Brennon Eldred Wins PBR Unleash The Beast Event
DES MOINES, Iowa – As the elite PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Unleash The Beast returned to Des Moines, Iowa, for the first time in four years with the PBR Lucas Oil Invitational, the socially-distanced crowds inside Wells Fargo arena for the two-day event, Sept. 19-20, 2020, witnessed performances that tightened the world championship races for both rider and bull, as well as career firsts for several competitors.
Going a near perfect 2-for-3 in the Hawkeye State, including the biggest ride of his career, Brennon Eldred (Sulphur, Oklahoma) captured the first elite tour event victory of his career after debuting on the Unleash The Beast in April 2017.
While Eldred’s event began in less-than-ideal form, bucked off by Proctors Pride (K-C Bucking Bulls/Bull Creek Bucking Bulls) in 3.66 seconds in Round 1, he was dominant on championship Sunday, Sept. 20.
The 25-year-old Oklahoman began the final day of action with a runner-up ride in Round 2, reaching the requisite 8 aboard Viper (Cord McCoy/Big Sky Bulls LLC) for 89 points to punch his ticket to the championship round for the seventh time this season.
Earning the third pick in the final round’s bull draft, Eldred drafted a familiar opponent in Crossover (Hodges/Shuler). Eldred had matched up with the bull in January at his home state elite tour event in Oklahoma City, reaching the whistle for 88.5 points inside Chesapeake Energy Arena to win Round 1 of the event.
In Des Moines, Eldred again reached the 8, and recorded his first-ever 90-point ride on the premier series, marked a monstrous, event-best 92.25 points.
“I wasn’t sure the whole ride if I was going to make the whistle or not. I just thank God it worked out okay,” Eldred said. “This is one of the biggest moments of my career. I’ve been on this tour for three or four years battling it out trying to get an event win, and it finally came. This money I’ll spend, and this buckle will fade. But the way you all make me feel here tonight I will have forever.”
Eldred, who has now won three rounds in 2020, earned a check for $33,385.62 for his milestone win, in addition to a critical 110 world points. He began the event No. 29 in the world and surged nine positions to No. 20. Eldred is the 12th different rider to win an Unleash The Beast event thus far in 2020.
Atop the world rankings, both 2018 PBR World Champion Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil) and two-time World Champion Jess Lockwood (Volborg, Montana) gained ground in the 2020 World Championship race with current world No. 1 Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) not cleared to compete in Iowa.
Of the duo, Pacheco gained the most ground, leap-frogging Lockwood in the world rankings for the No. 3 position after finishing 10th in the main event and second in Saturday evening’s 15/15 Bucking Battle. The 26-year-old earned a collective $6,267.89 and 49 world points.
Pacheco who rode Peep Show (Cornwell Bucking Bulls) for 83 points in Round 1 of the main event did not compete in the championship round despite qualifying, sidelined due to a left hamstring strain.
Now ranked No. 3 in the world, Pacheco is within 713.5 points of No. 1 Leme.
Lockwood finished fourth in the PBR Lucas Oil Invitational to garner $8,283.69 and an ever-critical 41 world points. Despite slipping to No. 4 in the world, the Montana cowboy inched closer to No. 1 Leme, now within 716 points of the dominant Brazilian.
Lockwood’s 1-for-3 effort inside Wells Fargo Arena was highlighted by a win in Round 2, covering Rebel Call (Torres Brothers Bucking Bulls LLC) for 89.75 points and his ninth round win of the season. Lockwood has the second most round wins of any rider thus far in 2020 on the premier series, trailing only Leme who has ridden to 15.
Rookie of the Year contender Alex Cerqueira (Iguatemi, Brazil) was second, collecting $15,640 and 65 world points.
First riding Bad Boujee (Mike Miller Bucking Bulls) for 69 points in Round 1, declining a re-ride, Cerqueira logged his second 8-second effort of the weekend when he covered Godzilla (Blake Sharp/Henry Wilson/High Voltage Cattle) for 87.75 points in the championship round.
