1 of 10Chase Outlaw ended the 2016 season as one of the hottest riders on tour after winning the 2016 Velocity Tour Finals and the 2016 Velocity Tour Championship. In 2017, he continued his evolution into a true title contender by leading the league in BFTS round wins in the first half and moving to No. 5 in the world standings.
2 of 10Since last year, Outlaw has used the summer break as a springboard into the second half. Though he did not quite match his dominant 2016 summer this year, he did pick up 252.5 world points over the break.
3 of 10Jess Lockwood was the man to beat early in the season after winning the season-opening PBR Major in New York, and the event in Sacramento, California, in January. He was leading the world heading into February before a torn groin at Iron Cowboy halted his momentum. When he returned to action, he had surrendered his lead in the world standings to Eduardo Aparecido.
4 of 10Lockwood rode BC Circular Insanity for 90.25 points shortly after returning, but it wasn't until the summer that he got back into a groove. Lockwood tied for the most qualified rides over the break with 17 and impressed at his first Calgary Stampede in July. He closed the summer by going a combined 4-for-5 at the Big Sky, Montana, and Santa Barbara, California, Velocity Tour events.
5 of 10Derek Kolbaba, much like his best friend Lockwood, has also impressed in his second year on the BFTS. Kolbaba's first half was highlighted by his career-high ride on reigning World Champion Bull SweetPro's Bruiser, and his two event victories made him one of only five riders with multiple wins this season.
6 of 10Kolbaba continued to roll over the summer, collecting a league-leading 430 world points over the break. The majority of those points came from his victory at the first PBR Canada International Major in Quebec City, Quebec, back in June.
7 of 10Kaique Pacheco has always been a textbook example of quiet dominance in his two years on the BFTS. In the first half of 2017, Pacheco led the BFTS in qualified rides with 27 and won Last Cowboy Standing for the second year in a row, rocketing to No. 2 in the world standings.
8 of 10Unlike last year, Pacheco did not end the first half atop the world standings. Over the summer, he whittled down Eduardo Aparecido's lead to just 105 points. After consecutive seasons of finishing second to the eventual World Champion, having something to chase may help Pacheco finally earn his first gold buckle.
9 of 10Eduardo Aparecido's rise to World Champion contender status was the story of the first half. After winning a BFTS-leading three events, including his first PBR Major win at Iron Cowboy, Aparecido took over the world standings lead for the first time in his career.
10 of 10Aparecido stayed quiet over the summer and competed in only one event in his native Brazil. The rest may payoff for Aparecido, who will return to the BFTS with a hungry field of competitors looking to take the lead from him.
The Top 5 riders in the world standings will return to BFTS action this weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Many of them have kept busy over the summer, meaning that the race for the 2017 World Championship will be hotter than ever.