25th PBR: Unleash The Beast Preview – Billings
By: Kacie Albert Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 9:07 AM
NEW YORK CITY – The draw for this weekend’s 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast in Billings, Montana, looks much like a Canadian invasion, with five riders and ten bulls who call the Great White North home set to compete.
With tour regulars Dakota Buttar and Tanner Byrne anchoring the rider contingent, Brock Radford returns to the lineup again this weekend after a 15th place finish last weekend in Tacoma, while Lonnie West is set to make his elite tour debut, and reigning PBR Canada Champion Zane Lambert prepares for his first event on the sport’s top series since 2015.
This weekend, however, a new competition format awaits each rider competing in the Magic City. With the event also including a 15/15 Bucking Battle, PBR’s Competition Committee altered the format to help protect riders who could be attempting as many as five bulls in three days.
As a result of the protective measure, the event has fielded a draw of 60 riders, and Round 1 will now be over two days. On Friday night, Round 1 Group A will include the 15 riders competing in the 15/15 Bucking Battle, in addition to 20 additional riders. The subsequent evening, prior to the special round, the remaining 25 riders will attempt their first round bull as Round 1 Group B. All the scores will then be combined and the Top 30 will advance to Sunday’s Round 2, which will be followed by the Championship Round featuring the Top 15 riders on two bulls.
Buttar and Byrne, both in the fifth 15/15 Bucking Battle of the season, will compete in Group A, joined by Radford and West, while Lambert is the lone Canuck in Group B.
Out sick last weekend, Buttar finished 17thlast season in Billings, going 1-for-3. This year he heads to the 23rd edition of the event ranked No. 18 in the world, 1,387.5 points behind No. 1 Ramon de Lima.
In Round 1 the 25-year-old will face Ty Rinaldo TZ Bucking Bulls’ Grey Ghost.
Ridden just four times in 20 attempts across all levels of competition, according to ProBullStats.com, the bovine athlete last bucked at a PBR event in January at the National Western Stock Show, sending Sean Willingham to the dirt in 4.01 seconds.
On Saturday, Buttar has drawn Shelley’s Gangster who carries a three-out buckoff streak into the duo’s first meeting, for the 15./15 Bucking Battle.
The bovine athlete began his streak during the Championship Round in Sioux Falls, marked 43.25 points when he spoiled Kaique Pacheco’s perfect weekend, sending him to the ground at the 4.18 second mark.
Most recently, Shelley’s Gangster had two trips in Tacoma. First he dispatched reigning Rookie of the Year Jose Vitor Leme in 4.94 seconds during the 15/15 Bucking Battle to earn a career-high bull score of 44.75 points, followed by a 7.48-second buckoff of three-time PBR World Champion Silvano Alves to score 44.35 points in the Championship Round.
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan’s Byrne returned to his winning ways last weekend in Tacoma, tying for 11th after going 2-for-3 to earn 45 world points.
He began the event making the 8 aboard Cooper Tires Semper Fi for 83 points, followed by a 77.25-point trip on Legal Tender in Round 2. His perfect weekend, however, came to an end in the Championship Round when he was bucked off by Acting Crazy. Also riding in the event’s 15/15 Bucking Battle, Byrne was denied a qualified ride by Rising Sun, sent to the dirt in 2.08 seconds.
Ranked No. 20 in the world ahead of this weekend’s three-day event Byrne will first attempt David Hale / Wallgren Bull Co.’s Sir Mix A Lot as the first man out of the chutes at the Stanley Performance In Action Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires.
The bovine athlete is unridden in his last three outs, bucking off the likes of three-time PBR World Champion Silvano Alves (2.75 seconds – Round 1 , Nampa 2017), Rubens Barbosa (3.75 seconds – Round 1, Glendale 2018), and Stetson Lawrence (7.14 seconds – Round 2, Glendale 2018). The last rider to make the 8 on him was Fabiano Vieira for 87.5 points during Round 1 of the September 2017 elite tour stop in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
On Saturday, the 25-year-old has drawn Jane Clark/Gene Owen’s Seven Dust, a bull who originally hails from Tyler Thomson and Black Diamond, Alberta’s Big Stone Rodeo.
In 57 outs across all levels of competition, the bull has been ridden just five times, most recently by Cody Teel during the Championship Round in St. Louis, Missouri for 88.5 points. Heading into the matchup, Seven Dust has bucked off the last four riders who have attempted him.
Returning to the elite tour for the first time since the January event in Oklahoma City, young-gun Radford went 1-for-3 last weekend in Tacoma to finish 15th and earn 10 world points, in addition to $1,100.
The De Winton, Alberta-native got off to a hot start, seventh after Round 1, compliments of his 85.25-point ride on Crazy Days. The qualified ride was his first since he covered Jungle Fire for 38.75 points during Round 2 of the Uniondale, New York elite tour event in September 2017.
