By: Denise Abbott
March 10, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – This weekend, the world’s premier bull riding circuit returns to Georgia when the PBR’s (Professional Bull Riders) elite Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) stops in Duluth at the Infinite Energy Arena, Saturday and Sunday, March 12-13 for the Duluth Invitational. This marks the fifth time the BFTS has visited Duluth and the 13th time overall that the world’s “toughest men on dirt” and rankest bucking bulls have appeared in Georgia.
The Top 35 bull riders in the world will compete in Duluth, led by two-time and reigning PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney, who became the PBR’s first $6 million man and the richest athlete in Western sports history when he captured the 2015 PBR World Championship in Las Vegas in October. Arguably the most popular bull rider in the PBR today, Mauney will showcase his skills against the toughest bovine athletes in the sport.
Riding alongside Mauney will be three additional PBR World Champions: Silvano Alves (2014, 2012, 2011), Guilherme Marchi (2008) and Mike Lee (2004); fan favorites Ryan Dirteater, Ben Jones, and Kasey Hayes; world No. 1 Shane Proctor, rising stars Derek Kolbaba and Nevada Newman, and many other notable riders.
For two nights, these bull riding superstars will take on opponents more than 10 times their size, hanging tough to make the 8-second whistle in attempting to win the $30,000 event title. The PBR has awarded more than $1.44 million in Atlanta and plans to add $140,000 to that total this weekend. Additionally, valuable PBR world standings points, which count toward the season’s overall $1 million World Championship title, are also on the line.
The bull riding action starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets for the two-day event range in price from $15 to $105 and can be purchased online at AXS.com, the Infinite Energy Arena Box Office or via phone at 770-626-2464.
For added value and entertainment, fans can now purchase PBR Elite Seats. This exclusive seating option gives avid bull riding fans 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 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.
A limited number of PBR Elite Seats are available for $400 and can be purchased by contacting the PBR Customer Service Department at 800-732-1727.
The format is simple; all 35 cowboys will ride in Rounds 1 and 2 on Saturday and Sunday. After Round 2 on Sunday, the two-day scores will be added together and the 15 men with the highest cumulative scores will immediately return for the Built Ford Tough Championship Round. The event winner will be the rider who has performed the best and earned the most world standings points throughout the weekend.
Previous events winners include:
2014 Sean Willingham (Duluth) 2005 Jake McIntyre (Atlanta)
2012 Chris Shivers (Atlanta) 2004 Adriano Moraes (Atlanta)
2011 J.B. Mauney (Duluth) 2003 Cory Melton (Atlanta)
2010 Guilherme Marchi (Duluth) 2001 Adam Carrillo (Columbus)
2008 Mike Lee (Duluth) 2000 Terry Don West (Columbus)
2007 Kasey Hayes (Atlanta) 1999 Cody Hart (Columbus)
Of the 12 previous winners, six have become World Champions: Mauney (2013, 2015), Marchi (2008), Moraes (2006, 2001, 1994), Lee (2004), Shivers (2003, 2000) and Hart (1999).
The bull power in Duluth will be challenging. Reigning PBR World Champion Bull Sweet Pro’s Long John (D&H Cattle Company) will be in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round, along with 2015 American Bucking Bull, Inc. (ABBI) Classic Champion Sweet Pro’s Bruiser (D&H Cattle Co.), 2015 World Champion Bull contender Stone Sober (D&H Cattle), Stanley FatMax (Jeff Robinson) and I’m A Gangster Too (Jeff Robinson/TNT Bucking Bulls). These athletes will be competing also, bucking to win the event’s Salem NationaLease High-Marked Bull honor.
Round 2 and the championship round of the Duluth Invitational will air on CBS Sports Network on Sunday, March 13 at 5:30 p.m. ET. Fans can also watch all of the action in real time on PBR LIVE online at www.pbr.com/live, or via the PBR LIVE app, which is available for download now on Google Play and iTunes.
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