J.B. Mauney is ranked No. 1 in the world standings. Photo by Andy Watson /

By: Justin Felisko October 24, 2015@ 10:00:00 P


  • J.B. Mauney can potentially clinch the 2015 World Championship on Saturday night.
  • Cooper Davis is leading the World Finals event following his 87.5-point ride on Compact.
  • Silvano Alves won his first World Finals round with an 89-point ride on Rebel Yell.


LAS VEGAS – Here are three things we learned from Round 3 of the Built Ford Tough World Finals on Friday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

No title just yet for Mauney

J.B. Mauney took care of his business on Friday night, but he will have to wait at least one more day to be crowned the 2015 World Champion.

Mauney rode Say Goodbye for 86.5 points, although his sixth-place finish in the round was not good enough for him to eliminate No. 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira and No. 3 Kaique Pacheco from the world title race.

The Thomas & Mack Center crowd was not happy with the score and erupted with a series of boos toward the judges.

“That was pretty cool,” Mauney said after laughing. “The judges got it right. It was just a good bull.”

Mauney heads into Round 4 on Saturday in prime position of winning his second career gold buckle.

Vieira and Pacheco will both have to be within 1,400 points of Mauney and still be in contention for the World Finals event average title heading into Sunday or else the world title race will be officially over.

Currently, Vieira trails Mauney by 1,515 points and Pacheco is 1,522.5 points behind the No. 1 ranking.

Vieira rode Mr. Bull for 86 points to finish the round in ninth place, while Pacheco was bucked off by Pound The Alarm in 5.05 seconds.

The 28-year-old is currently third in the event average and is also in position to win the World Finals event title for a record-tying third time.

In terms of the World Championship, Mauney wasn’t thinking about clinching the world title on Friday.

“Nah, I just wanted to ride my bull,” Mauney said. “You don’t worry about the end result. This is an event in itself. I showed up here wanting to win the event I am at.”

Cooper Davis continuing to roll right along

Current World Finals event leader Cooper Davis was caught out of position midway through his 87.5-point ride on Compact before confidently readjusting himself and smoothly working his way to his third qualified ride of the Finals.

Davis said everything is just slowing down for him at exactly the right moment and that it is much easier to make a confident readjustment when you are riding so well.

“Tonight everything was going a lot slower,” Davis said. “I felt like I was in the right place. When I wasn’t, I felt like I could slow down when I needed to do. It is not as blurry when things are not going as right. When you have all of the confidence in the world, you know the move you are going to make is the right one.”

Davis placed third in the round and earned 100 points toward the world standings. He is now ranked 11th in the world.

Bonner Bolton is second in the event average following his 86.25-point ride on Percolator.

Davis and Bolton are the only two riders a perfect 3-for-3 on the weekend.

2001 World Finals event winner Luke Snyder was sitting across from Davis in the locker room when the rookie was describing his performance at the Finals.

Snyder won the Finals as an 18-year-old rookie.

“That would be cool to follow in his footsteps,” Davis said. “It is a dream come true for me to be here and leading it right now. You kind of have to pinch yourself and take it all in.”

Snyder said, “He definitely made me think about the old days a little bit and what it was like for me.”

This year’s Ring of Honor inductee said it didn’t hit him that he truly had a chance at winning the Finals until he rode Slick Willy for 90 points.

“He had bucked me off to win a really big event in Fort Worth and I think he got me somewhere else. That was the third time I had him and I just remember feeling really confident when I got on him and expecting to ride him. Then after I did ride him, I just knew I was in the zone. After about the second round I knew I really had a shot.”

Alves records first career round win at World Finals

Silvano Alves entered Friday night 26-for-32 in his career at the World Finals.

However, he had never won a round at the Finals.

Alves crossed another item off his dazzling PBR resume by riding Rebel Yellfor 89 points to win Round 3 for his first career World Finals round win.

“Being here five years in a row, and this is the first round I’ve actually won, it just feels really good to be able to achieve this,” said the three-time World Champion.

