For the first time ever, the Professional Bull Riders' nationally televised Built Ford Tough Series is visiting Hartford, Conn. The Top 40 bull riders in the world will compete against the toughest bucking bulls in the Hartford Invitational Presented by Cooper Tires at the XL Center on Friday, Oct. 7, Saturday, Oct. 8, and Sunday, Oct. 9.
Bull riding will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are available at the XL Center ticket office and Ticketmaster outlets, by telephone at (800) 745-3000, and at www.XLCenter.com or www.Ticketmaster.com.
Each of the Top 40 bull riders in the world will ride on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Following Round 2 on Saturday, the riders with the 10 highest cumulative scores will each compete with one more bull. Following Round 4 on Sunday, the riders with the 10 highest cumulative scores will advance to the Built Ford Tough Championship Round where they will compete with one more bull. The overall event winner will be the rider with the highest combined score from all five rounds.
The first 2,500 fans in the door on Friday and Sunday will receive a free flashlight keychain courtesy of Stanley Tools, whose headquarters are in New Britain, Conn.
Saturday will be "Wrangler Tough Enough to Wear Pink" night, with everyone in attendance encouraged to wear pink to increase breast cancer awareness. Fans will be able to purchase an exclusive PBR Wrangler "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" T-shirt at the arena. Half of the proceeds from the commemorative shirts, which are only available at BFTS events in October, will benefit the Cancer Research Foundation. For more information about the "Wrangler Tough Enough to Wear Pink" nights, please click here.
Leading the way into Hartford is top-ranked Silvano Alves, who has already earned over $326,000 in 2011. The 23-year-old finished first in Uncasville, Conn., a year ago, and went on to become PBR Rookie of the Year while finishing eighth in the world and earning $325,000. Valdiron de Oliveira is in second place in the BFTS standings, 1,431.5 points behind Alves. There are 1,400 possible points available in Hartford, as the winner of the event will receive 400 points, and each of the five round wins is worth 100 points plus the ride score.
The field will also include No. 4 Austin Meier of Kinta, Okla.; No. 15 Ryan Dirteater of Hulbert, Okla., who won two weeks ago in Wichita, Kan.; and No. 10 Luke Snyder, who won $216,500 on April 16 in front of a sellout crowd at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The $216,500 is the highest one-day payout of the 2011 season and the second highest in history.
It is the seventh year in a row, and the eighth time in the past nine years, that the world's top bull riders and fiercest bucking bulls have visited the Constitution State. In addition to Alves, past winners in Connecticut include three-time PBR World Champion Adriano Moraes, two-time PBR World Champion Chris Shivers, 2008 PBR World Champion Kody Lostroh, and 2007 PBR World Finals Event winner Wiley Petersen.
Cooper Tires will host "Coffee with a Cowboy" on Saturday, Oct., 8, from 9-10 a.m. at the Hartford Marriott Downtown, 200 Columbus Blvd. Fans will receive a Cooper Tires poster featuring 2010 PBR World Champion Renato Nunes, Ryan Dirteater, Skeeter Kingsolver, Robson Palermo and funnyman and World Champion barrel man Flint Rasmussen. Dirteater, Palermo and Rasmussen will be available for autographs and photographs.
Fans who purchase a Flint Rasmussen jersey at the event on Saturday will be able to get it autographed by the popular entertainer immediately following the event at a table adjacent to the main merchandise booth.
Fans who purchase a Dickies® DuraBullfighters jersey at the event on Friday will be able to get it autographed by Jesse Byrne, Shorty Gorham, and Frank Newsom immediately following the event at a table adjacent to the main merchandise booth.
Hartford is the 28th of 29 stops on the 2011 BFTS schedule, which began at world-famous Madison Square Garden in January. The season concludes Oct. 26-30 in Las Vegas with the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals, and the crowning of the 2011 PBR World Champion. The World Finals are the richest bull riding event on the planet with the winner receiving the World Championship PBR Buckle and a $1 million bonus.
The action from Hartford will be televised in HD on VERSUS at 11:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 8, and at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 9. Play-by-play broadcaster Craig Hummer will be joined by nine-time World Champion and PBR co-founder Ty Murray, who will provide color commentary, and Leah Garcia, who will be doing dirt-level interviews. Built Ford Tough Series telecasts are produced for the PBR by 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 and creative lead.
About the Professional Bull Riders, Inc. (PBR)
The PBR is the world's premier bull riding organization. More than 100 million viewers annually watch over 400 hours of primetime PBR programming on VERSUS, NBC, CBS and networks around the world. The PBR has awarded over $100 million in prize money and 20 riders have earned over $1 million, including Justin McBride with $5.5 million - the most of any western-sports athlete in history. The PBR was nominated as 2010 Sports League of the Year at the Sports Business Journal Sports Business Awards, alongside the National Football League, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball. Nearly 2 million fans attend Built Ford Tough Series and Touring Pro Division events each year. For more information on the PBR, go to www.pbr.com, or follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TeamPBR and http://twitter.com/TEAMPBR.
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