By: Denise Abbott
June 22, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – This year, the PBR’s (Professional Bull Riders) Heroes & Legends Celebration will honor the bucking bull widely considered to be the greatest in the history of the sport, three-time PBR World Champion Bull Bushwacker.
A part of PBR Finals Week in Las Vegas (Oct. 29-Nov. 6), the PBR Heroes & Legends Celebration will take place at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa on Tuesday, Nov. 1. This year’s ceremony will induct the 2016 class of honorees: Bushwacker will be bestowed with the Brand of Honor; 1996 PBR World Champion Owen Washburn will be enshrined in the Ring of Honor; Dr. Tandy Freeman will receive the Jim Shoulders Lifetime Achievement Award; and LeAnn Hart will be honored with the Sharon Shoulders Award.
The Brand of Honor is awarded to a bull for his exemplary performance throughout his career.
Bushwacker bucked onto the PBR scene in 2009 as the ABBI (American Bucking Bull, Inc.) Reserve Wild Card Champion, then picked up $250,000 the following year as the 2010 ABBI World Champion Classic Bull. After allowing one Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) qualified ride in 2009 by Thiago Paguioto, the 1,700-pound champion competed for four years on the BFTS, consecutively bucking off 42 cowboys, setting a new PBR record that holds to this day. After Paguioto, only long-time rival, J.B. Mauney was able to cover him, bringing the highly publicized streak to an end in 2013 for 95.25 points. It is the highest-marked ride of the two-time and reigning PBR World Champion’s career to date.
Bushwacker, the most popular PBR athlete during his reign, was lauded by numerous media outlets, including an appearance in ESPN the Magazine’s The Body issue in 2013 as “Unridable.” Newsweek likened him to Michael Jordan; he was also covered by USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, and featured on CBS This Morning and ESPN’s E:60.
The champion bovine recorded 64 buck offs in 66 BFTS outs, ranking him eighth all-time in buck offs to date. His career BFTS buck off percentage was 96.969 percent. He also earned an average bull score of 46.162 points. Bushwacker retired in 2014 after collecting his second consecutive, and third overall, PBR World Champion Bull title.
“This is very exciting,” said Julio Moreno, PBR stock contractor and owner of Bushwacker. “It’s very flattering to be able to say I have a bull that is receiving the Brand of Honor, especially since it’s Bushwacker.”
The PBR Ring of Honor was created in 1996 to recognize those who have had the most profound impact on the sport of bull riding, both inside and outside of the arena. Its 42 members share a common bond of courage, strength and victory and have played a significant role in helping professional bull riding grow to become one of the ten most popular sports in the U.S. while now competing in five countries globally.
Known as Captain Consistency, Washburn qualified for the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals 10 times (1994-98, 2000, 2002-05) and won the PBR World Championship in 1996. Washburn was the first man to ride Tony Sharp’s nearly unconquerable bull Hammer, ending a 23-cowboy buckoff streak. His pair of 92.5-point rides on the 1,800-pound athlete helped him win $125,210 in one weekend – a record at the time – in 2003. Washburn retired in 2005 and focused his sights on becoming a stock contractor, supplying the PBR and the bull riding world with rank stock. Washburn will be presented with a ring handcrafted of diamonds and gold bearing the PBR logo, his name and 2016, his induction year.
“I am thankful to still be in the game and honored that I would be remembered and thought of today,” said Washburn.
First awarded in 2011, the Jim Shoulder Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a non-bull rider who has made a significant contribution to the sport. Since 1995, Dr. Tandy Freeman, the official on-site doctor for the PBR, has crisscrossed the country with the PBR’s Built Ford Tough Series, examining and treating athletes at every stop. Freeman is also the Medical Director of Justin Sportsmedicine, which services the NFR. Freeman’s professional commitment and dedication to Western sports athletes have led to him receiving the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame Western Heritage Award (2008) and being named the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Texas Circuit Man of the Year (2004) and the Resistol Rodeo Man of the Year (2010). He also received the Lane Frost Award in 2012 and was inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2013.
LeAnn Hart will be the seventh woman to be honored with the Sharon Shoulders Award. Created by the PBR Board of Directors in 2009 to honor women who have made a difference in the life of a bull rider and contributed significantly to the sport, the Sharon Shoulders Award honors its namesake for her support and encouragement of her late husband, Jim Shoulders, the celebrated cowboy and bull rider who was inducted into the PBR Ring of Honor’s inaugural 1996 class.
LeAnn has been a fixture on the PBR scene since she met and married J.W. “Ironman” Hart, the 2002 PBR World Finals event winner. She is very well-known in the bull riding community, not only as Hart’s wife, but also as a singer, mother, photographer and Christian. She gracefully balances supporting her husband in his many PBR endeavors and raising their three children, with singing the National Anthem at select Built Ford Tough Series events, owning a photography studio in Oklahoma and communing through her ministry. LeAnn is a friend to many in the PBR and rodeo worlds and inspires women daily with her commitment, strength and spirit.
Fans can enhance their PBR Finals Week experience by buying tickets for the 2016 Heroes & Legends Celebration starting Wednesday, June 29th. For $75, fans will receive tickets to the PBR Heroes & Legends Reception offering complimentary beverages and admission to the PBR Heroes & Legends Celebration and Induction ceremony, followed by live entertainment. The package also includes passes to the VIP pre-parties of the 2016 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals at T-Mobile Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 2 and Thursday, Nov. 3. Tickets can be purchased at the South Point Showroom Box Office or by calling the PBR Customer Service department at (800) 732-1727.
South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa is the Official Host Hotel of the PBR Heroes & Legends Celebration. Special room rates and packages, starting at $65 and $115 (plus taxes and resorts fees), respectively, are available to fans at South Point by using the code PRO1102. For reservations and information call 866-791-7626.
PBR Finals Week begins with the PBR BlueDEF Finals Saturday, Oct. 29 – Monday, Oct. 31 at South Point Arena & Equestrian Center. The week also will include Ultimate Freestyle Bullfighting, concerts, VIP parties, ABBI World Finals, charity outings, PBR Finals Week Fan Zone, and the PBR World Finals taking place at T-Mobile Arena, Wednesday, Nov. 2- Sunday, Nov. 6, culminating with the crowning of the 2016 PBR World Champion.
Information about all of the week’s activities and ticket outlets can be found online at www.pbrworldfinals.com.
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