(Editor's note: PBR press release.)
BILLINGS — After a weekend of sitting atop the leaderboard, 2016 PBR World Champion Cooper Davis (Jasper, Texas) sealed the deal on Sunday afternoon in Billings, Montana, capturing his second Unleash The Beast UTB event win of the 2023 season at the Professional Bull Riders Wrangler Invitational presented by Cooper Tires.
With just three events now remaining until the PBR World Finals in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 12-21, the world title race reached molten levels in Montana, as Davis and his fellow athletes put it all on the line in the hunt for a world title.
Two-time PBR World Champion and current No. 2 man in the standings Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) remained sidelined due to injury, giving current world leader and 2018 PBR World Champion Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil) the opportunity to gain ground.
While Davis’ win took him from outside the Top 5 to No. 4 in the standings in just three short days, Pacheco strengthened his lead over No. 2 Leme from a meager 2.5 points as the weekend began to 118.5 with a second-place finish as Sunday rolled to a close.
On Friday night, as the three-day weekend at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark got underway, Davis captured his fourth round win of the 2023 UTB season, winning Round 1 with an 88.75-point ride.
Davis, who began the weekend at No. 6, launched from the chutes aboard Taylor’s Cowtown Throwdown (Farris/ Platinum Bull Company) as the Friday night crowd erupted, matching the veteran champion’s energy as the seconds counted down.
Paired with Toasted (Jenkins Cattle Co) in Saturday’s Round 2, the 2022 Carolina Cowboy in the separate PBR Team Series stood calmly in rider walk-off throughout the night unphased by the task at hand.
Launching from the chutes, Davis’ world champion talent was again clear as he effortlessly made the 8 aboard the muscular bovine and made it clear that his hunt for a second world title was underway.
After splitting second place with Lucas Divino (Nova Crixas, Brazil) with matching 87-point scores in Round 2, Davis set his sights on Championship Sunday.
Paired with Savage (Blake Sharp/ Michael Floyd/Koe Wetzel/ High Voltage Cattle) as Sunday night began, the steadfast Texan again exploded from the chutes as Montana fans roared, collecting another 87-point score.
Davis then selected Ricky Vaughn (D&H Cattle Co./ Buck Cattle Co.) as his final opponent for the weekend.
Standing calmly near the chutes, Davis watched as the animal athletes of the sport dominated all but one of his fellow competitors: Pacheco.
Climbing aboard Ricky Vaughn, Davis had already won the event aggregate before the chute opened. Despite his best efforts, the muscular bull slung him to the ground after 3.83 seconds.
His three previous scores still left him at the very top of the leaderboard, allowing him to collect 163.5 UTB points and pick up his second event win of the season.
Davis’ 3-for-4, first-place finish moved him from No. 6 to No. 4 in the UTB standings and earned him a check for $46,490.67.
Pacheco claimed second place overall for the weekend.
Starting the weekend in a less than ideal fashion, Pacheco 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.
Knowing he had to hit the gas in Round 2, the 2022 Nashville Stampede athlete was stoic on the back of the chutes before his matchup with Fajita (Nothin But Try Ranch/ Diggers Bucking Bulls) as the last ride of Saturday night.
His 86-point ride score catapulted him into Sunday.
As the final day in Billings began, the “Ice Man” made his intentions known as he blasted from the chutes aboard Whatever (Dakota Rodeo/ Chad Berger) in Round 3 for 85.5 points.
Selecting Pookie Holler (Dakota Rodeo/ Brian & Ashley Pintar/ Clay Struve/ Chad Berger) in the championship round, Pacheco was the lone man to conquer his opponent in the final round of the weekend.
While his 86.25-point score wasn’t enough to push him into the lead over Davis, it earned him 116 UTB points and a check for $27,936.
Pacheco’s fellow countryman Divino rounded out the top three finishers.
Starting the weekend at full speed, Divino confidently collected third place in Round 1.
The Austin Gamblers inaugural-season athlete was first paired with Barracuda (SS Ranch). Launching from the chutes as one of the first riders on Friday night, the 29-year-old received an 85.75-point score.
Sharing second place in Saturday’s Round 2 with Davis, Divino, was matched with High Country Hitman (High Country Solutions/ Jenkins Cattle Co). Matching the same energy that earned him third place in Round 1, his fellow Brazilian athletes were at full volume on the back of the chutes.
Sunday, however, was not a success for Divino. His Round 3 opponent, Bread Basket (TNT Bucking Bulls/ Hart Cattle Co.), dominated their matchup after 5.13 seconds.
