PUEBLO, Colo. – For the 22nd consecutive year, the world's top bull riders and the fiercest bucking bulls in the business return to Las Vegas for the richest bull riding event on the planet, the 2015 PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Built Ford Tough World Finals on Oct. 21-25 at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center, which offers a total purse of $2.3 million.
The five-day event kicks off Wednesday, Oct. 21, and the first round match ups have been set.
Round 1 will feature the top bulls of the American Bucking Bull, Inc., (ABBI), serving as the first round of the ABBI Classic Finals, a competition for 3- and 4-year-old bucking bulls. Bruiser (D&H Cattle Co.) currently leads the ABBI Classic standings with more than $60,000 in earnings. He is also one of seven bulls in contention for the 2015 PBR World Champion Bull title that will be awarded Sunday, Oct. 25.
The No. 1 bull rider in the world, 2013 PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney (Mooresville, North Carolina), will take on relative newcomer Wicked Stick (Diamond S Bucking Bulls). The bovine has only bucked in two PBR Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) events in his career, Thackerville and Tulsa, Oklahoma. Gage Gay (Staley, North Carolina) was unable to last 8 seconds on the bull in Tulsa while 2013 PBR Rookie of the Year Joao Ricardo Vieira (Itatinga, Brazil) earned an 86.5-point ride in Thackerville.
Vieira, the No. 2 rider in the PBR world standings will square off with Pile Driver (Dakota Rodeo/Berger-Struve). Pile Driver is unridden in seven outs on the BFTS. Cooper Davis (Jasper, Texas) has lasted the longest of all riders on the chocolate bovine when he went 7.65 seconds during the Tulsa event in August.
The PBR’s leading rookie, Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil), sits No. 3 in the world and will take on D&H Cattle Co.’s Chocolate Shake. This bull has only made one BFTS appearance this season, bucking off Nathan Schaper (Grassy Butte, North Dakota) in 3.19 seconds in Colorado Springs.
Montana native Matt Triplett (Columbia Falls, Montana), is ranked No. 4 in the world standings. He welcomes Cracker Jack (Ricky Carpenter) to his first BFTS event. Cracker Jack has only bucked in PBR Touring Pro Division events to date.
Red Cloud (Martinez Bucking Bulls) will attempt to dispatch 2014 Rookie of the Year J.W. Harris (May, Texas), the No. 5 man in the world standings, during Round 1. Red Cloud has taken on only one rider in the BFTS, dumping Gay during the Thackerville event in 3.29 seconds.
Fabiano Vieira (Perola, Brazil) sits at No. 6 in the PBR world standings and will take on Crazy Days (Flying S-Samford) for the bull’s sixth out of his career. The black bovine began his career in January, bucking off rider Josh Faircloth (Randleman, North Carolina) and cutting his season short as Faircloth broke his ankle in two places in the dismount.
No. 7 Shaper will attempt to stop Johnny’s Boy’s (Ludtke Bucking Bulls LLC.) string of three buckoffs. The bull is currently 4-for-5 on the BFTS with his only ride coming at the hands of Eduardo Aparecido (Gouvelandia, Brazil) in Thackerville. Aparecido tallied 87.25 points for his ride.
The No. 8 man in the world, Stetson Lawrence (Trenton, North Dakota), and Spring Fever (Adobe Wells Ranch) will square off in the opening round. The two have never met and the bovine has made only one other BFTS appearance in his career, sending Ryan Dirteater (Hulbert, Oklahoma) to the ground in 7.14 seconds in Oklahoma City.
Black and white bovine, Rocko (D&H Cattle Co.) takes on No. 9 Valdiron de Oliveira (Aparecido do Goiania, Brazil) to attempt his fourth straight buckoff this season. In his three events on the BFTS, Rocko has taken care of Aaron Roy (Asquith, Saskatchewan), Ben Jones (Goulburn, Australia) and Alexandre Cardozo (Indaiatuba, Brazil).
The No. 10-ranked rider in the world is 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi (Leme, Brazil). Marchi will be competing this week for the first time since early September in Thackerville when he suffered torn ligaments in his knee. Marchi will take on Uncle Tink from Jared Allen’s Pro Bull Team. Uncle Tink has been ridden only once in four outs when Robson Aragao (Aracaju Sergipe, Brazil) tallied 83 points on him in Colorado Springs.
The total purse for the winner of the 2015 PBR World Finals event is $250,000. In the last two years, the World Finals event winner also captured the PBR World Championship, Silvano Alves (2014) and Mauney (2013). According to MGM Resorts International Race and Sports, No. 1 bull rider Mauney is currently the odds-on favorite at 7-2 to take home the $250,000 check for winning the World Finals event. Mauney is also 1,315 points ahead of his closest contender, Joao Ricardo Vieira, for the overall PBR World Championship. With 2,200 points available at the World Finals, Vieira, Pacheco and Triplett are also still within range of capturing the title.
Fabiano Vieira is the second favorite to win the PBR World Finals event with odds of 5-1, while Pacheco and Joao Ricardo Vieira’s odds of winning are 6-1.
The PBR’s 22nd race for the $1 million PBR World Championship begins at 6 p.m. PT each evening, Wednesday, Oct. 21-Saturday, Oct. 24, and at 1 p.m. PT on Sunday, Oct. 25. The Ford Blue Carpet arrival of the contestants starts at 4 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday and at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
CBS Sports Network will broadcast every round of the 2015 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals live at 8:30 p.m. ET, Wednesday-Saturday and then at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. The World Finals pre-show will air live from the Thomas & Mack Plaza at 8:30 p.m. ET.
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