Two-time defending champion Silvano Alves will take a very slim 538.5-point lead into the PBR World Finals at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas this week.
This is the 20th anniversary of the event, and it will run from Oct. 23 to Oct. 27.
The World Finals are the culmination of a long and grueling season that featured 26 events leading up to this one. And that comes as riders have been tested and knocked around while trying to stay on their bull for eight seconds and do so under the scrutiny of judges.
Larry the Cable Guy is fired up for this season-ending showcase:
With the finals worth 5,500 points and the title still up for grabs, it easy to see why he is excited.
The facility is also ready:
Take a look at the vitals for this event, and then I'll take a closer look at the top riders.
When: Wednesday, Oct. 23, through Sunday, Oct. 27
Where: Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev.
TV Info: All coverage provided by CBS Sports Network—if you need help finding that station, check here. CBS's coverage will mirror the below event schedule.
|Oct. 23 at 9 p.m.||Round 1 of PBR World Finals||CBS Sports Network|
|Oct. 24 at 9 p.m.||Round 2 of PBR World Finals||CBS Sports Network|
|Oct. 25 at 9 p.m.||Round 3 of PBR World Finals||CBS Sports Network|
|Oct. 26 at 9 p.m.||Round 4 of PBR World Finals||CBS Sports Network|
|Oct. 27 at 2:30 p.m.||Round 5 and Championship Round of PBR World Finals||CBS Sports Network|
Alves enters this event looking for his third straight championship, and he does so as the only rider to ever win back-to-back championships.
While he's seen J.B. Mauney drastically cut into his lead over the second half of the season, Alves has still been in good form.
The 25-year-old has four top-five finishes in his last eight events.
Also, the last time riders were in Las Vegas, Alves won the Last Cowboy Standing event.
Alves may not have momentum on his side, but he has championship experience and the lead. He is going to be tough to beat.
It's been a tale of two seasons for Mauney. The 26-year-old did not win a single event in the first half of the season, and at one point, he trailed Alves by almost 3,000 points. Alves leads Mauney by just 538.5 now.
Mauney won five of the last nine events, however. That stretch included him becoming the first rider since 2000 to win three straight events.
He also completed a ride on a bull, Bushwacker, that was on a streak of 42 consecutive buck offs.
While still looking for his first title, Mauney has experience in the spotlight. He has twice been runner-up and two other times finished third.
Joao Ricardo Viera
It would be a surprise if anyone walks away with the title other than Alves or Mauney, but rookie Joao Ricardo Viera is definitely worth watching.
He enters this event in third place, but is 2,189.02 points behind Alves.
While he is a rookie, at 29 he is older than both of the experienced men he is chasing.
He's had a wonderful season and is capable of pulling out wins. He had three of them this year. He also had three 90-point rides and nine times he finished in the top 10.
If Ricardo Viera gets hot and Alves and Mauney are less than their best, he could post a magical come-from-behind championship.