Award photo by Andre Silva
Acumen's annual PBR (Professional Bull Riding) coverage was kicked up a notch this year at the EagleBank Arena in Fairfax with Acumen photojournalist Anthony Tilghman on the job!
Competing in front of a home-state crowd, Carlos Garcia (Abingdon, Virginia) delivered a flawless performance at the debut PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour event in Fairfax, Virginia, to capture his first event win in four years at the PBR Fairfax Invitational.
Garcia got off to a quick start in Round 1, delivering the sixth-best score when he covered Beefcake (Dustin Denning) for 85.5 points.
Remaining red hot as Championship Sunday got underway with Round 2, Garcia surged to second place on the event leaderboard when he went the distance aboard Big Shot (Mike Miller Bucking Bulls) for 88 points.
The ride is significant not only because the score is tied for the second-best of Garcia’s career, but because the 8-second effort snapped Big Shot’s 18-out buckoff streak across all levels of competition. Garcia is now just the second rider in 23 career outs to cover the Pennsylvania-based bovine athlete.
Garcia’s momentum continued in the championship round.
Facing Wade Rock (Bonafide Bucking Bulls/Diamon M Pro Rodeo), a persistent Garcia battled to the whistle, making the 8 as the crowd inside EagleBank Arena erupted in raucous cheer. Marked 82.5 points, the score, which was also the best of the championship round, clinched Garcia the victory at the PBR Fairfax Invitational.
A double-entry, Garcia also tied for 10th compliments of an 85-point ride on Beefcake in Round 2.
Garcia earned a collective 43 world points in Virginia, surging 64 positions in the race for the 2021 PBR World Championship. He is now ranked No. 67 after traveling to the tour stop ranked No. 131.
Seeking his career-first PBR World Finals qualification, Garcia is now within 177.5 points of the Top 30 and a berth at the sport’s most prestigious event.
Quentin Vaught (Crane, Missouri) was second, netting 32.5 world points.
Dominant in the opening rounds of competition, Vaught first tied for the Round 1 victory via an 88.5-point score on Last Chance (Sho-Me Rodeo). He was then the top-marked contender in Round 2 when he delivered a matching 88.5-point effort on Latch Party (Richardson Land & Cattle Co.).
The scores are tied for the high-marked rides of the 25-year-old’s career.
Vaught’s hopes of victory, however, came to a screeching halt in the final round when Homer (T&G Bucking Bulls) bested him in 4.13 seconds.
Unranked at the beginning of the event, Vaught is now No. 87 in the PBR world standings.
Third was three-time Team Mexico competitor Alvaro Aguilar Alvarez (La Punta Lagos Moreno, Mexico) who went 2-for-3 in Fairfax.
Alvarez first put points on the board when he covered Fu Man Chu (Sho-Me Rodeo) for 85 points in Round 1.
In a business decision, Alvarez then elected to keep his 69.5-point ride on Nomad Dash (Jenkins Cattle Co.) from Round 2, advancing to the championship round as one of just three riders with two scores.
Frozen Explosion (Cunningham/Scoggins) proved the lone bovine athlete capable of unseating Alvarez, bucking him off in a swift 2.85 seconds in the championship round.
Alvarez’s third Top-5 finish of the 2021 season netted him 11.33 world points. He rose six positions in the world standings, climbing from No. 67 to No. 61, and trails the Top 30 and a seeded position on the elite Unleash The Beast by 169.67 points.
Dalton Krantz (Somers, Iowa) was fourth. His effort was headlined by an 88.5-point, Round 1-winning ride on Keep ‘em Guessin' (UTC/Sellers Bucking Bulls).
Krantz collected 11.5 world points.
Rounding out the Top 5 in fifth was Brazilian Joao Paulo Fernandes who rode Here I Am (T&G Bucking Bulls) for 87.5 points in Round 1.
In the bullpen, Black Ice (BMC Bucking Bulls/Jenkins Cattle Co.) was the high-marked bovine athlete of the event. He turned heads in Round 1, registering a 44.5-point score for his 2.34-second buckoff of Felipe Nogueira (Guaraci, Brazil).
The PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour’s Fairfax Invitational was also a stop on the 2021 Million Dollar Bull Team Challenge.
Dustin Denning Bucking Bulls won the performance with 365.52 points courtesy of the trips notched by Beefcake, Junior, Denning-88, and Oreo.
Second place was Sho-Me Rodeo with 363.22 points, while Sellers Bucking Bulls/UTC was third with 362.88 points. Sho-Me Rodeo’s team included Contusion, Last Chance, Big Shot, and White Squirrel, while the bronze effort from Sellers Bucking Bulls/UTC was earned courtesy of outs recorded by How Bout It, Systematic, Keep ‘em Guessin', and Bougee.
The PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour next travels to Hampton, Virginia, and Hampton Coliseum for the PBR Hampton Classic on October 2. Action gets underway at 7:00 p.m. EDT.