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The Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) was the elite series tour name of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) competitions from 2003 to 2017.

The Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) kicked off its tour on November 16 with the Mohegan Sun Invitational. Six of the series events were broadcast on NBC. The entire series was broadcast on Outdoor Life Network (OLN). Telemundo broadcast two events. The first run of the series was held in 29 cities.[1]

Sponsorship[edit]

On October 28, 2002, the PBR announced Ford Trucks as their new title sponsor. Ford Trucks had been the official automotive sponsor for two years. The Ford Division Truck Group marketing manager, Doug Scott, said the decision was easy because of PBR fans' loyalty towards Ford. "When the PBR was organized ten years ago, a sponsorship like this was only a dream," shared Randy Bernard, then CEO of the Professional Bull Riders, Inc. "We have ten years invested in the PBR Series and the increased involvement of Ford Trucks will only accelerate our growth."[2]

2003 inaugural season[edit]

In its inaugural season, the BFTS featured the world's top 45 riders at each event throughout the season.[3] And those 45 riders who earned the most money qualified to compete in the PBR BFTS World Finals at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.[4] If a rider failed to maintain his ranking by not earning enough money, he could be replaced by another rider from the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company Challenger Tour who earned more money.[3] In 2003, the Bud Light Cup Series became the Ford Built Tough Series. This was also the first season on the PBR where the World Champion received a $1 million bonus.[5][6]

2004 season change[edit]

In 2004, the PBR introduced an enhanced scoring system to the BFTS World Finals to make sure the champion is not determined prior to the event. First, 5,500 potential points were available, that ensured any of the top ten riders headed to the event had a chance to win the title. The first place competitor in a round scored 400 points. The second place competitor scored 350 points. Riders placing between third and 10 were awarded points on an incremental scale down to 15. And riders also received the points they earned for a qualified ride.[7]

There were six rounds in the PBR World Finals. All of the riders competed in the first five rounds. The top 15 riders advanced to the Championship Round. The rider who won the Finals event received 2,500 BFTS points and $250,000. Second place received 2,250 points. And the riders placing between 3rd and 10th received points on an incremental scale down to 250.[8]

2005 season change[edit]

In 2005, a change was made to the tour. Wherein upon the conclusion of every fifth event on the series, the five lowest ranked riders were sent down to the Challenger Tour. It was based on money earned. Then the top five Challenger Tour riders were sent up to the BFTS. This shifting ensured the best riders competed at the right levels of competition. The Challenger Tour was used as a means as providing talent to the BFTS. Additionally, BFTS riders could freely compete in the Challenger Tour and the Hump n' Horns Tour events assuming no conflicts would occur. BFTS riders might have done this because money earned at lower level tours also counted towards reaching the desired top-ranked 45 riders standings.[9]

2007 season change[edit]

In 2007, the Built Ford Tough Series practiced the "First to Fail" format, where the order of the top 5 riders going into the championship round of the event was reversed, meaning the leader would ride first and the 5th-place rider would ride last. This format proved unpopular with fans and the championship round was reverted to its original format in 2008.[citation needed]

2009 season change[edit]

In 2009, the PBR BFTS World Champion was determined by the bull rider who earned the most BFTS points. And the event winner was determined by the highest aggregate score from 8 rounds.[10]

2014 season changes[edit]

In 2014, the BFTS was the known as the nationally televised elite tour of the PBR. At that time, the tour was composed of the world's top 35 bull riders facing down the world's toughest bulls. The tour made 27 stops in 19 states that year. It opened with its first event at the Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. It concluded in Las Vegas, Nevada, with the PBR BFTS World Finals. The PBR BFTS World Finals were bull riding's richest and it awarded almost $2.3 million that year if the $1 million bonus to the world champion is counted as well as the $10,000 belt buckle.[11]

In 2014, the BFTS followed these rules. The PBR BFTS World Champion was the bull rider who accumulated the most points while competing in events in the regular season and in the world finals event. The BFTS used the point system to be certain the most consistent rider became the World Champion Bull Rider. Points were earned at each event for a rider's finish in each round and in the event. First place received 100 points. Second place received 90 points. Remaining riders between third and 10th place received points on an incremental scale.[12]

Each BFTS event contained a round with 35 bull rides. For a two-day event, the 35 bull riders will compete in Round 1 and 2. The top 15 scores advanced to the BFTS Championship Round. The event winner was the rider with the highest combined score from all three rounds. The winner received 300 points. The second place finisher received 270 points. Riders placing between third and 10th received points in an incremental scale down to 30.[13]

