NEW YORK ― New York City will celebrate the New Year and the Professional Bull Riders 500th Built Ford Tough Series regular-season event when the toughest sport on dirt returns to Madison Square Garden on Jan. 3-5, kicking off the 2014 PBR Built Ford Tough Series season.
After four consecutive years of creating sold-out performances and drawing a record-breaking crowd of 43,000 in 2013, the Top 35 bull riders in the world are ready once again to face off with their 2,000-pound foes for their NYC PBR fans during more than two hours of heart-stopping, 8-second battles where only one athlete will be left standing. The action begins Friday and Saturday, Jan. 3-4, at 8 p.m. and on Sunday, Jan. 5, at 1 p.m.
The competition in New York is always tight – the men are rested, healed and ready to attempt to make the 8-second mark.
The bull riders will face one bull each during Round 1 on Friday, Round 2 on Saturday and Round 3 on Sunday. Following Round 3, the Top 15 riders with the highest cumulative scores after three 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 four rounds, earning at least $30,000 for first place.
In 2013, Robson Palermo captured the NYC PBR event title after winning the 2012 PBR World Finals event the previous October. Fan favorite J.B. Mauney had been in the lead in New York, and look headed toward what seemed a third title at MSG, but he was tossed from his bull in the championship round and Palermo held tight for the win.
Mauney, the reigning PBR World Champion, and Palermo, the defending NYC PBR event champion, are ready for battle again along with 33 other bull riders, including former PBR World Champions Silvano Alves (2011, 2012), Renato Nunes (2010), Kody Lostroh (2009), Guilherme Marchi (2008) and Mike Lee (2004). Also competing is two-time NYC PBR event winner Valdiron de Oliveira. Pistol Robinson, who many New Yorkers will remember as the bull rider who broke both of his legs in 2012 at MSG to end his season, will be back in action as well this weekend.
Stay Thirsty of Cornwell Bucking Bulls is Mauney’s first challenger of 2014. He’s a 1,500-pound bull who has been attempted twice in BFTS competition and was successfully ridden by 2012 Rookie of the Year Emilio Resende and reigning Iron Cowboy Austin Meier. Round 1 on Friday night at MSG will be Mauney’s first look at Stay Thirsty.
A “Monsoon” will be waiting for Palermo in Round 1 on Friday night. The Gold Spur Ranch bull met Mauney in 2013 in New York and was conquered by him for 86 points. He’s appeared seven times in BFTS competition and has been successfully covered five times. The highest score received was 87.50 points by Ben Jones in 2012.
Robinson will take on Midnight Special (JK Rodeo Company) in Round 1, a bull who has met five riders in BFTS competition, including three World Champions – Nunes, Alves and Mauney – and tossed them all to the ground. Robinson will be looking to make his comeback even memorable by ending Midnight Special’s 100 percent buckoff record.
Jory Markiss will be channeling his inner-Elvis Presley on Friday when he meets Jailhouse Rock (Show Sports/Jane Clark). The PBR Sexiest Cowboy finalist has never met the bull in BFTS competition, but seven of his fellow riders have, with five recording scores in the mid to low 80s. Jailhouse Rock’s average buckoff time is 1.7 seconds when he finds his stride, meaning Markiss will have to be ready for immediate action when the chute gate opens.
The former NYC PBR event winners are:
2013: Robson Palermo
2012: Cody Nance
2011: Valdiron de Oliveira
2010: Shane Proctor
2009: J.B. Mauney
2008: Valdiron de Oliveira
2007: J.B. Mauney
Tickets for the eighth consecutive appearance of the PBR at Madison Square Garden for the Monster Energy Buckoff at the Garden range in price from $25 to $200 and are on sale at all Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com and via phone at (800) 345-3000. Tickets are also available at the MSG Box Office.
CBS SN, the home of the PBR, will broadcast Rounds 2 and 3 on Saturday at 10 p.m. ET and Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, respectively.
The BFTS is televised every week on CBS, CBS Sports Network 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.
New York City will be the first of 27 stops on the 2014 PBR Built Ford Tough Series schedule. The series also will travel to Chicago, Anaheim, Calif., and Dallas on its 18-state tour, culminating with the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas on Oct. 22-26 when the 2014 PBR World Champion, the bull rider who amasses the most points during the 2014 season, will receive the coveted world championship belt buckle and $1 million bonus.
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