The PBR, eight seconds at a time, is returning to Tulsa.
The PBR Express Ranches Classic will take place July 31 and Aug. 1 at BOK Center.
PBR — Professional Bull Riders — events are strictly bull riding. “The first step is just staying on the bull,” said an excerpt from the PBR.com’s media guide. “There is only one cowboy, one bull and eight desperate seconds.”
Here’s your A-to-Z guide to the PBR in Tulsa:
A: Animal welfare
The PBR says it is fully committed to ensuring the health, safety, welfare and respect of the animal athletes in the sport. The care and treatment of PBR bulls is a top priority for the organization, which operates under a zero tolerance policy for mistreatment. Bulls are fed approximately 15 pounds of high-quality hay per day, they are permitted to travel a maximum of 10 hours each day (with 12-14 hours of rest following) and many bulls receive chiropractic care, magnetic pulse therapy and acupuncture as needed to keep them in top shape and feeling great.
B: Belt buckle
The PBR’s world champ is annually presented with a gold belt buckle valued at more than $20,000, or the equivalent of the seed money used to start the PBR (keep reading for details).
C: Consecutive rides
Three-time world champ Silvano Alves owns the record with 24 consecutive qualified rides. The streak began Oct. 3, 2014, in Biloxi, Mississippi, and ended on Jan. 23, 2015, in Oklahoma City.
The PBR says 750 tons of dirt are typically brought into each arena for events. That’s 1,500,000 pounds of dirt.
Flint Rasmussen has been the PBR’s official entertainer since 1998. Formerly referred to as the “barrel man,” the entertainer keeps the show moving and the crowd engaged during lulls in the action and commercial breaks. In the past, the barrel man was a protective bullfighter who used a barrel in the arena to protect himself and downed riders unable to reach the safety of the fence. Over time, barrel men assumed most of the comical duties of what were called rodeo clowns. Now the entertainer is solely a performer, though the barrel is still used for safety.
Forty riders have earned more than $1 million since the PBR’s creation.
Guthrie, Oklahoma, was the site of three made-for-TV events during the pandemic year of 2020. PBR pioneered the return of professional sports in North America with the events, held in late April and early May with new safety protocols.
H: Hat or helmet?
It’s a matter of choice for many riders, but, beginning with the 2013 season, any competitor born on or after Oct. 15, 1994, is required to wear a protective helmet while in the bucking chutes and/or while present in the immediate competition area of any PBR sanctioned event.
Injuries — no pain, no gain? — are part of the profession. One of the most famous bulls in PBR history, the 1,900-pound Charbray Bodacious, gained a rep for wounding some of the PBR’s top riders. Bodacious retired in 1995.
J: J.B. Mauney
Mauney is money. He is the PBR’s all-time money-winner with more than $7.4 million in career earnings. One of three cowboys to log 500-plus rides on the premier series and one of six multi-time world champions, he earned the nickname “Dragon Slayer,” conquering every world champion bull from 2007-2018.
Rider Colten Jesse is from Konawa, Oklahoma. A second-generation cowboy from the Potawatomi Nation, he also is a singer-songwriter.
L: Lane Frost/Brent Thurman Award
The award is presented to the competitor with the highest-scored ride at the PBR World Finals. The award is named in memory of Lane Frost, who was fatally injured at the 1989 Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming, and Brent Thurman, who suffered fatal injuries at the 1994 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Frost, whose life story was revisited in the film “8 Seconds,” is buried in Hugo near his hero, Freckles Brown.
The PBR bulls are stars, too. In some seasons, official PBR bull merchandise has outsold cowboy gear.
Native riders are active on the PBR circuit. Among them: 2018 rookie of the year Keyshawn Whitehorse (Navajo) of Utah, Stetson Lawrence (Chippewa, Sioux) of North Dakota, Dakota Louis (Cheyenne, Blackfeet) of Montana and Cody Jesus (Navajo) of Arizona.
O: One thousand dollars
In 1992, 20 cowboys broke from rodeo and chipped in $1,000 each to found the PBR. The PBR has awarded more than $191 million in prize money since.
Each qualified ride is worth up to 100 points — 50 for the bull and 50 for the rider. Four judges award up to 25 points each to the rider and the bull. All of the judges’ scores are combined and then divided by two for the official score.
Q: Qualified ride
What’s a qualified ride? If a rider stays aboard for eight seconds without being disqualified, he has completed a qualified ride and is eligible for a score.
This is respect: Two members of the Shoulders family have PBR awards named in their honor. The Jim Shoulders Lifetime Achievement Award is named after an Oklahoma cowboy who won 16 world titles. The award honors those responsible for building the PBR into a global phenomenon — bullfighters, stock contractors, contract personnel, employees and others. The Sharon Shoulders Award bears the named of Jim Shoulders’ wife. The Sharon Shoulders Award was created to honor the women who have made a difference in the sport of bull riding. Shoulders was recognized for her support and encouragement of her husband.
Brennon Eldred of Sulphur is an Oklahoma cowboy who has established himself as a top rider. Eldred has persevered through significant injuries, including a dislocated hip, to steadily improve. He achieved numerous career milestones in 2020.
Bushwacker’s record PBR buckoff streak of 42 riders ended in Tulsa. The streak ended at BOK Center in 2013 when Mauney rode Bushwhacker for 95.25 points. ESPN The Magazine featured the champion bull in its body issue as the “Baddest Body in Sports.” Bushwhacker was the first animal featured in the issue.
U: USS Lexington
PBR took bull riding to a unique venue to conclude 2020. A charity event, Cowboys for a Cause, was held on the deck of the historic USS Lexington, a decommissioned aircraft carrier floating in Corpus Christi Bay in Texas. A 15-man PBR Air Force Reserve Cowboys for a Cause team-tournament raised $250,000 for eight veteran-focused charities.
Riders must wear a protective vest. Developed by PBR director of livestock and co-founder Cody Lambert, the vest has dramatically reduced the number of internal injuries. The vest absorbs shock and dissipates blows while protecting the torso from direct contact with a bull’s hooves and horns.
Cody Webster of Wayne, Oklahoma, is among the PBR’s crew of protective bullfighters. Known as the “Secret Service of the PBR,” the bullfighters routinely place themselves in harm’s way. Native Oklahoman Frank Newsom (known as the “Fearless One”) also is among the bullfighting crew.
X: Can’t spell Boudreaux without “X”
Boudreaux Campbell earned the most money ($471,671.36) ever by a rookie in 2020. He is the fifth rider to be named PBR rookie of the year and win the World Finals event title in the same season.
Texas rider Ezekiel “Blue” Mitchell may be the only professional bull rider to have learned the sport on YouTube, according to the PBR’s media guide: “Unlike most PBR riders, Mitchell didn’t get on any animals as a child; instead, he was exposed to the sport by his father who was an equine dentist that traversed various rodeo circuits.” A high school track and football athlete, Mitchell began watching YouTube videos for bull riding career prep.
Z: Can’t spell Brazil without “Z”
Brazilian riders strengthen the PBR’s talent stable. Six of the past 11 world champions have come from Brazil: Jose Vitor Leme (2020), Kaique Pacheco (2018), Silvano Alves (2011, 2012 and 2014) and Renato Nunes (2010). According to the PBR media guide, live attendance at western sports events in Brazil is nearly double the live gate of soccer.
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