BILLINGS, Mont. – On Friday night, as the three-day weekend at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark got underway, 2016 PBR World Champion Cooper Davis (Jasper, Texas) captured his fourth round win of the 2023 Unleash The Beast (UTB) season, winning Round 1 of the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Wrangler Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, with his 88.75-point ride.
With the weekend in Montana marking the 20th event of the UTB season, a lot is on the line, as only three regular-season events remain until the 2023 PBR World Finals in Fort Worth, Texas, May 12-21.
Davis, who began the weekend at No. 7 in the standings, is among many making the charge to close in on the Top 5 as the season dwindles, all in hopes of his second world title.
As the 2022 Carolina Cowboy launched from the chutes aboard Taylor’s Cowtown Throwdown (Farris/ Platinum Bull Company), the arena erupted, matching the veteran champion’s energy as the seconds counted down.
Davis’ efforts earned him 28 UTB points as he heads into Round 2. His Round 1 win moved him to No. 6 as he heads into day two in Magic City.
Starting the weekend in a less than ideal fashion, world leader Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil) came down hard at 7.18 seconds after DirtyBru (D&H Cattle Co/ Gordon / OK Corralis) tossed the 2018 PBR World Champion to the ground. Despite the upset, Pacheco still holds an extremely thin lead over Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil), who remains out due to injury.
Billings’ opening night – the 28th time the world’s premier bull riding organization has visited the city – saw Oklahoma man Zane Cook (Fort Gibson, Oklahoma) capture second place with an 86-point score.
Paired with Cuttin Torch (D&H Cattle Co/ Flinn), Cook held the lead in the event until Davis, the third to last rider of the night, topped his score.
The runner-up position earned him 18 UTB points to move from No. 62 in the standings to No. 55 as the weekend heats up.
Lucas Divino (Nova Crixas, Brazil) confidently collected third place in the round alongside 17 UTB points.
Clinging to the No. 59 spot in the world standings, the Austin Gamblers’ inaugural-season athlete was paired with Barracuda (SS Ranch). Launching from the chutes as one of the first riders of the night, the 29-year-old received an 85.75-point score.
Fellow countryman Guilherme Valleiras (Pirassununga, Brazil) and Ednelio Almeida (Cacoal, Brazil) rounded out the Top 5 in Round 1, splitting fourth place with matching 85.5-point scores.
Up first in the dynamic duo, Valleiras set the tone, confidently besting Get Western (Blake Sharp/ Henry Wilson) early in the night.
Just a few rides later Almeida, who was paired with Karizma (Triplett Bucking Bulls/ Melvy) kept the momentum going as he rocketed from the chutes.
Both cowboys earned 15.5 UTB points.
The fourth-place finish and subsequent points bumped Almeida to No. 65 in the standings.
Valleiras, who made his debut at a UTB just a few short weeks ago, has been on fire ever since. Having claimed his first-ever event win at the start of April in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the 21-year-old Brazilian now sits at No. 39 as the weekend plays out in Montana.
The top riders in the world will have the opportunity to gain ground in Round 2 as the PBR Wrangler Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, continues on Saturday, April 15 at 6:45 p.m. MT.
The weekend in Billings also featured 23 of the American Bucking Bull Inc (ABBI) best four-year-old bovine athletes, competing for a total purse of $25,000 and points towards the world standings.
922 Flyin Wired (Julian / BS Cattle Co) was the very first bull out of the gate and was matched up against Eli Vastbinder (Statesville, North Carolina). Flyin Wired was victorious in the matchup, turning in a bull score of 90.48 points to set the bar and remain the number one bull on Classic night in Billings, taking home a check for $9,000. Billings marked Flyin Wired’s third straight Classic Event Title as he climbs the world standings and chases a gold buckle!
The No. 1-ranked bull in the Classic World Standings 5g Flapjack (Parker / OK Corallis / Gordon / D&H Cattle), turned in a 90.18 marking to pick up a second-place finish bucking off Keyshawn Whitehorse (McCracken Springs, Utah), taking home a check for $6,500. Rounding out the Top 5, including a third-fourth place split with G34 Dirty Bro and 99G Ricky Vaughn and -958 Blood Moon (Berger / Scott Cattle Co) turning in a score of 88.32 points to finish 5th.
The plot thickens and the race for a gold buckle heats up as 922 Flyin Wired claims another victory on the road to the ABBI World Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada, this October.
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PBR Unleash The Beast – PBR Wrangler Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires
First Interstate Arena at MetraPark –Billings, Montana
Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
(tie). Ednélio Almeida, 85.5-0-0-0-85.50-15.5 Points.
Kaique Pacheco, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Rafael Jose de Brito, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Boudreaux Campbell, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Jesse Petri, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Daniel Keeping, 0-0-0-0-0.00
João Ricardo Vieira, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Tate Pollmeier, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Silvano Alves, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Wingson Henrique da Silva, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Keyshawn Whitehorse, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Ramon de Lima, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Colten Fritzlan, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Eli Vastbinder, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Ezekiel Mitchell, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Marcelo Procopio Pereira, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Koltin Hevalow, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Manoelito de Souza Junior, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Derek Kolbaba, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Marcus Mast, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Chase Outlaw, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Wyatt Rogers, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Flavio Zivieri, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Nick Tetz, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Dakota Louis, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Alex Cerqueira, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Chase Dougherty, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Aaron Williams, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Cody Jesus, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Adriano Salgado, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Vitor Losnake, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Dawson Branton, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Brady Turgeon, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Ednei Caminhas, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Jaxton Mortensen, 0-0-0-0-0.00