(Editor's note: PBR release)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Nashville Stampede, Tennessee’s first-ever professional bull riding team set to compete in the inaugural PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Team Series, have signed six new riders, including eight-time world finals qualifier Matt Triplett (Canton, South Dakota) and Tennessee’s own Dustin Ortiz (Franklin Tennessee), a record-setting MMA fighter branching into bull riding, in addition to Thiago Salgado (Navirai, Brazil), Jaxton Mortensen (Coolidge, Arizona) Mason Moody (Letcher, South Dakota) and Aaron Williams (Apple Valley, California), via free agency.
These signings follow the inaugural PBR Team Series Draft, presented by ZipRecruiter, held Monday, May 23 in Arlington, Texas, when the new bull riding league’s eight founding teams participated in a five-round draft to begin building their rosters ahead of the beginning of the regular-season in July.
Triplett has been a force on the premier series since making his PBR debut in 2011, thrice finishing inside the world’s Top 10 at season’s end, including a career-best result in 2014 where he finished No. 3 in the race for the PBR World Championship. Triplett is also no stranger to competing in the team format under Head Coach Justin McBride’s leadership. In both 2018 and 2020, he rode for Team USA Eagles at the prestigious PBR Global Cup.
Franklin-native Ortiz established himself as a rider to watch during the PBR Scouting Combine held earlier this winter. A mixed martial arts fighter turned bull rider, Ortiz holds the record for the fastest knockout, 15 seconds, in UFC flyweight history. In 29 professional MMA fights, Ortiz has a record of 20 wins and 9 losses. The 33-year-old is in the process of relocating to Texas to train with Stampede Head Coach McBride and his Brazilian teammates.
While Salgado may have been sidelined for the entire 2022 season as he recovered from reconstructive shoulder surgery, he had the bull riding world abuzz during his rookie campaign in 2021. In February, Salgado made his premier series debut in Fort Worth, and at 18 years old became the second youngest Brazilian ever to ride on the elite Unleash The Beast. Following his debut, Salgado delivered four Top-15 finishes before qualifying for his first PBR World Finals that November.
Arizona young gun Mortensen was electric in his PBR debut, winning the Prescott Valley, Arizona, Touring Pro Division event in April 2022 via a perfect 2-for-2 performance. From a family with a rich history in Western sports, his father Judd and uncle Brock both qualified for the PBR World Finals, and his older brother J.C. was drafted by the Texas Rattlers.
Nineteen-year-old Moody, who is currently being mentored by teammate and fellow South Dakota-resident Triplett, brings youthful vibrance to the Nashville Stampede. Presently a Senior at Sanborn Central High School, Moody is the defending state champion, seeking his third bull riding qualification in four years to the South Dakota High School State Rodeo Finals.
Two-time California Circuit Finals Champion Williams joins the Nashville Stampede after multiple successful seasons competing within the PRCA. Also an accomplished rodeo athlete at the collegiate level, Williams, who competed for Cal Poly, is a three-time qualifier (2015-2017) to the National College Finals Rodeo.
Triplett, Ortiz, Salgado, Mortensen, Moody and Williams join Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil), Dener Barbosa (Paulo de Faria, Brazil), Ryan Dirteater (Hulbert, Oklahoma), Manoelito de Souza Jr. (Itamira, Brazil) and Joao Henrique Lucas (Bastos, Brazil) who were selected by the Nashville Stampede during the PBR Team Series Draft.
The Nashville Stampede will host its inaugural homestand on Aug. 19-21 at Bridgestone Arena.
The bull riding action for the 2022 PBR Team Series’ Stampede Days at Bridgestone Arena begins at 7:45 p.m. CDT on Friday, August 19, 6:45 p.m. CDT on Saturday, August 20, and 1:45 p.m. CDT on Sunday, August 21, times subject to change.
Tickets for the three-day event are on-sale now, and start at $20, taxes and fees not included. Tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com [ticketmaster.com] and PBR.com [pbr.com], at the Bridgestone Arena Box Office, or by calling PBR customer service at 1-800-732-1727.