LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In the form that made him the 2014 PBR Rookie of Year runner-up, Gage Gay went 3-for-3 to capture the 2015 PBR BlueDEF Finals, presented by Pneu-Dart, event title at the KFC Yum! Center this weekend.
The 360 points Gay received for the win catapulted him to the top of the 2015 BlueDEF Velocity Tour standings to win the overall 2015 BlueDEF Velocity Tour Championship. For his efforts, Gay received both the $25,000 check for the event win and the $50,000 check for the championship, pocketing $75,000 in total.
“The win and my performance gives me a lot of confidence and momentum going into the [PBR World] Finals,” Gay said. “Vegas is always crazy and you get nervous, but I’m feeling good right now.”
Gay entered the championship round as the event leader and used an 88.5-point ride on Legal Tender (J.A.R.S. Bucking Bulls/Gene Owen) to win the round and clinch the titles.
Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) riders Cody Nance, Joao Ricardo Vieira, Brady Sims and Mike Lee rounded out the Top 5 in the event.
Vieira, who was No. 3 in the PBR world standings entering the weekend, earned enough world points with his third-place finish tonight to regain the No. 2 spot in the world standings. He had lost the spot to leading PBR rookie Kaique Pacheco in Tucson, Arizona, last weekend at during the 2015 BFTS regular-season finale.
Vieira now trails world standings leader J.B. Mauney by 1,315 points. Mauney finished in sixth place in Louisville.
The BlueDEF Finals also qualified five lucky bull riders to the $2.3 million PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas on Oct. 21-25 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The Top-3 finishing bull riders for the event, who were not already part of the Top 35 in the PBR world standings, gained entry, as well as the top-performing international invitee from the PBR’s circuits in Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico, and the highest finisher in the 2015 BlueDEF Velocity Tour standings.
Neil Holmes, Derek Kolbaba and Luis Blanco qualified as the Top-3 finishers.
Holmes used an 86.75-point ride on Back in Black (SG Farms Bucking Bulls), a re-ride bull in the championship round, to make the World Finals as the top-finishing qualifier with an aggregate score of 172 points.
With an aggregate score of 160.25 points, Blanco rode his way into the Finals in the third position.
Australian Justin Paton was the top-performing international invitee on the weekend, earning his way to the World Finals with an 84-point ride on Ranger (Todd Tatum). This will be Paton’s first appearance in Las Vegas.
With Gay, Pacheco and Holmes, the Top-3 finishers in the overall BlueDEF Velocity Tour standings, qualifying for the World Finals by virtue of their BFTS standings and BlueDEF Finals event finishes, No. 4 BlueDEF Velocity Tour rider Michael Lane earns the fifth spot to the Finals.
Lane was No. 37 in the PBR world standings entering this weekend and No. 2 in the BlueDEF Velocity Tour standings. He needed a good showing in Louisville to qualify for Las Vegas. His 83.75-ride on Shotgun Red (Todd Tatum) in Round 2 was just enough to keep him in the picture.
On Oct. 21-25, these men, plus the Top 35 in the PBR world standings will compete in Las Vegas during the last competition of the 2015 PBR season, the Built Ford Tough World Finals, taking place at the Thomas & Mack Center. Tickets for the five-day event start at $30 and can be purchased at unlvtickets.com and at the Thomas & Mack Center Box Office.
CBS Sports Network will air each round of the Finals live at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 21 – Saturday, Oct. 24, and at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 25.
For more information visit pbrworldfinals.com.
The BlueDEF Finals was also the culmination of the three-month PBR BlueDEF Bucking Madness: Bull Rider Reality Series. Nineteen-year-old Dustin Ratchford and Indiana’s Ryan Miller competed against each other for two nights alongside the best in the world to determine the winner. As a result of his performance throughout the competition and his showing this weekend, Ryan Miller was named the winner. Miller receives a $5,000 BlueDEF sponsorship and five exemptions to events on the 2016 BlueDEF Tour.
“This is a huge blessing and big opportunity for my career,” Miller said. “I thank God, my family and all of my friends who supported me through this process.”
Miller and Ratchford’s journey, from the contest entry process and semifinalist selection, through the Bucking Madness Boot Camp, their initial PBR competition at the BlueDEF Velocity Tour event in Cleveland, Ohio, and ultimately to the BlueDEF Finals in Louisville, is airing as a series of webisodes on BuckingMadness.com. A one-hour special recounting their adventure, “Cowboy Madness,” will also air on CBS Sports Network on Monday, Oct. 19 at 9 p.m. ET. Please visit www.buckingmadness.com for more details.
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