PBR Unleash The Beast Preview – Oklahoma City
By: Kacie Albert Friday, February 1, 2019 @ 4:45 PM
NEW YORK CITY – With four PBR Unleash The Beast (UTB) events already in the books, following this weekend’s Express Ranches Invitational in Oklahoma City, riders will undergo the first cut of the 2019 season.
The fifth event of the season is the final guaranteed event for riders that finished between No.31- No.35 in the 2018 world standings, and also the final event where alternates for UTB events are based off 2018 and 2019 world points earned.
Beginning with the Mason Lowe Memorial in St. Louis, five draw spots and any alternate positions will be filled for elite tour events based on the 2019 world standings.
The 2018 Top 30 riders are guaranteed eight UTB events before being subject to the cutline and relegation to the Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour.
In danger of falling to the cutline is the Canadian duo of Tanner Byrne, who finished last season No. 31 in the world, and young gun Lonnie West, who ended the year ranked No. 37 in the world. Currently the pair find themselves ranked No. 62 and No. 81, respectively. Prince Albert’s Byrne is 75 points outside of the Top 35, while Cadogan’s West trails the mark by 110 points.
While West had still yet to make his debut on tour last year in Oklahoma City, Byrne was also not present for the event.
Last weekend in Sacramento, Byrne was unable to record a qualified ride in his three attempts. The shutout comes after the 26-year-old earned points at the first two events of the season in New York City and Chicago.
Tonight in Oklahoma, Byrne, the last man out of the chutes, will attempt Good Night Robicheaux. The Chad Berger bovine athlete is unridden in 13 outs across all levels of competition. In 2018, the bull bucked at three elite tour events, including two trips at the 2018 PBR World Finals. At the Las Vegas event, he dispatched Nathan Burtenshaw in 4.56 seconds in Round 1 to earn a 43.25-point bull score, while he bested two-time PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney in 4.24 seconds in Round 4 for a 43.5-point score.
For West, the 23-year-old was able to collect 15 points last weekend in Sacramento for his 1-for-4 showing. It was the second consecutive event he tallied points, earning 15 in Glendale for his 14th-place finish.
In Round 1 in the Sooner State he’ll face Air Support. From Braun Bucking Bulls he is unridden in two attempts. The Oklahoma City event will mark his career-first elite tour event.
Rounding out the Canadian trio riding in Oklahoma City is Dakota Buttar, who is guaranteed three more events after finishing No. 17 in the world in 2018. In the 2019 world rankings, he is also presently inside the Top 35, ranked No. 25.
For Buttar, Oklahoma City is an event where he experience great success last year. Going 2-for-3, the Kindersley-native finished fourth.
This year, in the opening round, Buttar has drawn Slice of Heaven. In four attempts across all levels of competition, the Rockin T Ranch bovine has been ridden twice. Much like West’s draw, Buttar’s bull will be making his elite tour debut.
The Express Ranches Invitational will begin on Friday, February 1 at 7:45 p.m. CT. The event will conclude on Saturday, February 2 at 6:45 p.m. CT. additionally, the tour stop will also host the third 15/15 Bucking Battle of the season on Friday following Round 1.
CBS Sports will air the third 15/15 Bucking Battle of the season at 3:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 2. CBS Sports Network will broadcast all the action from Round 2 and the championship round, on Sunday, February 3 at 4:00 p.m. ET.
Fans will be able to watch the action in its entirety live via PBR’s new streaming digital platform RidePass. Round 1 will be exclusively seen on the platform, with coverage beginning at 7:30pm ET on Friday, February 1. The listen LIVE stream of Round 2 and the championship round will begin on Saturday, February 2 at 8:45 p.m. ET.