CHICAGO – Following a frustrating four-year drought, a resurgent Stetson Lawrence (Williston, North Dakota) went 3-for-3 inside Allstate Arena to win the second premier series event of his career at the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Tractor Supply Co. Invitational, the third elite Unleash The Beast event of the 2022 season.
Lawrence, who last won an elite series event in Thackerville, Oklahoma, in 2017 and was sidelined for majority of 2021 due to reconstructive shoulder surgery and a broken neck, has been resurgent in 2022.
The Native American sensation was then unstoppable as Championship Saturday got underway.
Fresh off a Top 25 effort in New York City, Lawrence began his Windy City campaign with an eighth-place effort in Round 1, covering Street Fighter (C Check Bucking Bulls) for 86 points.
Lawrence, whose nickname is “The Firewalker,” first brought the boisterous crowd to its feet when he won Round 2 via an 89.75-point ride aboard Bottom’s Up (TCB Ranch/K-C Bucking Bulls). The score allowed Lawrence to climb to second on the event leaderboard and garner the second pick in the championship round bull draft.
Lawrence opted to go head-to-head with Big Black (K-C Bucking Bulls/Joe & Nina Webb), the very bull aboard which Daylon Swearingen (Piffard, New York) won the previous elite tour event in Chicago.
Lawrence remained poised as he climbed aboard the back of the renowned animal athlete. Matching Big Black jump-for-jump, Lawrence clinched the second golden finish of his career when he reached the requisite 8 for an event-best 91 points.
The 90-point score was the fourth of Lawrence’s career on the premier series and first since February 2018.
In addition to winning the PBR Tractor Supply Co. Invitational, Lawrence registered a fourth qualified ride in Chicago when he finished third in the accompanying 15/15 Bucking Battle, covering Drago (Jeb Fredericks/Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger) for 89.75 points.
Collectively, Lawrence earned a check for $50,625 along with a crucial 192 points. After beginning the event ranked No. 30, the North Dakota native rocketed 27 positions in the early 2022 PBR World Championship race to No. 3. Lawrence now trails the No. 1 rank by 106 points.
Joao Ricardo Vieira (Itatinga, Brazil) left Chicago as the world’s new No. 1-ranked bull rider after finishing second in the main event and winning his PBR-best eighth 15/15 Bucking Battle.
The veteran rider’s perfect 4-for-4 effort earned him $26,295 along with 154 points, allowing him to leapfrog Kyler Oliver (Roy, Utah) for the top position in the world standings, now leading him by 24 points.
Vieira punched his ticket to the championship round of the PBR Tractor Supply Co. Invitational after riding Midnight Rain (Staci Wilks/N Bar Ranch/Clay Struve/Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger) for 86.25 points in Round 1 and Ranch Water (Paradigm Bull Co./D’Anna & Lance Walker) for 87.25 points.
In the final round, Vieira earned the silver finish after outmatching Cold Shot (Jeb Fredericks/Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger) for 85.25 points.
Vieira was also sensational in the 15/15 Bucking Battle, dominating the first special round of the season when he covered WSM’s Jive Turkey (WSM Auctioneers/Clay Struve/Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger) for 91 points.
Thus far in 2022, Vieira has gone a perfect 7-for-7, with two of his rides marked 90 points or more. 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 Oliver may have relinquished the world No. 1 rank, he still showed up and showed out in Chicago. Despite being shut out in the main event, Oliver finished second in the 15/15 Bucking Battle, collecting 49 world points.
The runner-up effort was logged courtesy of his second 90-point ride of the season, marked 90 points atop Diddy Wa Diddy (Cord McCoy/Bill McCarty).
Continuing his resurgent 2022, Cole Melancon (Sour Lake, Texas), who began the season amidst a dismal 35-out ride streak, was third.
Melancon was unchallenged through the opening rounds of action, covering Short Stuff (C Check Bucking Bulls) for 88 points in Round 1 and WSM’s Trail of Tears (WSM Auctioneers/Clay Struve/Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger) for 88.75 points in Round 2.
On the precipice of earning his second career Unleash The Beast victory, Melancon’s hopes of victory were dashed in the championship round when he was bested by Homegrown (Cord McCoy/Chad Reese) in a quick 4.98 seconds.
Melancon left Allstate Arena with a check for $14,092 along with a much-needed 72 world points, allowing him to crack the world’s Top 10 in rising from No. 18 to No. 7. He now trails No. 1 Vieira by 208.84 points.
