PBR Kicks Off 2015 in Baltimore

PUEBLO, Colo (January, 1, 2015) – Get ready Baltimore! After three years, the “toughest men on dirt” are back.

This weekend, the world’s premier bull riding circuit, the Professional Bull Riders (PBR), will be ringing in the New Year and kicking off the 2015 season of its elite Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) with the Baltimore Invitational, a two-day bull riding event at Royal Farms Arena on Jan. 2-3.

The best bull riders in the world will converge on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor for the eighth time in PBR history to take on the rankest bucking bulls the sport has to offer, 8 seconds at a time. Through thrilling rides and heart-stopping wrecks, the Top 35 bull riders of the PBR will face bovine athletes more than 10 times their size, some topping 2,000 pounds, for their share of the $140,000 total event purse and the valuable PBR world points necessary to become the 2015 PBR World Champion.

The action starts at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 2, and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 3. Tickets, which range in price from $15 to $100, are available at the Royal Farms Arena Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at 800-745-3000.

The format is simple. During Round 1 on Friday and Round 2 on Saturday, each bull rider will attempt to cover – make a qualified 8-second ride – the bull they’ve been matched with through a random computer draw. After two rounds of competition, the riders with the Top 15, two-round total scores will attempt to ride an additional bull each in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round on Saturday night after Round 2. At the end of the night, the rider who has earned the most PBR world points during the three rounds will be named the winner.

In 2012, J.B. Mauney rode away from Baltimore as the event winner and will be returning this weekend to defend his title. Mauney, the 2013 PBR World Champion, will be competing alongside five other World Champions in Baltimore: three-time, reigning World Champion Silvano Alves (2014, 2012, 2011), Renato Nunes (2010), Kody Lostroh (2009), Guilherme Marchi (2008) and Mike Lee (2004).

These men will be joined by 2014 PBR Rookie of the Year J.W. Harris, fan favorites Gage Gay, Matt Triplett, Ryan Dirteater and Chase Outlaw, as well as veterans Sean Willingham, L.J. Jenkins and Kasey Hayes, the 2009 Baltimore event champion.

Returning to the BFTS roster after a year will be former world No. 1 Shane Proctor. Proctor suffered a shoulder injury in 2013 and after surgery spent the 2014 season recuperating. He will have a four-event exemption, beginning in Baltimore, to qualify for the BFTS roster as one of the Top 35 bull riders in the world. Proctor faces Billy Jack of K-C Bucking Bulls on Friday in Round 1.

Reese Cates also returns from injury to the BFTS this weekend and will have three events to secure his position among the Top 35. Cates will meet Blues Man (Davis Rodeo Ranch) in Round 1 on Friday night.

As the winner of the Clovis, New Mexico, BlueDEF Velocity Tour event, fan favorite Ben Jones will have the opportunity to ride this weekend in Baltimore in hopes of earning enough points to remain on the BFTS roster. Jones has drawn Wreck it Ralph (Jeff Robinson Bucking Bulls) as his Round 1 opponent on Friday.

While officially ranked in the Top 35 as of the end of the 2014 BFTS season, Markus Mariluch, Ty Pozzobon, Claudio Cristosomo, Emilio Resende and Douglas Duncan will not compete in Baltimore. They are recuperating from injuries suffered last season.

Round 2 and the Built Ford Tough Championship Round of the Baltimore Invitational will air on CBS Sports Network, the home of the PBR, on Saturday, Jan. 3 at 10 p.m. ET. Both nights of action will be streamed live at 8 p.m. ET on Friday and 7 p.m. ET on Saturday at PBR LIVE. PBR LIVE is offering the entire 2015 BFTS season FREE to fans each weekend.

Baltimore, Maryland, is the first of 27 cities on the 2015 PBR Built Ford Tough Series schedule. The series also will travel to Chicago; New York; Anaheim, California; and Dallas on its 18-state tour, culminating with 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 PBR world points during the 2015 season, will be crowned and receive the coveted $10,000 World Championship belt buckle and $1 million bonus.

The BFTS is televised every week on CBS, CBS Sports Network – the home of the PBR – 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.