Here are three things we learned from the Anaheim Invitational this weekend at the Honda Center.
Barbosa extends world lead to 129.17 points (2-3-18)
World leader Dener Barbosa may not have won his first PBR 25th: Unleash The Beast of 2018 just yet, but man is he continuing to ride at a torrid pace.
Barbosa went 3-for-3 in Anaheim, including an 89.25-point ride on Mudsharkin the championship round, to finish third overall with 245 world points. He began his weekend with an 84.25-point ride on Little Man and 84.75 points aboard Frostywhirl.
The 23-year-old leads No. 2 Claudio Montanha Jr. by 129.17 points heading into next weekend’s Caterpillar Classic in Kansas City, Missouri.
Montanha finished Anaheim in second place (353.3 world points) with a 90-point ride on Catfish John and also finished a perfect 3-for-3.
“I was very lucky to get the bull I wanted,” Montanha said. “Every time I have a choice that is the bull I want in the championship round.”
Barbosa, though, is simply in a league of his own right now.
The Paulo de Faria, Brazil, native is 16-for-19 through the first five events and leads the PBR with a remarkable 84.21-percent riding average.
Still, Barbosa says he is still not riding at his full potential.
“No. 2014 was my best year,” Barbosa said through a translator. “Since I hurt my shoulder a year and a half ago, I have not found my rhythm.
“I know I can ride better.”
How does he expect to do that?
“I need to bring my shoulder back to 100 percent and keep the same focus that I have,” he concluded.
Nance wins challenge and event
Montanha was unable to take home his first Unleash The Beast victory because of the iron grip of Cody Nance.
Nance was able to hang on to two-time World Champion SweetPro’s Bruiser for 88.25 points right at the 8-second buzzer to squeeze out the victory in Anaheim on Saturday night.
It wasn’t without a little bit of drama.
Nance was originally ruled to have slapped Bruiser at the 6.09-second mark before Nance immediately began looking for a review of the call.
Sure enough, instant replay showed Nance did not touch Bruiser and that he made 8 seconds.
The only question then became if his score was enough to earn him the victory, which it wound up being.
“Well, I knew I didn’t touch him and I wasn’t sure the clock had stopped,” Nance said. “I was pretty sure I was there whenever the buzzer blew. It is hard to be certain when you are in the midst of the storm there. I was hoping my hand was there when the whistle blew because I knew i didn’t touch him.”
The ride capped off a masterful weekend for the Paris, Tennessee, bull rider.
Nance opened Anaheim with 86 points on Northern Moxie in Round 1 and then covered Relentless for 86.75 points in Round 3.
The 30-year-old’s first victory since April 2014 (Billings, Montana) earned Nance 513.3 points toward the world standings and moved him to No. 9 in the rankings. Nance began the weekend 61st in the world.
Coincidentally it is the second week in a row that a rider ranked No. 61 won the event. Ramon de Lima was 61st prior to his win in Sacramento.
Rounding out the Top 5 in Anaheim was Stetson Lawrence (2-for-3, 225 world points) and Silvano Alves (3-for-3, 225 world points).
Lawrence capped his weekend with a 90-point ride on Wild Goose in the championship round, while Alves made the 8 seconds on Wicked Stick for 88 points.
“The bull felt good and he just got better and better,” Lawrence said. “I fell a little bit behind and got in a little bit of a bind at the end, but I didn’t let go.”
Spotted Demon beats out Bruiser and Pearl Harbor
Maybe Julio Moreno knew something that the rest of us didn’t know on Saturday night, but the California stock contractor had a sneaky, suspicion Spotted Demon was going to raise some eyebrows inside the Honda Center.
Moreno said prior to the event that they were going to give the field “hell” and make a run at winning the YETI “Built for the Wild” Bull of the Event title despite going up against Bruiser – the reigning World Champion – and Pearl Harbor in the championship round.
Spotted Demon made Moreno a man of his word by demolishing Brennon Eldred in the championship round with an emphatic 3.5-second buckoff that sent Eldred crashing wildly to the dirt.
The 9-year-old bull finished with a career-high 46-point bull score.
“I am glad,” Moreno said. “He had a good trip in Sacramento and he came back even better. I had a good rider that tried him and that was good. He tried to buck. In the past, he hadn’t kicked up like that. He really fired.”
Last year, Spotted Demon was not invited to the PBR World Finals.
Moreno is hoping this year Spotted Demon will earn a chance to compete at T-Mobile Arena.
“It upset me because I know he could beat a lot of the bulls there,” Moreno said. “I know he couldn’t be in the Top 2, but maybe third, fourth or fifth. Hopefully, this year.”
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Eldred sustained a concussion and is questionable for Kansas City.
Bruiser was only marked 44.25 points for his effort with Nance. It was Bruiser’s lowest score in almost two years since he earned 43 points at the 2016 Iron Cowboy for bucking off Rubens Barbosa.
Pearl Harbor bucked off Jose Vitor Leme (3.52 seconds) for a 45-point marking on Saturday night.
According to Freeman, Jess Lockwood sustained bruising of both legs when he was stepped on after his 79.25-point ride on Blue Gangster in Round 2. Lockwood was then bucked off by Deerango in 4.75 seconds in the championship round.
Ryan Dirteater did not compete in the championship round after being stepped on Beaver Creek Beau in Round 2. He was transported to a local hospital to rule out internal injuries.
Brady Oleson sustained a concussion when his head collided with the bull's head during his Round 2 ride attempt on Deep Water.
Derek Kolbaba returned to action on Saturday night after X-rays revealed a fractured bone spur in his right shoulder (free arm) from Round 1. Kolbaba was bucked off by Lifting Lives in 2.94 seconds.
Castro extends his ride streak to five following Disney trip (2-2-18)
Luciano de Castro currently has the longest consecutive ride streak in the PBR (5), but riding bulls wasn’t the only thing he was up to in Anaheim.
Twenty-four hours before he rode Incredibull for 86.5 points to finish Round 1 in third place, Castro was adventuring around Disneyland and experiencing a different kind of riding for the first time with a group of Brazilian bull riders and his girlfriend, Isabella.
“I enjoyed it a lot,” Castro said with the help of a translator. “I wanted to go on a rollercoaster, but the one I wanted to go on was closed so we went to the movie Cars (Land) attraction and had a lot of fun.”
The 21-year-old explained that in Brazil many kids dream of coming to the United States and going to Disneyland. This opportunity never becomes a reality for a good majority of them.
“I never thought as a kid I would be here and be able to enjoy it,” Castro said.
Castro went to Disney with three-time World Champion Silvano Alves, Kaique Pacheco, Claudio Montanha Jr., and the riders’ families.
It was also the first time for Pacheco and Montanha Jr.
Montanha Jr. was thrilled to be able to take his son, Joao Victor, and wife, Aline, to Disney.
“I am very happy to take my family,” Montanha Jr. said. “My son had so much fun. All of the kids in Brazil want to go to Disney in America. This was our first opportunity.”
Earlier in the day, Joao Victor was jumping up and down in the lobby of the Ayers Hotel when he was shown a picture of Splash Mountain.
The ride wound up being the father and son’s favorite.
Montanha rode Spotted Panther for 86 points in Round 1 and tied for fourth place.
Meanwhile, Alves, who has been to Disneyland four times, finished in eighth place with 85.25 points on Hitman.
Dirteater closing in on world No. 1 ranking
Ryan Dirteater is still very much aware of his 2016 season.
During the Hulbert, Oklahoma, bull rider’s career year, Dirteater won four events, but also failed to earn any world points in eight regular season events and seven 15/15 Bucking Battles.
His failure to capitalize in 32 percent of his events was a large reason why he doesn’t have a gold buckle around his waist.
Therefore, Dirteater is making it a greater priority to not slow down in 2018.
Dirteater followed up his Oklahoma City event win two weeks ago, by only earning 55 world points last weekend in Sacramento, California, where he went 2-for-4.
The 28-year-old is off to a much better start in Anaheim after splitting the Round 1 win with Stetson Lawrence with an 87.5-point ride on Renewed Spirit.
“You can’t worry about last weekend,” Dirteater said. “You have to take it one event at a time. You just have to learn to stay in the zone and stay dialed in each and every weekend. It is a long season. Just to stay dialed in helps a lot. In this sport, anything can happen. You can win an event weekend and buck off everything the rest.”
Dirteater’s second round win of 2018 earned him 80 world points and he heads into Round 2 only 55 points behind world leader Dener Barbosa.
The No. 3 ranked rider in the world has drawn Beaver Creek Beau (56-9, PBR UTB) for Round 2.
Dirteater previously rode Beaver Creek Beau for 88 points at an Archdale, North Carolina, Touring Pro Division event during the bull’s fourth career out. Beaver Creek Beau then bucked Dirteater off two months later at the 2013 PBR World Finals in 2.38 seconds.
“I know I don’t have very long left in this sport,” Dirteater said. “I am getting close to 30. I know I am going to give it everything I got these next two to three years and see what happens.”
Lawrence is now up to 10th in the world standings, 385 points behind Barbosa, following his first round since last October in Nampa, Idaho.
The 29-year-old cashed in on his re-ride (Red Sails in The Sunset) after being unable to get out of the chute cleanly with White Omega.
“More than anything, I just need to leave the chute with them,” Lawrence said. “The last couple last weekend I was behind too far and in the short round I was too far over.”
Lawrence has drawn Hurricane Hustler (11-2, PBR UTB) for Saturday night.
Rounding out the Top 5 behind Dirteater, Lawrence, Castro and Montanha was Brady Oleson (86 points on Make-N-Magic) and Cody Nance (86 points on Northern Moxie).
World leader Barbosa keeps it rolling
Dener Barbosa did not extend his lead atop the world standings in Round 1, but his 84.25-point ride on Little Man has him in position to do some damage on Saturday night.
“I watched video of the bull before and I studied,” Barbosa said via a translator. “When I went to ride him, I was able to adjust.”
The ride was Barbosa’s PBR-leading 14th, and he has only bucked off three times in 17 attempts on the Unleash The Beast.
Barbosa said that he is not getting a big ego with his continuous success, but he did admit that in Brazil his popularity is rising.
This is his third week atop the world standings.
“My popularity has definitely increased in Brazil,” Barbosa said. “People are demanding my presence on some shows. They want to use me as advertisement for festivals and have me make appearances.”
Barbosa heads into his Round 2 matchup against Frostywhirl (1-0, PBR UTB) 50 points ahead of No. 2 Cooper Davis in the world standings, but Davis bucked off Livin Large in 3.54 seconds in Round 1 and is continuing to favor his injured riding hand/wrist.
Frostywhirl bucked off Derek Kolbaba in 3.2 seconds in Round 1.
Meanwhile, Dirteater is fresh on Barbosa’s heels courtesy of his Round 1 lead.
Barbosa understands he has to keep making 8 seconds if he wants to stay atop the world standings.
That is his biggest challenge currently.
“Every event I have to make sure I win so I don’t fall,” Barbosa concluded.
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Rubens Barbosa is questionable for Round 2 after sustaining a concussion attempting to ride Shelly’s Gangster (7.79 seconds) in Round 1.
Meanwhile, Jordan Hansen is probable following a sprained left thumb (riding hand, MCP UCL) in Round 1.
Rosendo Ramirez also sustained a laceration through his lower lip when he was hit by Sketchy Bob’s head during his Round 1 ride attempt (2.77 seconds). The laceration was sutured in the PBR sports medicine room.
Anaheim draw: Lowe avoids serious injury; Mauney looks to return in KC (1-31-18)
Mason Lowe was hopeful his X-rays on his injured neck would come back negative, so he therefore decided to stay in California this week after getting hurt in Sacramento last weekend attempting to ride Wiz Train.
Lowe said on Tuesday X-rays in California came back negative and that he would be good to go for the Anaheim Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
“Yeah I’m good,” Lowe said. “I’ve been getting it worked on, massages and cryotherapy.”
Lowe has had a rough start to the season, going 3-for-10 with no world points in the first four events.
The 24-year-old will look to get things started against Squirrel (0-1, PBR UTB) in Round 1 at Honda Center and end a streak of five consecutive buckoffs.