Manoelito de Souza Junior (Itamira, Brazil) registered his second consecutive Top-10 finish in Chicago, going 2-for-3 to conclude the tour stop fourth.
After covering God’s Plan (C Check Bucking Bulls) for 87 points in Round 1, Souza was upset in the second round when he was bested by Pico (Cord McCoy/Bruce Wold) in a swift 1.9 seconds.
In the championship round, however, Souza rebounded in dramatic fashion. Selecting the unridden Airborne (Paradigm Bull Co./Grayson Swalin), Souza became the first rider in 24 attempts across all levels competition to cover the bovine athlete, marked a career-best 89 points.
Souza’s latest Top-10 finish netted him $10,103 and 56 world points. He gained three positions in the world standings, climbing from No. 12 to No. 9.
Rounding out the Top 5 in fifth was Joao Henrique Lucas (Bastos, Brazil), earning 48 world points.
Lucas bookended his outing in the Windy City with qualified rides, covering The Hard Stuff (K-C Bucking Bulls/Bull Creek Bucking Bulls) for 86.25 points in Round 1 and Catfish (Viducic Bucking Bulls/Stetson Wright) for 88.25 points in the championship round.
In the bull pen, High Brow Cat (Paradigm Bull Company) and Young Man’s Blues (Paradigm/Parker McCollum/Lockwood) tied for the YETI “Built for the Wild” Bull of The Event honor, both marked 45.75 points. Bucking in the 15/15 Bucking Battle and championship round, respectively, High Brow Cat bucked off Austin Richardson (Dallas, Texas) in 5.68 seconds, while Young Man’s Blues dispatched Ezekiel Mitchell (Rockdale, Texas) in 2.2 seconds.
Fans unable to attend the event can tune into the action from Championship Saturday when CBS Sports Network televises the final day in Chicago on Sunday, January 16 at 8 p.m. EST. Earlier in the day, CBS Sports will broadcast the first 15/15 Bucking Battle of 2022 at 3 p.m. EST (check your local listings).
The PBR Unleash The Beast next travels to Gas South Arena in Duluth, Georgia, for the PBR Gwinnett Invitational. The event will be on Saturday, January 22 at 6:45 p.m. EST and Sunday, January 23 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.
Stay tuned to PBR.com for the latest news and results and be sure to follow the league on all social media platforms at @PBR.
PBR Unleash The Beast
PBR Tractor Supply Co. Invitational
Allstate Arena – Chicago, Illinois
Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
1. Stetson Lawrence, 86-89.75-91-266.75-149 Points.
2. João Ricardo Vieira, 86.25-87.25-85.25-258.75-95 Points.
3. Cole Melancon, 88-88.75-0-176.75-72 Points.
4. Manoelito de Souza Junior, 87-0-89-176.00-56 Points.
5. João Henrique Lucas, 86.25-0-88.25-174.50-48 Points.
6. Daylon Swearingen, 86.25-88-0-174.25-42 Points.
7. Dener Barbosa, 82.25-88.5-0-170.75-31 Points.
8. Ezekiel Mitchell, 88.5-0-0-88.50-33 Points.
9. Chase Dougherty, 86.5-0-0-86.50-20 Points.
10. Jesse Petri, 0-85.75-0-85.75-16 Points.
11. Eli Vastbinder, 85.5-0-0-85.50-11.5 Points.
(tie). Derek Kolbaba, 0-85.5-0-85.50-13.5 Points.
13. Silvano Alves, 85.25-0-0-85.25-10 Points.
14. Dalton Kasel, 85-0-0-85.00-8.5 Points.
(tie). Keyshawn Whitehorse, 85-0-0-85.00-8.5 Points.
