THE PBR ON ANIMAL WELFARE

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q
    Can any bull compete in a PBR event?
    A

    Not every bull can compete in a PBR event. Saying any bull is suitable for PBR competition is like saying that any human athlete is fit enough to compete in the Olympic Games. PBR bulls are the highest-caliber bucking bulls in the business. Many are products of elite breeding programs that for years have been fine-tuning the important role that genetics play in producing a great bucking bull. A majority of PBR bulls are bred and born to compete in the PBR arena.

  • Q
    What does the average bull weigh?
    A

    The average PBR bucking bull weighs approximately 1,600-1,700 pounds. PBR bucking bulls very rarely weigh less than 1,200 pounds but can weigh as much as 2,000-2,200 pounds.

  • Q
    What does a bull eat?
    A

    Bulls eat high-protein feed and high-quality hay. High-protein feed helps the bulls keep their strength and endurance. High-quality hay provides nutrients that help keep a bull healthy.

  • Q
    Where do bulls live?
    A

    The bulls live on large ranches where they get plenty of air and exercise. There are many ranches from coast-to-coast across North America.

  • Q
    What is the average PBR bull worth?
    A

    A PBR bull is ranked just like the PBR bull riders. When a bull consistently receives high marks, his value increases. The higher the ranking in areas such as overall performance, buckoff percentage, and average rider score, the higher the conceivable price tag. An animal that is a proven sire of other quality bucking bulls becomes even more valuable. Most PBR bulls are worth at least $10,000, with a few boasting values of more than $500,000.

  • Q
    What is the lifespan of a bucking bull?
    A

    Bucking bulls often live well into their teens, which would be considered geriatric for any bull. Though a bucking bull may often be in his prime as an athlete around age 5 or 6, many bulls buck past the age of 10. When they retire from competition they’re often used as sires in bucking bull breeding programs.

  • Q
    What makes a bull buck?
    A

    The bull’s bucking has absolutely nothing to do with irritation to the genitals. The success of bucking bull breeding programs has proven that genetics are the main factor in determining a bull’s desire and ability to buck. The bulls will kick their hind legs out at the height of their bucking action in an effort to dislodge the flank rope which encircles their body around bull’s flank, in front of their hips. The flank strap never comes in contact with the bull’s genitals.  

  • Q
    What is a bull rope?
    A

    The bull rope is what the bull rider hangs on to throughout his ride. It is wrapped around the chest of the bull directly behind the animal’s front legs. At the bottom of the rope hangs a metal bell designed to give the rope some weight so that it will fall off the bull as soon as the rider is bucked off or dismounts the animal. The bell has smooth, round edges and does not harm the bull in any way.

  • Q
    What is the difference between a Conventional and a Brazilian bull rope?
    A

    The most apparent difference is that the ropes are pulled from opposite sides. The Conventional rope is pulled from the riding hand side while the Brazilian rope is pulled from the free hand side. There are also subtle differences in the way the ropes are braided. The style used is the one which the rider feels gives them the best grip. Neither style harms the bull in any way.

  • Q
    Do the spurs worn by a bull rider cut or scratch a bull?
    A

    Bull riders wear spurs that are required to have dull, loosely locked rowels (the wheel-like part of the spur that comes into contact with the animal). The spurs help a rider maintain his balance by giving him added grip with his feet. The spurs do not cut or scratch a bull’s hide, which is seven times thicker than a human’s skin.

  • Q
    How many miles do bulls travel on the PBR circuit?
    A

    The PBR has an extensive network of stock contractors located in all parts of North America, therefore the best bulls in the country are provided for each event regardless of location. The bulls arrive at the arena at least 24 hours prior to an event which helps ensure that they are acclimated, rested, well-fed and hydrated prior to competition.

  • Q
    Is there a veterinarian on site at all PBR events?
    A

    There is always a veterinarian on site at Built Ford Tough Series events. If there appears to be a sick or injured bull at an event, the veterinarian is notified immediately. Health papers are also required on all animals arriving at an event. They are inspected as they are unloaded prior to competition.

PBR’s Policy regarding the Welfare and Treatment of Animal Athletes:

In the PBR, the bulls are treated with as much respect as, if not more than, the human athletes who ride them. The PBR’s Animal Welfare Policy exemplifies the great regard in which everyone associated with the organization holds these athletes, as well as explains the care they receive as professional athletes.

There are two great athletes in every 8-second ride, the bull rider and THE BULL.

