PBR sneaks in changes to new scoring system

Guest blogger Licoricewhip put his nose to the grindstone to figure out how the PBR’s new points system affects the standings now, and how it would’ve affected the 2013 and 2014 standings. Included below is the PBR’s longwinded explanation of the new points system (which I edited down), posted on their website.

Licoricewhip also discovered a change in the points system that the PBR snuck in under the radar earlier this year. That’s their standard m.o.: anything they think is a heckuva great idea is introduced with a load of fanfare and fireworks. (Remember Full Metal Jousting?) Anything that leaves them with egg on their faces magically vanishes. (Remember Full Metal Jousting?)

The problem is that the PBR doesn’t know the difference. The jousting was a sucky idea (A&E TV thought so, too; the show didn’t have a second season), but PBR can’t resist a chance to affiliate itself with the lowest common denominator: Ultimate Fighter stuff. (That’s actually a plan—they don’t do dumb shit by accident. Piggybacking on the UFC was a strategy. So how’s that working out for you, boys?)

Dumping Justin McKee as a commentator was a mammoth mistake equal to the new points system, but they ignored all communication from distressed bullriding aficionados. They even resorted to censoring comments on their website. They acted like McKee and the horse he rode in on didn’t exist. Talk about infuriating the fans! They just waited until the storm went away, though it took almost two years.

The new points system is destined to become congealed egg, when people finally catch on to what it does to riders in the middle of the pack. Most of us already know it was designed to fuck over Silvano Alves, in case he was on his way to a 4th (some of us say 5th) world title. I’m thinking this minor adjustment is a whispered “Whoops!” to lessen the sting for certain riders, but it ain’t cutting it, not by half.

Licoricewhip also found a Jan. 5, 2015 article about the changes—but not on the PBR website. They shuffled it off to the side, on the Wrangler Network, to make it less visible. Uhh, but when you use the same PBR writer, you kinda give away the game.

Here’s Licoricewhip’s exploration, step by step, our email conversations, his spreadsheets, and the aggravating discovery after all that slogging, that PBR had pulled the rug out by making an unannounced change.

Licoricewhip: 4-8-15
Once the new points system for 2015 went up, I wanted to figure out how 2014 would’ve played out under it. Specifically, I wondered if J.B. Mauney would’ve actually beaten Silvano Alves. So I made a big spreadsheet, and guess what? J.B. beat him. Big surprise, eh? Look at Sheet 1 of the attached Excel file. I had to figure out the points system based on what I found on the PBR website.

Alves vs Mauney 2014 – spreadsheet

BullRidingMarketing: 4-10-15
I looked through the 1st sheet, and unless I’m reading it wrong, a lot of aggregates are missing: 11 from Silvano’s side, and 5 from J.B.’s side: Missing Aggregates:

Oakland                           Anaheim
Tulsa                                 Sacramento
Des Moines                     Chicago
Fresno                              Denver
Tacoma                            Duluth

Asheville                           Colorado Springs
Arlington                          Anaheim
Duluth                               Chicago
Oklahoma City

Even if a rider has only one score, shouldn’t that be considered his aggregate from that event? I decided to add up just the aggregates, and Silvano beats J.B. by 1,000 points. (I couldn’t even deal with the other Excel sheets.)

Also, J.B.’s scores in the 2014 Finals were ridiculous: 94, 88, 93.25, 90.25, 88. The judges were desperately trying to push him up in the rankings, and when they knew there was no hope for a win, they figured they’d give him the High Score of the Event award.

And get this: J.B. rides Rango, gets 91.75; Alves rides Rango, gets 89.50. So did Rango have “a bad day”? I doubt it! And this: a few years ago, Fabiano rode Asteroid, was scored 87. Last year Silvano rode him, scored 87.25. But when J.B. rode him, he got 93.50. Are we supposed to believe Asteroid also had a couple of bad days, that just coincidentally were not when a “fan favorite” American rode him?

Licoricewhip: 4-17-15
For each rider, I didn’t enter the aggregate on my spreadsheet if it wasn’t in the Top 10 for the week, as the new rules give aggregate points only for Top 10 finishes. Slade Long [PBR statistician] lists the Top 10 aggregates in a given week, so if I didn’t see Silvano or J.B. in the Top 10, I wouldn’t bother to list their total score for the week.