Alves earned 200 world points for the round win and is up to ninth in the world standings.

The defending World Finals event-winner is fourth in the event average and could become the second back-to-back World Finals event winner on Sunday afternoon.

Robson Palermo completed the feat in 2011-12.

Alves is 2-for-3 and this week is the first event he has posted two qualified rides since breaking his left hip in Nampa, Idaho, in April.

“I am definitely happy to be back,” Alves said. “I am always happy when I come to this venue and get to the World Finals. Even if I am not fighting for the world title, I am glad that I was able to cover those two bulls. They were great rides for me. I am just happy I am back at 100 percent and back to my old self and that I am healthy. I am back to being myself again.”

Rounding out the Top 5 in the round was Matt Triplett (88 points on Little Willie), Davis, Stetson Lawrence (87.25 points on Time Bomb) and Tanner Byrne (86.75 points on Minion Stewart).

Injury updates

According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Palermo and Alexandre Cardozo both were transported to University Hospital Trauma Center after each being bucked off onto their heads during Round 3.

Both riders are listed as doubtful for Round 4.

Palermo said on Twitter early Saturday morning that he had been released from the hospital with no broken bones. 


LAS VEGAS – Here are three things to watch for in Round 3 of the Built Ford Tough World Finals on Thursday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Mauney closing in on World Championship

J.B. Mauney will head into Round 3 with the possibility of clinching the 2015 world title.

If Mauney rides Say Goodbye and places in the Top 3 of the round, Mauney could potentially eliminate No. 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira and No. 3 Kaique Pacheo from the world title race.

It won’t be an easy task though with Mauney coming into the night nursing an elbow injury from Round 2 and facing a bull that hasn’t been ridden in 18 outs – 3-0 on the Built Ford Tough Series.

Mauney sustained the injury attempting to ride Hou’s Back before being awarded a re-ride against No Regrets.

No Regrets bucked Mauney off in 2.52 seconds.

Meanwhile, Kaique Pacheco will take on Pound The Alarm and Joao Ricardo Vieira will face Mr. Bull.

How about them rookies?

Seven of the 17 qualified rides through the first two rounds have been by rookie bull riders.

Cooper Davis and Bonner Bolton are leading the way with 2-for-2 performances, while Mason Lowe (85.5 points), Michael Lane (86.5 points) and Kaique Pacheco (81.75) also have rides on the board.

Can Harris turn things around?

J.W. Harris began the World Finals as a potential favorite to win the World Finals event title.

However, Harris is currently 0-for-2 and has been bucked off in less than 3 seconds twice this week in Las Vegas.

Harris takes on Off The Rez in Round 3.

Matt Triplett’s bull is 3-0 on the BFTS and 10-0 overall.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko


LAS VEGAS – Here are three things we learned from Round 2 of the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals at the Thomas & Mack Center on Thursday night.

Jared Allen’s Air Time explodes into World Champion Bull lead                                     Jared Allen’s Air Time set off a thunderous boom in the 2015 World Champion Bull Race with an explosive performance in the first of his two outs at the World Finals.

Just when it appeared Renato Nunes was going to potentially ride Air Time, the bovine athlete erupted high into the air and kicked his feet to bounce the 2009 World Champion off his front end for a 47-point bull score and a 5.84-second buckoff.

“He was really good,” Nunes said. “He kind of stopped in the middle, and he saw I had him, and he exploded hard. I know something came. It was a good day. I am happy for Jared Allen. I was so nervous too because that bull has some trouble in the bucking chute. That is the bull that should be the World Champion.”

Stock contractor Matt Scharping gave Nunes a big hug later on in Round 2 and thanked Nunes, who he talked to about the matchup on Wednesday and Thursday, for putting forth the effort to showcase his bull.

“That is Air Time,” Scharping said with a big grin. “That is the bull. That is how he is.”


