Once again, the top bull riders in the world were set to bring the Professional Bull Riders 25th Anniversary Monster Energy Unleash The Beast Tour to sunny Arizona for the 2018 edition of the Ak-Chin Invitational hosted by the Gila River Casino Arena. Every year when we make out way west, we are always humbled by the support and dedication that the fans in Glendale and the surrounding areas have for the toughest sport on dirt! Even before the doors opened for the opening round earlier tonight, the excitement and energy that the fans brought to the arena could be felt all around town as the fans had numerous opportunities to get face to face with some of their favorite bull riders with the many autograph signing options they have had throughout the week prior.
Once the time had come for the lights to shine down upon the arena floor and the doors to open that would signify that the first round of the 2018 Ak-Chin Invitational was set to begin the fans began making their way to their seats to get ready for the opening ceremonies. As they would begin taking a look at who was in and who was out, many would be shocked to see that exactly a third of the contestants in Glendale this weekend would be either alternates or Velocity Tour event winners that would take the place of thirteen Unleash The Beast Tour riders that would be out nursing injuries they have received already this season. As many of the top bull riders in the world standings continue to fall by the wayside the make-up of athletes continue to change week to week which will make things very interesting moving forward in weeks to come.
Dakota Buttar Claims The Round One Victory At The Ak-Chin Invitational
Photo Credit: Aney Watson / Bull Stock Media
Last weekend, the look of the world standings shifted pretty significantly with a few bull riders making some big moves that were needed in order to stay on tour or to raise the confidence level of some athletes heading into this weekend’s event here in Glendale. Along with the big moves were also a few of those alternates that would take advantage of their opportunity and earn some world standings points of their own, making it that much more important to carry on that momentum here this weekend in order to remain on tour for the foreseeable future. Following an event win just one week ago Cody Nance would walk in with the swagger that we have been missing after climbing to the number three spot in the world while Silvano Alves had a great weekend as well moving him up to well within the top 35 in the world standings.
Keeping all of that in mind, the time had come for those here this weekend to see what they could do against another set of bovine athletes that came into round one as virtual unknowns with many of them making their first appearances on the Unleash The Beast Tour. If history would continue to repeat itself, we would be able to see a ton of qualified rides again as round one was set to begin as we all would wait to see who would be able to weather the storm. After all was said and done, we would again see fifteen of the thirty-six riders partaking in the Ak-Chin Invitational festivities that would be able to claim dominance and carry a score over into tomorrow night’s round two. Once the last bull was bucked and the dust settled on the arena floor Dakota Buttar would be able to outperform all of the others in the locker room to bring home the round one win with a stellar 87.5 point ride atop of PK Triplett Bucking Bulls’ Sid’s Wish to head into tomorrow night’s round two in a really good position to advance to the Championship round later in the night!
Complete Breakdown Of Qualified Rides From Round One In Glendale:
Dakota Buttar (87.50) Chase Robbins (87.00)
Kaique Pacheco (86.75) Jose Vitor Leme (86.50)
Eduardo Aparecido (86.00) J.B. Mauney (85.75)
Brady Oleson (85.75) Juan Contreras (85.25)
Lucas Divino (85.00) Linomar Lino (84.00)
Nathan Burtenshaw (83.50) Alex Marcilio (79.75)
Claudio Montanha Jr. (74.75) Ueberson Duarte (67.75)
Fernando Novais (63.75)
Fabiano Vieira Brings Home The Next 15/15 Bucking Battle Win Of The 2018 Season
Photo Credit: Aney Watson / Bull Stock Media
Each year, the top-level bull riders strive to begin the year strong and continue the trend without a hiccup or slip up in order to not only remain well within the top of the world standings but to make sure they stay in the top fifteen for an important reason. A few times a year, those that sit in the top fifteen of the world standings are invited to participate in extra rounds of action that we all know as the 15/15 Bucking Battles that happen as certain events throughout the year. These special rounds give any one of the top fifteen a great chance at earning some extra world title race points and an extra payday that they can call their own which offer inflated points for riding one extra bull in between rounds that are part of the weekend;s event itself at any point in time throughout the different cities on tour.
Earlier tonight, we were able to watch another edition of one of these special rounds of action that feature the top fifteen bull riders in the world standings going up against many of the top fifteen bucking bulls in the business, all vying for a world championship title of their own. That being said, those match-up’s would be a near-impossible task to achieve for those bull riders that would stare them straight in the face on this Friday night. As most would imagine, the qualified ride totals were next to none with the likes of Pearl Harbor and Sweet Pro’s Bruiser being in the mix of bovine athletes that they would be facing. After all was said and done two of the fifteen would be able to earn a few more world title race points after posting up qualified rides with no one able to match the 0.25 point effort that Fabiano Vieira would post after taming Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve/Heald Pro Bulls/Floyd Bucking Bulls’ Rising Sun for the required eight-seconds!
Tonight proved to all of the non-believers that missing a third of the top thirty-five bull riders in the world would greatly affect the outcome of how the rounds would look like following its conclusion here earlier tonight inside of the Gila River Casino Arena. Throughout the entire round, every one of us were surprised at how the alternates and past Velocity Tour event winners performed which ultimately has given a number of them a great chance to make it to the championship round to close out the Ak-Chin Invitational event tomorrow night. That being said. all of us will be on the edge of our seats as we will all be waiting to see who the lucky fifteen will be that will face off in the final round two determine who our 2018 champion will be as the Ak-Chin Invitational draws to a close.
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