HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – Never before did palm trees, bucking bulls, bikinis, roller blades, and cowboy hats ever look as perfect together as they did on Saturday afternoon for the Monster Energy Bulls on the Beach 15/15 Bucking Battle.
The Pacific Ocean served as a gracious host, and by the time the CBS cameras turned on at 2 p.m., nearly 5,000 people had lined up all around the makeshift Built Ford Tough Series arena in the parking lot on the corner of Huntington Street and Pacific Coast Highway.
It was a breathtaking view for the PBR’s first trip to Huntington Beach, and it created a heart-pumping appetizer leading up to this week’s Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas.
PBR Entertainer Flint Rasmussen couldn’t believe what he saw after he stepped onto the shark cage during introductions.
“I looked to the ocean side and people just went on forever,” Rasmussen said. “It was crazy. They wanted to come. It was a good atmosphere. It is not contained, so it is a little different feel, but it was something on the beach and people wanted to come.”
Fans began lining up at roughly 10 a.m., as the buzz continued to circle around and trickle down the coastline.
“I thought having a bull riding here was fun,” said nine-time World Champion Ty Murray. “It just felt really cool and it felt like a cool place to have it. The weather was perfect and it seemed like the people were loving it.”
Murray also served as the color commentator for this weekend’s CBS broadcast, which can be seen on Sunday at 3 p.m. or 5 p.m. ET. Check local listings for the broadcast time in your area.
Prior to the event, Chase Outlaw said that the Bulls on the Beach was going to be much bigger than anyone could have expected as he was continuously being asked for autographs by the fans lining the fence near where the bull riders were getting ready.
Across from the ocean and on the other side of the arena, car alarms began to siren down Pacific Coast Highway from the loud bass booming from the Monster Energy stage.
The music even had Kasey Hayes joking that he felt like maybe he should start dancing.
“The environment was cool. I was jacked up to get on,” Hayes said, despite getting tossed by Buck Dynasty.
PBR Chairman and CEO Jim Haworth said it was fun to bring the sport to a new setting and group of fans.
“What is great about us is that we can go from Madison Square Garden to AT&T Stadium – where the Dallas Cowboys play – to Times Square in New York and to right here in Huntington Beach,” Haworth said. “I can guarantee that 80 percent of these people have never seen this kind of event before. It is fun to get them hyped up, get a chance to get some exposure for some new fans and to see some of our great fans that we already have in Southern California.”
Marco Eguchi was the first to bring the crowd to life with an 8-second ride on Velvet Rain for 84.75 points.
“This is a new place for the PBR and we come here to try (and build interest),” Eguchi said. The people have come to watch the bull riding. That is good for us.”
Matt Triplett took home the event win with an 87-point ride on Oklahoma Bell. Following his ride, he saluted the packed crowd alongside the ocean-side, before grabbing his bull rope and heading behind the chutes.
“This was a great opportunity to see all of these new fans and see the kind of surfer-type of fans and everyone that gets to hang out on the beach,” Triplett said. “It was a huge opportunity for the bull riders to ride on the beach. It was awesome.”
Cody Nance added, “There were a bunch of people up and down the beach yesterday just burning bonfires. We were bucking bulls today. I could guarantee they would come for that.
“This is a lot better than any bonfire on the beach.”
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