Sweet Pro’s Long John – 45.25 points for 2.72 second-buckoff of Alexandre Cardozo.
Jeremiah – 45 points for 4.95-second buckoff of Fabiano Vieira.
Roy – 44.75 points for 1.96 second-buckoff of Robson Aragao.
Bruiser – 44.75 points for 2.94 second-buckoff of Eduardo Aparecido
Stone Sober – 44.25 points for 1.5-second-buckoff of Douglas Duncan 
Smooth Operator – 42.75 points for 4.04-second buckoff of Guilherme Marchi

Scharping arrived in Las Vegas early last Friday in hopes of making sure Air Time was acclimated before the Finals began following the three-day trip from Minnesota.

“When we got here, he didn’t want to eat right and I knew he would do that,” Scharping said. “That is why we did that. He still eats in his own way. He won’t eat during the daylight when the people are around. He eats at night in the dark when nobody is around.”

Air Time’s manners may involve no eating in public, but his in-arena attitude on Thursday was one of dominance. 


Sweet Pro’s Long John – 45.25 points for 2.72-second buckoff of Alexandre Cardozo.
Jeremiah – 45 points for 4.95-second buckoff of Fabiano Vieira.
Roy – 44.75 points for 1.96-second-buckoff of Robson Aragao.
Bruiser – 44.75 points for 2.94-second-buckoff of Eduardo Aparecido
Stone Sober – 44.25 points for 1.5-second-buckoff of Douglas Duncan 
Smooth Operator – 42.75 points for 4.04-second buckoff of Guilherme Marchi 

PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert said the World Champion Bull race is far from over, but Air Time certainly left a strong first impression.

“Air Time showed it, and Renato really put out the effort on him to showcase what Air Time has and that is what he needed to take the lead. If he has anything close to that again, he will be the World Champion; but he has to finish.

“He definitely is in the lead and he earned it.”

Rookies Bonner Bolton and Cooper Davis rising to the occasion

They may not have won the 2015 Rookie of the Year crown, but Bonner Bolton and Cooper Davis are proving at the Finals how strong this year’s rookie class is.

Bolton won Round 2 with a 90.5-point ride on Walk Off – the first 90-point ride of his career – and sits second in the event average behind Cooper Davis, who finished fourth in Round 2 with an 88-point ride on Cowboy’s Dance Hall’s Panda Trax.

“Man, all year has kind of been a warm up process for me to get comfortable at this level,” Bolton said. “To get on these bulls all the time is a little more than I am used to week in and week out. I am just thankful to put it all together here and be on top of my game where I know I can be. It feels good to brush off the rust and zero in on my skill-set.”

They are the only riders to go 2-for-2, and Bolton trails Davis by 13.25 points in the event average.

“It is awesome to be up there with a fellow rookie and fellow Texan,” said the Odessa, Texas, bull rider. “We are good supporters of each other and good friends. Everybody back here is rooting for each other. No matter Brazilian, Australian, Canadian, we are all cheering each other on.”

Davis added, “This is the first time I ever felt I could be a world title contender. I just feel great.”

Bolton earns 200 points toward the world standings to move from 34th in the world standings to 27th.

Bolton would guarantee himself eight BFTS events at the start of 2016 if he finishes the season inside the Top 30, which would be a huge accomplishment after missing all but two of the final eight events because of a broken collarbone.

“All I can do is focus on one bull at a time each night and that is all I got on my mind,” he said.

Rounding out the Top 5 in the round was Tanner Byrne (88.25 points on Who Dey), Gage Gay (88.25 points on Sasquatch), Davis and Silvano Alves (87.25 points on Swashbuckler).

Alves records highest-scored ride since March 28

Silvano Alves rode Highwood Squirrel for 88 points on March 28 in Seattle two weeks before he sustained a broken left hip in Nampa, Idaho, attempting to ride Legal Tender.

It has been a long road of recovery for Alves ever since he underwent surgery to repair the broken hip and it has been a process that has brought confusion, frustration and a little bit of anger for the three-time World Champion.

Two months into his return to competition and Alves finally has his highest-scored ride since his 88-point ride in Seattle.

Alves rode Swashbuckler for 87.25 points to place fifth in the round, and he will head into Friday’s Round 3 of the World Finals in contention for his second World Finals event title.

