The 2011 Seminole Hard Rock Xtreme Bulls Tour presented by B&W Trailer Hitches began seven months ago in Rapid City, South Dakota and now, eight events later, the Tour is set to conclude with the Finale at the Ellensburg (WA) Rodeo.
The Tour was introduced in 2003 and designed to feature the bull riders of the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) in numerous stand-alone events. Money won at Xbulls events counts not only toward the season championship for the Tour but also towards a qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) held each December in Las Vegas, Nevada.
For several years, the famous Ellensburg Rodeo has hosted the Finale of the Tour, which will begin tonight, Satuday, September 3 at 8 PM local time.
The story of 2011 on both the Xbulls Tour and the national stage has been Washington native Shane Proctor. Proctor finished 23rd in the final world standings a year ago, just missing the cut for the WNFR, but has dedicated himself to the PRCA more this season than previously. Proctor also competes at Professional Bull Riders (PBR) events during the season and is ranked in the top 10 of the PBR as well.
As a result of putting more time toward rodeo, Proctor has led the PRCA World standings for much of the rodeo season, taking a $50,000 lead in the World standings into the Xbulls Finale.
Proctor should have a big, home-state cheering section as he seeks to wrap up his first Xbulls Tour title as well. He leads second placed Cody Whitney by $12,500. Incidentally, Whitney and Proctor went 1-2 at the final regular season Xbulls event last weekend in Bremerton, Washington.
In earning $47,578 on the Xbulls Tour this year, Proctor has won two events: the San Antonio event February 3 and Cody/Yellowstone (WY) event over the Fourth of July.
Whitney is the only other cowboy to earn two event titles this season. In addition to the win in Bremerton, Whitney won the second San Antonio event, held February 19. Other 2011 Event Champs are: Howdy Cloud, Rapid City (SD) Xbulls; Shawn Hogg, Seminole Classic (Brighton, FL); Aaron Pass, Laughlin (NV) Xbulls; and JW Harris, Reno (NV) Rodeo Xbulls.
The Championships will feature the top 40 bull riders from the 2011 Xbulls Tour, competing for $85,000 in added money. All 40 riders will compete on one bull with the top 12 scores from that round competing again in the Championship round. The Finale will air on Great American Country TV on September 18 and 25 at 10 PM (ET).
Amongst the competitors are three former Xbulls Season Champs: Wesley Silcox (2010), Chance Smart (2008) and Kanin Asay (2007) along with three time and defending World Champion Harris. Harris will be looking to make up some ground on Proctor in the world title chase while several other cowboys are hoping to solidify their positions for the WNFR. Competitors will be chasing points for a qualification to rodeo’s Super Bowl until the season cut-off date of September 30.
Of particular interest for local fans is Allen Helmuth. The Ellensburg cowboy is ranked 17th in the World standings and a good showing tonight in his hometown arena could push him over the top for his first ever WNFR qualification.