PUEBLO, Colo. ― Professional Bull Riders, Inc., leaders of America's fastest-growing sport, announces a major partnership with No. 1 New York Times best-selling author Nicholas Sparks, whose prolific career has included 17 novels and the release of many successful feature films based on his books, such as "The Notebook," "Dear John" and "Safe Haven."
Sparks's forthcoming novel, "The Longest Ride," to be published by Grand Central Publishing this September, tells the story of two couples at varying points of their lives, including Luke Collins, a young professional bull rider whose quest to overcome the legacy of a traumatic past bull riding injury leads him to cross paths with Sophia Danko, a spirited and beautiful Wake Forest college student. Luke and Sophia find themselves drawn to each other despite their vastly different backgrounds until a chance encounter recasts their relationship and changes the course of their lives. Advancing through the brutally competitive ranks of the PBR, both Luke and Sophia are forced to ask themselves whether their love can endure the high stakes of survival and success, ruin and reward...and even life and death.
Sparks and the PBR will partner on a number of unique marketing initiatives that will integrate the Nicholas Sparks and PBR brands worldwide. Sparks will appear in a PBR broadcast on CBS and a number of other campaigns are planned around the world in the United States, Australia and Brazil.
"I never dreamed that such a close and fruitful relationship would spring from the character I imagined Luke to be," Sparks marveled. "While writing the book, I became fascinated with the world of competitive bull riding, but I never imagined I'd have the chance to actually work with them in real life! I was just honored that the PBR felt that my portrayal of Luke was accurate and authentic, and I'm eager to introduce my readers to the viscerally exciting world in which their athletes compete."
"Sparks' unique brand of storytelling has captured the essence of the PBR like no other. The accuracy of the characters and detail in Luke's lifestyle relates to dozens of PBR bull riders from past and present generations," said Sean Gleason, PBR's chief operating officer. "We are honored that Nicholas found inspiration in the PBR for 'The Longest Ride' and welcome this opportunity to introduce Luke and Sophia to our fans and the PBR to his."
"The Longest Ride" will be released in hardcover, audio and e-book formats on September 17, 2013. A feature film based on the book is currently in development at Fox 2000 and is tentatively scheduled for nationwide release on February 13, 2015.
NICHOLAS SPARKS is one of the world's most beloved storytellers. All of his books have beenNew York Timesbestsellers, with over 89 million copies sold worldwide, in more than 50 languages, including over 60 million copies in the United States alone, and his popularity continues to soar. Sparks's eight film adaptations, "Safe Haven," "The Lucky One," "Message in a Bottle," "A Walk to Remember," "The Notebook," "Nights in Rodanthe," "Dear John" and "The Last Song,"have had a cumulative worldwide gross of over three-quarters of a billion dollars.
The PBR is the world's premier bull riding organization. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the PBR. In just two decades, the dream of 20 bull riders has become a global sports phenomenon that reaches more than half a billion households in 50 nations and territories worldwide. Its primetime programming, produced by 34-time Emmy® Award winner and Peabody Award winner David Neal, airs domestically on CBS and CBS Sports Network. More than 2.5 million fans attend live events each year. The PBR has awarded more than $120 million in prize money and 25 riders have earned more than $1 million, including Justin McBride with $5.5 million - the most of any western-sports athlete in history. For more information on the PBR, go to PBR.com, or follow on Facebook at Facebook.com/PBR, Twitter at Twitter.com/PBR and YouTube at YouTube.com/PBR.
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