By: Heather Croze
April 21, 2017
PUEBLO, Colo. – The opening act of the PBR’s (Professional Bull Riders) Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) second half will invade Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the 13th consecutive year as the BOK Center hosts the Express Employment Professionals Classic on Aug. 12-13. For two nights, the Top 35 bull riders in the world will wow fans with high-flying, nail-biting non-stop action when the world’s toughest athletes go head-to-head in the most harrowing 8 seconds in sports.
Tulsa’s Express Employment Professionals Classic will begin the BFTS’ final 10-event slate before the 2017 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals, which means the already intense competition will heat up with less than 1,200 points separating the Top 5 bull riders in the world. Ten different bull riders have won events at PBR’s elite level this season, which makes Tulsa an event Oklahoma fans will not want to miss.
The 2016 winner in Tulsa and reigning PBR World Champion, Cooper Davis, will be back to defend his title in Oklahoma. Last season Davis won back-to-back events to begin the second half on the way to his first-ever world title. Davis will be one of four world champions competing, alongside him will be two-time PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney, Silvano Alves (2011, 2012, 2014), Guilherme Marchi (2008) and Mike Lee (2004). Oklahoma native and 2016 World Finals event winner, Ryan Dirteater, will represent the home state during the weekend while young guns Derek Kolbaba and Jess Lockwood look to continue their epic sophomore seasons.
The Express Employment Professionals Classic will begin at 7:45 p.m. on Friday, August 11, and at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday, August 12.
Following the first round of competition on Saturday, the sport’s top bovine athletes and best bull riders will compete in a special round of competition, the PBR’s sixth 15/15 Bucking Battle of the season.
The series’ Top 15 riders will be randomly matched against the 15 highest-ranked bulls in a special round that offers bonus points which count towards the PBR world standings, and a total purse of $21,000.
CBS Sports Network will broadcast the event on Saturday night, which will air at 5:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 13. CBS Sports will air the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET. Fans can also watch each round live on PBR LIVE and the PBR LIVE app. PBR LIVE is available at no charge to all fans and media. Visit PBR.com to view. Fans can also watch all of the action via the PBR LIVE app, available for download now on Google Play and iTunes.
Tickets start at $18 in price and are on sale now at the BOK Center box office, online at Ticketmaster.com or by calling PBR customer service at 1-800-732-1727.
The PBR Elite Seats will be made available for the second year, and are for avid bull riding fans who want a behind-the-scenes look at the world’s premier bull riding circuit. These tickets offer premium seats and the VIP experience of a lifetime, including early entry; a catered reception; 60-minute backstage tour by a PBR Host, featuring a PBR 101 presentation and a visit with the sport’s fiercest bulls; and the opportunity for photos and autographs from top PBR stars.
After the event, PBR Elite Seat holders also will be given premium dirt access, where they can get their complimentary 8 Seconds PBR program, Elite Seat lanyard and other memorabilia autographed by the Top 35 bull riders in the world.
The PBR Elite Seats are available on Saturday night for $403 and can be purchased by contacting the PBR Customer Service Department at 800-732-1727.
Winners in Tulsa include Cooper Davis (2016), J.B. Mauney (2015), Gage Gay (2014), J.B. Mauney (2013), Kody Lostroh (2012), Fabiano Vieira (2011), Renato Nunes (2010), Kody Lostroh (2009), Justin McBride (2008), Adriano Moraes (2007), Kasey Hayes (2006), Edgard Oliveira (2005).
The Express Employment Professionals Invitational will be the 17th event on the 2017 PBR BFTS schedule. The season will consist of 26 stops, traveling to such cities as Chicago, New York, Anaheim, California and Dallas. It will climax with the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena on Nov. 1-5, when the 2017 PBR World Champion, the bull rider who earns the most world standings points during the season, will receive the coveted World Championship belt buckle and $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.
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