The Professional Bull Riders is fully committed to ensuring the health, safety, welfare and respect of each bovine athlete that enters a PBR arena. The care and treatment of PBR bulls is a top priority to those who govern and/or participate in PBR events. The organization operates under a no tolerance policy for any mistreatment of an animal associated with the PBR.

PBR Safety & Welfare Measures

PBR has proactively initiated and implemented a number of measures designed to foster and support the welfare of our bovine athletes.

  • PBR redesigned the traditional rodeo bucking chute to improve rider and bull safety. Since it was implementation, the design has eliminated leg injuries suffered by bulls in the bucking chutes, which is the most common form of injury.
  • PBR redesigned the traditional rodeo lead-up alleys and holding areas to further mitigate the risk of injuries to the bulls.
  • With the sport’s stock contractors, the PBR establish guidelines for the transportation of bulls to and from events, including but not limited to:
    • Bulls ride in trailers with air-ride suspensions to reduce the risk of injury during transportation.
    • Bulls are hauled for no more than 10 hours at a time and given an equal amount of time to rest before resuming travel.
    • In each city in which an event is conducted, bulls are housed at local ranch facilities with the proper pen size and space per bull. Bulls are trucked from the local facility to the event venue and back each day.
  • There are approximately 60 bulls at a one-day event, 90 bulls at a two-day event and 110 bulls at a three-day event. A bull bucks only one time per day and no more than two times at a typical event. Approximately 30-40 of the bulls at a typical two-day event will buck only once at that event.

The welfare of PBR’s animal athletes is a higher priority than any other consideration when making decisions with respect to the animal’s well-being, including the financial impact of those decisions. In November 2006, the PBR held an event in Hawaii, the Hawaii All-Star. The PBR had the option to ship bulls to Hawaii via boat which would have taken seven days, but also cost considerably less than other alternatives. Instead, the PBR determined that the welfare of the animals would be compromised during such a journey, therefore it invested nearly $350,000, compared to less than $100,000 if shipped by sea, to fly the necessary bulls to Hawaii for the event in special, customized containers.

The value of the bulls to the stock contractors who own and breed them and to the PBR helps ensure that every effort and safeguard is in place to protect the bulls from any mistreatment or situation that would adversely affect their quality of life, ability to continue competing or their futures as breeding bulls. Many of the bulls currently bucking on PBR tours are valued at approximately the six-figures; the owner of PBR’s greatest bull, Bushwacker, was offered $1 million for his three-time World Champion bull.

Care of the Animal Athletes

  • Bulls receive about 10-15 pounds of a special blend of a high-protein grain ration per day. The blend varies depending on the bull’s needs and the stock contractor.
  • Bulls receive approximately 15 pounds of high-quality hay per day.
  • Many bulls receive a B-12 complex vitamin shot monthly as well as nutritional supplements.
  • Bulls receive a health inspection any time they have to cross state lines per federal, state and city regulations.
  • Bulls are only allowed to travel a maximum of 10 hours per day. After 10 hours, the bulls are rested for 12-14 hours.
  • Bulls stand in 6-10 inches of sawdust shavings during transport for their comfort.
  • Each stock contractor has a local veterinarian on call for their bulls.
  • Many bulls also receive chiropractic care and acupuncture as needed to keep them in top shape and feeling great.

Like humans, PBR bucking bulls come in an array of shapes, sizes, and colors, and like humans, their own personalities and talents make them unique. The PBR has a vast number of championship-caliber bulls that compete on the PBR’s multi-tiered tour structure. The bulls receive impeccable treatment and are often considered to be a “member of the family.”

BULL INJURIES:

It is extremely rare that a PBR bull is injured as a result of its performance, however bulls that suffer a career-ending injury are retired to stud and live the balance of their lives as healthy, fully capable breeding bulls. While their injuries may prevent them from competing at the PBR level as a bucking athlete, they do not impede their quality of life or ability to function.

PBR policy for injured bulls:

  • At Built Ford Tough Series events there is a vet on site or on call at all times during the performances.
  • In most cases involving injuries with bulls in arena the bulls are able to leave on their own.
  • In the case of a bull not being able to leave on his own power, PBR has the ability to assist and insure a safe departure of the injured bull.
  • At all Built Ford Tough Series events, a sled is available upon which the bull is secured and taken from the arena, usually by a skid steer.
  • After an injured bull has exited the arena, he is put upon a trailer and taken to the veterinarian’s office or bull housing for further evaluation.
  • In the case of serious injuries requiring assisted help from outside the arena, updates to the bull’s condition will be released to the public upon PBR’s approval.