UTB Countdown: #4 Luciano de Castro

PUEBLO, Colorado- The 2023 Unleash The Beast series kicks off this weekend with the PBR Monster Energy Invitational in Tucson, Arizona (November 26-27).

Round 1 of the Tucson Arena will air exclusively on RidePass on Pluto TV at 8:45 p.m. ET before CBS Sports Network will broadcast all of the action on Championship Sunday (4:00 p.m. ET).

PBR.com counts down the final days before the UTB season opener by looking back at the top 5 bull riders at the end of the 2022 season.

Today we look at #4, Luciano de Castro.

No. 4 Luciano de Castro

World Championship: 0
Best world ranking: 4 (2022)

Premier Series 2022 (UTB) statistics.
Rides: 23
Try: 52
riding percentage: 44.2%
top ride: 91.25 points on Montana Jacket (World Finals)
Average driving score: 87.90
Wins: 0
15/15 bucking battle victories: 1 (Nampa, Idaho)
round wins: 6
Top 5: 2
top 10: 4
90 point rides: 6

Summary of the 2022 UTB/Team Series: Luciano de Castro finished a career-best fourth in the 2022 world rankings as he returned to the world title after back-to-back places at No. 46 in the world rankings.

Castro finished fourth at the 2022 PBR World Finals by winning 5-on-8 with consecutive 90-point drives, including a season-high 91.25 points Montana jacket. The 2015 PBR Brazil champion set a career high with six 90-point drives in 2022 Arizona Ridge Driver selected Castro with the #6 pick of the PBR Team Series Draft. Castro’s 23 qualifying rides placed fourth in the UTB.

The 26-year-old blossomed even further under the coaching of Paulo Crimber and Colby Yates. Castro was the only driver in the league to compete for his team in every game and finished fourth in the MVP race (18-on-35).

Castro led Arizona to second place at the PBR Team Series Championship with a 3-on-4 win. In the championship game, Castro rode Montana Jacket again for 91.25 points, but Arizona lost to the 264-182.75 Nashville Stampede.

Outlook 2023: Castro could well be a sleeper for the 2023 World Cup. Thanks to coaching from Crimber and Yates, he has improved his free arm positioning and may be ready to take the next step in his career.

Castro has made five World Finals in his career and has matured enough to be ready for high-pressure situations. Castro rode 51.43% of his bulls in the PBR Team Series compared to 44.2% in the UTB, but that came with his trainers pairing him with cheap bulls. Castro, who also ended Marquis Metal Works Coriolis Effect buckoff streak (21) in Sacramento, California could very well find himself in contention for the 2023 world championship if he can ride 50% or more in the random draw of the Unleash The Beast.

Castro’s health will also be something to monitor. His fights in 2020 and 2021 were due in part to injuries to his hip, knee, groin and ribs, and a collapsed lung. He had to sit out five months in 2021 for reconstructive surgery on his right knee and things got so bad that at one point he considered packing his bags and moving back to Brazil. Castro has since returned to clean sanity and a full head of confidence.

However, Castro will start the season behind the eighth ball as he does not compete in Tucson and is currently visiting family in Brazil.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Photo courtesy of Todd Brewer/Bull Stock Media

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