Oklahoma City was Willingham's first opportunity in almost a year to ride again on the Built Ford Tough Series after being cut from the top level of the pro tour last season. Willingham had competed in 230 consecutive Built Ford Tough Series events before falling out of the top 35 in the points standings last season.
“Nine years I went without missing an event,” Willingham said. “I got cut and it was kind of hard for me that I wasn't here. It just kind of took me back. I think I was putting too much pressure on myself at them Challengers (last year) to get back here before I was ready because I was injured. I just needed to go home and heal up.”
Sunday marked the seventh time that Willingham has won in the PBR, but he said the victory was just as sweet as his first because of the circumstances. The win in Oklahoma City should ensure that Willingham remains in the top 35 and on the Built Ford Tough Series for the rest of the season.
“I think this is probably the most memorable win I will ever have,” he said. “It puts me back to where I need to be, going to these each and every weekend.”