Regular followers of Ride the Rage would know that I am off to Las Vegas, Nevada tomorrow morning for another PBR Finals Week.
This will be my 7th PBR World Finals and if you are a fan of bull riding and bucking bulls, it is definitely something I would recommend you do at least once in your lifetime.
I thought I would give a rundown of the events that make up the week so readers know what to expect to see on Ride the Rage over the next week and a half.
Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour Finals
PBR Finals Week kicks off at the SouthPoint Arena inside the SouthPoint Hotel, Casino and Spa with the Velocity Tour Finals (RVT). The two nights of competition will be held 2-3 November with two long rounds and a championship round scheduled. The RVT Finals qualifiers will take on some of the best bulls from the American Bucking Bull Inc (ABBI) Classic Wildcard and Derby (three and four-year-old) competitions.
The winner of the RVT Finals, the event’s second place finisher, and the top finishing international athlete will qualify to take part in the PBR World Finals later in the week so there is plenty on the line for both bulls and riders. Top 2 in Velocity Standings will also progress to T-Mobile Arena.
Both performances will be followed by live entertainment in the SouthPoint Ballroom.
The ABBI Finals will continue throughout the week inside the SouthPoint Arena with Yearling (one-year-old), Futurity and the Cowgirls Futurity (two-year-old) taking place between 6-9 November.
These events are also supported by Cocktail Parties, Sales and Auctions, Award Dinners and also the UBHA Bucking Horse Finals.
2018 PBR Monster Energy World Finals
Then it is time for the big one! The 2018 PBR World Finals, held at T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip for 5 nights from the 7-11 November.
Wednesday Night the best riders in the world will face off with the best three and four-year-old in ABBI competition. This will also double as Round 1 of the ABBI Classic World Finals championship. Past champions of this competition include Bushwacker (2010), Shepherd Hills Tested (2012) and the reigning World Champion Bucking Bull of the Year SweetPro’s Bruiser (2015). We can expect to see riding percentages of around 30% on Night 1.
Thursday will feature the rank pen. This is where we will see World Champion Bucking Bull contenders have their first out of the finals. Can SweetPro’s Bruiser (D&H Cattle Co.) go back to back to back? Or will we see a new champion crowned? With bulls such as Smooth Operator, Spotted Deamon averaging 45+ point bull scores this year it is sure to be a great night. We usually see around a quarter of the bulls covered with ride scores and bull scores pushed to their limits.
Historically, the Friday night bull-pen contains a lot of bulls that I would classify as rider-friendly and well-known. In the past, it has been a draft round where riders choose their own bulls, rather than a draw. We will have to wait and see how it plays out this year, but they can ride a lot of bulls on Friday night. In 2016 and 2017 they produced a qualified ride percentage upwards of 40%.
Saturday night is a mixed pen of bulls. The Top 16 ABBI Classic bulls from Night 1 come back for their second and final round. The remaining draws are bulls that we haven’t seen in the previous rounds so it can be an up-and-down night with riding percentages anywhere between 20% and 35%.
Round 5 and Championship Round
Championship Sunday! With the bullpen we are likely to see for Round 5 and the short go, this will be an epic day of bull riding. Riding percentages for the long round are usually around the 30% mark.
With the top-15 bulls in the world waiting in the short round pen, it is a bit of an unknown. Riders covered just one bull in 2015 and six bulls in 2013. Judging by the 15/15 Bucking Battle results from this year, I think they will cover between 5-7 with some huge scores.
It is easily the best single-day line-up of the year and we get to crown our Champions!
All performances are supported with live concerts and entertainment in the party zone outside T-Mobile arena with after-parties scheduled for various establishments along the Las Vegas strip giving fans a chance to socialise with riders and like-minded fans.
During the week there are also the Chris Shivers Mini Bull Riders World Finals at the SouthPoint Arena. The PBR Heroes & Legends Celebration will take place in the SouthPoint Ballroom on 6 November with the PBR Charity Golf Classic and Western Sports Foundation Charity Clay Shoot on 8 November.
The Fan Zone will also open all week at the SouthPoint Hotel Casino and Spa with shopping, PBR Rider autographs, displays from PBR Sponsors, and Talk Shows.
Make sure you are following Ride the Rage on Social Media. I will be providing as much coverage as I can throughout the week on my Live Updates page and if anyone is in Las Vegas, don’t hesitate to get in contact!
*All times mentioned in this article are local Las Vegas times. I will provide Australian times in my daily update articles.