DES MOINES, Iowa – The Professional Bull Riders (PBR) will buck into Des Moines, Iowa, for the eighth consecutive year with its elite Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) on April 25-26, at Wells Fargo Arena. The Des Moines Invitational presented by Cooper Tires will feature the very best bull riders in the world as well as the best bucking bulls in the business.
During this two-day event, fans will experience more than two hours of the “toughest sport on dirt” in which the most intense battle between man and beast will be played out. An overall purse of $140,000 including the $30,000 event title is up for grabs as well as valuable points needed towards the $1 million 2015 PBR World Championship.
Leading the way into Des Moines will be four former PBR World Champions: J.B. Mauney (2013), Renato Nunes (2010), Guilherme Marchi (2008) and Mike Lee (2004). Fan favorites like Matt Triplett, Tanner Byrne and Ryan Dirteater will be there as well.
Former winners in Des Moines include: Nunes (2014), Joao Ricardo Vieira (2013), Robson Palermo (2012), Chris Shivers (2011), Lee (2010), Travis Briscoe (2009) and Marchi (2008).
Making his return to the BFTS will be the No. 12 bull rider in the world, J.B. Mauney. He has been out for the last month and a half since tearing his ACL during the Fresno Invitational. Mauney opted out of surgery and has been going to physical therapy two times a week in his home state of North Carolina.
After Round 1 on Saturday there will be a special round of competition when the sport’s top bovine athletes and best bull riders will compete in a special round of competition, the PBR’s 15/15 Bucking Battle. The series’ Top 15 riders will be randomly matched against the 15 highest-ranked bulls in this round, competing for bonus points which count towards the PBR world standings and a total purse of $21,000.
Welcoming Mauney back to competition during the 15/15 Bucking Battle will be Air Time of Jared Allen’s Pro Bull Team. Mauney and Air Time have never met before as the bull is currently riding a buck off streak of eight. He was last ridden in Phoenix in 2014 by Nunes for 92.5 points.
Last weekend’s winner in Billings, Montana was Nathan Schaper. Schaper will square off with David’s Dream (Circle T Ranch & Rodeo) during the 15/15. The two athletes last met in Sacramento in 2013 with Schaper hitting the ground in 5.62 seconds. The last time a rider went the full 8 seconds on David’s Dream was Albuquerque in 2014 when Guytin Tsosie scored 88.75. David’s Dream currently has a 91.23% buck off percentage.
This weekend the format will be very simple. Each bull rider faces one bull during Round 1 on Saturday and Round 2 on Sunday. Following Sunday’s round, the 15 riders with the highest cumulative scores after the two rounds will advance to the Built Ford Tough Championship Round that same day. The overall event winner will be the rider with the highest-combined score from all three rounds, earning at least $30,000 for first place.
Nunes, the 2014 winner in Des Moines will take on Lieutenant Dan (Rocking I Rodeo Company) in Round 1. The bovine has only bucked in two other BFTS events, making his debut in Sioux Falls, dispatching Lachlan Richardson. Last weekend in Billings he made two outs, bucking off Ben Jones and Triplett in 3.72 and 4.00 seconds, respectively.
The 15/15 Bucking Battle will air on CBS Television Network on Sunday, April 26 at 2 p.m. ET. Round 2 and the Built Ford Tough Championship Round of the Des Moines Invitational will air on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network. Stay tuned to PBR.com for more details.
Fans can also catch each night of the action on PBR LIVE via CarbonTV.com. PBR LIVE is now available at no charge to all fans and media.
Tickets for the two-day event are on sale now and start at $12. They will be available at the Wells Fargo Arena box office, online at iowaeventscenter.com or by phone at 1-866-553-2457.
Des Moines will be the 16th stop of 27 on the 2015 PBR Built Ford Tough Series schedule. The season kicked off Jan. 2-4 at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Maryland, and will conclude at the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas on Oct. 21-25 where the 2015 PBR World Champion, the bull rider who has earned the most points during the 2015 season, will be crowned, 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. 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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