Founding fathers


  • The founders of the PBR held a question-and-answer session about the roots of the now global sports phenomenon.
  • The keys to success were endurance and unity.

In This Article

The three keys to bull riding, according to Ty Murray, are never to get scared, stay tough, and never quit trying.

The key to the PBR's success, Murray said, is they never stopped trying.

Late Tuesday afternoon, 12 of the 20 founders of the PBR spoke in a forum setting at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, and the consensus was that in the 20 years since they met in a Scottsdale, Ariz., motel room to form the organization, they never quit.

They had a dream, and it wasn't simply about making life better for themselves. The intent was to make it better for the next generation of professional bull riders.

"We really looked to the future," said Bobby Delvecchio, who said he remains the biggest fan of his fellow founders. The Bronx-born Delvecchio acknowledged the leadership skills of Cody Lambert, Murray, and longtime CEO Randy Bernard.

'We really looked to the future.'

For the first time in a public setting, the founders gathered to talk about what led to the formation of the PBR and their eventual decision to, as host Justin McKee said, "stand up and say, 'This is bull(crap).'"

The event was live streamed at

Lambert, Murray and Delvecchio joined David Fournier, Michael Gaffney, Cody Custer, Ted Nuce, Daryl Mills, Scott Mendes, Clint Branger, Aaron Semas and Jerome Davis on stage for an hour-long question-and-answer session that preceded a meet-and-greet with hundreds of fans and 140 past and present bull riders.

They told stories of the road, of "penny-pinching," and, most of all, passion.

Nuce said that he loved riding more than life, and that had he died doing it, he "would have lost it doing what he loved," while Davis and Semas both said they were simply following their heroes.

Semas said, "I believed in them."

Davis, who was a late arrival to the forum, said that he was the youngest rider in the room that day in April of 1992, and had his heroes told him they were going to drive off a cliff together, he would have shut the door and said, "Let's go."

'There was always someone there to lift us up … and that was each other.'

Lambert explained what life was like for bull riders prior to the PBR - about the standalone jackpot events in Guthrie and Ardmore, Okla., and Lubbock and Del Rio, Texas - and then Custer and Fournier told the audience of fans and current riders what it was like during the brief era of the Bull Riders Only.

The key to the PBR was forming a united front and sticking together.

That unity was never more apparent that when they bonded together to stand up for Custer, who had been wrongly excluded from the BRO events.

"We were pretty much a unit," Branger said. "There was always someone there to lift us up … and that was each other."

The last to speak was Murray.

He said he was proud of the fact the PBR feels like a sport, and drew a round of applause when he added that the reason for everyone's sacrifice was to "make it better for the fans."


TV GUIDE: The 2011 PBR World Finals will be televised live in HD on VERSUS at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and on NBC at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday. DIRECTV will have the first-ever 3D broadcast of bull riding at 4 p.m. ET on DIRECTV's 3D channel, n3D™ (channel 103).

WORLD FINALS: A complete listing of events in Las Vegas and ticket information can be found here.

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