Event preview: Billings

Joao Ricardo Vieira is currently ranked third in the world standings. Photo by Andy Watson / BullStockMedia.com.

Highlights

  • Joao Ricardo Vieira won the 2013 Built Ford Tough Series event in Billings, Mont.
  • L.J. Jenkins is slated to face Bushwacker on Friday night in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
  • No. 1 rider Guilherme Marchi takes on Wicked during the 15/15.

In This Article

PUEBLO, Colo. ― Billings, Mont., is the most-visited, regular-season city for the Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series, with the PBR preparing for its 19th consecutive stop in Big Sky Country this coming weekend. Throughout the event’s 19-year history in Billings, the PBR has awarded more than $2.3 million in prize money.

The Rimrock Auto Arena will host The Stanley Performance in Action Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, April 11-13, showcasing the Top 35 bull riders in the world facing the rankest bulls across the nation, including two-time PBR World Champion Bull Bushwacker.  

Bushwacker will be making his debut in Billings during the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Friday. This will be the first and last opportunity for Montana PBR fans to see this legendary bull in action. He is retiring at the end of the 2014 season and Billings is the seventh stop on his farewell tour.

Bull riding action will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at 1:50 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets for the event start at $15 and can be purchased at the MetraPark Arena Box Office, all MetraPark outlets, online at metrapark.com or via phone at 406-256-8538.

For more than two hours each night, fans will be able to get up close and personal with the best bull riding and bovine athletes on the planet. The cowboys will face off with foes more than 10 times their weight in sinewy brawn during 8-second battles where only one athlete will be left standing.

In addition to more than 110 bulls competing over the course of three days, defending event champion and 2013 PBR Rookie of the Year Joao Ricardo Vieira is scheduled to return to Billings along with Montana natives, Matt Triplett (Columbia Falls, Mont.) and Dakota Louis (Browning, Mont.), and five previous PBR World Champions: Silvano Alves (2011, 2012), Renato Nunes (2010), Kody Lostroh (2009), Guilherme Marchi (2008) and Mike Lee (2004).

The Top 35 bull riders will get on one bull each in Rounds 1, 2 and 3 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  After Round 3 on Sunday afternoon, the riders’ individual three-round scores will be totaled and the riders with the Top 15 scores will advance to the Built Ford Tough Championship Round for one more ride and a chance at the $30,000 event title.

Previous Billings event champions include:

2013    Joao Ricardo Vieira
2012    Austin Meier
2011    Valdiron de Oliveira
2010    Travis Briscoe
2009    Michael Manes
2008    Zack Brown
2007    J.B. Mauney
2006    Brian Canter
2005    Justin McBride
2004    Brian Herman
2003    Wiley Petersen
2002    Lee Akin
2001    Chris Shivers
2000    Troy Dunn
1999    Troy Dunn
1998    Rogerio Ferreira
1997    Cody Hart
1996    Tuff Hedeman

Following Round 1 on Friday evening, the sport’s best bovine athletes and bull riders will compete during the 15/15 Bucking Battle. The series’ Top 15 bull riders will be randomly matched against the 15 highest-ranked bulls in Billings for a special round of action. The 15/15 Bucking Battle offers a total purse of $21,000 and double the PBR world standings points needed toward the season’s World Championship title. Stay tuned to www.pbr.com for more details.

Fan favorite L.J. Jenkins will face off once more with Bad Boy Mowers Bounty Bull Bushwacker during the 15/15 Bucking Battle. Two weeks ago in Fresno Calif., Jenkins met the PBR’s best bull in the 15/15 Bucking Battle and lasted only 1.45 seconds. Friday will be Jenkins’ time for redemption, a chance to successfully cover Bushwacker for the $25,000 bounty.

RELATED: Bushwacker continues his 2014 dominance

Current No. 1 bull rider Marchi will face Wicked during Friday night’s Bucking Battle for the first time in his career. Wicked has made two appearances on the BFTS this year, bucking off both riders he has gone up against. Mr. Bull awaits Triplett, who has attempted the bull twice on the BFTS tour. Triplett lasted just 1.38 seconds in Phoenix during their first meeting and 4.53 seconds while in Fresno, Calif., two weeks ago.

Rounds 1 and 2 will be streamed live on Friday, April 11, at 10 p.m. ET and Saturday, April 12, at 9:50 p.m. ET on PBR LIVE at www.pbr.com. Round 3 and the Built Ford Tough Championship Round will air on CBS Sports Network at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 13. Friday night’s 15/15 Bucking Battle will be broadcast on CBS Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Billings will be the 15th of 27 stops on the 18-state 2014 Built Ford Tough Series. The season kicked off Jan. 3-5 at Madison Square Garden and will conclude at the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas on Oct. 22-26, when the 2014 PBR World Champion, the bull rider who earns the most points during the 2014 season, will receive the coveted World Championship belt buckle and a $1 million bonus.

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.

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