Event preview: Tacoma

By: Denise M. Abbott March 13, 2014@ 03:15:00 PM

Mike Lee enters the PBR Passport Invitational second in the world standings. Photo by Andy Watson /

PUEBLO, Colo. ― 2013 PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney and the rest of the Top 35 bull riders in the world are headed to the Tacoma Dome, Saturday and Sunday, March 15-16, for the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Passport Invitational, part of the 2014 Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS).

During this two-day event, fans will experience more than two hours of non-stop bull riding action filled with exhilarating 8-second rides, heart-stopping wrecks and jaw-dropping performances as the PBR cowboys risk it all against their nearly 2,000-pound counterparts where only one athlete will be left standing at the buzzer.

In addition to more than 80 of the best bovine athletes in the business, five former PBR World Champions are expected to compete in Tacoma – Mauney (2013), Silvano Alves (2011, 2012), Renato Nunes (2010),Guilherme Marchi (2008) and Mike Lee (2004). Joining these men will be the newly crowned Iron Cowboy and 2013 Rookie of the Year Joao Ricardo Vieira; Merritt, British Columbia’s Ty Pozzobon; fan favorites Jory Markiss,Douglas Duncan, Ben Jones and L.J. Jenkins; defending event championMarco Eguchi and a host of young guns. They’ll be holding on tight for at least $30,000 as the winner and will attempt to earn valuable points needed toward the PBR World Championship.

Margo’s Dream (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve/B & M Bucking Bulls) awaits Marchi, the current No. 1 rider in the world, in Round 1 of the PBR Passport Invitational Saturday Night.  Marchi reached a milestone of 500 career 8-second BFTS rides last weekend in Phoenix and should be looking at 501 after Round 1.  Marchi met Margo’s Dream in Chicago this year where he received 83.75 points for his efforts. It was the only BFTS appearance of the bull’s career.

Lee is only 70 points behind Marchi in the world standings and could make up some ground in Round 1 when he faces Pucker Up (Silver Creek Pro Rodeo). Pucker Up will be making his debut in the BFTS on Saturday night.

A win in Phoenix last weekend catapulted Mauney from No. 6 to No. 3 in the standings and he now trails Marchi by only 406 points. Another win could potentially make him the leading man, but he’ll have to get through at least three bulls this weekend – including his first-round draw Buck Nasty (Wentz Bucking Bulls). The two have never met in BFTS competition. In Buck Nasty’s only BFTS appearance he bucked off Josh Faircloth in 5.3 seconds during the PBR Oakland in 2013.

The riders will face one bull each on Saturday and Sunday. Following Round 2 on Sunday, the riders with the 15 highest cumulative scores will advance to the Built Ford Tough Championship Round where they will compete on one additional bull. The overall event winner will be the rider with the highest combined score from all three rounds.

Previous event champions in Tacoma include:

2013 Marco Eguchi
2009 Brian Canter
2008 Chris Shivers      
2007 Paulo Crimber
2006 Sean Willingham
2005 Fabricio Alves
2004 Justin McBride
2003 Mike White

The competition begins at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 2:50 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets, starting at $15, are now on sale at the Tacoma Dome Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, online at or via phone at 800-745-3000.

The PBR Passport Invitational will be streamed live on PBR LIVE at 11 p.m. ET on Saturday. It will be broadcast live on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.

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.

Tacoma is the 11th 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.


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