DULUTH, Ga. – As the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) welcomed fans back to Gas South Arena in Duluth, Georgia, for the first time in three years, the was no rider more dominant Saturday evening than Brennon Eldred (Sulphur, Oklahoma). Delivering his first 90-point ride in more than 16 months, Eldred won Round 1 of the elite Unleash The Beast event, surging to an early lead at the PBR Gwinnett Invitational.
“The guys showed up to ride tonight,”Brennon Eldred
“The guys showed up to ride tonight,” Eldred said atop the Can-Am Cage. “We’ll keep runnin’ them in, do what we did tonight, and let the chips fall where they may.”
PBR’s most recent event in Duluth in March 2020 was unintentionally memorable. Following the onset of mass gathering restrictions for the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the Unleash The Beast event was held without fans, marking the first made-for-television live sporting event safety held during the global health crisis. With a total shutdown only days away, PBR’s Duluth event was the last major sporting event in North America until PBR wrote new safety protocols and came back 41 days later with closed-to-fans events in Oklahoma.
Making his 2022 debut, Eldred faced off against Gangster Bones (Rickey West/Steve Freeman/2R Bucking Bulls) in the opening round of action in the Peach State. Eldred matched the striking animal athlete jump-for-jump en route to a monstrous 90.75-point score for the second 90-point ride of his career. He last exceeded the threshold in September 2020.
Eldred’s ride netted him 29 world points, propelling him from unranked to No. 38 in the world.
Joao Ricardo Vieira (Itatinga, Brazil) retained his world No. 1 rank following Round 1 courtesy of his fifth-place effort.
Vieira, who is now 8-for-8 in 2022, covered Havoc (Lucas Manning Bucking Bulls) for 88.75 points as he last man to erupt from the chutes. He left Gas South Arena with 15 world points and is now 23 points ahead of the No. 2 contender, Kyler Oliver (Roy, Utah).
Should Vieira earn his first gold buckle at season’s end, he would become the oldest PBR World Champion in history. Currently 37, Vieira would surpass Adriano Moraes (Cachoeira Paulista, Brazil), who won his third title in 2006 at age 36.
While Vieira remained world No. 1, surging young gun Oliver lessened his lead by one point after finishing fourth in Round 1.
Oliver earned the Top-5 finish after covering John 14:6 (Davis Rodeo Ranch/KHC Bucking Bulls) for 89 points.
The resurgent 22-year-old is amidst a career-best start to a season, mounting an impressive comeback after reconstructive shoulder surgery sidelined him for nearly all of 2021.
The opening round of the PBR Gwinnett Invitational also featured the return of two-time reigning PBR World Champion Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil), who missed the first three events of the year as he continued to rehab a core muscle injury sustained in 2021.
Leme’s 12-out ride streak, however, came to an abrupt end when he was bested by Blue Duck (Davis Rodeo Ranch) in 3.92 seconds. During his buckoff, Leme was thrown high into the air, bouncing off the back of Blue Duck before he hit the dirt. As a result, Leme dislocated the small joint of his right thumb, but he is expected to return for Round 2 Sunday afternoon.
On a night that saw 17 qualified rides, Derek Kolbaba (Walla Walla, Washington) and Marco Eguchi (Poa, Brazil) tied for second, each collecting 17.5 world points.
The riders delivered matching 89.5-point rides as Kolbaba outlasted Little Bit Crazy (Hart Cattle Company) and Eguchi emerged the supreme athlete aboard On Da Juice (Cooper/Scruggs Bucking Bulls).
Kolbaba gained 18 positions in the world standings, rising from No. 48 to No. 30, and Eguchi surged 34 positions from No. 80 to No. 46.
Action for the 2022 PBR Gwinnett Invitational will conclude with Round 2 and the championship round on Sunday, January 23. Action gets underway at 1:45 p.m. EST.
PBR RidePass on PlutoTV will offer re-airs and on-demand replays of every PBR Unleash The Beast event. PBR RidePass is available on desktops, laptops and mobile devices via www.pluto.tv. Tune to channel 720 for the latest programming schedule, and click here for on-demand PBR programming.
PBR Unleash The Beast
PBR Gwinnett Invitational
Gas South Arena – Duluth, Georgia
Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
1. Brennon Eldred, 90.75-0-0-90.75-29 Points.
2. Derek Kolbaba, 89.5-0-0-89.50-17.5 Points.
(tie). Marco Eguchi, 89.5-0-0-89.50-17.5 Points.
4. Kyler Oliver, 89-0-0-89.00-16 Points.
5. João Ricardo Vieira, 88.75-0-0-88.75-15 Points.
6. Rafael Henrique dos Santos, 88.5-0-0-88.50-14 Points.
7. Cody Teel, 88.25-0-0-88.25-13 Points.
8. João Henrique Lucas, 87.5-0-0-87.50-12 Points.
9. Cooper Davis, 87.25-0-0-87.25-11 Points.
10. Mason Taylor, 87-0-0-87.00-9.5 Points.
(tie). Lane Nobles, 87-0-0-87.00-9.5 Points.
