PUEBLO, Colo. – Legendary bull Pearl Harbor will be bestowed with the Brand of Honor – the highest level of recognition for a bovine athlete – at PBR’s (Professional Bull Riders) annual Heroes & Legends Celebration in Las Vegas in November.
As PBR has come full circle to partner with rodeo associations, the sport’s marquee awards presentation will also now honor cowboys from the rodeo world with the inaugural Ty Murray Top Hand award, which will be presented to athletes from the rodeo world exemplifying excellence and traditional cowboy values. The Ty Murray Top Hand Award will go to Tom Ferguson, Lewis Feild and Trevor Brazile.
As part of PBR Finals Week in Las Vegas (Nov. 2-11), the PBR Heroes & Legends Celebration headlines the PBR Legends Reunion from Nov. 6-8 at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa. The reunion will include PBR alumni from the past and present participating in an ultimate PBR meet-and-greet as well as fan Q&A sessions.
The Heroes & Legends ceremony on Nov. 6 will also induct these honorees into the 2018 class: 1970 PRCA World Champion Gary Leffew will be enshrined in the Ring of Honor; Dr. J. Pat Evans, Joe Baumgartner, and Barry Frank will receive the Jim Shoulders Lifetime Achievement Award; and Jill McBride will be honored with the Sharon Shoulders Award.
BRAND OF HONOR
Brand of Honor recipient, Pearl Harbor, had only competed four-plus years at PBR’s elite level, but the powerful and athletic bovine’s greatness was evident to all, and the big black bovine checked all the boxes for an award given for exemplary performance throughout a bull’s career. When 6-year-old Pearl Harbor passed away on owner Chad Berger’s ranch in North Dakota in late April, he was the No. 1 bull in the PBR World Champion Bull standings with a 46.25-point World Champion Bull average, during a season in which he was 10-0 on the 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast. He had three 47-plus bull scores in his last four trips. Only six riders conquered the bull in 61 outs at all levels of PBR competition.
TY MURRAY TOP HAND AWARD
Named for nine-time World Champion and PBR co-founder known as the “King of the Cowboys,” the new award connects PBR to its historical roots in rodeo. It is given to a rodeo cowboy not eligible for the Ring of Honor who has made significant and lasting contributions to enhance the sport of rodeo. Based on traditional cowboy values, such as courage, pride, respect, hard work and toughness, The Ty Murray Top Hand Award aligns with the goals of the PBR Founders and serves to protect and advance rodeo’s heritage.
Tom Ferguson was the first cowboy to win more than $100,000 in a single season, to earn $1 million in career earnings and to capture six consecutive all-around titles during his career. Ferguson also finished in the Top 15 in the world in two events for eight years. He competed in all the timed events during his career and was best known as a tie-down roper and steer wrestler. For two decades, he was considered rodeo’s best two-event man. Ferguson won seven World Championships and two PRCA Championships and in 1999 was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
Lewis Feild will be awarded posthumously after passing from pancreatic cancer in 2016. Feild won three consecutive all-around titles (1985, 1986, 1987) as well as two world bareback riding crowns (1985, 1986). In 1980, he became the first rough-stock contestant to tally $1 million in career earnings and was the first since Larry Mahan in 1973 to earn a World All-Around title. He is also a three-time winner of the Linderman Award, which is given to the cowboy who earns the most money competing on both ends of the arena (timed events on one side and rough-stock on the other side). The PRCA Rookie of the Year in 1980 retired from the PRCA in 1991 and was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1992.
Trevor Brazile is a living legend in the sport of rodeo. The Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association’s (PRCA) winningest cowboy holds the record for the most World Championships won (23), including 13 All-Around Cowboy titles. Brazile holds every major record in the PRCA, including most money won in a career (over $6,000,000). He is the only cowboy to qualify for the NFR in four events. In addition, Brazile has won almost every major rodeo on the pro tour including RodeoHouston, San Antonio Stock & Rodeo, Cheyenne Frontier Days and the Ft. Worth Stock Show. He also won the coveted Time Event Championships eight times and has earned the most money at that event.
RING OF HONOR
The PBR Ring of Honor, awarded since 1996, recognizes those who have had the most profound impact on the sport of bull riding, both inside and outside of the arena. Its 45 members share a common bond of courage, strength and victory and have played a significant role in helping professional bull riding grow to become one of the most popular sports in the U.S. while competing in five countries globally.
