LAS VEGAS ― The most dramatic World Finals has reached the midway point Friday and for the second night in a row there is a lead change atop the world standings.
Twenty-four hours after relinquishing his lead to J.B. Mauney, two-time defending World Champion Silvano Alves rode Showboat for 89.5 points and finished second in the round to regain his familiar position as the No. 1 ranked bull rider in the world.
Only this time, his 19.75-point advantage is the narrowest margin of any lead this season.
Alves, who just last year became the first back-to-back World Champion in the 20-year history of the PBR, is trying to win his third consecutive gold buckle in only four seasons on the Built Ford Tough Series ― something that has eluded Mauney for seven previous years.
However, looking ahead to Sunday afternoon, Mauney still holds the upper hand in the overall event average.
The 26-year-old from Moorseville, N.C., followed Alves' big moment with another of his own when he covered JW HUGHES's Excavation for 89 points and a third-place finish in Round 3 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Mauney is atop the event average with a three-bull total of 271.5 points followed by L.J. Jenkins (264.25), Guilherme Marchi (256.75) and Alves (252.75).
"This is the tightest race I've ever been in ― even coming into the Finals ― and it's like two fighters trading blows," said Mauney, who was clearly exhausted afterward. "It's great. It's fun. It pumps me a lot more knowing that I (have) to ride. I just put it in my mind to have fun and keep trying and don't quit."
To the contrary, he and Alves both gave it everything they had.
"It's very emotional," Alves said in the locker room as he hung his rope and readied himself for another post-performance press conference.
"I'm ready to go to bed every night when this is over with," Mauney said. "It's been a long time since my mouth's been dry before I got on a bull and it's happened every night since I've been here.
"We still have another half and that's why I keep looking at one day at time, one bull at a time."
Alves will have the second pick in tonight's bull draft for Saturday's fourth round followed immediately by Mauney, who has the third pick by virtue of their Round 3 finishes.
Stormy Wing won third round with 91.25 points on Nitro Carrillo Cartel to open the competition. Carrillo Cartel is retiring after this weekend's event, but, according to PBR Livestock Director Cody Lambert, he'll have one more outing Sunday in the long round.
Following Wing, Alves and Mauney was newcomer Matt Triplett with 88.75 points on Whiskey's Rebel and Jenkins, who rode Delco for 88.5 points and needed assistance to the sports medicine room after straining his left groin.
Alves believes both he and Mauney will ride all six bulls in Las Vegas.
"I'm happy," Alves said. "I had a good score, good points, so I'm very happy. J.B. had a good score and a good ride. This is the best bull riding and it's a good competition."
"Yesterday doesn't matter and today's over with now," Mauney said, "it's time to think about tomorrow."
Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough
Built Ford Tough World Finals
Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas
Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Event points)
1. J. B. Mauney, 88.75-93.75-89-271.50 points.
2. L.J. Jenkins, 86-89.75-88.5-264.25 points.
3. Guilherme Marchi, 87.5-86.25-83-256.75 points.
4. Silvano Alves, 73.75-89.5-89.5-252.75 points.
5. Cody Nance, 89-0-86.5-175.50 points.
6. Ty Pozzobon, 85.5-86.25-0-171.75 points.
7. Claudio Crisostomo, 83.25-0-87-170.25 points.
8. Matt Triplett, 80.25-0-88.75-169.00 points.
9. Eduardo Aparecido, 86.75-0-80.75-167.50 points.
10. Stormy Wing, 0-0-91.25-91.25 points.
11. Joao Ricardo Vieira, 0-91-0-91.00 points.
12. Brant Atwood, 0-90.75-0-90.75 points.
13. Kody Lostroh, 0-87.5-0-87.50 points.
14. Renato Nunes, 87.25-0-0-87.25 points.
15. Austin Meier, 0-0-87-87.00 points.
(tie). Markus Mariluch, 87-0-0-87.00 points.
17. Edevaldo Ferreira, 0-0-86.75-86.75 points.
(tie). Jory Markiss, 0-86.75-0-86.75 points.
19. Jordan Hupp, 0-0-86.5-86.50 points.
20. Ryan Dirteater, 86.25-0-0-86.25 points.
(tie). Valdiron de Oliveira, 0-86.25-0-86.25 points.
22. Luke Snyder, 0-0-84.5-84.50 points.
23. Mike Lee, 0-0-84-84.00 points.
24. Fabiano Vieira, 0-0-83.75-83.75 points.
(tie). Gustavo Pedrero, 0-83.75-0-83.75 points.
26. Shane Proctor, 81.25-0-0-81.25 points.
Agnaldo Cardozo, 0-0-0-0.00 points.
Alex Aparecido Marcilio, 0-0-0-0.00 points.
Ben Jones, 0-0-0-0.00 points.
Billy Robinson, 0-0-0-0.00 points.
Brendon Clark, 0-0-0-0.00 points.
Chase Outlaw, 0-0-0-0.00 points.
Chris Lowe, 0-0-0-0.00 points.
Douglas Duncan, 0-0-0-0.00 points.
Emilio Resende, 0-0-0-0.00 points.
Lachlan Richardson, 0-0-0-0.00 points.
Marco Eguchi, 0-0-0-0.00 points.
Nathan Schaper, 0-0-0-0.00 points.
Sean Willingham, 0-0-0-0.00 points.
Zane Lambert, 0-0-0-0.00 points.
© 2014 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.