In my points determination, the one thing that I didn’t feel confident about is The American, listed on rows 101-103. Since J.B. would’ve grabbed 600 (!) points that weekend, it makes all the difference. Since this year’s American has already taken place, maybe we can now see how the PBR scores it.

Funny how Slade defends the points system – at least he used to, on his message board [ProBullStats] before he shut it down – but he doesn’t list the points on the site. Scores? Sure, but no points. That’s up to us to calculate.

To be certain that my scoring is accurate, what I’ll do is pick a rider from this year and see if I get the same number of points that the PBR has listed on their site.

Ah… I see now that in the PBR’s website article, Professional Bull Riders – Scoring and Judging, the “majors” are worth a little more. I didn’t take that into account for 2014, but how could I? They weren’t “majors” then. I’ll have to find those suddenly-more-important events and work those points into them.

Looks like they changed the scoring system since I made this spreadsheet. I know that before, they were going to give scores only to the Top 10 aggregates. Now suddenly it’s Top 15. Since Slade lists only Top 10 for each past event, it’ll be hard to determine when an extra 10 points will be given. Arrgh!

Man, I can’t stand the lack of oversight. There’s no quality control. The only journalists that cover the BFTS are on the PBR payroll. [BRM: Except me. I’m a free bird!]

To be honest, I stopped watching the events. We dropped cable tv, and even though we can see everything on CarbonTV, my wife and I have found better things to do, such as look after our young son and get much-needed rest.

I’m looking at Silvano’s 2015 scoring, and of course there are discrepancies. PBR.com claims that he has 65 Touring Pro Division points from a single event (Denver). The scoring guidelines say that only this aggregate earns points, but the only way Silvano would get 65 points is if he got 5 points for his 4th-place first round, 10 for his 3rd-place second round, and 50 for his 1st-place aggregate.

Putting on my conspiracy cap, I wonder if the real reason Slade took down the message board is that a few of us were digging up more than he wanted known. Nothing screams “bias” like the number of consecutive Top 5 scores that J.B. put up in 2013-2014. Under the new system, whenever he rides, he’s basically guaranteed points.

Anyway… I think my scoring and new winner from before is wrong. If The American really is treated and scored like a Touring Pro event, as it is in 2015, then the 600 points for J.B. drops to either 80 if only the aggregate is counted, or 120 if he gets 80 for the aggregate and a couple of 20s for round wins. Even with that higher score, Silvano wins, 3,575 to 3,490.

J.B. would’ve won the 2014 Finals with the new system, but that’s no surprise. [BRM: The PBR figured that out, that’s why we have a new system.)

Licoricewhip: 4-18-15
I looked only at J.B. vs. Silvano; perhaps João would’ve won it all under the new system. But still, even with The American points being a lot smaller, it would’ve been that close between the two of them.

A few months ago, I thought of making it a mission to expose the PBR/BFTS for the crap they’ve pulled. Now… eh. Whatever. Once I stopped watching the CBSSports feed and Leah being forced to interview J.B. every waking moment, I got less upset.

One year, Brazilians placed 1st through 5th. That must’ve ticked off the home office big-time. [BRM: 2011 Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series World Championship results:
1. Silvano Alves, 15,742 points, $1,456,964
2. Valdiron de Oliveira, 13,340.25 points, $396,171
3. Robson Palermo, 13,035.75 points, $618,875
4. Guilherme Marchi, 9,820 points, $233,174
5. Fabiano Vieira, 9,170 points, $249,045]

Are there any discrepancies between the numbers? I believe that the PBR changed the scoring system after the season began and made no noise about it. Well, I guess there’s the scoring for the one Touring Pro USA event that Silvano entered this year. He got 65 points from it, but it looks as though he should have gotten no more than 50.

When the season started, I had no concrete proof that the scoring was for only the Top 10 in the aggregate; I thought I was losing my mind a little. But I looked at what I guess is the official scoring system:


When I looked at the page info, it shows that this .pdf was last modified on February 15, 2015, a good month after the season started. Is it because of the creation of the “major” events? That was announced on February 3rd.

