PUEBLO, Colo. – Smiles upon smiles upon smiles.
For a few hours on Saturday afternoon, life was put on hold for more than 60 boys at the McCrossan Boys Ranch in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and the 30 PBR bull riders, bullfighters, stock contractors and staff who were their guests.
The PBR has been visiting the McCrossan Boys Ranch since the Denny Sanford Premier Center began hosting a PBR premier series event in Sioux Falls in 2015.
But no stop at the ranch has been bigger or better than last weekend, when the top bull riding organization in the world reaffirmed its commitment to the residents and young men served by the McCrossan Boys Ranch by creating the inaugural PBR Ranch Rodeo Showdown at Thaw Out Days.
The competition elements ranged from learning how to rope to driving a team of Belgian draft horses and loading hay.
Fourteen of the PBR’s top bull riders, including 2017 World Champion Jess Lockwood, 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis and title contender Chase Outlaw, as well as others associated with the PBR, took on a mentorship role to teach the boys leadership qualities through interactive and team-building activities.
“It was awesome,” Lockwood said. “I like doing stuff like that with kids. It gets them excited being around guys like us and we can show them that you may not have the best cards dealt in life, but make the most of it and have fun with it.”
Other stars of the PBR in attendance included Cody Teel, Matt Triplett, Ryan Dirteater, Mason Taylor, Joe Frost, Taylor Toves, Tanner Byrne, Keyshawn Whitehorse, Rubens Barbosa, Lucas Divino and Danilo Carlos Sobrinho.
McCrossan Boys Ranch in Sioux Falls has been around for 61 years, providing a place for boys to grow into men. The private non-profit organization reaches out to boys from the ages of 9-20 who have experienced conflict in their lives.
Through values, goals, education and skills, they prepare boys to live a balanced life outside the ranch. The organization also provide the boys with one-on-one counseling as well as specialized educational services so they can heal and grow intellectually. Through ranch activities such as horsemanship, 4-H, Boy Scouts and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, each boy is given the opportunity to learn and expand his horizons.
Exclusive PBR entertainer Flint Rasmussen took part in the day, and he credited the McCrossan Boys Ranch for creating a great environment for the boys.
“Those kids may not realize how lucky they are, but they are lucky to have all of those people there that care about them.”
The PBR team worked alongside the boys to teach leadership qualities and cheer on more than 60 boys in need of mentorship and male role models.
Rasmussen laughed about how the bull riders’ competitiveness rubbed off on the boys competing and vice versa.
Everyone was looking to win, and no one wanted to lose.
“It goes to show the hearts of our guys,” Rasmussen said. “About halfway through, the bull riders forgot they were doing a PR appearance and they were having fun. The reason they are bull riders is they are competitive -- whether it is shooting Nerf guns at cans, or putting a shirt on a sheep. It was competitive.
“Let me tell you something. There is nobody more competitive than Justin McBride.”
McBride exclaimed, “Well, they were giving trophies!”
The two-time World Champion then let out a hearty laugh.
“It was a competition at the boys ranch,” McBride said. “Trying to pass on anything I know. Well, I know one thing: when there is a competition, you compete. That is what I wanted my guys to do. Get in there and compete. We had a great time.”
McBride had a blast – at one point even riding a sheep around the arena to the joy of the kids and bull riders participating in the rodeo.
The Team USA Global Cup coach headed to the ranch to give back to the community following his CBS Sports Network television meeting that morning.
“It’s huge, that kind of stuff,” McBride said. “Any time you have a chance. You never know what somebody else’s life is like every day. If you have an opportunity to be a part of them having a good day, then my gosh, that is pretty rewarding.
“That is pretty fun. I love it.”
One member of McBride’s team went on to be named the all-around cowboy of the day.
“My job was to pick the all-around cowboy that was into it and trying everything,” Rasmussen said. “There was this big kid, baseball cap and glasses and a big dude. His team ended up winning. He got two trophies.
“He just held them up in the air the whole time we were there.”
McBride was proud of him, too.
“That was our man,” McBride proudly said. “Seeing those boys engage. It was a bunch of silly events, but it was fun to be a part of a team, no matter what it is. It is really fun. He was so into it the whole time. When he got that trophy at the end, it was the first thing he ever won.
“It was a big deal for him, and it was a fun day. It was awesome.”
The PBR donated $6,250 to the McCrossan Boys Ranch for their facility and programs, while also helping raise an additional $20,000 during the ranch’s live auction earlier in the week.
PBR DONATES TO FEEDING SOUTH DAKOTA
On Thursday, Lockwood, 2006 World Finals event winner L.J. Jenkins and RidePass host Matt West spent time at Feeding South Dakota to help pack supplies for the organization.
Feeding South Dakota is a hunger relief organization that works to eliminate hunger daily throughout the state.
PBR donated $6,250 to Feeding South Dakota, while contributing an additional $3,000 for the City of Sioux Falls Flood Recovery Fund.
PBR GIVES BE COWBOY HONOREE DYLLEN TICKETS FOR LIFE
One year ago, Dyllen was a patient at Sanford Children’s Hospital with a new cancer diagnosis. While going through treatment, he dreamed of meeting J.B. Mauney in Sioux Falls. Dyllen was given a two-hour pass to leave the hospital and make his dream come true.
Dyllen’s cancer is now in remission, and he was in attendance at this weekend’s First PREMIER Bank PREMIER Bankcard Invitational, where he once again got to meet Mauney.
Even better, though, was that he received PBR Tickets for Life from the PBR, Keyshawn Whitehorse and Colten Jesse as part of the organization’s Be Cowboy campaign.
“I heard about your story and it is excellent,” Whitehorse said. “It motivates me each and every day. Thank you for being who you are.”
The PBR also donated $6,250 to the Sanford Children’s Hospital Cure Kids Cancer foundation.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko