FORT WORTH, Texas - With the summer break drawing to a close, all eyes are on the world standings and the qualifier standings for the fast-approaching World Finals.
In a little over a week, the Top 35 riders in the world will be in Tulsa, Okla., for the first of nine remaining Built Ford Tough Series events, prior to heading to Las Vegas.
Valdiron de Oliveira holds a 632-point advantage over L.J. Jenkins atop the world standings.
In 18 events, Oliveira is averaging 456.5 points-per-event, while Jenkins has earned an average of 399 points in the 19 events he's ridden in. If that trend continues, Oliveira would extend that lead to 1,149.5 points heading into the Finals at the Thomas & Mack Center.
However, on a week-to-week basis, Jenkins has been one of the most consistent riders on the BFTS.
His streak of eight consecutive Top-10 finishes is one shy of the all-time PBR record, which he could tie in Tulsa and claim a week later in San Antonio.
Jenkins could also benefit from youthful durability down the stretch.
He's all of 25 years old, compared to Oliveira, who turned 33 during the break.
Two riders who could very well improve their respective positions in the world standings are J.B. Mauney and Fabiano Vieira.
Mauney, who has battled one injury after another for much of his seven-year career, broke a bone in his left riding hand and was forced to switch hands for three of the final six events leading up to the summer break.
The 25-year-old North Carolina native covered three bulls during that span - two of which were for double points in the 15/15 Bucking Battle - and despite slipping from first to fifth in the standings, Mauney would have slid further down had he not tried switching to his right hand.
He is now healthy, and covered four of five bulls recently at the Calgary Stampede. Mauney is expected to compete again this weekend in Molalla, Ore., at the Ross Coleman Invitational on Friday and Saturday night.
Vieira, meanwhile, has been competing all summer down in Brazil.
He competed in 13 BFTS events prior to the break, which is the fewest of any rider currently in the Top 15, but his average of 388.5 points-per-event is the fourth highest among the Top 10 riders in the world.
He missed more than a month at the opening of the 2012 season, because of issues with his visa that have since been resolved, and he promises to be more focused for the remaining three months. He finished fifth a year ago, and is poised to finish strong again this year.
As expected, eight of the Top 10 riders in the world standings - Oliveira, Jenkins, Silvano Alves, Guilherme Marchi, Mauney, Marco Eguche, Austin Meier and Vieira - are also in the Top 10 of the qualifier standings.
Luke Snyder, who is ranked 10th, is 11th in the qualifier standings, while Renato Nunes, who is seventh in the world, is 15th in money earned.
Edevaldo da Silva Ferreira is atop the qualifier standings with $591,979.44 earned, and Chad Besplug, who won the Calgary Stampede, is seventh in the qualifier standings.
The Top 35 riders in the qualifier standings will advance to Las Vegas, and as a result, will begin the 2013 season on the BFTS.
The riders ranked from 30th to 36th - Billy Robinson, Emilio Resende, Shane Proctor, Caleb Sanderson, Jory Markiss, Ademir Candido da Silva, Chance Roberts - are all within $10,000 of one another.
Only Sanderson and Roberts are assured of being in Tulsa, while the others will likely battle for the final spots at various Touring Pro Division events.
There are six TPD events between now and Tulsa - Goodland, Kan. (Aug. 1); Big Sky, Mont. (Aug. 1); Santa Barbara, Calif. (Aug. 2); Molalla, Ore. (Aug. 3-4); Missoula, Mont. (Aug. 7-8) and Fort Hall, Idaho (Aug. 8) - and then another 13 before the end of the season, not including events on the PBR Canada or PBR Brazil schedule.
The riders hoping to secure an alternate position in Tulsa can effectively compete in four or, perhaps, five of the six events.
SUMMER CAMP: One of the most popular Touring Pro Division events is the annual Ross Coleman Invitational in his hometown of Molalla, Ore. The top riders in the world have voted Coleman's event the PBR Sanctioned Event of the Year for the past four years.
Tickets are available at www.ticketswest.com.
This year's event will feature Mauney, Snyder, Proctor, Harve Stewart, Roberts, Stormy Wing, Brendon Clark, Lachlan Richardson, Ben Jones, Skeeter Kingsolver and Sean Willingham. Two-time World Champion Justin McBride will perform each night following the bull riding.
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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