By: Jordan Marie Johnson
March 02, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – After a one-year hiatus, the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) will return to Talking Stick Resort Arena – formerly US Airways Center – to showcase the toughest men on dirt as they face the rankest bucking bulls in the sport during the Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) Ak-Chin Invitational on March 5-6.
From riveting 8-second rides to heart-stopping wrecks, PBR offers fans two hours of non-stop action as the sport’s biggest stars, the Top 35 bull riders in the world, try to conquer 2,000-pound opponents to earn a piece of the $140,000 total event purse.
The competition will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 5, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 6. Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased at the Talking Stick Resort Arena box office, www.Ticketmaster.com, and by telephone at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also include round-trip travel on Phoenix’s METRO Light Rail to Talking Stick Resort Arena. For more information visitwww.pbr.com.
For an enhanced PBR experience, fans can purchase the PBR Elite Seats. Located in an exclusive section of the arena near all of the action, the PBR Elite Seats are priced at $450 each and will give fans the VIP experience of a lifetime, including a pre-event catered reception, backstage tours featuring a PBR 101 presentation, and meet-and-greets with the PBR’s top stars. Contact the PBR Customer Service Department at 800-732-1727 for more information.
In 2014, then-reigning PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney went 3-for-3 on the weekend to win the event in Phoenix, his second of the season. Mauney will return to Talking Stick Resort Arena in 2016, once again as the reigning PBR World Champion after winning his second world title in 2015.
In addition, three other World Champions will ride alongside Mauney, including Silvano Alves (2011, 2012, 2014), Guilherme Marchi (2008) and Mike Lee (2004). Rookie sensation Derek Kolbaba, current No. 1 man Shane Proctor and current Top 10 riders Lachlan Richardson and Robson Palermo are also scheduled to compete.
The PBR’s Top 35 bull riders will ride one bull each in Rounds 1 and 2 on Saturday and Sunday. After Round 2 on Sunday, the riders’ individual 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.
Awaiting the Top 15 bull riders of the Ak-Chin Invitational’s Built Ford Tough Championship Round will be the Top 15 bulls of the event, including Chad Berger’s 2012 PBR World Champion Bucking Bull Asteroid and Julio Moreno’s 2015 World Champion Bull contender Roy.
CBS Sports Network will air Round 2 and the Built Ford Tough Championship Round of the Ak-Chin Invitational on Saturday, March 6 at 8 p.m. ET.
PBR LIVE will stream the entire event in real time with Round 1 on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET and Round 2 and the championship round on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET. PBR LIVE is now available at no charge to all fans and media. Visit www.PBR.com/live to view. Fans can also watch all of the action live via the PBR LIVE app, available for download now on Google Play and iTunes.
Bullfighters Only (BFO) and the PBR have joined forces to feature the most-talented freestyle bullfighters in the world during BFO competitions at stops along the PBR’s 2016 Built Ford Tough Series – Phoenix included. Bullfighters will take to the arena during intermission on Saturday at Talking Stick Resort Arena, to showcase their fast–paced sport, which is based on the fundamental skills required to protect bull riders.
The Ak-Chin Invitational is the ninth stop on the 2016 BFTS schedule. The season will conclude at the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas on Nov. 2-6 at Las Vegas’s new T-Mobile Arena when the 2016 PBR World Champion, the bull rider who earns the most points during the 2016 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 – the home of the PBR and networks around the world. Television ratings for PBR on CBS are up more than 35 percent this season compared to last year at this time, according to Nielsen. 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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