ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As the PBR’s (Professional Bull Riders) elite Unleash the Beast returned to Albany Thursday night for the first time in more than 14 years, 18 riders delivered scores in the opening round of the PBR Albany Invitational. None was more dominant than Brazil native, Rafael Jose de Brito.

Reaching the requisite eight for a commanding 88.25 points, Brito won the opening round of the event and solidified his rank inside the Top Five in the race for the 2023 PBR World Championship. As one of the final riders to leave the chutes inside MVP Arena, Brito was tasked with J&M’s Yukon, from Hookin’ W Ranch.

The golden effort garnered Brito a crucial 28 Unleash the Beast points. While he remained No. 4 in the standings, he climbed within 82.5 points of the top position.

Current No. 1 and 2016 PBR World Champion Cooper Davis, of Jasper, Texas, added to his lead courtesy of an eleventh-place finish in Round One of the Albany Invitational. Davis bested Cousin Eddy for 86.25 points to net 9 points in his quest for his second gold buckle. After beginning the event 21.5 points ahead of Daniel Keeping, Davis will begin Championship Friday with a 30.5-point lead.

The PBR Albany Invitational will conclude with Round Two and the Championship Round on Friday, December 30. The action gets underway at 7:45 p.m.

Event leaders (Round One-Round Two-Round Three-Event Aggregate-Event Points):

  1. Rafael Jose de Brito, 88.25-0-0-88.25-28 Points.
  2. Andrew Alvidrez, 87.5-0-0-87.50-18 Points.
  3. Tate Pollmeier, 87.25-0-0-87.25-17 Points.
  4. Colten Fritzlan, 87-0-0-87.00-15.5 Points.
  5. (tie). Manoelito de Souza Junior, 87-0-0-87.00-15.5 Points.
  6. Dalton Kasel, 86.75-0-0-86.75-13 Points.
  7. (tie). Silvano Alves, 86.75-0-0-86.75-13 Points.
  8. (tie). Koltin Hevalow, 86.75-0-0-86.75-13 Points.
  9. Keyshawn Whitehorse, 86.5-0-0-86.50-10.5 Points.
  10. (tie). Boudreaux Campbell, 86.5-0-0-86.50-10.5 Points.
  11. Cooper Davis, 86.25-0-0-86.25-9 Points.
  12. Thiago Salgado, 86-0-0-86.00-8 Points.
  13. Rafael Henrique dos Santos, 85.25-0-0-85.25-8 Points.
  14. Bob Mitchell, 85-0-0-85.00-8 Points.
  15. Marcelo Procopio Pereira, 84.75-0-0-84.75-8 Points.
  16. Braidy Randolph, 82.75-0-0-82.75-8 Points.
  17. Jesse Petri, 80.5-0-0-80.50-8 Points.
  18. Casey Roberts, 69.25-0-0-69.25