“It is both,” Alves replied when asked if he felt the ride was vintage Alves or if he could still be better. “I am very happy to ride tonight and I was happy to almost ride last night. Last night there was no pain, only a little bit for a short time. Tonight I tried hard and have gained more confidence to ride bulls because it was a big score and a good ride. It was perfect position and good momentum.”

It was the first time in months that Alves flashed a determined glare toward the CBS Sports Network cameras instead of a dazed and confused look following a buckoff.

It is too early to tell, but the ride may have indeed just awakened a sleeping giant inside the Thomas & Mack Center.

“Now I have more confidence to ride bulls all week,” Alves concluded.


World leader J.B. Mauney said during the Round 3 bull draft that he was fine after being helped to sports medicine following his 2.52-second buckoff against No Regrets on the final out of the evening.

Mauney aggravated a previous elbow injury and said he will be ready for his Friday night meeting against Say Goodbye.

In other injury news, Robson Palermo twisted his left knee in the chute at the outset of his ride attempt on David’s Dream. According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Palermo sprained his MCL and is probable for Round 3.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko


LAS VEGAS – Here are three things to watch for in Round 2 of the Built Ford Tough World Finals on Thursday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

World Champion Bull Contenders set for rematches

Three of the six World Champion Bull contenders competing in Round 2 have rematches during their quest for the 2015 title.

Smooth OperatorStone Sober and Jared Allen’s Air Time have all previously faced their upcoming opponents.

Air Time and Renato Nunes have met twice in the past two seasons. However, Air Time has bucked off Nunes in three consecutive outs since the 2009 World Champion rode him for 92.25 points in Phoenix in 2014.

Air Time averages 44.75 points per out with Nunes.

“It is a different Air Time than the first time Renato rode him,” PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert said Tuesday.

Round 2 will be an opportunity for Smooth Operator to get some revenge against Guilherme Marchi after the 2008 World Champion rode him for 83.5 points in Billings, Montana, earlier this season.

However, Smooth Operator was only marked a career-low 41 points.

“He is better to ride than Air Time,” Marchi said during a pre-World Finals CBS Sports Network meeting. “I like that bull. That bull bucks.”

Marchi hopes he can help Chad Berger’s bovine athlete put together a better performance on Thursday.

I remember I rode him in Billings and he didn’t ride so good,” Marchi said. “He stayed close to the fence.”

Stone Sober is 2-0 against Douglas Duncan and averages 44 points and a 3.82-second buckoff versus him.

Can Fabiano Vieira be the first to ride Jeremiah?

Speaking of World Champion Bull contenders, Jeremiah comes into the Finals 13-0 on the Built Ford Tough Series and 27-0 overall.

Jeremiah will try to keep his streak going and make a case at claiming the 2015 World Champion Bull title when he takes on Fabiano Vieira.

Vieira has ridden eight of his last 10, including his 86.75-point ride on Crazy Days.

Can Davis contend for World Finals event title?

Cooper Davis sits second in the event following his 89-point ride on Hy Testlast night and the rookie is looking to become the first rookie since Jody Newberry in 2003 to win the World Finals event title. 

Davis has a good matchup in Round 2 against Cowboy’s Dance Hall’s Panda Trax, who he previously bested for 87 points during the 15/15 Bucking Battle in Colorado Springs, Colorado, this season.

“He is a really good little bull with a big attitude,” Davis said. “He should shoot out of there around the left, but he could go back to the right. I just have to get up after riding him a little faster than I did last time. He did run me over pretty good.”

Davis has ridden seven of his last 10.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Bruiser keeps door open in World Champion Bull race

LAS VEGAS – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Built Ford Tough World Finals on Wednesday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Bruiser goes for less than 45 points

H.D. Page leaned against the wall back behind the bucking chutes and let out a sigh.

He knew Bruiser let a golden opportunity slip away to jump ahead in the World Champion Bull race during Round 1.

