PBR: First-Half Highs; Re-living the Rankest Efforts from UTB’s 2024 Slate

PUEBLO, Colo. – No. 1 Cassio Dias, No. 1 Man Hater stamping respective campaigns with a BANG!

There’s a lot that could be said about the opening 12 events from the 2024 Unleash The Beast slate. But the two words that first come to mind? Which are proper nouns of course, yet merely a collection of six different letters.

Letters which collectively represent both the world’s top-ranked bull rider and the latest game-changing athlete to transition his talents from Brazil to the United States.

But with the talented 22-year-old blazing through the opening half of the season with one of the most impressive starts in recent history, he continues to spell out his ultimate goal:

Becoming the 2024 World Champion.

And, if everything pans out in that direction, would also include the 2024 PBR Rookie of the Year title as well, as the next-level rider has accomplished all he has during his first trip around the premier series landscape.

To that end, he’s been far from the only rookie standout to wow crowds around North America this season, with the likes of No. 3 John Crimber, No. 11 Leonardo Castro, No. 13 Kaiden Loud, No. 14 Caden Bunch, No. 16 Julio Cesar Marques, No. 18 Cort McFadden, No. 19 Felipe Furlan and No. 20 Clay Guiton all ranked within the tour’s Top 20 heading into the homes stretch.

Yet, at the same time, he’s easily been the most dominant first-year competitor, now victorious in four of his 12 UTB appearances after winning yet another event last weekend inside Arena.

And the most successful rider, overall, as he currently occupies the No. 1 rank while enjoying a 317.33-point lead over No. 2 Austin Richardson (who’s expected to miss the remainder of the UTB season due to injury).

As mentioned above, it was No. 1 Dias and No. 1 Man Hater who danced for 8 seconds of elegance as the duo went on to produce the highest score of the season during what ended up being the final qualified ride of the first-half stretch.

Scored an epic 94.75 points (which, if you ask the bull riding community, could’ve been anywhere from a 94 to a 98, depending on who’s judging), the mark served as a personal-best for Dias, who brought a career-high 92.75-point score (earned within PBR Brazil) into the contest as his previous high (with a 91.75-point effort earned earlier in the UTB season marking his then-best UTB score). It also served as the highest score recorded in premier series action since 2021, when a pair of legends in Jose Vitor Leme and Woopaa went head-to-head for their historic 98.75-point journey at the 2021 World Finals.

Potentially just as important for stock contractor Gene Owen and friends, the conversion marked the first and only time the talented bucker had been ridden. All things considered, not a bad partner to hit the history books with!

Not to much surprise, it was the bull who entered six different UTB events and exited all six of them with respective YETI Bull of the Event honors who was responsible for providing the highest bull score of the season, as the world’s top-ranked animal athlete in Man Hater has strutted his stuff quite valiantly over the past eight months or so. Selected by Boudreaux Campbell in the short round bull draft during last month’s PBR Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden in New York City, the prized bovine was surely flattered than the veteran had chosen him but showed zero signs of empathy for Campbell, eventually dispatching the rider in a brief 3.2 seconds.

Which, when you take a quick look at how insane those first three jumps are … you’ll quickly realize why the out served as one of 30 flawless attempts Man Hater had assembled before finally relinquishing a ride last weekend. This bull bucks … and with an average score of 45.23 heading into the second half of the season, he’s expected to get a few weekends of rest before potentially making an appearance at the third PBR Major of the season in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Most Event Wins: 4

Officially claiming one third of the 12 premier series events this season, to say Dias has been dominant seems like we’re still selling him a bit short. Since finishing one ride score short of Jose Vitor Leme in the MVP race during the second competitive season of PBR Camping World Team Series action, he’s been on absolute fire (though, some would claim his 20-for-28 effort on Teams may have been quiet the hot start in itself). While he was able to claim a pair of event MVP titles during the 5-on-5 series, it’s hard to measure said success against receiving an event title on the premier series. But since picking up a career-first UTB win in St. Louis, Missouri, we’ve confirmed he’s definitely into the whole individual season honors thing too, as he later followed it up with a second-straight win the next weekend in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Finding some additional success in Chicago a few weeks later, it was last weekend’s big win in Los Angeles which represented his fourth of the season, now toting a .333-win percentage as a rookie. With No. 3 John Crimber turning in a third runner-up effort in his last five appearances inside Arena en route to climbing within 435 points of the tour’s top-ranked cowboy, that could be the perfect amount of pressure and motivation for Dias, who has more than one title to potentially defend as the season heads towards its dramatic conclusion in Arlington, Texas, during the 2024 World Finals: Unleash The Beast.

