Last night the official start of the 2016 Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series weekend kicked off at the South Point Hotel and Casino in grand style. Over 1000 loyal PBR fans joined many current, former and up and coming bull riding superstars as we came together to honor just a few of the well deserving individuals that have helped make the PBR organization what it has become today. Not only do the cowboys themselves sacrifice but their family members and the bovine athletes they ride do as well. Last night we honored four fantastic folks that were quite deserving of the honor bestowed upon them.
The Heroes and Legends ceremony set the stage for what is sure to be a history making weekend here in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tonight we all came together to honor some very special people in four distinct categories. The Ring of Honor, the Jim Shoulders Lifetime Achievement Award, the Sharon Shoulders Award and the Brand of Honor were all given out at this star studded black tie style event here on this Tuesday night on the eve of round one of the 2016 PBR World Finals!
The Sharon Shoulders Award is given out each year to a supportive and loving wife of a professional bull rider for everything that they do throughout their husband’s career. Everyone knows that each of these athletes could not do what they do without the unwavering support of those that they have at home. This award is dedicated by the lovely Sharon Shoulders each and every year since its conception and is highly recognized by all those within the professional bull riding community.
This year we got to honor a young woman who has given all of her blood, sweat and tears to the Professional Bull Riders organization for many years. For many years Leann Hart has stood by her husband’s side and supported him through thick and thin both inside of the arena and out. From being a loving and supporting wife of a bull rider to flanking bucking bulls to singing our nation’s National Anthem she has done it all and was very deserving of the honor that was awarded to her last night. Listen to what she has to say about this honor in the interview below.
The Jim Shoulders Memorial Award is presented to an individual that has made a deep impact upon those involved with the Professional Bull Riders organization in one form or another. This year’s honoree is not only a fantastic human being but one that keeps those involved on the right path and looking forward to great careers throughout their journey riding bucking bulls professionally. This year’s honoree does not say much but when he does speak he demands the attention that he deserves.
The man behind the keeping the men healthy throughout the grueling Built Ford Tough Series season was this year’s honoree. Dr. Tandy Freeman heads up the Justin Sports Medicine program and attends to every bull riders, stock contractors, production staff’s and media’s medical needs each and every weekend that the PBR heads coast to coast in search of their next world champion. He says that the award was special but the gratitude he gets day in and day out make his job well worth the work that he puts in. Take a listen to what he has to say after being enshrined with the Jim Shoulders Memorial Award below.
The next award that was given out last night is one that mean the world to stock contractors and their bovine athletes that they love and cherish. The Brand of Honor symbolizes the best of the best in the bucking bull world and is highly regarding around the professional world. This year a great bucking bull was given the distinction of receiving this award and, in fact, was on hand to take ownership of it himself. The legend the myth and the executioner was given the brand of honor that he so well deserved!
Last night as World Champion J.B. Mauney spoke the entire showroom at the South Point Hotel and Casino was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. He spoke about his thirteen times that he matched up against this amazing athlete and the ONE time anyone was able to obtain a qualified ride aboard him. As he was introduced Julio Moreno stood proud as the curtain drew back and made everyone sit in awe. Bushwacker was live and on stage to receive this year’s Brand of Honor award!
The last award given out this year was the one everyone was waiting for, The Ring Of Honor, that has only been given out 42 times before tonight. Thousands of bull riders have come in and out of the doors over the 23 years of the Professional Bull Riders existence but only a very select group ever receive the honor or wearing the gold and diamond ring around their finger. The brotherhood of individuals welcomed another family member last night after the Heroes and Legends ceremony.
Last night we all got to witness the induction of the Captain himself into the Ring of Honor family here in Las Vegas as we kicked off the 2016 PBR World Finals week. Owen Washburn was awarded the 43rd ring and joined the ranks among the best bull riders that have ever stepped foot inside of the Professional Bull Riders arena. It was long overdue as Washburn was always looked up to in everything he did whether it be inside of the arena or out. A huge congratulations goes out to the one and only Owen Washburn!
Tonight was truly a night to remember as we celebrated the accomplishments of four outstanding individuals and showed our true gratitude for what they each have done for the sport of professional rodeo. That being said the curtain closed on another Heroes and Legends ceremony and we head across town to the new T-Mobile Arena tomorrow to continue our coverage of the 2016 PBR World Finals live from Las Vegas, Nevada as we edge closer to crowning another world champion bull rider!
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