The rules are simple. Place a wiry 150-pound cowboy on the back of a hulking, snorting temperamental 2,000 pound bull and see if he can ride the beast for an eternal eight seconds...with one hand strapped to the bull's massive backside.
Headquartered in Colo., the Professional Bull Riders, Inc. was created in 1992 when a group of 20 visionary bull riders broke away from the traditional rodeo scene seeking mainstream attention for the sport of professional bull riding. They felt that, as the most popular event at a rodeo, bull riding deserved to be in the limelight and could easily stand alone. Each rider invested a hard-earned $1,000, a few of them borrowing from family and friends, to start the PBR.
In early 2007, Spire Capital Partners finalized a deal with the PBR Board of Directors to acquire the interests of many of the retired founding riders and invest in the growth of the organization. Those first 20 bull riders had turned their $1,000 into millions. Owned today by 44 cowboys, management and Spire Capital, the PBR continues to establish milestones in organizational revenue, bull rider earnings, record breaking performances, and media attention. It still relishes the title of being the fastest growing sport in the country.
More than 1,200 bull riders from the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico hold PBR memberships. They compete in more than 300 bull riding events per year on either the elite tour, which is the Built Ford Tough Series, the Touring Pro Division, or the PBR International circuits (PBR Australia, PBR Brazil, PBR Canada and PBR Mexico). The ultimate goal for PBR athletes each year is to qualify for the prestigious PBR World Finals in Las Vegas where the coveted title of PBR World Champion is decided.
The 20 original PBR founders took a serious gamble when they pooled their limited resources to fund the grass roots operation; however the risk has certainly paid off.
The combination of raw sport and quality entertainment has propelled the PBR to strong growth in live attendance as well. In 1995, 310,000 fans attended PBR events across the nation. Today the PBR attracts over 1.5 million live event attendees each year with its multi-tiered event structure. Impressive audience numbers indicate that the PBR is making an indelible impression on mainstream America.
Professional bull riding is a fierce, rough, and grueling sport with roots deeply imbedded in American culture. It's America's original extreme sport. The PBR has evolved into a captivating and adrenaline charged sporting event that features an all star cast of the greatest bull riders and bucking bulls in the world.