World Champion Contender Rafael Jose de Brito Wins Round 1 of PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour Finals

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Brito Rides - Photo by Andre Silva

No. 2 Velocity Tour Championship contender Claudio Montanha Jr. logs fifth-place effort to close within 63.5 points of No. 1 Josh Frost, who was bucked off in Round 1 of the two-day Finals event

By Kacie Albert

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – As the season-culminating 2023 PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour Finals, presented by Coastal Bend Chevy Dealers, got underway Friday night in Corpus Christi, Texas, the already fierce title race further intensified as Rafael Jose de Brito (Potirendaba, Brazil) surged to the early event lead courtesy of a mammoth ride, while No. 2 Velocity Tour Championship contender Claudio Montanha Jr. (Ribeirao dos Indios, Brazil) capitalized on a buckoff by No. 1 Josh Frost (Randlett, Utah) with a Top 5 ride to inch closer to the year-end title, and accompanying $50,000 bonus.

Atop the event leaderboard, no one out-rode PBR World Champion contender Brito. In the gold buckle race, Brito is currently No. 9, 425 points behind No. 1 Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil) ahead of the 2023 PBR World Finals: Unleash The Beast May 12-21 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Making the requisite 8 atop Axel Surgeon (Halpain Bucking Bulls), Brito catapulted to the lead in the race for the PBR Velocity Tour Finals event title compliments of an unrivaled 87.75-point score.

In the race for the 2023 PBR Velocity Tour Championship, when competition got underway, Montanha was within 85.5 points of No. 1 Frost.

Paired with High Hopes (Clark View Farms/Jenkins Cattle), the charismatic Brazilian matched the powerful bovine athlete jump-for-jump en route to the 8-second whistle, awarded 22 Velocity Global points.

Montanha’s Top 5 score, paired with Frost’s 3.57-second buckoff dealt to him by Sugar Smack (Julian Cattle), allowed the charismatic Brazilian to make a significant dent in Frost’s lead, climbing within 63.5 points of the No. 1 spot.

Dawson Branton (Jefferson, Oregon) was the only other Top 10-ranked contender to cover his draw in Round 1. He rodeHomegrown (Cash Money Bucking Bulls) for 85.25 points, tying for eighth in the round and earning 15 Velocity Global points.

Branton remained No. 3 in the Velocity Tour Global standings, now within 197 points of No. 1 Frost.

With five berths to the PBR World Finals on the line, reigning PBR Canada Champion Nick Tetz (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) is an early favorite to receive the international invite compliments of a second-place finish in Round 1.

Tetz earned the silver-finish in the round after he covered Chain Breaker (Nothin’ But Try Ranch/Diggers Bucking Bulls) for 87.25 points.

 Manoelito de Souza Junior (Itamira, Brazil) was third in Round 1, netting 26 Velocity Global points.

Souza’s podium finish was earned courtesy of an electric 87-point ride aboard Major Nelson (JQH Bucking Bulls/Hurst Ranch & Rodeo).

Rounding out the Top 5 in the currently Velocity Tour Finals event leaderboard was Alex Cerqueira (Iguatemi, Brazil), who finished fourth in Round 1.

Cerqueira topped Step That Step (Team Wyatt) for 86.5 points to net 24 Velocity Global points.

The 2023 PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour Finals from Corpus Christi, Texas, and American Bank Center Arena concludes on Saturday, May 6 with Round 2 and the championship round. Action gets underway at 7:30 p.m. CDT.

Saturday’s event will include the crowning of the 2023 PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour Champion, who will earn a $50,000 bonus.

Additionally, via the PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour Finals, five riders will earn a berth to the PBR World Finals, scheduled for May 12-21 in Fort Worth, Texas, at Dickies Arena.

PBR RidePass on Pluto TV will offer re-airs and on-demand replays of every PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour event. PBR RidePass is available on desktops, laptops and mobile devices via www.pluto.tv. Click here for on-demand PBR programming.

PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour

PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour Finals, presented by Coastal Bend Chevy Dealers

American Bank Center Arena – Corpus Christi, Texas

Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Event Aggregate-Event Points)

  1. Rafael Jose de Brito, 87.75-0-0-87.75-48 Points.
  2. Nick Tetz, 87.25-0-0-87.25-28 Points.
  3. Manoelito de Souza Junior, 87-0-0-87.00-26 Points.
  4. Alex Cerqueira, 86.5-0-0-86.50-24 Points.
  5. Claudio Montanha Jr., 86.25-0-0-86.25-22 Points.
  6. Austin Richardson, 85.75-0-0-85.75-19 Points.

(tie). Ednei Caminhas, 85.75-0-0-85.75-19 Points.

  1. Dawson Branton, 85.25-0-0-85.25-15 Points.

(tie). Flavio Zivieri, 85.25-0-0-85.25-15 Points.

  1. Jake Morinec, 84-0-0-84.00-12 Points.
  2. Vitor Losnake, 83.5-0-0-83.50-10 Points.
  3. Junio Quaresima, 80.5-0-0-80.50-8 Points.

Michael Lane, 0-0-0-0.00

Grayson Cole, 0-0-0-0.00

Josh Frost, 0-0-0-0.00

Alex Marcilio, 0-0-0-0.00

Mason Moody, 0-0-0-0.00

Carlos Garcia, 0-0-0-0.00

Kyle Jones, 0-0-0-0.00

Afonso Quintino, 0-0-0-0.00

Aaron Williams, 0-0-0-0.00

Griffin Smeltzer, 0-0-0-0.00

Dakota Eagleburger, 0-0-0-0.00

Dalton Rudman, 0-0-0-0.00

Patterson Starcher, 0-0-0-0.00

Dylan Smith, 0-0-0-0.00

Zane Cook, 0-0-0-0.00

Conner Halverson, 0-0-0-0.00

Dakota Warnken, 0-0-0-0.00

Guilherme Valleiras, 0-0-0-0.00

Brandon Chambers, 0-0-0-0.00

Chase Wimer, 0-0-0-0.00

Elizmar Jeremias, 0-0-0-0.00

Elijah Mora, 0-0-0-0.00

Jaxton Mortensen, 0-0-0-0.00

Dustin Martinez, 0-0-0-0.00

Garrett Jones, 0-0-0-0.00

Francisco Garcia Torres, 0-0-0-0.00

Daylon Swearingen, 0-0-0-0.00

Sam Woodall, 0-0-0-0.00

Joao Lucas Campos, 0-0-0-0.00

Cassio Dias, 0-0-0-0.00

Wingson Henrique da Silva, 0-0-0-0.00

Alvaro Ariel, 0-0-0-0.00