PUEBLO, Colo. - 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of competition for the Professional Bull Riders. It all began in April of 1992 at a motel in Scottsdale, Ariz., where 20 visionary bull riders wanted to transform their sport beyond traditional rodeo. Their goal was to develop a sports league that featured only the world's best riders and bulls, with the largest amount of money ever awarded in the industry. They invested $1,000 each and formed the world's premier bull riding organization, taking what was once a part-time weekend activity to a full-time career opportunity for its participants.
Two decades later their dream is now a reality as PBR has grown into a global sports phenomenon, with competition in five countries and worldwide television distribution that reaches more than 100 million viewers annually.
"Expectations have been exceeded immensely and the fact that this sport continues to grow is a gratifying notion, one that supports all the hard work and dedication of every member of the PBR."
"PBR started with 20 cowboys in America and has expanded to four other countries including Brazil, Australia, Canada and Mexico," PBR Chairman and CEO Jim Haworth said. "Being able to show the exponential growth we have attained internationally is incredible and we are eager to see the possibilities of where PBR can go in the future."
This tremendous success has also had a profound effect on the competition and opportunities available for athletes of the sport. In the past 20 years PBR has awarded more than $120 million dollars in prize money, by far the most of any other western sports series. Two-time World Champion Chris Shivers was the first rider to surpass $1 million, $2 million and eventually $3 million in career earnings. Justin McBride surpassed $5 million in career earnings and retired as the richest western athlete of all-time. Silvano Alves won Rookie of the Year in 2010 and went on to become the first athlete to win back-to-back PBR World Champion titles in 2011 and 2012. It took Shivers 15 years to earn almost $4 million and McBride 10 years to reach $5.1 million, while Alves hit $3.2 million in just 28 months.
"I am honored to be one of the 20 men that founded this thriving organization," said PBR co-founder and nine-time World Champion Ty Murray. "We wanted to create a better product for the fans, a more followable sport so when they tuned in they were seeing the best of the best - every time. Expectations have been exceeded immensely and the fact that this sport continues to grow is a gratifying notion, one that supports all the hard work and dedication of every member of the PBR."
The PBR Built Ford Tough Series will make 26 stops around the U.S. this season, culminating with the Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas on Oct. 23-27, 2013. It will be the 20th year in a row that Las Vegas has hosted the world's best bull riders and the fiercest bucking bulls. Known as the richest bull riding event in the world, the PBR World Finals awards more than $2 million to participating riders each year including a $1 million bonus to the overall series champion.
© 2014 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.