Professional Bull Riders, Inc./Jack Daniel’s Invitational in Nashville
The Professional Bull Riders, Inc. (PBR) put on quite a show in Nashville at the Jack Daniel’s Invitational on August 14 and 15 at the Sommet Center. This was my first experience watching professional bull riding except for catching a few minutes of the sport on TV at a friend’s house earlier this year. I thought I had an idea what to expect, but like with most things, seeing it on television and then seeing the real deal “up close and personal” were two completely different experiences. To give you an idea just how “up close and personal” I was, on Saturday night, I was close enough to get pelted with dirt from stomping, tossing, leaping bulls as 40 of the world’s best bull riders competed against top bulls from across the country.
PBR Not Just a Bunch of Bulls
I thought I knew bulls. Growing up for several years on a farm in Tennessee where my family raised Black Angus and other cattle, I had been around bulls that were big and ornery, but they were nothing like the bulls of the PBR. These bulls are bred for speed, size, stamina, agility and their ability to buck and leap. You can’t imagine how high these massive animals can jump and how they can contort their huge bodies in midair unless you catch a PBR show sometime.
The PBR Cowboys
If I seem impressed with the bulls, that’s nothing as compared to the polite, clean cut, handsome slew of young cowboys who ride the bulls. I was told by fans and PBR staff that many of the riders are strong Christians. Two names I heard repeatedly were Mike Lee and Wiley Peterson. Unfortunately an interview never materialized as I was hoping to ask them what bearing their faith has on such a dangerous sport. (Photo of Mike Lee in the photos section.)
PBR’s Justin McBride at the Opry
There was plenty of country-Western music during the weekend, and two-time PBR World Champion Justin McBride even made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry stage, performing songs from his debut country album, “Don’t Let Go” on August 14 while many of the fans and bull riders were in town.
PBR’s Ryan Dirteater on White Trash
My personal Nashville PBR highlight was watching Ryan Dirteater ride the bull White Trash, owned by Teague Bucking Bulls, LLC. This bull jumped unbelievably high, bucking and twisting in midair (see photo). Dirteater scored 83.75 points on the bull and finished the event in 16th place overall.
PBR’s Valderon de Oliveira on Bones
A Knoxville fan told me the highlight for her was seeing Brazilian rider, Valderon de Oliveira, get up and walk off the arena floor after what looked like a “horrible crash” in the short go. She describes the incident:
“Oliveira was on Bones, 2008 Bull of the Year. Bones bucked like I’ve never seen before, straight up in the air like one of the small ‘flying’ bulls, but Bones is a giant behemoth. Val looked like he was gonna make 8 secs, then got behind, lost control, and was tossed forward onto Bones shoulder blades as he reared up. Val got the wind knocked out of him and went completely limp on the back of the bull, bouncing like a rag doll over the bull’s back while his hand was still caught in the bullrope before slipping to the ground. Bones very politely DID NOT attack him on the ground but rather left the ring as soon as the rope slid off. You could hear a pin drop as the cowboy lay unmoving on the ground. The medical team rushed out, and Val was able to get up, smile and wave at the crowd before leaving the arena on his own two feet.”
It was reported that Valderon de Oliveira suffered a concussion in the incident but was still planning to compete at the World Cup in Brazil.
PBR’s Cody Ford, Guilherme Marchi and Kody Lostroh
After two days of fierce competition, Cody Ford of Stanfield, Oregon won the Nashville competition and took home the title after scoring 263.75 points on three bulls. This was Cody’s second win in the 2009 season. His winnings for the weekend were $38,932. 2008 PBR World Champion Guilherme Marchi of Brazil took the 2nd place spot, and Kody Lostroh of Colorado claimed third place (click on the photos to see a photo of Kody Lostroh).
2009 PBR World Cup
PBR will host the 2009 PBR World Cup, its premiere international event, on August 28-30 as twenty-five bull riders will ride for their respective countries in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The top 40 bull riders in the world will compete in Nevada for PBR’s million dollar world title September 11-13. Be sure to check www.pbrnow.com for upcoming cities, ticket information, and complete broadcast times.