12. Chase Dougherty, 86.75-0-0-86.75-8 Points.
(tie). Taylor Toves, 86.75-0-0-86.75-8 Points.
14. Andrew Alvidrez, 86.25-0-0-86.25-8 Points.
15. Marcelo Procopio Pereira, 86-0-0-86.00-8 Points.
16. Daylon Swearingen, 84-0-0-84.00-8 Points.
17. Manoelito de Souza Junior, 83.25-0-0-83.25
Stetson Lawrence, 0-0-0-0.00
Dener Barbosa, 0-0-0-0.00
Alex Cardozo, 0-0-0-0.00
Dalton Kasel, 0-0-0-0.00
Austin Richardson, 0-0-0-0.00
Sam Woodall, 0-0-0-0.00
Cannon Cravens, 0-0-0-0.00
Keyshawn Whitehorse, 0-0-0-0.00
Chase Outlaw, 0-0-0-0.00
Ezekiel Mitchell, 0-0-0-0.00
Jesse Petri, 0-0-0-0.00
Claudio Montanha Jr., 0-0-0-0.00
Eduardo Aparecido, 0-0-0-0.00
Silvano Alves, 0-0-0-0.00
Eli Vastbinder, 0-0-0-0.00
Conner Halverson, 0-0-0-0.00
Adriano Salgado, 0-0-0-0.00
Mauricio Gulla Moreira, 0-0-0-0.00
Boudreaux Campbell, 0-0-0-0.00
Kaique Pacheco, 0-0-0-0.00
Paulo Ferreira Lima, 0-0-0-0.00
Fernando Henrique Novais, 0-0-0-0.00
Jose Vitor Leme, 0-0-0-0.00
Press Release was provided Courtesy of PBR to Tenn Texas Media
Photo / Video By: Andy Watson / Bull Stock Media
ABOUT THE PBR
Headquartered in Pueblo, Colo., PBR was created in 1992 by a group of 20 visionary bull riders who broke away from the traditional rodeo scene, seeking mainstream attention, new riches and a livelihood for future generations of cowboys for the most popular discipline in rodeo, bull riding.
“We wanted to create a better product for the fans, so that when they tuned in they were seeing the best of the best every time,” said PBR co-founder and nine-time World Champion Ty Murray. “Those expectations have been exceeded immensely, and the fact that this sport continues to grow is a gratifying notion, one that supports all the hard work and dedication of every member of the PBR.”
The founders believed that bull riding deserved to be in the limelight and could succeed as a standalone sport. Each rider invested a hard-earned $1,000, some borrowing from family and friends, to start the PBR.
“This is the only sport in the world that I can take anyone to see, whether they know anything about it or not, and I guarantee you that they won’t be able to take their eyes off of it,” Murray said.
In 2007, Spire Capital Partners finalized a deal with PBR to acquire the interests of many of the retired founding riders and invest in the growth of the organization. Those first 20 bull riders had turned their $1,000 into millions.
In May 2015, PBR was acquired by Endeavor, a global leader in sports, entertainment and fashion.
More than 500 bull riders from around the world including the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico hold PBR memberships. They compete in more than 200 bull riding events each year on the nationally-televised Unleash The Beast series, Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour and Touring Pro Division, in addition to those held by international divisions in Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico.
For every rider, the ultimate goal is to qualify for the PBR World Finals, the richest bull riding event on the planet, with the season champion receiving the golden World Championship buckle and $1 million bonus.
The 20 original founders took a substantial gamble when pooling their limited resources to fund the grassroots operation. Yet, the risk has certainly paid off. Investors like Spire Capital Partners and Endeavor, and partnerships with Ford, Monster Energy, Wrangler, and the city of Las Vegas have helped the PBR annually award more than $10 million.
The success of PBR has made it one of the most prolific sports on television. The premier series is televised weekly on CBS Sports, CBS Sports Network and networks around the world. Several times in 2020, PBR was the second most-watched sport on television, trailing only the NFL. In 2019 PBR extended its broadcast relationship with the network inking an agreement ensuring CBS will remain PBR’s television home the next 10 years. Additionally, RidePass, the league’s 24/7 over-the-top (OTT) digital network launched in 2018 brings every moment of elite tour action to fans as well as the Velocity Tour, Global Cup and marquee rodeo events.
Collectively, PBR broadcasts reach 250MM households in more than 20 countries, and RidePass brings its growing subscriber base more than 150 rodeo and PBR events live and on-demand.
On social media, from January through November 2020, PBR generated more than 1.7 billion impressions on social media, 606 million video views and 629 million video minutes viewed. PBR’s channels are recognized to have among the most fan engagement of all major sports.