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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Luke Snyder wins inaugural 'Last Cowboy Standing' bullriding event

Luke Snyder wins inaugural 'Last Cowboy Standing' bullriding event
By Gary Mihoces

The bulls eliminated 39 other riders before veteran Luke Snyder won the title of "Last Cowboy Standing" and a $216,500 prize on the Professional Bull Riders tour.

For the pay-per-view TV event Saturday night in Las Vegas, the PBR introduced a new, all-or-nothing format. Riders advanced from one round to the next based solely on whether they stayed on their bulls for the required eight seconds.

In round one at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, 16 of 40 riders advanced. Snyder of Raymore, Mo., was among them with a successful ride on a bull named Slim Chance. In round two, four advanced. Snyder stayed onBraveheart.

In round three, Sean Willingham, Pistol Robinson and Aaron Roy were all bucked off before Snyder's winning ride aboard Cooper Tires Wild & Out.

As usual in the PBR, each ride still was scored by the judges based on the performance of the rider and the bull. In a typical PBR event, points amassed via the scores decide the final standings.

In this event, the points only would have come into play in deciding the champion if more than one rider had not been bucked off through the maximum five rounds.

Snyder, 28, won the top prize of $200,000, plus an additional $16,500 for his point placements in each round.

He won round one with 88 points. He tied for second in round two with 90.5. He was awarded 90 points for his winning ride in round three.

This was the PBR's first pay-per-view event. It opted for pay-per-view because its usual TV network, Versus, was televising NHL playoff hockey.

Snyder was the PBR Rookie of the Year at age 19 in 2001. Saturday marked his 300th event on the PBR tour, third most events for a single rider in the history of the PBR. He has career winnings of about $1.34 million.

With his victory, he moved from 31st to first place in the season earnings race with more than $240,000. His previous biggest weekend in the PBR this season had earned him $5,183.33.

His "Last Cowboy Standing" victory also earned him a berth in the PBR World Finals Oct. 26-30 in Las Vegas, where the world champion will be awarded a $1 million bonus.

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