I think it’s tacky to change the rules mid-stream, even if it’s a minor change such as the 10 points for the 11th through 15th aggregate. But yep, they can do what they want. “Hey Cowboy, if you don’t like it, you can go ride bulls on the PRCA.” [BRM: which is what Kody Lostroh decided to do. He was already riding in PRCA rodeos in 2012, but the new points system was his defining moment. A tip of the Resistol to Kody!]

Licoricewhip: 4-19-15
Yes! I found proof that they changed it:
Behind the Chutes: Refreshing on the New Points System

Those numbers look right to me. I had to find it outside of PBR.com, but notice how Justin Felisko (PBR scribe) wrote it.

[BRM: I edited the article below to give just the relevant information, but those bozos are still using the incorrect word “average” when they mean “aggregate.” Try not to let them confuse you with their confusion.
If you want to see what the new system does to certain cowboys, look at the Baltimore standings coming into the Championship Round: Sean Willingham is in 4th place, rides 2 for 2, earns NO event points. Kasey Hayes, in 5th place, rides 2 for 2, earns 60 event points, with a lower aggregate score than Sean.
And the beat goes on…]

PUEBLO, Colo. – The PBR announced in November a new points system for the 2015 season that changed how points are accrued throughout the regular season towards the PBR World Championship and how event winners on the Built Ford Tough Series are determined.

With one event officially in the books, here are how things shaped up for those still looking to learn more about how the points system played out during the Baltimore Invitational. Before taking a round-by-round look at the Baltimore Invitational, here is a refresher on the changes made for 2015.

  • Built Ford Tough Series Event Scoring

Riders earn points at BFTS events based on where they place in a round and the event average.
1st-place finisher at a BFTS round receives 100 event points.
Riders placing 2nd through 5th receive event points on a graduated scale (60, 50, 40, 30).
1st place finisher in the event average, which is based on a rider’s total combined ride score, will receive 400 points.
Riders placing 2nd through 10th receive points on a graduated scale (240, 180, 105, 65, 45, 20, 15, 10, 5).
The Top 15 riders with the highest-combined ride scores following Rounds 1 & 2 (or 3 during a three-day event) will advance to the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.

How did the new points system work in Baltimore?

  • Starting with Round 1:
    Mike Lee rode Pecos Bill for a Round 1-high of 87.75 points. Therefore, Lee was awarded 100 event points.
    Kasey Hayes finished 2nd in the round by riding Loco Lizard for 87.25 points, earning him 65 event points.
    J.W. Harris earned 50 event points with the 3rd-highest scored ride of Round 1 when he covered Alternator for 86.75 points.
    Nathan Schaper was awarded 40 event points for placing 4th in Round 1 with 86.25 points on Nefarious.
    Guilherme Marchi placed 5th in Round 1 with 85.75 points on RMEF Big Bull for 30 event points.

The remaining 15 riders that posted qualified rides earned no points toward the world standings or the event standings. However, they remained in the hunt for the event average title, which awards 400 points to the bull rider who accumulates the highest-combined ride score. Those 400 points are crucial when it comes to potentially winning a BFTS event.

  • Baltimore Round 2:
    In Round 2, there were a total of 18 qualified rides. Using the same approach as Round 1, here is how event points were awarded:
    Reese Cates earned the Round 2 victory and 100 event points with an 88.5-point ride on KISS Animalize.
    Cody Nance earned 60 event points courtesy of his 87.5 point-ride on Modified Clyde – the 2nd highest-scored ride of Round 2.
    3rd in the round was Matt Triplett with 87 points on Shoot Out The Lights, providing him with 50 event points.
    Renato Nunes was credited with 40 event points for a 4th-place finish on Slappy.
    Rounding out the Top 5 of Round 2 was Silvano Alves with his 86.25-point performance on Rough ‘em Up Tuck.

Once again, the other 13 riders that posted qualified rides in Round 2 did not earn any event points or points toward the world standings. However, some of these riders were a perfect 2-for-2 on the weekend and in prime position for making a run at the 400 event points that come with winning the event average.

