Following their last-place finish at the inaugural PBR Global Cup event in Edmonton last year, Team Mexico have selected a new coach and made multiple changes to their rider roster for the upcoming event in Sydney in a bid to improve on their 3-for-18 riding record in Global Cup competition.
The Mexican team will now be coached by Gerardo Venegas (Juarez, Mex) who takes the reigns from American Michael Gaffney after the team experienced communication difficulties during their time in Canada. During his career, Venegas became the first Mexican born bull rider to reach the PBR World Finals finishing 14th in the 2005 event. The 38-year-old was also a member of Team Mexico at the 2007 PBR World Cup team that was held in Australia where the Mexican team finished in 4th place with Venegas going 3-for-6 for the event.
Edgar Durazo (Moctezuma, Son.) – World Ranking: 68th. Durazo has been competing in the PBR since 2010 with 2017 being easily his best year finishing 57th in the world standings. His best result coming at the PBR Canada Finals where he tied for the event win with Canadian Zane Lambert. Durazo was the best performer on Team Mexico in the Edmonton leg of the PBR Global Cup finishing 7th in the aggregate, covering 2 of his 4 bulls for the weekend. The 26-year-old backed that good performance up with a win in the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event in Portland, Oregon. Durazo made his debut on the 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast tour in Oklahoma City covering Big Benny (Curtis Mendell) to finish 7th in Round 2 and 11th for the event. Despite only recording 1 qualified ride since January at all levels of the PBR, Durazo showed enough in Edmonton to show that he will be one of Team Mexico’s main chances to do well in Sydney.
Francisco Morales (Irapuato, Gua.) – World Ranking: 126th. Morales is no stranger to Australia. The 2012 PBR Mexico Champion has been heading down under since the 2007 World Cup on the Gold Coast where he went 4-for-6 in the event. He returned to Australia twice in 2013 competing in all Australia Cup events and going 7-for-10 for the year with his best finish being a 3rd in the PBR Australia National Finals event. The 35-year-old veteran returned a year later going 3-for-3 for the trip finishing 6th in the 2014 PBR Australia National Finals event. After kicking off 2018 on the 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast tour, Morales returned to the lower levels of the PBR and has recorded three Top 5 finishes. Morales will be looking to make amends following his poor showing in Edmonton and I’m sure his confidence will be high returning to Australia where he has been successful in the past.
Juan Carlos Contreras (Huichanpan, Hgo.) – World Ranking: 42nd. Contreras is in the midst of a career year recording solid results on the 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast and Real Time Pain Relief Velocity tours. After being crowned the 2016 PBR Mexico Champion, the 27-year-old put up some great results in PBR Canada to gain an alternate spot for the 2018 Oklahoma City event where he took home the Round 1 win with an 88.0 point ride on Lethal Larry (Phantom Genetics/Hatfield/Fecho). Contreras backed that up with a win at the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity tour stop in Worcester, MA. That winning performance has been enough to keep Contreras on the 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast tour for the majority of the first half of the season and his experience should prove valuable when he makes his PBR Global Cup debut for Team Mexico in Sydney.
Alfonso Orozco (Salamanca, Mex.) – World Ranking: 216th. Orozco made his PBR debut back in 2007 breaking through for his first event win in 2011 at the Jacksonville, FL Touring Pro Event going 2-for-2 with an 89.0 point effort on Comet’s Gold. The 29-year-old’s best season came in 2013 where he made his Built Ford Tough Series debut in Kansas City and finished inside the Top 50 on the PBR’s Touring Pro Division with another win in Jacksonville, FL at the Touring Pro level and recording 6 Top 10 finishes for the year. Orozco went 0-for-3 in Edmonton after not riding in any PBR competitions since 2016 so he should be better for the experience.
Gustavo Pedrero (Jalisco, Mex.) – World Ranking: 114th. Pedrero will be fresh in the minds of Australian Bull Riding Fans following his performances here over the summer. The 31-year-old went 2-for-5 at the 2017 PBR Australia Iron Cowboy event in Townsville to finish 3rd in the event and backed that up with a solid 2-for-3 effort at the Invitational event in Melbourne just a fortnight later. The 2013 and 2014 PBR Mexico Champion will be heading back to Australia full of confidence holding an overall record of 14-for-29 in events he has attended down under since 2013. He may be making his debut in Global Cup competition but he brings plenty of experience to the team with 11 event wins to his name in PBR competitions worldwide.
Jorge Valdiviezo (La Mision, Mex.) – World Ranking: 67th. Valdiviezo has been riding very well this year since returning from injury riding 46.67% of his bulls so far this year at all levels of PBR competition. After missing the Edmonton Global Cup with a shoulder injury, the 28-year-old recorded back to back runner-up finishes at Touring Pro Division events in Texarkana, AR and Stephenville, TX. A week later Valdiviezo broke through for his first event win since 2016 winning the Touring Pro event in Perkins, OK to take his career tally to 11 victories. I think a healthy Valdiviezo is a key to Team Mexico’s success if he can regain the form that saw him compete in 16 events on the Built Ford Tough tour in 2016 where he rode 14 of his 42 bulls.
Francisco Garcia Torres – World Ranking: 133rd. Information is scarce on 21-year-old who has has been selected to make his PBR Global Cup debut in Sydney. We did see Torres compete in Las Vegas at Last Cowboy Standing on the 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast tour where he bucked off Mean Face from Pickett Pro Rodeo in quick time. If I can track down any more information on the young bull riders history, I will be sure to update this post before the event.
Coming up next – Team Canada.