PUEBLO, Colo. – For the 22nd consecutive year, the world’s top bull riders and the fiercest bucking bulls in the business will return to Las Vegas for the richest bull riding event on the planet, the 2015 PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Built Ford Tough World Finals on Oct. 21-25 at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center, which offers a total purse of $2.3 million.
Qualifying for this season finale is considered an incredible feat and often fulfills a life-long dream for many bull riding athletes. This year, 40 talented bull riding stars made the cut:
J.B. Mauney – (Mooresville, North Carolina)
Joao Ricardo Vieira – (Itatinga, Brazil)
Kaique Pacheco – (Itatiba, Brazil)
Matt Triplett – (Columbia Falls, Montana)
J.W. Harris – (May, Texas)
Fabiano Vieira – (Perola, Brazil)
Nathan Schaper – (Grassy Butte, North Dakota)
Stetson Lawrence – (Trenton, North Dakota)
Valdiron de Oliveira – (Aparecido do Goiania, Brazil)
Guilherme Marchi – (Leme, Brazil)
Cody Nance – (Paris, Tennessee)
Gage Gay – (Staley, North Carolina)
Tanner Byrne – (Prince Albert, Saskatchewan)
Reese Cates – (Monticello, Arkansas)
Silvano Alves – (Pilar do Sul, Brazil)
Cooper Davis – (Jasper, Texas)
Mike Lee – (Decatur, Texas)
Mason Lowe – (Exeter, Missouri)
Shane Proctor – (Mooresville, North Carolina)
Eduardo Aparecido – (Gouvelandia, Brazil)
Ben Jones – (Goulburn, Australia)
Robson Aragao – (Aracaju Sergipe, Brazil)
Rubens Barbosa – (Iaciara, Brazil)
Renato Nunes – (Buritama, Brazil)
Stormy Wing – (Dalhart, Texas)
Aaron Roy – (Asquith, Saskatchewan)
Ryan Dirteater – (Hulbert, Oklahoma)
Kasey Hayes – (Liberal, Kansas)
Chase Outlaw – (Hamburg, Arkansas)
Brady Sims – (Holt, Missouri)
Robson Palermo – (Rio Branco, Brazil)
Alexandre Cardozo – (Indaiatuba, Brazil)
Bonner Bolton – (Odessa, Texas)
Douglas Duncan – (Alvin, Texas)
Lachlan Richardson – (Gesford, Australia)
Joining these 35 men in Las Vegas will be five qualifiers from the BlueDEF Velocity Tour ranks. The Top 3 bull riders at the BlueDEF Finals on Oct. 9-10, who were not already part of the Top 35 in the PBR world standings, gained entry. The top performing international invitee from the PBR’s circuits in Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico, along with the highest finisher in the 2015 BlueDEF Velocity Tour Standings, also qualified.
Neil Holmes (Houston, Texas), Derek Kolbaba (Walla Walla, Washington) and Luis Blanco (Icanga, Brazil) qualified as the Top-3 finishers while Justin Paton (Nebo, Australia) was the top-performing international invitee. Because Gay, Pacheco and Holmes, the Top-3 finishers in the overall BlueDEF Velocity Tour standings, qualified for the World Finals by virtue of the Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) standings and BlueDEF Finals event finishes, No. 4 BlueDEF Velocity Tour rider Michael Lane (Tazewell, Virginia) earned the fifth spot to the Finals.
On the other side of the 8-second battles are the best bulls of the 2015 Built Ford Tough Series season. Their 2015 slates are wiped clean and the only scores that matter are those received at the World Finals. The bull that receives the highest aggregate score in two rounds of competition will be declared the 2015 PBR World Champion Bull and receive $50,000.
Seven of this season’s best bovine athletes are competing for the title: Roy (Julio Moreno Bucking Bulls), Jared Allen’s Air Time (Jarrod Allen’s Pro Bull Team), Sweet Pro’s Long John (D&H Cattle Co.), Bruiser (D&H Cattle Co.), Stone Sober (D&H Cattle Co.) Smooth Operator (Dakota Rodeo-Berger/Struve) and Jeremiah (Square Up-Smets/Dodson).
The honor of protecting the PBR bull riders for every 8-second ride at the Finals has been bestowed upon Shorty Gorham, Frank Newsom, Jesse Byrne and Cody Webster. The Top 35 riders voted on the bullfighters they want to have watching their backs.
Gorham has been voted into the Finals 10 times, while 2015 will mark Newsom’s 10th consecutive year and 13th year overall as a member of the World Finals Dickies® Bullfighters. Byrne will be making his seventh appearance and is the only Canadian bullfighter to ever be selected. Webster, a protégé of Newsom, has been fighting bulls since 2011 and will be making his second appearance at the Finals.
Also selected by the Top 35 bull riders are the judges for the World Finals. Five men will have the task of scoring each ride, breaking ties and reviewing replays. Allan Jordan, Lane Foltyn, Royd Doyal and Shawn Ramirez will assess each ride with Jeff Shearer serving as the replay judge.
Offering a total purse of $2.3 million, the 2015 PBR World Finals includes a $1 million bonus to the World Champion, who also receives the coveted World Champion belt buckle.
Each rider will ride one bull per night during Rounds 1-5 from Wednesday through Sunday. Scores from the five rides will then be combined, and the Top 15 riders will advance to the Built Ford Tough Championship Round following the completion of Round 5 on Sunday, Oct. 25. The rider with the highest total score for the six rounds will earn the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals event title and $250,000 for first place.
The current points leader is 2013 PBR World Champion, J.B. Mauney. Mauney leads the BFTS with six 90-plus-point rides this season and has won four events (Des Moines, Biloxi, Tulsa, Tucson). He has ranked first in the world standings for the last eight weeks and is currently sporting a 58 percent riding percentage, leading all riders.
Mauney sits in the top spot with 5,105 points, 1,315 ahead of No. 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira.
The 2013 rookie of the year, Vieira won the Iron Cowboy event in Arlington, Texas, as well as Last Cowboy Standing in Las Vegas. He won four rounds on the season while covering the second most championship round bulls on the year. He also tied for the most final round appearances (11) for a 45.45 riding percentage. (is the percentage overall or just in championship rounds?)
Sitting in third place is rookie Kaique Pacheco, who has led the rookie race most of the season. Pacheco has won three BFTS events this year and has been ranked in the Top 10 for the last 11 weeks. He earned his way onto the BFTS by winning four events on the BlueDEF Velocity Tour standings.
Matt Triplett sits in fourth place. Triplett was PBR’s top rider 11 weeks in a row at the start of the season, and has remained in the Top 5 since. He has notched three 90-plus-point rides this season, picking up wins in Oklahoma City and Anaheim.
J.W. Harris, the 2014 Rookie of the Year is fifth in the world standings. In his first full year on the BFTS, Harris has won three events and has finished in the Top 10, 11 times.
The event begins at 6 p.m. PT each evening, Wednesday, Oct. 21-Saturday, Oct. 24, and at 1 p.m. PT on Sunday, Oct. 25. The Ford Blue Carpet arrival of the contestants starts at 4 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday and at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
CBS Sports Network will broadcast every round of the 2015 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals live at 8:30 p.m. ET, Wednesday-Saturday and then at 3:30 on Sunday. The World Finals pre-show will air live from the Thomas & Mack Plaza at 8:30 p.m. ET.
For more information on the World Finals, please visit www.pbrworldfinals.com.
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