Highest Event Aggregate Score: 318.5 Points

Arguably the biggest win of the season, which featured both the most UTB points earned (220) and the biggest check taken home ($119,950), it was Leonardo Castro who exited the second PBR Major of the year (PBR Wrangler Love Live Cowboys Classic) in Sacramento, California, with a season-high 318.5-point aggregate score.

As the only rider this season to produce a perfect 4-for-4 slate, the tour’s No. 11-ranked competitor was able to get the best finish of his premier series career started courtesy of an 87-point conversion atop Pookie Holler in Round 1 before doubling down aboard First String in the second round for a mere 58 points. Deciding to keep his flawless streak intact, he declined the re-ride opportunity and prepared to enter championship Sunday with a 2-for-2 slate. Eventually exiting a showdown with Blackstone in the third go, he sealed the deal in the short round.

Leonardo Ferreira rides HomeBru for 87 points in the Championship Round of the 2024 PBR Unleash the Beast Season PBR Wrangler Long Live Cowboys Classic – UTB Major in Sacramento, CA
Besting HomeBru for 87 points en route to matching his opening round score, the skilled 19-year-old put the finishing touches on his career-first win during his third-ever UTB appearance.

While 318.5 points continues to serve as the highest total, the amount would’ve potentially been somewhere in the 340s had he elected for another Round 2 ride (assuming he rides that bull). Nonetheless happy with his spicy outing, the talented Brazilian has now recorded at least one qualified ride in each of the four events he’s participated in after riding Monstrosity Friday night in L.A. One of the many members of the Kansas City Outlaws who are making coaches J.W. Hart and Guilherme Marchi seem like they’ve really got this scouting thing down, the orange and black leaders can’t help but be excited for this summer’s run with the likes of Dias, Castro, Wingson Henrique da Silva, Julio Cesar Marques and beyond!

Longest Ride Streak: 7

While the Outlaws as a collective squad haven’t been able to get the job done yet in Las Vegas, the board reads 777 for them in a few ways as their squad continues to put up big numbers in 2024. With more than 60 different riders competing on the world’s biggest bull riding stage this season, only two have been able to piece together seven-out ride streaks. Both of whom are set to compete alongside each other for Kansas City this summer in Silva and Dias.

Naturally, it was Dias who achieved the feat first this season. The superstar would’ve begun his campaign with a flawless 10 straight, too, if it weren’t for an unfortunate matchup against Train Station in Johnstown’s second round, as the talent went on to convert in the event’s third and fourth rounds.

For Silva, who got on a bit of a heater in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Brazilian parlayed a 3-for-3 effort into another fantastic finish the following weekend in Houston, Texas. Picking up his career-first UTB win en route to turning in his second-straight 3-for-3 outing, Silva was feeling it.Chipping in a 76-point ride to start things off in Sacramento, his fourth of the seven scores to come in below 80 points, he improved to seven-straight before hitting the dirt in Round 2.

Streaks come in all sorts of scores and sizes, but when you ask Silva whether the streak of less than perfect scores mean much, he’ll tell you they are worth 70-some more points than a buckoff and have been just fine in getting him to the No. 12 rank as things sit heading into Jacksonville.

Winner Takes All

We had also planned to expand on riders who had earned the most cash so far (Dias: $231, 742), threw down the most rank 90s (Dias: 5, including sick 94.75, 90.75, 90.5, 91.75, 90.5-point efforts), collected the most round wins (Dias: 7, victorious in Tucson, St. Louis, Johnstown, New York City (x2) Chicago, Los Angeles) and survived the 8 more than any other (Dias: 22 conversions in 37 outs) … but, you get the idea here.

To which we’ll:

1. Point you to PBR’s YouTube page to re-live all of the heroics he’s provided so far and

2. Encourage you to stay tuned to and PBR social media channels for the second half of the season as we see which of the pack riders can chase Dias down as he heads for glory.

Because … well, you need to see this show for yourself.

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