Every year, and in fact almost every day, a young cowboy hops on the back of a gigantic bull in an attempt to see how long he can stay on the angry beast while holding on for dear life with only one hand. Some do it for fun, while many others do it for sport. Those on the professional path compete in a series of annual competitions in the hopes that they’ll be able to one day compete in the Professional Bull Riders World Finals in Las Vegas.
The History of the Professional Bull Riders
While the average rodeo can feature up to a dozen or more individual events, the most exciting and entertaining has always been the bull riding competition. Back in 1992, a group of twenty up and coming bull riders each brought $1,000 to the table in an attempt to break away from the rodeo circuit and bring bull riding itself into the national spotlight.
While they all had great dreams for the PBR organization, none of them imagined bull riding would turn into the up and coming sport that it is today. Every year they added more competitions, increasing both the overall revenue and prize pots while experiencing an incredible surge in media attention.
Today, bull riding is more popular than ever before. Headquartered in Colorado, the Professional Bull Riders have members from all over the world, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil. There are three main competition circuits in which riders are able to participate in any of over 300 individual competitions in the elite, minor league, and international tours. The winners of each circuit strive for one ultimate goal – to participate in the PBR World Finals, held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada. The title of PBR World Champion is the most coveted of all.
The Professional Bull Riders now enjoy professional sponsorship and an incredible amount of media attention. Almost all of the events on the tour circuit are broadcast across several national television stations. Over 1.5 million people will watch the events in person, with millions more watching from the comfort of their own homes.
The 2008 Professional Bull Riders World Finals
The 2008 Professional Bull Riders World Finals will be held over the course of two separate weekends. The first being Friday, October 31st through Sunday November 2nd; the second running from Thursday, November 6th through Sunday, November 9th. Events will be held at the Thomas & Mack Center on Maryland Parkway in Las Vegas.
Over the course of the two weekends of competition, 45 professional bull riders will brave the backs of over 300 angry bulls in an attempt to come out on top after 7 grueling rounds of competition. The entire event features a calendar jam packed with events. Not only will there be a round of competition on each day, but there will also be a Halloween party, several draft events, live music, and even shopping.
During the competition there will also be a blackjack tournament to benefit the Resistol Relief Fund. The Resistol Relief Fund was created in 1999 to benefit bull riders and anyone else involved in the sport, regardless of their level of involvement. High school, college, and professional bull riders injured while participating in the sport they love can apply for assistance from the fund. The fund has a designated Board of Directors who will review each request and determine whether or not it can be funded.
How to Become a Professional Bull Rider
Anyone tired of watching from the sidelines can become a professional bull rider. The Professional Bull Riders accept applications from anyone over the age of 18. Once your PBR membership application is received, you will receive a bull riding permit and permission to enter the three minor league tours: the Copenhagen Bull Riding Challenger Tour, the Discovery Tour, or the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Tour.
After you have accumulated at least $2,500 in prize money you’ll be allowed to upgrade your membership from permit to cardholder. From that point on you’ll have to continue to earn at least $2,500 in prize money annually in order to keep your card. The fun part? Once you’re a permanent card holder you can start working your way towards the Built Ford Tough Series in Las Vegas!
Of course, becoming a professional bull rider isn’t as simple as jumping on a bull and clinging for dear life. You might benefit from the assistance of the American Junior Rodeo Association or the National High School Rodeo Association. Both will be able to help you find lessons and understand the types of protective equipment you’ll need to get started.
Tickets to the Professional Bull Riders Finals can be purchased online, either per event or in packages that will give you access to the entire series of competitions. No matter how many events you choose to attend, you’re guaranteed an exciting experience amongst some of the toughest and most dedicated bull riders in the country!