It was right down to the wire today to determine the $1 million winner of the 2014 PBR Built Ford Tough Series World Finals and world championship.
For the second consecutive night, defending world champion J.B. Mauney won the round in the chase and, with wins in Round 3 and Saturday’s Round 4, moved into 2nd in the World Finals at the Thomas & Mack Center at UNLV.
But all eyes were on two-time world champion Silvano Alves, who posted 86.25 points on Freakster to move into the event lead at the BFTS World Finals. He’s the only rider to have covered all four of his bulls over the four nights.
As the current No. 2 rider in the world, Silvano closed the gap on standings leader Joao Ricardo Vieira, moving to within 534.69 points. Joao was thrown off Karaoke at 6.10 seconds and fell to 7th in the event average.
They really slugged it out as the World Finals concluded today with Round 5 and the championship round beginning at 1 p.m. The action aired on CBS Sports.
As the night’s winner with a 93.25-point effort on Bruiser, North Carolina native J.B. grabbed the top-scored ride since he covered Smackdown for 93.75 points at the 2013 World Finals.
Matt Triplett of Columbia Falls, Mont., and winner of Round 2, posted the second-best ride in Round 4 with 89 points on Delco, moving him into 3rd in the event with 268.25 points. Matt has gone 3-for-4 this week.
Finishing third in the round was Tanner Byrne, who is battling neck-and-neck with Gage Gay for this year’s Rookie of the Year title. Tanner put up 87.75 points on Jo Jo to move into 5th in the event average with 260.25 points, having covered three of four bulls.
“It feels awesome,” Tanner said of his World Finals success. “Just making the World Finals was my goal at the start of the year, considering I wasn’t on tour.
“I knew it was awesome to make the finals, but I wasn’t going to settle for just that. I want to be a champion. I’ve always said I do better when the lights are on, and there is a lot of pressure on the line.”
The race for world champion was determined this afternoon. The bull rider who earned the most points during the 2014 season won the title, receiving the coveted world-championship belt buckle and a $1 million bonus.
Today’s championship round also marked the last appearance of two-time PBR world-champion bull Bushwacker — the meanest and rankest of all time — from Julio Moreno Bucking Bulls. PBR Chairman Jim Haworth honored Julio at an event before Bushwacker’s final ride today.
Here was the big three headed into Round 5 and the finals today: 1) Silvano Alves, 329.25 points, 2) J.B. Mauney, 271.50 points and 3) Matt Triplett, 268.25 points.
Our thanks to Denise Abbot of PBR for her help in making this report possible and to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for his ringside action photos.
Among the capacity cheering crowd were two of the stars in the upcoming Nicholas Sparks movie “The Longest Ride” from his novel of the same name: Clint Eastwood’s son Scott Eastwood (who is the bull rider in the movie) and Britt Robertson (recently of “Under the Dome”).
They were with PBR announcer Matt West and PBR COO Sean Gleason. The movie is set for its big-screen release in April.
Check back to Vegas DeLuxe on Monday for a wrap-up and photo gallery of Silvano, the $1 million, gold-buckle and World Finals winner, an event and season sweep!
It’s been a grand week, and we’ve been very glad to have you in our great city. We look forward to welcoming you back for many years to come.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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