Right now, the point spread you're seeing between first and 40 is the equivalent of the Top 3 guys from a year ago. Granted we're only 11 events in, but there's not anyone who is clearly riding away with it. We're looking at a 32.50-point lead between J.B. Mauney and Kody Lostroh.
This is a great time to be a fan of the PBR.
If you look at every guy in the Top 40, every guy has his own fan base and section rooting for him, so it's nice when you're team isn't 1-15 like the Detroit Lions.
It's fun to know that no matter who your guy is as of 11 events in he's in the thick of it. We're seeing a really competitive year. In fact, it's the most competitive year that we've seen in a long time.
The competition and the talent are really healthy right now.
Being part of the Built Ford Tough Series is a coveted spot, which is the whole idea. It's as coveted as it is to be part of any major league sport.
As a fan, I enjoy watching the battle for making the cut just as much as I do watching the battle of the guys going after a championship. There's a sense of urgency to be ranked among the Top 40 bull riders in the world.
When you see guys who are riding at 27 percent they're not riding at a world class level that's not within the Built Ford Tough echelon.
I'm not saying that those guys can't get to that level, but that's why the original structure and design of the PBR was put in place the way that it was; if you're not cutting it, you go back to the minors and regroup or retool or boost your confidence or whatever it is you need to work on.
You have to get back to the point that when you are on the Built Ford Tough Series where the lights are bright and it's the biggest of the big time when it comes to our sport, that you're up there riding at a world class level.
We're seeing a lot of guys do that and we're seeing a lot of guys have to do that. It truly creates a sense of urgency, where you're not seeing victories slip away because a guy says, "Oh, next week I can win $50,000. Well, that one slipped away but I can still win $50,000 next week, too."
It's healthy for the sport to see it get this competitive.
It's healthy in every way it makes the guys ride better, it makes it more challenging, it makes it more coveted, makes it more fun as a fan to know that your guy is in the race and to know there even is a race. We've seen seasons where, 11 events in like this, we've had guys riding off with the title or maybe only two guys competing for it.
Like I said before, the PBR is not a club.
It's about earning your way every day, and that's what sets us apart and gives us a more competitive integrity than some other sports. For example, take boxing: if you have two fighters and you're going to pay each of them $30 million, I think that takes away from the integrity of the competition.
When you have a football player who signs a $100 million contract and then he misses practice every week and then he makes comments about how he tries when he wants to try or plays hard when he wants to, those things make you sick as a fan.
In the boxing match scenario I would rather see the winner get $60 million. I'm not saying anything about the amount of money because through ticket sales and pay-per-view revenue they're generating those kinds of dollars.
My beef isn't the amount of money, but how hard are you going to fight if you get $30 million win, lose or draw? But how hard are you going to fight if it's $60 million to the winner and zero to the loser?
This is what makes our sport great and makes it fun and exciting to watch. Right now we're seeing 40 guys ride with a sense of urgency and not 10 or five or two.
To read Ty's previous blog, click here: Training makes a difference