ALBUQUERQUE – For the 22nd consecutive year, the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) will return to Albuquerque for the Ty Murray Invitational, presented by the Isleta Resort and Casino, March 16-18.
The prestigious event, held in what is perhaps the loudest arena on the 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast, is one of the most popular tour stops among riders and fans.
Adding to the excitement this year in Albuquerque, bullfighter-like gladiators from American Freestyle Bullfighters will test their agility against some of the strongest animal athletes in the business during each day’s bull riding round.
Nine-time World Champion Ty Murray, hailed as the “King of the Cowboys,” has hand-selected each gladiator athlete to compete throughout the weekend for this event-within-an-event called The Beast Pit. Fans will be treated to high-energy tricks, flips and heart-stopping close calls as the seasoned athletes display courage, athleticism and the skill to stay just arms-length away from their charging bovine opponents.
“This added competition on top of the annual PBR event will put these daredevils head-to-horns with some of the most aggressive bulls from South Texas,” Murray explained. “The number one rule will be that the bullfighters cannot climb up on the fence, or they will be disqualified. Albuquerque fans really get into the bull riding every year, so we decided to add this special element and let them judge the competition by picking the winner each day. It’s like playing “tag-you-are-it” with 1,200-pound Mexican fighting bulls.”
Four bullfighters will compete, two on Friday evening and two on Saturday evening, with the winner of each round selected from receiving the most cheers from the crowd. On Sunday during the event’s championship round, the two bullfighters who drew the most fan support will battle it out for the $10,000 cash prize and commemorative sword on the line.
The annual Ty Murray Invitational, the 11th stop of PBR’s elite tour in 2018, is known for attracting some of the most enthusiastic PBR fans following a sport that’s already broken six event attendance records in the 2018 season, including the biggest event in PBR history in Texas in February.
Scheduled to compete in the core event of the weekend, are reigning 2017 PBR World Champion Jess Lockwood, former PBR World Champions Cooper Davis (2016), J.B. Mauney (2013, 2015), Silvano Alves (2014, 2012, 2011) and Guilherme Marchi (2008). Young guns like Derek Kolbaba, Cody Teel and 2017 PBR Rookie of the Year Jose Vitor Leme alongside special invitee, Native American rider Cody Jesus will go up against the seasoned World Champions and other top competitors in the sport.
Ticket prices for the three-day event range from $15 to $103. Tickets can be purchased at the DreamStyle Arena Box Office, PBR.com and www.unmtickets.com/dreamstyle. The Ty Murray Invitational will begin at 7:45 p.m. on Friday, March 16; 6:45 p.m. on Saturday, March 17; and 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, March 18.
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