DENVER – Brennon Eldred understands the PBR is a long and grinding season. Eldred wanted to make sure he didn’t rush back to competition too soon as he gets set to take his first crack at a full-time year on the 25th PBR: Unleash the Beast Series.
Eldred will make his season-debut on Saturday night at the Chicago Invitational after missing the 2018 season-opener last weekend in New York because of a partially torn right groin.
The 23-year-old has drawn Red Sails In The Sunset (4-9, Premier Series) for Round 1.
RELATED: Full Round 1 draw for Chicago
Eldred sustained the injury at the inaugural PBR Global Cup in November when he was bucked off by Double Down in 3.34 seconds.
“The last bull got on there kind of landed underneath me, and he kind of stepped on me and put me in an awkward position,” Eldred said on Wednesday morning. “It is good. I have just been rehabbing it and taking it easy, riding a few horses and getting it stretched out. It is doing better and better every day.”
The injury contributed to Eldred’s disappointing performance at the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Eldred wound up getting blanked in Las Vegas (0-for-7) and missed two rounds of competition because of a concussion he also suffered at the NFR.
It was a poor ending to an otherwise impressive year by Eldred, who qualified for his first PBR World Finals and concluded the year ranked 27th in the PBR world standings.
Eldred didn’t want to use the injury as an excuse for his NFR goose egg, but admitted it did play a part.
“I am not going to say that is the reason,” Eldred said. “I wasn’t confident going into it with my groin and stuff. I didn’t get to get on any practice bulls before. No excuses. I wasn’t healthy, and when you are not healthy you are not having fun. I couldn’t get the ball rolling. Shit wasn’t going my way.”
Eldred is excited to dedicate himself to the PBR full time in 2018 after not qualifying for the premier series until April last year.
It was why he was OK with sitting out from New York.
“At the end of the day, I know I have to take care of myself and it didn’t bother me not going,” Eldred said. “I know I only got to go to half the season last year and ended up making the Finals. I am not worried about it. I want to be 100 percent physically and mentally when I show up and give a run at that title.”
END OF WEEK DRAW UPDATES:
Three riders that will not be competing in Chicago because of injuries sustained in New York are Stormy Wing (concussion), Robson Palermo (facial laceration) and J.B. Mauney (groin).
Mauney originally injured himself in New York, and the 31-year-old then aggravated the injury again on Tuesday at the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour Denver PBR Chute Out. Mauney said he considers himself week-to-week.
Tanner Byrne (undisclosed injury) and Paulo Lima (shoulder) were originally going to compete in Chicago, but both riders sustained injuries on the final night of competition in Denver and decided to opt out of this weekend’s competition.
Also not riding in Chicago is Chase Outlaw (reconstructive shoulder surgery), Matt Triplett (reconstructive shoulder surgery), Shane Proctor (personal decision), Mike Lee (personal decision), J.W. Harris (personal decision), Sage Kimzey (personal decision) and Koal Livingston (reconstructive shoulder surgery).
Based on the PBR rulebook, riders that placed 1-30 in the 2017 world standings are guaranteed eight events before being subject to the cutline, while riders ranked 31-35 are guaranteed five events before being subject to being cut.
There will be nine alternate or exemption riders competing in Chicago: Reese Cates (injury exemption), Wallace de Oliveira (injury exemption), Francisco Morales (competition exemption), Valdiron de Oliveira (competition exemption), Alex Marcilio (alternate), Troy Wilkinson (alternate), Jordan Hansen (alternate), Brock Radford (alternate) and Nathan Burtenshaw (alternate).
Oliveira, Hansen, Radford and Burtenshaw will be making their 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast season debuts.
Oliveira was limited to four premier series events in 2017 because of a torn groin. He went 2-for-10.
The 38-year-old had bucked off his first 11 bulls in 2018 before riding Striker for 76.5 points in Round 1 of the Denver PBR Chute Out on Tuesday.
Oliveira will take on South Texas Gangster (2-1, Premier Series) in Round 1.
Hansen fell short of qualifying for the 2017 World Finals after finishing 41st in the world standings. The 2016 Canadian Professional Rodeo Association champion and will take on Slinger (1-1, Premier Series).
Cates is down to his final injury exemption.
World leader Gage Gay will look to increase his 336.67-point lead atop the standings when he faces Pit Bull (3-1, Premier Series)
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