By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – 2020 PBR World Finals event winner and Rookie of the Year Boudreaux Campbell had a similar reaction that many cowboys had when it became clear the PBR was going to be hosting a charity bull riding event on the USS Lexington aircraft carrier in Corpus Christi, Texas, this coming weekend.
“It is going to be an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Campbell said in Arlington, Texas, last week. “I never thought I would be riding on an aircraft carrier or a boat deal. It is going to be really cool. I have never been (to the USS Lexington). I am looking forward to getting down there and seeing the setup.”
Campbell is one of 15 bull riders who have committed to riding for something bigger than themselves this weekend at Cowboys for a Cause. The charity bull riding event is a five-team invitational featuring 15 cowboys riding to support military members and their families. The new PBR charity initiative will benefit multiple charities, including Operation Homefront. PBR and select partners will donate money for every second a rider stays on his bull. Thus, every second counts.
Operation Homefront is a nationally recognized military nonprofit organization providing financial assistance, transitional and permanent housing, and various recurring support services to U.S. military families. PBR will donate money for each second a cowboy stays on his bull, for up to 8 seconds.
“It is very important to give back to veterans and their families. They are the reason we get to do the things we love to do today,” Campbell said. “I have to thank them very much for everything they have done for us.”
Campbell is the captain of Team Wrangler, and he will be teaming with Daylon Swearingen and Mauricio Moreira. Swearingen was originally supposed to undergo hip surgery this week, but his surgeon had to reschedule. An opening then became available for Swearingen to compete on the USS Lexington after Marco Eguchi had to drop out because his flights home to Brazil overlapped with the event.
The first-of-its-kind event will be broadcast on CBS national television Sunday, at 3 p.m. ET or 5 p.m. ET (check local listings). Additionally, CBS Sports Network will air a special preshow for the exhibition event on Friday at 7 p.m. ET and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET. The PBR will announce total charitable donations from the event during the broadcast.
PBR is in the process this week of constructing a bull riding arena on the 872-foot long launch deck on top of the famed USS Lexington aircraft carrier known as “The Blue Ghost,” bringing in 300 tons of dirt and steel and more than 15 miles of copper and fiber optic cables to support the event and television broadcast. Bucking bulls will be brought on board via the ship’s still-functioning aircraft elevator that brought planes up to the flight deck during battle. Aircraft aboard the ship will be used as set pieces off the dirt.
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Campbell has a rematch against Silent Night (10-1, UTB/METC) at Cowboys for a Cause. Silent Night was the only blemish on Campbell’s performance inside AT&T Stadium, bucking him off in 4.34 seconds in Round 4. However, Campbell did not lose his focus, and he bounced back to ride Buckin for Cash for 90.75 points and the eventual World Finals event title.
“My confidence is through the roof right now,” Campbell said moments after he received his PBR Finals event win belt buckle. “I fell off my first bull today and I had to turn around and get on in the short round to win the whole event. I learned a lot this PBR Finals, learning how to shake stuff off and not let the big lights get to me, the big cameras, the media. It is just bull riding. It doesn’t change for me event to event just because it is bigger. You just have to do a little better here.”
Campbell went 4-for-5, picking up 710 world points, at his first World Finals to finish No. 3 in the world standings after beginning the week at No. 33. Campbell’s massive surge up the standings also earned him the 2020 PBR Rookie of the Year title.
The 22-year-old is only the sixth rookie in the PBR’s 27-year history to win the World Finals event average title. He joins Jose Vitor Leme (2017), Cooper Davis (2015), Jody Newberry (2003), Luke Snyder (2001) and Ronnie Kitchens (1996) in the record books.
“That is awesome,” Campbell said. “Words can’t describe how happy I am. I wanted to cry out there on stage, but I had to hold it together. I am so blessed to be here. The good lord and the father up above has made everything possible for me. I can’t thank him enough.”
Campbell competed only part-time in the PBR in 2020, and he has been focused on winning the 2020 PRCA bull riding championship.
The Rookie of the Year was able to work his way to the PBR World Finals through the Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour (6-for-11) and by going 6-for-13 at five regular-season UTB events.
Campbell was lights out in Arlington at the World Finals, though, and he progressively got better through each qualified ride he posted. He began the Finals with 88 points on Heartbreak Kid and followed that up with 89.25 points on Bullseye. In Round 3, he rode Safety Meeting for 90 points.
His best effort, of course, was his 90.75 points on Buckin for Cash.
“There is re-ride flags, hats in the arena. This was cowboy stuff right here,” two-time World Champion and CBS Sports Network analyst Justin McBride said. “When you watch the way this ride starts, it looked like, ‘Oh man, this is going to be a wreck.’ Boudreaux, we talked about it all week, just how cool this guy has been under pressure. You can’t do it any cooler than that right there.”
Campbell will shift gears to the 2020 National Finals Rodeo after Cowboys for a Cause where he will look to cap off his year with one final and memorable victory.
The Crockett, Texas, native is third in the PRCA standings. He trails reigning six-time PRCA champion Sage Kimzey by only $6,4588.63.
“Heck, I am going into the NFR with even more confidence than I know what to do with,” Campbell said. “I am going to go at it with everything I got, and I feel really confident about this year. I am going to be a dangerous man.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media
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