PUEBLO, Colo. – A trip to the Land Down Under may have been what Brennon Eldred needed before he embarks upon a two-week Cowboy Christmas rodeo run.
Eldred was 1-for-14 until going 2-for-2 at the PBR Global Cup for Team USA in Sydney, Australia. The two rides were nothing extraordinary, but Eldred’s final 84.25-point ride on Super Natural was an important one for the red, white and blue.
The 23-year-old’s ride came on the last attempt for the Americans before the Bonus Round on the final night of the Global Cup at Qudos Bank Arena.
Eldred calmly made the 8-second mark despite the weight of his teammates on his shoulders.
“It is unexplainable,” Eldred said on RidePass. “The vibe in that locker room is insane. It is out of this world. To have all of these guys, who I consider my brothers, having my back on that chute means the world to me.”
Team USA ultimately finished in fourth place, but Eldred has continued to carry his personal momentum back to the states.
Eldred tied for the Round 1 victory at the Reno Rodeo with 87.5 points on Lone Star, while he used an 88-point ride on Pile Driver at the Dakota Community Bank & Trust Touring Pro Division event in Bismarck, North Dakota, to earn an eighth-place finish.
“Pile Driver was a good one to have,” Eldred said. “He was right there to the right. He is a little tricky, old and smart.”
Eldred was the only bull rider last year to qualify for both the PBR World Finals and the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
He is hoping that a massive Fourth of July rodeo run can put him close enough to within striking distance of the Top 15 of the PRCA bull riding standings.
Unlike the PBR, which is points-based, the PRCA standings are based upon how much money an athlete earns at rodeos.
Eldred is hitting the road this week until July 10, adding in a pit stop at the Rock Springs, Texas, Slick Rock Challenge Touring Pro Division on Friday night.
The Sulphur, Oklahoma, cowboy has mapped out about eight he is going to try and hit before July 10. Eldred has already competed at seven since Last Cowboy Standing.
“I’ll hit the Fourth run pretty hard,” Eldred said. “If I am sitting pretty good, and have some good luck, I will dang sure make a push for (qualifying for the NFR) before Tulsa starts up (on Aug. 11).”
Eldred competed in roughly 46 rodeos last year to finish 12th in the PRCA regular season bull riding standings with $92,990.92.
Josh Frost – the No. 15 rider in the PRCA standings – has earned $42,449.01 so far.
Three-time World Champion Silvano Alves has been making a move up the PRCA standings in his first attempt at qualifying for the NFR.
Alves finished second at the Xtreme Bulls event in Greeley, Colorado, on Tuesday night with an 88-point ride. Alves is now sitting 39th in the standings and is roughly $22,000 behind the Top 15.
Eldred knows he has a lot of ground to make up, but that is a fun motivator to have for the Fourth of July run.
“If I draw good at the right places, over the Fourth could be huge,” Eldred sad. “Some rodeos are two a day. Bam. Bam. Bam. The smallest one being $10,000 added. You can rack up some money.”
One benefit for his rodeo run is that Eldred is sitting 15th in the PBR world standings.
Eldred doesn’t have to worry about losing his spot on the 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast.
Instead, he can focus on regaining his form and confidence that he had before partially tearing his left MCL attempting to ride SweetPro’s Bruiser in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Eldred was putting forth the best showing of his career with three consecutive rides at The Pit before Bruiser had other plans at 4.71 seconds in the championship round.
The second-year pro took two weeks off and returned with two rides in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but then things spiraled out of control for him and the slump began.
“It had a little bit to do with it,” Eldred said. “I don’t want to blame it on something, but I felt like when I really started getting things rolling that is when it happened. I sat off a week and then I came back still strong in Sioux Falls. I just don’t know. I couldn’t always. In the back of my mind that knee, and feeling it was hurting, was in the back of my mind. Once I got over that, my confidence level wasn’t real high so I wasn’t winning like I wanted to.
“It is just part of it. I have had the ups and downs, for sure. I know eventually I am going to overcome it.”
Eldred believes this rodeo run will only add to his resurgence that began at the Global Cup.
“Definitely,” he said. “Yeah. I think getting back on the tracks and getting the ball rolling rodeoing, getting your confidence up. Really building your confidence and getting some money in your pocket.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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