For a three-day event, the 35 bull riders completed in Rounds 1, 2, and 3. The top 15 scores advanced to the BFTS Championship round. The event winner was the rider with the highest combined score from all four rounds. The winner received 400 points. The second place finisher received 260 points. Riders placing between third and 10th received points in an incremental scale down to 40.[14]

In 2004, the PBR introduced an enhanced scoring system to the BFTS World Finals to make sure the champion is not determined prior to the event. These rules were still followed until 2015, when they were slightly modified by removing qualified ride scores from World Standings points totals. First, 5,500 potential points were available, that ensures any of the top ten riders heading to the event had a chance to win the title. The first place competitor in a round scored 400 points. The second place competitor scored 350 points. Riders placing between third and 10 were awarded points on an incremental scale down to 15. And riders also received the points they earned for a qualified ride.[15]

There were six rounds in the PBR World Finals. All of the riders competed in the first five rounds. The top 15 riders advanced to the Championship Round. The rider who won the Finals event received 2,500 BFTS points and $250,000. Second place received 2,250 points. And the riders placing between 3rd and 10th received points on an incremental scale down to 250.[16]

Riders could qualify for the PBR BFTS World Finals in several ways. One way was by competing in BFTS events throughout the season. They could also compete in the Tour Pro Division and international events. Countries where they could compete are Australia, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico.[17]

2015 season changes[edit]

For 2015 and beyond, the PBR modified the PBR BFTS points system. The BFTS World Champion Bull Rider is the one who accumulated the most world points during the regular season and the World Finals combined. Prior to 2015, the points system was focused on making sure the most consistent rider became the World Champion. However, the PBR's founders have always desired the bull rider who wins consistently be the one who wins the most events; thus, the championship. So starting in 2015, a new points system went into effect. The change affected all of the PBR's tours, the 15/15 Bucking Battle, and the international tours in Australia, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico. Qualified ride scores no longer were included in the World Standings point totals. They were, however, used to determine placements in event rounds and event aggregates, and to determine both event and World Standings.[18]

Each BFTS event contained a round with 35 bull rides. For a two-day event, the 35 bull riders will competed in Round 1 and 2. The top 15 scores advanced to the BFTS Championship Round. The event winner was the rider with the highest combined score from all three rounds. For a three-day event, the 35 bull riders will completed in Rounds 1, 2, and 3. The top 15 scores advanced to the BFTS Championship round. The event winner was the rider with the highest combined score from all three rounds.[19]

There were four events on the BFTS that were considered major events. They are New York City, New York; Arlington, Texas; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Nashville, Tennessee. Major events offer competition in different formats, bonus bulls, and more prize money. These major events are broadcast on CBS. Together, these four major events compose the PBR Grand Slam Series.[20]

The 15/15 Bucking Battles were offered at some PBR BFTS events. This type of event matched the top 15 bull riders in the PBR against the top 15 bulls at the event. The matching was random. There was a separate purse for this event. Points were earned at the rate of 1 and 1/2 times the round points. Points did not factor into the winner but did count toward the World Standings. The winner was the bull rider with the highest ride score.[21]

Qualifying for the PBR BFTS World Finals was based on points. Points could be earned on all of the PBR's tours: Built Ford Tough Series, Velocity Tour, Pro Touring Division and the International tours. International tours included Australia, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico. The top 35 ranked riders in the World Standings according to points earned competed at the World Finals. The Velocity Tour Champion, the top three highest ranked finishers at the Velocity Tour Finals, and the highest ranked finisher international rider at the Velocity Tour Finals also competed at the World Finals.[22]

The PBR BFTS World Finals concluded in Las Vegas, Nevada. It awarded almost $2.2 million. This included the $1 million bonus to the World Champion. The World Champion also received a $10,000 championship belt buckle.[23]

Arena changes[edit]