Bruiser was marked 44.75 points for a 2.94-second buckoff of Eduardo Aparecido in the opening section of the 2015 World Finals.

Page was happy with his bovine athlete’s effort, but he understood the out wasn’t going to do him any favors in winning a World Champion Bull title for the first time since 2006 (Mossy Oak Mudslinger).

“He bucked hard, but it wasn’t his best day,” Page said. “I am pleased with the way he bucked. I needed a 46 or 47 to be in the world title race, but he didn’t get it.”

Eduardo Aparecido said before the event he hoped to be 93.5 points on Bruiser. However, Aparecido was left with a rough buckoff and slammed his bull rope against the wall inside the Hallway of Champions on his way out of the arena.

PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert believes Bruiser is not out of the race for a world title.

“I thought Bruiser was really good,” Lambert said. “I didn’t think he was the best bull out. He still kept himself in contention for a championship, but I thought Brutus was amazing as far as I was concerned.”

Brutus bucked off Kasey Hayes in 3.01 seconds for a bull score of 43.25 points.

Page also has SweetPro’s Long John and Stone Sober in the running for the World Champion Bull.

Long John has drawn Alexandre Cardozo and Stone Sober takes on Douglas Duncan.

“I am not out of it yet,” Page said. “It is kind of like picking your favorite kid. On their day, they can all be the champ. It all boils down to these two trips. They are all talented bulls. There are just a lot of variables to get those 46-point or 47-point scores.”

Lowe and Davis record first career rides at World Finals

If not for J.B. Mauney’s 91-point Round 1 winner, Cooper Davis would have won Round 1 with his 89-point ride on Dakota Style’s Hy Test.

Davis was awarded a re-ride on Hy Test after Buck Autism was called for a foul earlier in Round 1.

“Shoot, I was really excited about the first one and it didn’t work out,” Davis said. “I was a little bit bummed out about it, but now I couldn’t be happier. (Hy Test) was around the left kind of moving away like I expected him to do. He tried to mess me up there at the end, but I wasn’t quitting until my head hit the ground.”

Davis earned 120 points for the second-place finish and moves from 16th in the world to 12th.  

Mason Lowe recorded the first qualified ride of the 2015 World Finals, which was also the first of his career.

The 22-year-old from Exeter, Missouri, whipped his cowboy hat high into the air with a hint of velocity and glared at Gangster Bucks following his 85.5-point ride.

“I was excited to have that bull,” Lowe said. “I rode him, but I don’t know what I did. I am just fired up. I have a good feeling about this the last two weeks.”

The No. 18 ranked rider in the world standings finished fourth in the round for 80 world points. 

Davis won the 2013 PRCA Rookie of the Year title inside the Thomas & Mack Center during the National Finals Rodeo and understands the importance of getting a ride under his belt immediately during such a big event like the World Finals.

“From what I have learned in the Thomas & Mack, the first one after that you can get on a roll and be confident the rest of the time. That is a good start and if everything keeps going the way it is, hopefully we will come out on top.”

Lowe agreed, “I think it will be. I wasn’t nervous that I was going to buck off or anything. All the light and everything is there, but I ahvent really ever gotten nervous since I got here (BFTS).

Mauney extends world lead with 63rd career 90-point ride

J.B. Mauney knows the easiest way to win his second career gold buckle is by winning the 2015 World Finals event average and he made another giant step toward both goals on Wednesday.

He made easy work of Wicked Stick for 91 points to win Round 1 and extend his lead atop the world standings to 1,515 points on No. 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira and to 1,522.5 points on No. 3 Kaique Pacheco.

Mauney ferociously threw his free arm for every step of the 8-second ride.

“I had to,” Mauney said. “I was kind of out of shape and that bull was kind of changing things up a little bit and it felt like he was coming back up under himself and kind of wanted me down on his head. I just let it all hang out. I knew if I did my job, we could win the round.”

The ride also eliminated Matt Triplett, who was bucked off by Cracker Jackin 2.37 seconds, from the world title race.

Mauney wins $30,000 for taking home first in the round.

