only time he’s ridden two bulls in one event so far this season). Now ranked No. 23 coming into Tulsa, he’s one of many veterans who have reminded the rookies they’re going to have to grind it out to earn a berth to the 2024 World Finals: Unleash The Beast!

Any Year but Year 1: 2024 has been a great season so far for the esteemed rookie class, but the veterans answered back in a big way last weekend in Chicago, claiming eight of the Top 11 spots. With Dias, McFadden and Ednelio Almeida representing the first-year finishers and Aparecido, Cerqueira, Brady Fielder, Kaique Pacheco, Silvano Alves, Swearingen, Boudreaux Campbell and Keyshawn Whitehorse holding it down for the tour’s established pack of riders, fans should very much expect a healthy mix of established fan favorites and up-and-coming talents to be featured throughout the remainder of the 2024 premier series season.

In order to appreciate the past, we have to look to the future, and with the second season of PBR Camping World Team Series action continuing to make a huge impact on the tour’s newest riders, there’s no telling how high some of these rookies may finish during their first season on tour. Just ask the No. 1-ranked rider in the world … who competed in his first Unleash The Beast event a mere two months ago. (In case you missed it, he’s got three event wins through his first seven premier series appearances). With first-year Caden Bunch earning some early-season points and matching respect for his win in Tucson, Arizona, to kick the season off, there’s no telling where the bar will be set in regards to all-time rookie classes. Either way, the veterans stayed ready to compete, and did just that in Chicago!

Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media

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