Unable to make the whistle in Round 2 on Yesterday’s Wine (2.03 seconds) or aboard his draft in the Championship Round, Speed Demon (2.16 seconds), Radford will look to continue his upward momentum this weekend in Billings, drawing Ty Rinaldo TZ Bucking Bulls’ Macho Man in Round 1.
Much like Buttar’s draw from the same outfit, Macho Man’s last PBR event was in Denver, Colorado for the National Western Stock Show. There he was marked 39.5 points for his 7.62-second buckoff of Lumsden, Saskatchewan’s Tim Lipsett.
Completing the Canadian contingent part of Group A is Cadogan, Alberta’s West.
“I’m so fricking pumped,” West told PBR Canada’s Ted Stovin earlier this week. “That was one of my biggest goals ever, was to make the Unleash The Beasts, so I couldn’t have been more excited.
In his elite tour debut, the 22-year-old will face off against D&H Cattle Co/Bob & Jeri Adams’ Udder Lover.
“We’re all going to draw good bulls, the nice thing about that, like all those events, you don’t have to usually worry about what you’re getting on,” West said of the bull pens at 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast events. “You have one job. All you’ve got to do is stay on your bull and you’re going to be getting paid. “
According to ProBullStats.com, in 53 attempts, Udder Lover has been ridden just nine times.
While Trey Benton made the 8 aboard the bovine athlete during Round 3 of the 2017 National Finals Rodeo, Udder Lover was last covered at a PBR event by Stormy Wing when he was ridden for 88.75 points during Round 2 in September 2017 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
While this will mark the first time West will face off against the bull, it won’t be the first time a Canadian has drawn him during their elite tour debut. When Brock Radford made his Unleash The Beast debut last season in Springfield, Missouri, Udder Lover sent him to the dirt in 1.93 seconds during Round 2.
Last riding at an elite tour event in Kansas City, Missouri, in February 2015, reigning and two-time PBR Canada Champion Lambert will face Roll Your Own, from Dakota Rodeo / Chad Berger / Clay Struve, in Round 1 Group B. In his last out, last weekend during Round 2 in Tacoma, Colten Jesse covered the bull for 83.25 points as the first rider to make the 8 aboard him in four outs.
The return to the elite tour comes after he was announced as a contestant for the 2018 edition of the Calgary Stampede last week, his fourth appearance.
With this elite tour stop being the closest to the bull riding mecca that is Alberta, two Canadian stock contractors will also make the southern trek. Nansen Vold and Vold Rodeo will bring six bulls to Montana, while Lindsey Carlier and X6 Ranch Bucking Cattle will have four in Big Sky Country.
Hailing from High River, Alberta, reigning PBR Canada Stock Contractor of the Year Vold’s pen includes White Tie, Papa’s Rockstar, All Access, BAMF, Devour and Twisted.
All with less than 10 outs on their resumes, each bull will make their 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast debut in Round 1 Group A. Their matchups are:
Luke Bradley vs. White Tie
Fernando Novais vs. Papa’s Rockstar
Lawrence vs. All Access
Brennon Eldred vs. BAMF
Pacheco vs. Devour
Cristiano Figueredo vs. Twisted
From Medicine Hat, Alberta, Carlier’s pen includes: Carlier Cartel, Muddy Water, Midnight Rain and Pennywise.
With his bulls in an identical situation to Vold’s, their matchups are:
Ueberson Duarte vs. Carlier Cartel
Lima vs. Muddy Water
Barbosa vs. Midnight Rain
Valdiron de Oliveira vs. Pennywise
Blue Stone makes another appearance at the PBR's Elite level and while he no longer calls Canada home, Seven Dust completes the Canadian contingent of bulls in Billings.
The Stanley Performance In Action Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, gets underway with Round 1 Group A on Friday, April 20 at 7:45 p.m. MT. On Saturday, April 21 at 7:45 p.m. MT, fans will watch on as the remaining riders in the draw compete in Round 1 Group B and the Top 15 riders in the world compete in the fifth 15.15 Bucking Battle of the season. The event will conclude on April 22 at 1:45 p.m. MT with Round 2 and the Championship Round.
CBS Sports will air the fifth 15/15 Bucking Battle of the season at 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 22. CBS Sports Network will televise Round 1 Group A LIVE on Friday, April 20 at 10:00 p.m. ET, followed by Round 1 Group B LIVE on Saturday, April 21 at 10:00 p.m. The network will then air LIVE all the action from Championship Sunday, including Round 2 and the Championship Round, starting at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 22.
Fans will be able to watch the action in its entirety, live, via PBR’s new streaming digital platform RidePass. The stream for the three-day event will begin on Friday, April 20 at 9:45 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 21 at 9:45 p.m. ET, and Sunday, April 22 at 3:45 p.m. ET. On-demand replays will be available at 8:00 a.m. ET the next day at www.ridepass.com. The service can be found at www.ridepass.com, and in the Apple App and Google Play stores under the listing of RidePass.