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PBR Celebrates 20 Years of BFTS Competition in Billings

BILLINGS, Mont. – The 2015 Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) season marks the 20th year the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) has made a stop in Billings, Montana. It is the most-visited regular season city on the BFTS.

“As we celebrate the PBR’s 20th year in Billings, it gives us a chance to thank the thousands of Montana fans that have supported us over two decades,” PBR Chairman and CEO Jim Haworth said. “Our success wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for our loyal fan base, many of whom attend the Built Ford Tough Series event at Rimrock Auto Arena each and every year.”

The PBR’s Stanley Performance in Action Invitational presented by Cooper Tires will take place at the Rimrock Auto Arena on Friday through Sunday, April 17-19. Bull riding action will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 1:50 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets for the event start at $15 and can be purchased at the MetraPark Arena Box Office, all MetraPark outlets, online at metrapark.com or via phone at 800-366-8538.

Beginning in 1996, PBR brought the BFTS to Rimrock Auto Arena and has continued to return every year since.  Hundreds of PBR bull riders have competed, accepting the more than $2.5 million in prize money that has been awarded.

Past winners include two-time PBR World Champions Chris Shivers and Justin McBride, 2013 PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney, Troy Dunn and 2013 PBR Rookie of the Year Joao Ricardo Vieira.

Previous Billings event champions include:

2014 Cody Nance

2013 Joao Ricardo Vieira

2012 Austin Meier

2011 Valdiron de Oliveira

2010 Travis Briscoe

2009 Michael Manes

2008 Zack Brown

2007 J. B. Mauney

2006 Brian Canter

2005 Justin McBride

2004 Brian Herman

2003 Wiley Petersen

2002 Lee Akin

2001 Chris Shivers

2000 Troy Dunn

1999 Troy Dunn

1998 Rogerio Ferreira

1997 Cody Hart

1996 Tuff Hedeman

During this three-day event, Montana fans will experience the best bull riding in the world. Brawny bovines weighing upwards of 2,000 pounds will challenge the world’s Top 35 bull riders, resulting in heart-stopping wrecks and captivating rides, as each cowboy fights to make the 8-second whistle.

Last year, the Billings audience watched Cody Nance win his third event title on the season, covering all four of his bulls. In 2015, Nance is looking to defend his title, competing alongside Montana native and current No. 2 rider in the world Matt Triplett, 2014 Rookie of the Year J.W. Harris, as well as fan favorites Ryan Dirteater and Douglas Duncan.

Three former PBR World Champions are also scheduled to ride in Billings, including Renato Nunes, (2010), Guilherme Marchi (2008) and Mike Lee (2004).

All Top 35 bull riders will get on one bull each in Round 1 on Friday, Round 2 on Saturday and Round 3 on Sunday. After Round 3 on Sunday night, the riders’ individual three-round scores will be totaled and the Top 15 riders will advance to the Built Ford Tough Championship Round for one more ride and a chance at the $30,000 event title.

Following Round 2 on Saturday, the sport’s top bovine athletes and best bull riders will compete in a special round of competition, the PBR’s 15/15 Bucking Battle. The series’ Top 15 riders will be randomly matched against the 15 highest-ranked bulls in this round, competing for bonus points which count towards the PBR world standings and a total purse of $21,000.

No. 1 rider in the PBR world standings Joao Ricardo Vieira will face I’m A Gangster Too (Jeff Robinson Bucking Bulls/TNT Bucking Bulls) on Saturday night during the 15/15 Bucking Battle. This will be the first matchup between Vieira and a bovine who has bucked off 40 of the 47 riders he has faced on the BFTS.

Wicked (J.A.R.S. Bucking Bulls/Gene Owens), who bucked off North Dakotan Nathan Schaper last weekend .01 seconds shy of the 8-second buzzer, will go up against Triplett in the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Saturday. Triplett last attempted Wicked in August 2014 during the PBR Tulsa event where he was tossed in 5.88 seconds.

Schaper will attempt a bull no rider on the BFTS has been able to successfully cover — Mick E. Mouse (Marlene Henry). This bull will be going for his 35th straight buckoff this weekend during the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

CBS Television Network will broadcast the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Sunday, April 19, at 1 p.m. ET. Round 3 and the Built Ford Tough Championship Round of the Stanley Performance in Action Invitational presented by Cooper Tires will air live on CBS Sports Network at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Billings will be the 15th of the 27 stops on the 2015 BFTS. The season will conclude at the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas on Oct. 21-25 when the 2015 PBR World Champion, the bull rider who earns the most points during the 2015 season, will be crowned and receive the coveted World Championship belt buckle and a $1 million bonus.

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.

© 2015 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.