LAS VEGAS – For the 21st consecutive year, the world’s top bull riders and the fiercest bucking bulls in the business return to Las Vegas for the richest bull riding event on the planet, the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals on Oct. 22-26 at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
As the 21st anniversary of “America’s fastest growing sport” (Forbes) comes to its conclusion, qualifying for this season’s finale is considered a special accomplishment, one shared by 35 talented bull riders, which include:
Joao Ricardo Vieira (Itatinga, Brazil)
Fabiano Vieira (Perola, Brazil)
Silvano Alves (Pilar do Sul, Brazil)
Guilherme Marchi (Leme, Brazil)
Mike Lee (Decatur, Texas)
Matt Triplett (Columbia Falls, Montana)
Cody Nance (Paris, Tennessee)
Gage Gay (Staley, North Carolina)
Eduardo Aparecido (Gouvelandia, Brazil)
L.J. Jenkins (Porum, Oklahoma)
Chase Outlaw (Hamburg, Arkansas)
Valdiron de Oliveira (Aparecido do Goiania, Brazil)
Marco Eguchi (Poa Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Emilio Resende (Santa Helena do Goias, Brazil)
Kasey Hayes (Liberal, Kansas)
J.B. Mauney (Mooresville, North Carolina)
Stormy Wing (Dalhart, Texas)
Renato Nunes (Buritama, Brazil)
Tanner Byrne (Prince Albert, Saskatchewan)
Ryan Dirteater (Hulbert, Oklahoma)
Sean Willingham (Summerville, Georgia)
Brady Sims (Holt, Missouri)
Claudio Crisostomo (Lopes da Silva, Brazil)
Zane Lambert (Westbourne, Manitoba)
Stetson Lawrence (Trenton, North Dakota)
Ty Pozzobon (Merritt, British Columbia)
Nathan Schaper (Grassy Butte, North Dakota)
Douglas Duncan (Alvin, Texas)
Lachlan Richardson (Gesford, Australia)
J.W. Harris (May, Texas)
Josh Faircloth (Randleman, North Carolina)
Jordan Hupp (Stephenville, Texas)
Kody Lostroh (Longmont, Colorado)
Robson Palermo (Rio Branco, Brazil)
Billy Robinson (Galax, Virginia)
Markus Mariluch (Elko, Nevada) also qualified for the World Finals in the No. 15 position, but suffered a season-ending injury at the Built Ford Tough Series event in Springfield, Missouri. As a result, Robinson will be competing in his sixth World Finals.
Joining these 35 men in Rounds 1 and 2 will be the PBR National Champions from Canada, Brazil, Australia and Mexico. Scott Schiffner (Strathmore, Alberta), Fernando Henrique Novais (Pereira Barreto, Brazil),Dave Kennedy (Kyogle, Australia) and Gustavo Pedrero (Jalisco, Mexico) received invitations to compete in this year’s BFTS finale. To advance through the rounds, these men must rank in the Top 15 in the event average after each round.
The World Finals offers a total purse of $2.2 million, including a $1 million bonus to the World Champion, who also receives the coveted World Champion belt buckle.
The World Champion will be the rider who has accumulated the most Built Ford Tough Series points during the 2014 regular season and the World Finals. There are a potential 5,500 points available at the World Finals, so any of the top-ranked riders heading into Las Vegas has the opportunity to win the title.
The current points leader is the 2013 Rookie of the Year, Joao Ricardo Vieira. This year Vieira won the BFTS event in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Dr. Pepper Iron Cowboy V. He leads the BFTS with four 90-point rides and 10 Top-5 finishes. He enters the World Finals on a hot streak, having ridden seven of his last nine bulls in the last three events while increasing his riding percentage to 45.35 percent.
Vieira took over as No. 1 in the world standings five weeks ago and sits in the top spot with 9,520.25 points, 511.63 ahead of No. 2 Fabiano Vieira.
Fabiano Vieira won his third event of the season when he came away with the win in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 10-11. Vieira went 3-for-3 and moved 785 points closer to No. 1. While looking for his first career world title, Vieira has not let an unstable right shoulder slow his ascent up the world standings. He currently leads the BFTS with a 57.75 percent riding percentage and is 511.63 points from the lead.
Sitting in third place is Silvano Alves, who is seeking his third PBR world title. Alves made history in 2012 when he became the first World Champion to win back-to-back titles. To add a third title, he’ll have to overtake his fellow countrymen who sit at 1 and 2.
The 2008 World Champion, Guilherme Marchi is currently fourth, a little more than 1,000 points from the No. 1 position. After leading the world standings for 13 weeks in 2014, Marchi is currently suffering a 6-for-23 second-half slump, but is still considered a serious contender. He has used 13 Top-10 finishes as well as six Top-5 placements to remain as one of the top men in the standings all season long.
Mike Lee and Matt Triplett sit in fifth and sixth place, respectively. Lee is 1,433.44 points behind the leader while Triplett is 2,026.67 off the No. 1 spot. Lee started the second half with great momentum, winning both outdoor events; Thackerville, Oklahoma and Laughlin, Nevada. He then fell off his game for four events, failing to register a qualified ride. His ride in Huntington Beach, California last weekend at the Bulls on the Beach event was his first success since Laughlin.
Triplett has stayed consistent with three Top-10 finishes, including his first event win as he claimed the Monster Energy Bulls on the Beach 15/15 Bucking Battle title.
All of the World Finals action begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and at 1 p.m. Sunday. Tickets can be purchased at UNLVtickets.com and by telephone at 702-739-3267.
CBS Sports Network will broadcast every round live at 9 p.m. ET on Oct. 22-25 and at 4 p.m. ET on Oct. 26. For more information on the World Finals, please visit worldfinals.pbr.com.
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