Event preview: Albuquerque

By: Denise M. Abbott March 19, 2014@ 05:00:00 PM

Bushwacker is back in action for the Ty Murray Invitational. Photo by Andy Watson /

PUEBLO, Colo. ― The Professional Bull Riders (PBR) 2014 Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) returns to The Pit on March 21-23 with the “baddest” bull riders in the world led by No. 1 Guilherme Marchi and the fiercest bulls, featuring two-time World Champion Bull Bushwacker, for the 18thconsecutive Ty Murray Invitational, presented by Sandia Resort & Casino in Albuquerque, N.M.

For three days the world’s Top 35 bull riders will face off with foes more than 100 times their weight in sinewy brawn during 8-second battles where only one athlete will be left standing. In 2013, the Ty Murray Invitational drew record-breaking crowds to The Pit, the most intimate venue on the PBR’s BFTS schedule, and the PBR expects much of the same this weekend.

The action begins Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 7:50 p.m. and Sunday at 1:50 p.m. Tickets, ranging in price from $15 to $100, are available at the University of New Mexico Box Office, Albertson’s ticket outlet locations, or via phone at 877-664-8661.

VIDEO: Highlights from the 2013 Ty Murray Invitational

Three former PBR World Champions are expected to compete in Albuquerque – Silvano Alves (2011, 2012), Renato Nunes (2010) and Marchi (2008). Joining these men will be some fan favorites such as Ryan Dirteater, Jory Markiss, Chase Outlaw, Ben Jones and L.J. Jenkins; defending event champion, 2013 Rookie of the Year and recently crowned PBR Iron Cowboy Joao Ricardo Vieira; and a host of young guns each looking for his share of the $140,000 total purse.

Guytin Tsosie of the Navajo Nation is the special invitee to the Ty Murray Invitational this year. This will be Tsosie’s third PBR BFTS event.  He hails from Farmington, N.M, and will be the local favorite this weekend.

In addition to the greatest riders, the Ty Murray Invitational always features the best bulls in the PBR. Two-time reigning World Champion Bull Bushwacker will be in the lineup on Sunday waiting for one brave bull rider to select him in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round. It will be the last time Albuquerque fans will be able to see the legendary bull in action. He will retire at the end of 2014.

Shepherd Hills TestedRangoI’m A Gangster TooDavid’s Dream andStone Sober are a few of the other top bulls that will be competing on Sunday alongside Bushwacker. The $1,000 Salem National Lease High Marked Bull of the event award is up for grabs for these athletes this weekend.

Marchi will face Heavy Dose (Bar 3D Bucking Bulls), a newcomer to the Built Ford Tough Series, Friday night in Round 1. The current No. 1 rider in the world hopes his 62.16 percent riding average and 503 career rides will give him the edge he needs to cover his draw.

The “Cherokee Kid” Dirteater will go up against Funkytown of D&H Cattle Company on Friday night. Funkytown has made one appearance on the BFTS, two weeks ago in Phoenix. Rookie Brady Sims attempted to ride him, but was bucked off in 3.6 seconds.

Patrick (Bar F Rodeo Genetics) is Tsosie’s first bull of the weekend. He’s a new bull to the BFTS.

Jenkins, a former resident of Texico, New Mexico, and a two-time winner of the Ty Murray Invitational (2011and 2008), will take on another BFTS newcomer, Cool Spit (Martinez Bucking Bulls, LLC), in Round 1.

The riders will face one bull each during Round 1 on Friday, Round 2 on Saturday and Round 3 on Sunday. Following Round 3, the Top 15 riders with the highest cumulative scores on at least two bulls will advance to the Built Ford Tough Championship Round that same day. The overall event winner will be the rider with the highest cumulative score after all four rounds, earning at least $30,000 for only 32 seconds of work and the event title.

Previous Ty Murray event champions include:

2013: Joao Ricardo Vieira
2012: J.B. Mauney
2011: L.J. Jenkins
2010: Austin Meier
2009: Zack Brown
2008: L.J. Jenkins
2007: Adriano Moraes
2006: Colby Yates
2005: Justin McBride/Jake McIntyre (tie)
2004: Mike White
2003: Mike White
2002: Mike White
2001: Justin McBride
2000: Owen Washburn
1999: Cody Hart
1998: J.W. Hart
1997: Norman Curry

Albuquerque is the 12th stop of 27 on the 2014 PBR Built Ford Tough Series schedule. The season kicked off Jan. 3-5 at Madison Square Garden and will conclude at the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas on Oct. 22-26, when the 2014 PBR World Champion, the bull rider who earns the most points during the 2014 season, will receive the coveted World Championship belt buckle and a $1 million bonus.

The event will be streamed live on Friday, March 21, at 10 p.m. ET on PBR LIVE at  Round 2 will be a PURE PBR broadcast that will air on CBS Sports Network at 11 p.m. ET on Saturday.   Sunday’s Round 3 and Built Ford Tough Championship Round will air live on CBS Sports Network at 4 p.m. ET.

The BFTS is televised every week on CBS, CBS Sports Network and networks around the world. BFTS telecasts are produced for the PBR under a multi-year agreement with David Neal Productions, a Los Angeles-based production company led by 34-time Emmy® Award winner and Peabody Award winner David Neal, who serves as executive producer.


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