PUEBLO, Colo. – The PBR Team Series has its first big winner, as well as upset, in league history.
The Austin Gamblers won the inaugural PBR Team Series draft lottery Friday night at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden prior to Round 1 of the PBR Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden, presented by Ariat.
“One ball! One ball!” Austin Gamblers team owner Egon Durban said on stage before shaking his head almost in disbelief after the selection was revealed on the big screen behind him.
The newly announced league will host a PBR Team Series rider draft on May 23 before the start of the 2022 season among PBR rider members who have declared for the draft during the league’s eligibility window.
The Gamblers entered the lottery with the lowest odds of winning the No. 1 pick. Austin had only one eligible ping-pong ball in the 21-ball lottery. The Gamblers had a roughly 4.7% chance to win the honor of selecting No. 1 in this coming spring’s draft.
2022 PBR Team Series Draft Lottery Results1. Austin Gamblers2. Nashville Stampede3. Texas Rattlers4. Kansas City Outlaws5. Missouri Thunder6. Arizona Ridge Riders7. Carolina Chaos
8. Oklahoma Freedom
The Ariat Texas Rattlers had the best odds of winning the No. 1 overall pick. Teams who came to terms to join the league first had the best chances of winning the No. 1 overall pick.
The lottery involved 21 ping-pong balls.
Here were the odds heading into the lottery:
Ariat Texas Rattlers (6 ping pong balls / 28.5%)
Nashville Stampede (5 / 23.8%)
Kansas City Outlaws: (4 / 19.04%)
Arizona Ridge Riders: (3 / 14.28%)
Missouri Thunder: (2 / 9.52%)
Austin Gamblers: (1 / 4.7%)
The draft will be a snake-style draft with the Freedom, as an example, having the last pick of Round 1 (No. 8 overall) and the first selection of Round 2 (No. 9 overall).
The Gamblers will have the first selection in Round 1, the last selection in Round 2 (16th overall), and then the first pick for Round 3 (17th overall).
Reigning two-time World Champion Jose Vitor Leme, who is currently out of competition because of a core muscle injury, is expected to be the favorite to be the No. 1 pick this spring if he declares to compete in the PBR Team Series. Of course, injuries and other factors could play into who ends up being selected by the Gamblers. The Gamblers could also trade the No. 1 pick if they desire. There is still much to be decided in the next four months.
The draft lottery capped off a historical 24 hours for the PBR Team Series as the PBR and its eight-founding teams unveiled their host cities and team logos.
Ariat Texas Rattlers, based in Fort Worth, Tex., owned by the Fisher family
Arizona Ridge Riders, based in Glendale, Ariz., owned by Teton Ridge
Austin Gamblers, based in Austin, Tex., owned by Egon Durban
Carolina Chaos, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., owned by the league and operated by Richard Childress Racing.
Kansas City Outlaws, based in Kansas City, Mo., owned by Pulley Outlaws LLC
Missouri Thunder, based in Ridgedale, Mo., owned by Johnny Morris
Nashville Stampede, based in Nashville, Tenn., owned by Morris Communications Company
Oklahoma Freedom, based in Oklahoma City, Okla., owned by the league and operated by Prodigal
Durban talked with PBR announcer Clint Adkins about how he and his wife, Abby, grew up in Houston and remember going to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo prior to winning the No. 1 selection.
“Well, we have had the privilege of investing in a lot of different sports,” Durban said live on RidePass on Pluto TV. “We have invested in Endeavor, the UFC, we had an opportunity to back Sean (Gleason) and the team here and be investors in the PBR. When this opportunity came up, it is super exciting for Abby and I…The last thing you always saw at an event were these great athletes who were action heroes riding these bulls 8 seconds of pure thrilling excitement and danger.
“You can just see a whole new, younger demographic get involved here with this team sport element. We are super excited about this, and we are going to have a lot of fun with it.”
Six teams also revealed their head coaches on Friday night: Ariat Texas Rattlers (Cody Lambert), Carolina Chaos (Jerome Davis), Kansas City Outlaws (J.W. Hart), Missouri Thunder (Luke Snyder / Ross Coleman), Nashville Stampede (Justin McBride) and the Oklahoma Freedom (Cord McCoy).
The PBR Team Series’ inaugural 10-event regular season will culminate in a team playoff at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas November 4-6, 2022. The league will launch with eight founding teams, each scheduled to host in their respective city an annual bull riding event and western lifestyle festival, building excitement and rooting interests in the sport:
There will be two “neutral site” league-produced events, regular-season events and the season playoff and championship. The PBR Team Series’ inaugural 10-event regular season will culminate in a team playoff at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas November 4-6, 2022. All PBR Team Series events will be carried on either the CBS Television Network, streaming live on Paramount+, CBS Sports Network or Pluto TV.
Events will be structured in a tournament-style format with all teams competing in head-to-head matchups against a different opponent each day. Each game will feature five riders per team squaring off against another team. The team with the highest aggregate score of qualified rides among its riders will be declared the winner of each game. The event winner will be the team with the most game wins across an event, with a special bonus round designed as a tie breaker to determine final event standings.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko