The 2012 edition of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Built Ford Tough World Finals is looking a bit like a re-run fans have seen. Just like a year ago, Brazilian riders Silvano Alves and Robson Palermo are leading the way for the World Championship and the World Finals titles, respectively.
Both riders are chasing history as the final day of the Finals begins Sunday, October 28. For Palermo, hanging on to the title on the average at the Finals would give him a record setting third World Finals win and a record as the first back-to-back winner as well.
Thus far, Palermo is the only rider to have covered all four bulls. He shot to the lead in Round 4 after posting a solid ride on Dark Shadow and after watching former leader Luke Snyder buck off for the first time at this Finals.
In the World title chase, Alves is holding his slim lead but looking at better odds with each qualified score. Though he was just 86.25 points aboard Bono in Round 4, Alves has worked his way back to fifth in the average while seeing his closest competitors falter.
Alves is chasing history, working to become the PBR’s first back-to-back champion. He is now just two bulls away from etching his name in the record books.
On Sunday, all riders will face one more long round, though it is full of some of the PBR’s juiciest, non-short go bulls. Alves will be re-matched with High Octane Hurricane, a bull he rode to second in the Albuquerque 15-15 Bucking Battle back in March.
During the long round, Palermo will meet Gray Squirrel, a tough match but one that he can certainly win riding the way he has this week. Palermo is always dealing with injuries and amazingly pulled out a ride two nights ago just moments after Nitro Carillo Cartel dislocated Palermo’s knee in the chutes.
Following the long round, the top 15 in the average will advance to the Championship Round for a date with the wickedest buckers in the sport. The final round will also feature the showdown between Bushwacker and Asteroid for World Championship Bucking Bull.
That race is one bull short in the final go. Contender Lightmaker.com’s Rango was injured in his first out when he kicked the back of the chute leaving. For his health, Rango was pulled from today’s competition.
Other contenders Smackdown, Rock & Roll, David’s Dream and Buckey will perform with hopes of a stumble amongst the top two that could open the door for one of them.
While Alves looks secure for a trip to the Championship Round, other top six riders are in danger of missing it unless they are able to put points on the board during the long round today. J.B. Mauney is outside looking it at 18th while Valdiron de Oliveira, L.J. Jenkins and Austin Meier are right on the bubble.
Longshots at the title are Renato Nunes, who is fourth in the average, and Guilherme Marchi. With some final day heroics and a misstep by Alves, either of the former champs could etch their names on another gold buckle.
The final round of the PBR World Finals begins Sunday, October 28 at 11:30 a.m. The world titles will be decided and $1 million awarded to the top rider along with $250,000 to the top bull.