  • Who qualified for the Built Ford Tough Championship Round?

Here are which riders qualified for the Built Ford Tough Championship Round based on the event average (total combined ride scores). Below in parentheses are the number of event points that each rider earned towards winning the Baltimore event following Round 1 and Round 2. Remember, these 15 riders were jockeying to earn the important 400 event points for placing first in the event average, as well as the additional points awarded to the remaining nine riders that round out the Top 10 in the event average.

1. Reese Cates 2-for-2 for 174 ride points (100 event points)
2. Matt Triplett 2-for-2 for 172 ride points (50 event points)
3. Renato Nunes 2-for-2 for 170.5 ride points (40 event points)
4. Sean Willingham 2-for-2 for 169.75 ride points (0 event points)
5. Kasey Hayes 2-for-2 for 169.25 ride points (60 event points)
6. Brady Sims 2-for-2 for 169 ride points (0 event points)
7. Ryan Dirteater 2-for-2 for 168 ride points (0 event points)
8. Silvano Alves 2-for-2 for 167.25 ride points (30 event points)
9. Shane Proctor 2-for-2 for 166.5 ride points (0 event points)
10. L.J. Jenkins 2-for-2 for 159.5 ride points (0 event points)
11. Eduardo Aparecido 2-for-2 for 151 ride points (0 event points)
12. Mike Lee 1-for-2 for 87.75 ride points (100 event points)
13. Cody Nance 1-for-2 for 87.5 ride points (60 event points)
14. J.W. Harris 1-for-2 for 86.75 ride points (50 event points)
15. Nathan Schaper 1-for-2 for 86.25 ride points (40 event points)

  • Championship Round Results

Kasey Hayes rode Fire & Smoke for 89.25 points to win the round and earn 100 points.
Silvano Alves placed 2nd in the round with 88 points on Yo Yo, earning 60 points.
Cody Nance finished 3rd with 87.5 points aboard I’m a Gangster Too for 50  points.
Reese Cates rode Percolator for 86.5 points and 40 event points.
Ryan Dirteater finished 5th with 84.5  on Cooper Tires Semper Fi and won 30 points.
Shane Proctor earned no event points, as he finished outside the Top 5 with 83.75 points on Freakster.

However, the majority of points available still remain within the event average, and Proctor finished 3-for-3 with a combined score of 250.25. Therefore, he finished 5th in the event average and earned 65 points, which carry over to the world standings.

  • Here is how the top event average finishers were awarded points in Baltimore:

1. Reese Cates, 260.5 ride points on three bulls (400 event points)
2. Kasey Hayes, 258.5 ride points on three bulls (240 event points)
3. Silvano Alves, 255.25 ride points on three bulls (180 event points)
4. Ryan Dirteater, 252.50 ride points on three bulls (105 event points)
5. Shane Proctor, 250.25 ride points on three bulls (65 event points)
6. Cody Nance, 165 ride points on two bulls (45 event points)
7. Matt Triplett, 172 event points on two bulls (20 event points)
8. Renato Nunes, 170.5 ride points on two bulls (15 event points)
9. Sean Willingham, 169.75 ride points on two bulls (10 event points)
10. Brady Sims, 169 ride points on two bulls (5 event points)

  • How were the final event results decided in Baltimore?

Based on the new scoring system, event finish at a BFTS event is determined based upon total event points earned and not total ride score. Consequently, here is how things finished in Baltimore.

1. Reese Cates (500 event points)
2. Kasey Hayes (400 event points)
3. Silvano Alves (270 event points)
4. Cody Nance (155 event points)
5. Ryan Dirteater (135 event points)
6. Mike Lee (100 event points)
7. Matt Triplett (70 event points)
8. Shane Proctor (65 event points)
9. Renato Nunes (55 event points)
10. J.W. Harris (50 event points)
11. Nathan Schaper (40 event points)
12. Guilherme Marchi (30 event points)
13. Sean Willingham (10 event points)
14. Brady Sims (5 event points)

These are the only points from a BFTS event that carry over into the world standings. Ride scores do not count toward the world standings. Riders may also earn points toward the world standings based on how they finish in the event average at BlueDEF Velocity Tour, Touring Pro Division and international PBR events. However, riders at those events do not earn any points for where they finish in a round.