Joining members Jim Shoulders, PBR founders Ty Murray and Cody Lambert, three-time PBR World Champion Adriano Moraes, and two-time PBR World Champions Justin McBride and Chris Shivers, Gary Leffew is known as the bull riding guru in devoting his entire life to the sport. In 1970, Leffew used a positive-thinking program and visualization techniques to win a World Championship as well as the National Finals Rodeo aggregate title. He has continued to use those techniques to teach several generations of bull riders at the Leffew Rodeo School in California and has coached riders to 17 PRCA World Championships, including reigning four-time PRCA World Champion Sage Kimzey. Leffew was inducted into the Bull Riding Hall of Fame in 2016.
JIM SHOULDERS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Texas native Dr. J. Pat Evans is considered the grandfather of Western sports medicine. In the 1970’s, he began covering rodeos for a friend, NFL star and proud cowboy Walt Garrison, who he had met while working for 19 years as a team physician for the Dallas Cowboys. At one of these events he envisioned sports medicine for the professional rodeo athlete which became a reality in 1981. Dr. Evans is one of the first physicians in the country to dedicate his medical practice to sports medicine, treating rodeo cowboys as any other professional athlete. Dr. Evans dedicated the later years of his career to creating a formal sports medicine program for the Western sports world.
In 2011, after 23 years in the sport of bull fighting, Joe Baumgartner had planned to retire quietly. The top bull riders in the world weren’t going to allow that to happen, and they voted him one of the four top bullfighters in the world prior to his 18th consecutive PBR World Finals that season. During a career including 14 National Finals Rodeo appearances, it has been estimated that he fought close to 6,000 bulls in Las Vegas alone. Baumgartner was inducted into the 2013 ProRodeo Hall of Fame and won the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Bullfighter of the Year award four times from 2004-2007. He was known for having a “sixth sense” for bullfighting, and his physical ability coupled with a natural instinct made the job look easy.
In nominating Barry Frank for the Jim Shoulders Lifetime Achievement Award, former PBR CEO Randy Bernard said, “Barry Frank gave PBR the credibility it needed within the sports world.” Frank, then an employee of IMG, took a chance on a relatively lesser-known sports league in 2001 when he helped the PBR secure its television rights, enabling the growing league to eventually negotiate a multi-year contract with CBS Sports. PBR on CBS now averages more than 1 million weekly viewers and the sport has become a stalwart global media property distributed in 130 territories. Frank’s bold, thoughtful and professional representation of the PBR positioned the sport on par with major “stick and ball” sports, increasing the value and prestige of professional bull riding. While most PBR bull riders will have never heard of Barry Frank, his behind-the-scenes negotiations have allowed today’s cowboy athletes to ride on television in front of millions of people worldwide.
SHARON SHOULDERS AWARD
Jill McBride will be the ninth woman receiving the Sharon Shoulders Award. Created in 2010 to honor women who have made a difference in the life of a bull rider and contributed significantly to the sport, the Sharon Shoulders Award honors its namesake for her support and encouragement of her late husband, Jim Shoulders, the celebrated cowboy and bull rider inducted into the PBR Ring of Honor’s inaugural 1996 class.
Jill gracefully balances supporting her husband in his many PBR endeavors while raising their two children. She has been a staunch and strong supporter of her husband during his bull riding career and now as he appears on the CBS broadcasts as one of the PBR’s TV personalities.
Tickets for the 2018 PBR Heroes & Legends Celebration are on sale now and can be purchased via PBR Customer Service at (800) 732-1727 or by calling the South Point Showroom Box Office at 844-846-8689.
South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa is the Official Host Hotel of the PBR Heroes & Legends Celebration. Special room rates and packages, starting at $65 and $115 (plus taxes and resorts fees), respectively, are available to fans at South Point by using the code FAN1102. For reservations and information call 866-791-7626.
The richest bull riding event in the world, the 2018 PBR World Finals will take place Nov. 7-11 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The five-day event will crown a $250,000 event champion and also determine the overall 2018 PBR World Champion, who will receive a $1 million bonus and the coveted world championship belt buckle. The 2018 PBR World Finals are preceded by the 2018 Real Time Velocity Tour Finals on Nov 2-3 at South Point Arena, with some of the best riders in the world chasing a $100,000 purse, and five riders receiving an invitation to compete at the 2018 PBR World Finals.
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