Selecting Chateau Montelena’s Montana Jacket (Vella/Coleman/Ogden/Hart) in the championship round, Divino was unable to make the 8 after the gate flew open.
Divino collected 79.5 UTB points and $13,264.67 for his third-place finish, allowing him to cruise to No. 44 in the standings.
Guilherme Valleiras (Pirassununga, Brazil) collected a fourth-place finish in Billings.
Setting the tone for his weekend, Valleiras confidently bested Get Western (Blake Sharp/ Henry Wilson) in Round 1 to share a fourth-place finish.
Having claimed his first-ever event win at the start of April in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the 21-year-old Brazilian made his UTB debut just a few short weeks prior.
Saturday saw the heat that Valleiras has been known for flicker a bit when Ebenezer (BMC Bucking Bulls/ Jenkins Cattle Co.) dispatched him after 2.48 seconds in Round 2.
Coming back with a fury in Sunday’s opening Round 3, Valleiras conquered I’m Legit Too (Hart Cattle Co/ Hale) for 85.75 points, punching his ticket into the championship round.
His final round pick of Alakazam (D&H Cattle/ Buck Cattle/ Tommy Julian) didn’t go as planned, as the talented bovine won the matchup.
Although his 2-for-4 weekend was less than hoped for, he collected 56 UTB points.
Starting the weekend at No. 41 in the standings, Valleiras’ fourth-place finish helped him move to No. 33.
Rounding out the Top 5 in Billings was rookie Brady Turgeon (New River, Arizona).
While Friday night’s Round 1 could have derailed Turgeon’s focus after Ricky Vaughn (D&H Cattle Co./ Buck Cattle Co) threw him to the ground, the 19-year-old didn’t give up - and rightfully so.
36 of the top bull riders in the world were no match for Turgeon on Saturday as he collected a career-first round win with a monster 90-point ride.
As Round 2 began, he was paired with Death Warrant (John Wyckoff/Frihauf Cattle Co), but judges quickly deemed a technical error and awarded him a re-ride opportunity. Climbing aboard his second bull of the night, the young Arizonan was seemingly unrattled at being put to the test a second time.
As Turgeon launched from the chutes aboard Tijuana Two-Step (M Rafter E Bucking Bulls), fans inside of First Interstate Arena at MetraPark reached a deafening roar. Gritting it out to the very last second, fellow riders and stock contractors were joyful on the back of the chutes as his 90-point ride score was announced, the highest of the weekend.
Despite setbacks on Sunday as Big Wave (Lone Star/ Outlaw/ Maynes/ D&H Cattle Co.) unseated Turgeon in Round 3 at 4.68 seconds and then his championship round pick, Flapjack (Parker/ OK Corralis/ Gordon/ D&H Cattle), did the same at 2.61 seconds, the Arizona cowboy was able to hold onto the fifth-place finish.
His efforts in Montana earned Turgeon 53 UTB points, moving him to No. 46 in the standings.
In the bullpen, the impressive 46.5-point buckoff by Domino (D&H Cattle Co./Buck Cattle Co.) in his championship round matchup with Keyshawn Whitehorse (McCracken Spring, Utah) earned the esteemed animal athlete the YETI “Built for the Wild” Bull of the Event title.
PBR RidePass on Pluto TV will offer re-airs and on-demand replays of every PBR UTB event and is available on desktops, laptops and mobile devices via www.pluto.tv [pluto.tv].
The PBR Unleash The Beast next travels to Everett, Washington, for the PBR Great Northwest Invitational on Wednesday, April 19 at 7:45 p.m. PT and Thursday, April 20 at 7:45 p.m. PT at Angel of the Winds Arena.
Elsewhere in the PBR this weekend, the energy from a sold-out crowd filled Alerus Center on Saturday night as Patterson Starcher (Tonganoxie, Kansas) clinched a career-first event win at the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour (PWVT) Grand Forks Chute Out.
As the extraordinary animal athletes of the PBR dominated all but nine of their 35 matchups throughout the opening round, the Kansas man was paired with Marlboro Man (Cuomo Bucking Bulls). Starcher’s solid Round 1 score of 84 points aboard the athletic bovine put him through to the championship round.
Starcher was then the only man to go 2-for-2 and have a flawless night as he bested Rogue One (3J Ranch) for 86.5 points in the final round of the night.
The 23-year-old cowboy left Grand Forks with 124.5 Velocity Global points.