It all started in April of 1992 when 20 bull riders met at a Scottsdale, Ariz., motel room. Each man threw in $1,000 to form an organization that would establish professional bull riding as a standalone sport. That was the beginning of what is today “The Toughest Sport on Dirt”. The PBR!
The Professional Bull Riders (PBR) World Finals have always been held in Las Vegas and this week they are celebrating their 23rd edition in the all new T-Mobile Arena. It’s official title is: PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals and The Vegas Tourist is there.
After a year of hard riding and competing, the top 35 bull riders plus 5 international invites come to las Vegas for 5 nights of back to back riding on the top bulls int he business. For those not in the know, the bulls are considered to be athletes just as much as the men who ride on top of them. They get scored right along with the riders. Some of the best bulls have their own fan clubs and facebook pages. Retired champion bull Bushwacker has a facebook page with 42,000 likes!
Round One is in The Books
So last night, the safety seal was broke and the PBR brought the big show to the new T-Mobile Arena. Kicking off the festivities was George Thorogood and the Destroyers. Check Here to see who else will be opening each night. From there, the cowboys came out to ride and the bulls were ready to prove them otherwise. Only 12 of the 40 riders made the full 8 seconds.
The fun will continue through Sunday with the final round being called “the short round” where the top 15 of the weekend will compete to see who takes home the title of Champion Bull Rider and over $1 million in prize money.
Chase Outlaw, the 24-year-old from Arkansas who took the championship title at the BlueDef Finals held earlier this week at the South Point, made the best ride last night with a score of 89.5 . Taking back to his hotel room a check for $30,000 for the night. Fan favorite, J. B. Mauney is hanging onto 3rd place with a 85.75 point ride. (JB’s intro music is always George Thorogood’s Bad to The Bone)
FYI: With athletes from 4 different nations, everyone in that arena knows how dangerous this sport is and how lucky they are to be there. When they fly Old Glory and do the National Anthem at the start, every one of them will be standing with their hand / hat over their heart. It’s real and you can feel it in the air!
Photos: Tom Donoghue
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