One rider that has a taken a small step toward starting the 2015 season on the right foot is Ben Jones. The 35-year-old is competing in Baltimorecourtesy of his BlueDEF Velocity Tour event victory at the L.J. Jenkins Invitational in November when he rode Nefarious for an event-winning 89 points.
Jones is currently the world leader by a small margin after earning 257.5 points toward the standings because of the PBR’s new points system that awards riders points for competing at BlueDEF Velocity Tour, Touring Pro Division and international events, as well as on the BFTS.
He will face Wreck It Ralph for the first time in his career on Friday night.
Defending World Champion Silvano Alves begins his quest for a fourth gold buckle when he takes on Little Red in Round 1. Alves accumulated 140 points toward the world standings after competing in Australia this offseason.
J.B. Mauney, who won the last BFTS event in Baltimore in 2012, is slated for a rematch against Ranga in the first round. Mauney rode Ranga for 87.5 points last season in Colorado Springs, Colorado, before Ranga bucked him off in Laughlin, Nevada.
Shane Proctor and Reese Cates are both using injury exemptions to compete in Baltimore. This will be Proctor’s first BFTS event since last year’s BFTS season opener in New York. The 29-year-old then decided to undergo surgery on his left shoulder to fix a torn labrum and rotator cuff that was still hindering him from the 2013 season. Proctor had expected to return to action during the second half of last season before he had to undergo surgery again following a July 1 rodeo in which he did damage to his opposite shoulder.
Finally healthy, Proctor is excited to return and will have four injury exemptions to work his way back on tour.
“I’ve just been figuring out how to push myself so I can be back and ready for the 2015 season and be in the best shape possible,” Proctor said last week. “I’m looking forward to 2015, because I’ve spent the whole year thinking about it.”
Cates has three exemptions remaining after also undergoing shoulder surgery last season. He returned from the injury last August and competed in Nashville, Tennessee, only to suffer a groin injury that also cost him an additional two events.
“Tandy (Freeman) fixed me up great and I took those six months off to kind of work on myself and getting better,” Cates said in November.
Billy Robinson, Harve Stewart and Luis Blanco are in the draw this weekend as alternates because of injuries that are preventing Ty Pozzobon, Douglas Duncan, Emilio Resende, Claudio Crisostomo and Markus Mariluch from competing.
© 2015 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.