PUEBLO, Colo. – The Professional Bull Riders announced today that Rango, one of the star athletes on the elite Built Ford Tough Series, passed away Sunday morning. The 7-year-old bovine athlete was admitted to the hospital for intestinal issues and passed away after experiencing heart troubles while receiving treatment.
“The news hit everyone at the PBR very hard,” said PBR Chairman and CEO Jim Haworth. “Rango was one of the PBR’s premier athletes, challenging riders and exciting fans with his natural talent and drive to be one of the best. He was an exhilarating performer and it is with a heavy heart that we say good-bye to this great bucking bull. He will be sorely missed.”
Rango was owned by four-time PBR Stock Contractor of the Year Jeff Robinson. He said, “I have had several hundred bulls compete at the Built Ford Tough Series level and he was my second-best bull ever. He wasn’t my second favorite bull – no, he was No. 1(a). He meant a lot to me. There is no way he will ever be replaced.”
One of the more popular bovine athletes on the PBR’s BFTS roster, Rango was a bull that riders were excited to face. A qualified 8-second ride on the 1,500-pound bull often meant a winning score. Rango last bucked on Sept. 6 at the Jack Daniel’s Invitational in Nashville, Tennessee, facing two-time PBR World Champion Silvano Alves in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round. The two teamed up for a score of 92.25 points which was enough to not only win the round, but also propel Alves to a second-place finish at the event. It is the second-highest score recorded this year, and was the most-watched video highlight on the PBR’s digital channels last week.
Appearing on the BFTS scene in 2011, Rango bucked off 63 of the 75 riders he faced in his four-year PBR career for a buckoff rate of 84 percent. He challenged many World Champions, including J.B. Mauney (2013), Alves (2012, 2011), Guilherme Marchi (2008) and Mike Lee (2004). His average ride score was 90 points – with the highest being the 92.25 points Alves received just one week ago; it was matched by Marco Eguchi in Albuquerque, New Mexico, earlier this year.
The upcoming film adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks best-seller, “The Longest Ride,” which is centered on a fictitious PBR bull rider, also featured Rango. Fans will be able to see Rango in action in the film, which hits theaters on April 10, 2015.
The PBR will conduct a special tribute to Rango during the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas on Oct. 22-26 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
“He will definitely be missed; he was just like one of the family,” said Robinson.
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