© 2015 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.


(Licoricewhip, continued                  4-19-15)

Why would they change the points for the aggregate? Why wouldn’t they announce it? Why would they try to hide the old system? Seriously, what in the hell is with these people?

I wonder if J.B. actually won in 2013. Wouldn’t it be funny if they fudged the points to give it to him? I don’t mean the judges showing bias in giving him event wins down the stretch – there’s no doubt they did just that – I mean the stats guys messing with the points to put him farther ahead.

Licoricewhip: 5-6-15
To me, it would be a lot easier to take PBR seriously if the judges weren’t all American. The only Brazilian I can think of is Paulo Crimber, but I only remember seeing him once all year. They had him on the chute, he didn’t put Brazilians on the clock right away, and suddenly he wasn’t there again. [BRM: yep.]

The judging is another thing. Do you know which judge is Judge 2 or Judge 4 on a given weekend? I don’t. On Slade’s site, he doesn’t break down what each judge gave each ride. Heck, he doesn’t even split them up. It’s “Judge A: Shearer / Randolph; Judge B: Doyal/Foltyn.” Certainly he could itemize them; why doesn’t he?
[BRM: Occasionally either on the website or on the broadcasts, I’ve seen “Judge 1, Judge 2,” etc., and once in a blue moon Craig Hummer identifies someone as “the back bench judge.” The bully at the chute is David Fournier.]
They sure make it awfully difficult to expose the bias of a certain judge, don’t they? [BRM: Yep. That’s how they roll.]

I’d be curious to see how Crimber’s scores line up with the others, and what weeks he worked, but I can’t yet figure out how to find it. [BRM: Calling “I hate PBR judges” – this is a job for you!]

There are leagues that offer openness, and there are leagues that pretend to offer it. PBR is neither.

Licoricewhip: 5-20-15
Dang, this ain’t easy. Slade’s site used to be organized so that it was easy to find this info. Now it’s near impossible. I had to search on google.com under a custom range of dates. But here it is: You can see the Top 10 about halfway down.

Professional Bull Riders – Alves wins World Championship, earns $1.4 million

But seriously, why was it so hard to find this info? I can’t imagine that the PBR would actually try to erase history. I just don’t see the benefit. [BRM: Ah, but they do try, cheri, as often as possible. The benefit is, a viewership with amnesia is easy to manipulate, and the PBR can shove their storylines down our throats. Then if someone like yours truly says, “Hey—the Emperor has no clothes!”, they’ve already distributed enough Kool-Aid among their followers so that the fans actually think they see the Suits in cowboy clothes. May I quote Butch Cassidy: “Boy, I got vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals.”

One fun thing about this search was that I found J.B.’s 2013 winning season had the lowest riding percentage amongst all PBR world champs, yet he won the second-most money ever, behind McBride’s 2007 season. Look under “World Champion” here: http://www.pbr.com/en/bfts/winners.aspx

Top 25 by Riding Percentage 3-23-15 – spreadsheet

Top 25 by Dollars Won 3-23-15 – spreadsheet

BullRidingMarketing: 5-22-15
And there you have it, folks: the long and winding road down the rabbit hole of insanity that is the PBR.

Thank you, Licoricewhip!


About Bull Riding Marketing

Creative services, marketing and public relations professional from entertainment industry background. Published in magazines and newspapers worldwide. I believe bull riders are the new rock stars.
This entry was posted in Built Ford Tough Series, Bull Riding, CBR, cowboys, PBR, PRCA. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to PBR sneaks in changes to new scoring system

  1. GS says:

    It’s a shame wikileaks can’t give us those emails where all this is discussed. Julian?


  2. Jinx says:

    Pbr has made up there own rules since 1992 , they sell tickets , what sells tickets better than there own script , Lambert draws the bulls , what’s that tell ya .they write there own script every week and you calling them out want change it , it didn’t for me I just got fired , so give it up you can’t win .


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