LAS VEGAS ― Two-time PBR World Champion Justin McBride has accepted an exemption invitation to compete in the bull riding event during RFD-TV's THE AMERICAN, presented by Polaris RANGER, on March 2, 2014, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The exemption invitation allows McBride to return to the sport he dominated for 10 years (1999 - 2008) while competing on the PBR Built Ford Tough Series. It gives him a guaranteed spot on the 17-man roster for the bull riding competition where he'll compete once again alongside the best in the sport.
McBride was the first Western sports athlete to top more than $5 million in career earnings when he retired from the PBR in 2008.
"THE AMERICAN gives me the opportunity to compete for $2 million against the best guys in the sport." said McBride. "It's just a one-day event; so I can continue to spend time with my family and work on my music career while returning to the arena to experience the thrill of competing."
McBride is the second athlete selected by THE AMERICAN's sanctioning bodies as one of the limited exemptions. Dan Mortensen was recently given an exemption in saddle bronc competition. Additional exemptions will be announced leading up to March 2, 2014.
"Fans want to see the best, and no fan of bull riding can argue with Justin's career achievements. He had a phenomenal career, winning more than $5.2 million and two World Championships. He was one of the most popular bull riders ever in the PBR," said Randy Bernard, Rural Media Group CEO and president. "A sport doesn't make a legend, a legend makes a sport; and Justin did exactly that. PBR's great success is partly due to his success, and March 2 will definitely be a historical day for the sport of rodeo and AT&T Stadium."
RFD-TV recently announced THE AMERICAN will take place on March 2, 2014, at the AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, Texas. With a $2 million payout, it will be the richest one-day rodeo in history. Of the qualifiers, the Top-five winners in each rodeo event at the semifinals will advance to compete in THE AMERICAN against the Top-10 winners at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) and the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals.
"For me, Justin's return to bull riding is another element that makes THE AMERICAN a must see event," said Ty Murray, nine-time PRCA world champion and PBR co-founder. "This is a legend that retired in his prime, and I'm not going to miss the chance to see how much gas he has left in the tank."
"When Justin retired he was the best bull rider in the PBR, and I don't think he'll be far from that mark when he comes back to compete for THE AMERICAN," said Cody Lambert, vice president and livestock director of the PBR. "I really think he has a legitimate chance to win it."
RFD-TV's THE AMERICAN is being closely coordinated with PBR's Iron Cowboy V, which will take place the day before THE AMERICAN on March 1, 2014 at AT&T Stadium. Combined, the events are expected to bring more than 100,000 fans and participants to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
"The PBR Iron Cowboy has enjoyed much success at AT&T Stadium over the last four years. It's the premier arena in the world and a fitting venue at which to showcase the best PBR athletes and rodeo athletes in the world," said Jim Haworth, chairman and CEO of the Professional Bull Riders. "March 1-2 has the potential to be the most significant weekend in the history of the PBR and rodeo.
"The Iron Cowboy V is the only bracketed-style event on the Built Ford Tough Series and pits the cowboys in a head-to-head competition with not only the bulls, but also the other riders. Its intense competitiveness is the perfect lead-in to THE AMERICAN. On Sunday afternoon when Justin sits on his first bull and nods his head, it will be a great day for the PBR and THE AMERICAN and a rare opportunity that shouldn't be missed."
Tickets for RFD-TV's THE AMERICAN, presented by Polaris RANGER, and the Iron Cowboy V are on sale at the AT&T Stadium Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations and at americanrodeo.com. Prices for each event range from $20 to $150, not including taxes.
Additionally, tickets for THE AMERICAN semifinals in Mesquite, Texas, Feb. 22-23, 2014, are available for $14, $20 and $30, not including taxes. They can be purchased at the Mesquite Arena's box office and at americanrodeo.com
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