Rounding out the Top 5 in Round 1 was Davis, Fabiano Vieira (86.75 points on Crazy Days), Davis, Lachlan Richardson (84.75 points on For Play) and Cody Nance (84.75 points on Little Tim’s All Nighter).

There were eight qualified rides Wednesday night.

Bonner Bolton rode Screamer (73.25 points) for his first career ride at Finals.

Fabiano Vieira earned 100 points for finishing third in the round to move ahead of J.W. Harris (2.92 seconds on Red Cloud) for fifth in the world standings.

Nance and Richardson each picked up 30 world points. Nance moved one spot in the world standings to 10th, and Richardson moves up to 36th.

The points are important for Richardson, who now trails No. 35 Duncan.

Riders ranked 31-35 in the world standings are guaranteed five BFTS events in 2016 before being subject to the BFTS cutline.

Joao Ricardo Vieira had ridden Pile Driver for 74.75 points, but turned down the score for a re-ride attempt against Cowboy Up. The 2013 Rookie of the Year was bucked off in 4.85 seconds.

Pacheco appeared to have a qualified ride on Chocolate Shake, but a slow-motion review showed that the 21-year-old slapped the bull’s horn.

The two buckoffs puts Mauney at an even greater advantage heading into Round 2 seeing as he not only has a 1,500-point lead, but is also a bull ahead in the race for earning points in the event average.

“That is what I come here for,” Mauney said. “I am not looking at winning the world right now or anything like that. This is an event. If you win that, the rest will take care of itself.” 

Injury Updates

According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Luis Blanco sustained a broken right ankle when he was stepped on by Cowtown Rock in Round 1. Blanco was transported to University Medical Hospital Trauma Center for surgery.

He is out of competition for 8-12 weeks.

This injury to Blanco opens the door for alternate David Mason to compete in Rounds 2-5. 

Chase Outlaw sprained his right knee following his 84-point ride on Spin Machine. 

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko


LAS VEGAS – Here are three things to watch for in Round 1 of the Built Ford Tough World Finals on Wednesday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

The time is ticking for Vieira and Pacheco

Is the 2015 World Finals going to be a celebration of J.B. Mauney or a competition?

That will be partially up to how Joao Ricardo Vieira and Kaique Pachecobegin the World Finals on Wednesday night.

Both riders trail Mauney by more than 1,300 points and can’t afford to lose any more ground on the world leader if they have any hopes of making a late push to hunt down Mauney for the gold buckle and $1 million.

Pacheco will be the first of the three world title contenders out in the final section of the evening when he faces Chocolate Shake (1-0, BFTS).

Vieira will follow suit with a matchup against Pile Driver (7-1, BFTS), while Mauney will conclude Round 1 against Wicked Stick (1-1, BFTS).

Bruiser takes center stage

In a rare occurrence at the World Finals, ABBI Classic 4-year-old Bruiser is not only in contention for the Classic championship, but he also is in the running for the World Champion Bull title.

Therefore, Bruiser will be the only non-World Champion Bull contender bucking on Wednesday night – the first of two ABBI Classic nights in Las Vegas.

PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert called Bruiser a young veteran on Wednesday morning and has him beginning the Finals ranked third in the race for the World Championship behind Jared Allen’s Air Time and Smooth Operator.

Bruiser will get his first of two outs at the Finals against Eduardo Aparecido.

It will be the first time the two have ever met.

Can Palermo will play spoiler?

Robson Palermo owns the PBR record with three World Finals event titles, but his laundry list of injuries to his shoulders and biceps have plagued him since winning that record-setting third World Finals title in 2012.

However, Palermo worked three-time World Champion Adriano Moraes last week in Texas and is ready to give this year’s Finals all he has. Moraes said earlier this week that people should watch out for Palermo and that you can never rule out the heart of the 32-year-old.

Palermo has gone 32-for-52 at the World Final in his 10-year BFTS career. He has seven 90-point rides and five World Finals round wins.

He has drawn Cowbanger (1-1, BFTS) for Round 1. 

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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