Cerqueira, who was ranked No. 23 in the world prior to the event, surged seven positions in the standings, now No.16 and 54 points outside of the Top 10.
Third was Junior Patrik Souza (Sonora,Brazil).
Souza reached the championship round atop the event leaderboard as the only rider to cover both of his draws in the opening rounds.
First coveringMy Time (Kruger Bucking Bulls) for 82 points in Round 1, Souza remained perfect in Round 2 when he rode Witch Doctor (Gene Owen Bucking Bulls) for 74 points.
Souza’s bid for his career-first event win, however, came to a heart-breaking end when he was dispatched by Sugar Boom Boom (Cornwell Bucking Bulls/Circle G) in 7.65 seconds in the championship round.
Souza was propelled to a $9,148.49 payday, and netted an additional 50 world points. He is now ranked No. 36 in the world, climbing from No.53, and within 0.5 points of the Top 35.
Rounding out the Top 5 was two-time PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney (Statesville, North Carolina) in fifth.
The veteran rider’s efforts were highlighted by a Round 1 win when he made the 8 aboard Show Me Homie (K-C Bucking Bulls/JoZ Bucking Bulls) for 88.5 points.
Despite not being able to claim sole ownership of the all-time Unleash The Beast event wins record, still tied with two-time PBR World Champion Justin McBride (Elk City, Oklahoma) with 32, Mauney earned $6,617.94 and 37 world points.
Mauney catapulted from No. 98 in the world at event’s start to No. 55, now 44.5 points outside of the Top 35 as he seeks his 15th consecutive qualification to the PBR World Finals.
In the bull pen, reigning PBR World Champion Bull Smooth Operator (Dakota Rodeo/Julie Rosen/Clay Struve/Chad Berger) and Blue Crush (Cord McCoy/Chad Reese) tied for the YETI “Built for the Wild” Bull of the Event. The duo of powerful bovine athletes posted matching 45.75-point scores in the 15/15 Bucking Battle held Saturday night following Round 1.
In a clash of 2019 World Champions, Smooth Operator made swift work of Lockwood, sending him to the dirt in 3.63 seconds. While Smooth Operator remained No. 2 in the world standings, he is now within 0.03 of No. 1 Chiseled (Flinn/D&H Cattle Co.). The score is the league-leading fourth time in 2020 Smooth Operator has earned the high-marked bull of the event honor, a feat also accomplished by Air Support (Braun/Cooper) and Chiseled.
In dispatching Mason Taylor (Maypearl, Texas) in 2.57-seconds, Blue Crush’s out marked the high-marked score of his PBR career.
The PBR Lucas Oil Invitational was the sixth elite tour event weekend PBR has hosted during COVID-19 with fans in attendance by working with arena partners to implement new fan safety protocols.
The elite PBR Unleash The Beast will next travel to Lincoln, Nebraska, and Pinnacle Bank Arena for the PBR Wrangler Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires. The event, which will also welcome fans to the arena, will be on Saturday, October 3 and Sunday, October 4.
PBR Unleash The Beast, PBR Lucas Oil Invitational, Wells Fargo Arena – Des Moines, Iowa
Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
1. Brennon Eldred, 0-89-92.25-181.25-110 Points.
2. Alex Cerqueira, 69-0-87.75-156.75-65 Points.
3. Junior Patrik Souza, 82-74-0-156.00-50 Points.
4. Jess Lockwood, 0-89.75-0-89.75-41 Points.
5. J.B. Mauney, 88.5-0-0-88.50-37 Points.
6. Eduardo Aparecido, 86.5-0-0-86.50-22 Points.
7. Eli Vastbinder, 0-85.75-0-85.75-15 Points.
8. João Ricardo Vieira, 85-0-0-85.00-13 Points.
(tie). Keith Hall, 85-0-0-85.00-13 Points.
10. Kaique Pacheco, 83-0-0-83.00-9 Points.
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