16. Cody Teel, 0-84.5-0-84.50-12 Points.
Kyler Oliver, 0-0-0-0.00
Mason Taylor, 0-0-0-0.00
Andrew Alvidrez, 0-0-0-0.00
Claudio Montanha Jr., 0-0-0-0.00
Adriano Salgado, 0-0-0-0.00
Mauricio Gulla Moreira, 0-0-0-0.00
Jess Lockwood, 0-0-0-0.00
Marcelo Procopio Pereira, 0-0-0-0.00
Tye Chandler, 0-0-0-0.00
Kaique Pacheco, 0-0-0-0.00
Taylor Toves, 0-0-0-0.00
PBR Unleash The Beast
PBR Tractor Supply Co. Invitational 15/15 Bucking Battle
Allstate Arena – Chicago, Illinois
Event Leaders (Round 1-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
1. João Ricardo Vieira, 91-91.00-59 Points.
2. Kyler Oliver, 90-90.00-49 Points.
3. Stetson Lawrence, 89.75-89.75-43 Points.
4. Dener Barbosa, 86.5-86.50-38 Points.
Mason Taylor, 0-0.00
Daylon Swearingen, 0-0.00
Dalton Kasel, 0-0.00
Andrew Alvidrez, 0-0.00
Austin Richardson, 0-0.00
Manoelito de Souza Junior, 0-0.00
Cole Melancon, 0-0.00
Keyshawn Whitehorse, 0-0.00
Claudio Montanha Jr., 0-0.00
Mauricio Gulla Moreira, 0-0.00
Kaique Pacheco, 0-0.00
2022 PBR World Standings
(Place, Rider, Events, Wins, Top 5’s, Points, Total Winnings)
1. João Ricardo Vieira, 5, 2, 4, 323.00, $64,103.95
2. Kyler Oliver, 6, 2, 3, 299.00, $94,873.61
3. Stetson Lawrence, 6, 1, 2, 217.00, $52,125.00
4. Daylon Swearingen, 8, 2, 3, 167.16, $43,263.05
5. Dener Barbosa, 5, 0, 2, 162.00, $33,449.83
6. Mason Taylor, 4, 1, 1, 159.00, $57,262.50
7. Cole Melancon, 5, 0, 1, 114.16, $18,462.00
8. Alex Cardozo, 2, 0, 1, 112.00, $19,833.33
9. Manoelito de Souza Junior, 8, 1, 3, 110.50, $18,847.63
10. Dalton Kasel, 4, 0, 1, 96.50, $15,846.00
11. Andrew Alvidrez, 4, 0, 1, 76.00, $13,600.00
12. Austin Richardson, 4, 0, 1, 73.00, $9,300.00
13. Sam Woodall, 4, 1, 2, 66.00, $9,823.02
14. Cannon Cravens, 3, 0, 0, 56.50, $5,700.00
15. Brady Fielder, 4, 0, 3, 54.00, $9,682.44
16. Keyshawn Whitehorse, 5, 0, 0, 49.66, $4,370.00
17. João Henrique Lucas, 4, 0, 1, 48.00, $6,685.00
17. Chase Outlaw, 3, 0, 1, 48.00, $5,700.00
19. Wyatt Rogers, 6, 1, 2, 46.75, $14,782.53
20. Aaron Kleier, 3, 1, 3, 45.50, $26,806.31
21. Cooper Davis, 2, 0, 0, 44.00, $7,000.00
22. Ezekiel Mitchell, 4, 0, 0, 41.00, $5,080.00
23. Cody Jesus, 4, 0, 1, 40.00, $8,015.00
24. Jesse Petri, 4, 0, 1, 39.50, $5,700.00
25. Todd Chotowetz, 1, 0, 1, 38.00, $20,042.90
26. Claudio Montanha Jr., 5, 0, 0, 35.66, $4,270.00
27. Lane Nobles, 2, 1, 1, 35.00, $19,844.48
28. Chase Dougherty, 4, 0, 0, 33.00, $2,700.00
29. Bob Mitchell, 5, 0, 2, 32.00, $10,150.03
30. Cody Coverchuk, 2, 0, 2, 30.50, $54,748.11
31. Cody Teel, 5, 0, 0, 29.50, $5,836.32
31. Matt Triplett, 3, 0, 2, 29.50, $6,685.32
33. Eduardo Aparecido, 2, 0, 0, 28.00, $4,300.00
33. Leonardo Lima, 4, 0, 1, 28.00, $4,083.33
35. Silvano Alves, 4, 0, 0, 27.50, $0.00
36. Josh Frost, 2, 0, 1, 27.00, $15,282.53
37. Eli Vastbinder, 3, 0, 0, 26.50, $1,600.00
38. Adriano Salgado, 4, 0, 0, 24.00, $2,000.00
39. Cole Skender, 8, 1, 4, 23.16, $11,133.31
40. Kurt Shephard, 4, 1, 2, 23.00, $5,370.24
41. Derek Kolbaba, 3, 0, 0, 21.50, $1,450.00
42. Lawson Nobbs, 3, 0, 1, 21.00, $4,179.38
43. Lachlan Richardson, 3, 0, 1, 20.50, $3,729.98
44. Zane Lambert, 1, 0, 1, 20.00, $9,212.27
44. Bruno Scaranello, 1, 0, 1, 20.00, $1,303.38
Release was provided Courtesy of PBR to Tenn Texas Radio
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.