The PBR hosted its inaugural World Finals in 1994 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. They remained at the arena until 1998.[24] In 1999, the PBR moved their World Finals to the Thomas & Mack Center. The PBR was stretching its current arena's limits and really needed a bigger arena. They wanted to stay in Las Vegas, so the Thomas & Mack Center was the place to go. The PBR BFTS was held at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, from 1999 until 2015. The 2015 World Finals was the 17th and final time the PBR hosted its season-ending event at the venue.[25] In 2016, the PBR moved their World Finals event from the Thomas & Mack Center to the T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip.[26][27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Professional Bull Riders Usher in 10th Season with Ford Trucks as the New Title Sponsor". Professional Bull Riders. www.pbr.com. Archived from the original on December 8, 2002. Retrieved January 30, 2018. 
  2. ^ "The Professional Bull Riders Usher in 10th Season with Ford Trucks as the New Title Sponsor". Professional Bull Riders. www.pbrnow.com. Archived from the original on December 8, 2002. Retrieved April 5, 2018. 
  3. ^ a b "PBR Events". Professional Bull Riders. www.pbr.com. 7 February 2003. Archived from the original on February 7, 2003. 
  4. ^ Eisenberg, Stephanie (17 August 2015). "PBR World Finals to move to Las Vegas Arena". Las Vegas Now. www.lasvegasnow. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  5. ^ "World Finals reaches $1 million". Professional Bull Riders. www.pbr.com. Retrieved February 15, 2018. 
  6. ^ 2017 PBR Media Guide, The PBR - Celebrating 25 Years, p.8.
  7. ^ 2014 PBR Media Guide, PBR Tours - PBR Bull Riding Basics - Built Ford Tough World Finals Scoring-In 2004 New Scoring System, p.29.
  8. ^ 2014 PBR Media Guide, PBR Tours - PBR Bull Riding Basics - Built Ford Tough World Finals Scoring-New Scoring System World Finals, p.29.
  9. ^ "Built Ford Tough Series". Professional Bull Riders. www.pbr.com. Archived from the original on February 5, 2005. Retrieved January 30, 2018. 
  10. ^ "2009 Season Standings". Professional Bull Riders. www.pbr.com. Archived from the original on January 6, 2010. Retrieved January 30, 2018. 
  11. ^ 2014 PBR Media Guide, PBR Tours - Built Ford Tough Series-Elite Tour, p.45.
  12. ^ 2014 PBR Media Guide, PBR Tours - Built Ford Tough Series-2014 Rules, p.45.
  13. ^ 2014 PBR Media Guide, PBR Tours - Built Ford Tough Series-Two Day Event Rules, p.45.
  14. ^ 2014 PBR Media Guide-Rules, PBR Tours - Built Ford Tough Series-Three Day Event Rules, p.45.
  15. ^ 2014 PBR Media Guide, PBR Bull Riding Basics - Built Ford Tough Series Scoring-2004 Rule Change, p.29.
  16. ^ 2014 PBR Media Guide, PBR Bull Riding Basics - Built Ford Tough Series Scoring-World Finals Rule Change, p.29.
  17. ^ 2014 PBR Media Guide, PBR Bull Riding Basics - Built Ford Tough Series Scoring-Qualification, p.29.
  18. ^ 2016 PBR Media Guide, PBR Bull Riding Basics - Built Ford Tough Series Scoring-2015 Rule Change, p.28.
  19. ^ 2016 PBR Media Guide, PBR USA Tours - Built Ford Tough Series-Elite Tour, p.43.
  20. ^ 2016 PBR Media Guide, PBR USA Tours - Built Ford Tough Series-PBR Majors, p.43.
  21. ^ 2016 PBR Media Guide, PBR USA Tours - Built Ford Tough Series-15/15 Bucking Battle, p.43.
  22. ^ 2016 PBR Media Guide, PBR USA Tours - Built Ford Tough Series-World Finals, p.43.
  23. ^ 2016 PBR Media Guide, PBR USA Tours - Built Ford Tough Series-Championship Awards, p.43.
  24. ^ Eisenberg, Stephanie (17 August 2015). "PBR World Finals to move to Las Vegas Arena". LASVEGASNOW. www.lasvegasnow.com. Retrieved January 31, 2018. 
  25. ^ "Looking back at the Thomas & Mack". Professional Bull Riders. www.pbr.com. Retrieved January 31, 2018. 
  26. ^ "Officials dump symbolic dirt at site of new PBR venue". Las Vegas Review-Journal. www.reviewjournal.com. 27 October 2018. Retrieved January 31, 2015. 
  27. ^ "PBR moves Built Ford Tough Series World Finals to new Las Vegas Arena in 2016". Las Vegas Sun. www.vegassun.com. 16 August 2015. Retrieved January 31, 2018. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Johnstone, Jeffrey; Cartwright, Keith Ryan (2009). Professional bull riders : the official guide to the toughest sport on Earth. Chicago, Ill.: Triumph Books. ISBN 978-1600783012. 
  • 2014 PBR Media Guide (PDF). Professional Bull Riders. 2014. Retrieved January 30, 2018. 
  • 2016 PBR Media Guide (PDF). Professional Bull Riders. 2016. Retrieved January 30, 2018. 

External links[edit]

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