Meanwhile, two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney (right groin/abdomen) said he is leaning toward returning to competition in Kansas City.
The 31-year-old underwent an MRI this past weekend and sent the results to Dr. Tandy Freeman.
“He as having a radiologist look at them tomorrow, but said I could start getting on the drop barrel,” Mauney said via text message. “Should be good for next week.”
Including this weekend’s upcoming event in Anaheim, Mauney has missed four consecutive events.
Also not riding in Anaheim is Stormy Wing (knee) Gage Gay (torn right ACL/MCL), Chase Outlaw (reconstructive shoulder surgery), Matt Triplett (reconstructive shoulder surgery), Shane Proctor (personal decision), Mike Lee (personal decision), J.W. Harris (personal decision), Sage Kimzey (personal decision) and Koal Livingston (reconstructive shoulder surgery).
This weekend will be the final guaranteed event for riders ranked 31-35 in last year’s world standings. Anaheim is also the last event that alternate riders are based on 2017 + 2018 world standings.
Beginning next week in Kansas City, Missouri, five draw spots and any alternates for The 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast will be based on the 2018 world standings.
As a reminder, riders that placed 1-30 in the 2017 world standings are guaranteed eight events before being subject to the cutline.
That means this weekend is potentially doomsday for Lachlan Richardson.
The 25-year-old is ranked 52nd in the world standings with only 50 points and has bucked off all nine of his bulls on the Unleash The Beast.
Richardson has drawn War Party (10-1, PBR UTB) in Round 1.
He needs to earn roughly 99 points to crack the Top 30 of the world standings to give himself a good chance at earning at least an alternate spot and avoiding the UBT cutline.
There will be nine alternate/injury exemption/invites in Anaheim – Troy Wilkinson (alternate), Kurt Shephard (alternate), Jordan Hansen(alternate), Tye Chandler (alternate), Nathan Burtenshaw (alternate), Brady Oleson (alternate), Wallace de Oliveira (injury exemption), Tanner Byrne (injury exemption), Paulo Lima (Velocity invite) and Rosendo Ramirez (PBR CEO Sean Gleason invite).
Oliveira and Byrne have no more injury exemptions remaining.
Oliveira is 33rd in the world standings and needs 29 world points to jump into the Top 30, while Byrne is 58th and 104 points behind the Top 30.
The two riders have drawn Reindiction (3-1, PBR UTB) and Angry Elf (0-0, PBR UTB), respectively.
Jose Vitor Leme won Round 1 last weekend in Sacramento with an 87.25-point ride on Reindiction.
Shephard (-64 points), Burtenshaw (-134 points) and Wilkinson (-139 points) are all ranked outside the Top 30 and are in jeopardy of losing their alternate draw spots if they have a poor weekend in Anaheim.
Brady Oleson and Rosendo Ramirez are set to make their Unleash The Beast debuts.
Oleson is the No. 1 rider in the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour after beginning the season 11-for-16 with a victory and five Top-5 finishes. The 21-year-old won the Oakland Velocity Tour event on Jan. 6 and is coming off a fifth-place finish (2-for-2) last weekend in Lexington, Kentucky.
The Blackfoot, Idaho, bull rider has never finished higher than 69th in the world standings, which was the same year when he won the 2015 PBR Canada Finals.
Oleson has drawn Make-N-Magic (0-0, PBR UTB) for Round 1.
Ramirez is 1-for-3 at non-premier events this year, and the 27-year-old from Huichapan, Mexico, went 3-for-39 at a career-high 29 PBR-sanctioned events in 2017.
He will face Sketchy Bob (6-12, PBR UTB) in Round 1.
Lima is making his 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast season debut after missing the last three weeks with a shoulder injury he sustained at the Velocity Tour event in Denver.
The 30-year-old was 8-for-12 prior to his injury in six events this year. Lima earned the bid courtesy of his Ontario, California, Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event victory.
Lima has drawn Anthrax (3-0, PBR UTB).
World leader Dener Barbosa will attempt to extend his 50-point lead on No. 2 Cooper Davis when he takes on Little Man (0-0, PBR UTB) in Round 1.