PBR 20/20: ‘The greatest night in bull riding’

Chris Shivers rides Trick or Treat for 96 points at the 1999 World Finals. Photo by Andy Watson / BullStockMedia.com.


  • “PBR 20/20” airs on RFD-TV on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET. The 20-week series will feature 20 of the greatest PBR events.
  • This week’s episode of “PBR 20/20” will feature the 1999 World Finals.
  • Round 2 of the ’99 Finals is known as the “greatest night in bull riding.” There were 11 rides marked 90 points or better and the Top 5 scores from the round were all marked at least 94 points or higher. Terry Don West and Chris Shivers split the round with 96 points each.
  • Fans are encouraged to Tweet during the telecast – @PBR and @OfficialRFDTV – using the hashtag #PBR2020.

In This Article

It was anything but just another Friday night.

The 1999 World Finals were the first to be held at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas and the night before Jerome Robinson wasn't so sure the arena and production crews would even be set up in time for the event to take place.

Calling it the "most stressful production experience" of his career, Robinson said he arrived at the arena on Friday "trying to figure out how to recover from the day before."

"With myself personally, it was an exhausting week and if you would have told me that I was going to enjoy myself that much on that particular night…" continued Robinson, who got lost in his own thoughts remembering that famous night in 1999. "I got to experience the greatest night of bull riding that I've ever experienced."

There were 11 scores of 90 points or better.

To put that number into perspective, there were 15 scores of 91 points or more in five rounds and eight of them - or more than half- happened Friday night, in Round 2. Five of which that scored 94 points or higher.

"Nobody will ever make me believe there's been a better night of bull riding - PBR or otherwise - in the history of bull riding."

Terry Don West and two-time World Champion Chris Shivers were 96 points each. West rode Promise Land, while Shivers was on Trick or Treat. Nine-time World Champion and PBR co-founder Ty Murray rode Red Wolf for 95.5.

Jaron Nunnemaker and Jim Sharp were 94 each with Nunnemaker riding Panhandle Slim and Sharp making the whistle on Jim Jam.

Two-time World Champion Justin McBride, who has worked as a PBR broadcaster since retiring at the conclusion of the 2008 season, has often joked that he was 91 points on Nitro and didn't place in the Top 5. Mike White also scored 91 points on Skat Kat Skoal.

He and McBride split seventh and eighth in the round and weren't even close to earning a check.

The two rides that stood out to Robinson were Nunnemaker and Murray.

Robinson admitted that never in his wildest imagination and on his best day as a bull rider could he picture himself making the whistle on Panhandle Slim.

While he was impressed by the unthinkable, when Nunnemaker rode Panhandle Slim, he referred to Murray's ride on Red Wolf as "unbelievably classy."

According to Robinson, Murray, who won the Finals event average that year, had perfect form and perfect execution in matching Red Wolf move for move.

"It's one of the classic bull rides of all time and one of the prettiest ones," Robinson said.

Earlier this year, the PBR, which is celebrating its 20 anniversary season, announced the 20 greatest moments in PBR history and the Friday night performance was among the list.

So it came as little surprise when RFD-TV listed the 1999 World Finals among its Top 20 events and it is featured on this week's episode of the "PBR 20/20" series.

PBR fans will have an opportunity to watch the historic action from those World Finals tomorrow night on RFD-TV with the continuation of the new series at 8 p.m. ET.

"That's what the PBR is all about," Robinson said. "Excellence personified.

"Nobody will ever make me believe there's been a better night of bull riding - PBR or otherwise - in the history of bull riding."

That's saying a lot for a man who's been watching bull riding since the late '50s, early '60s.

Robinson graduated high school in 1965 and has been involved in professional bull riding as a rider, producer, promoter and PBR confidante ever since-that's 48 years at the professional level. 

In all those years there hasn't been another night, much less an event that is even comparable to the '99 Finals. Robinson isn't the only one who recalls 1999, namely that Friday night performance, with such fondness.

Riders and stock contractors throughout the sport recall it with equal admiration.

He can't say with any amount of certainty if the fans understood the significance of the moment as it was unfolding before their eyes.

However, since then everyone has come to appreciate its prominence as one of the greatest moments in PBR history.

Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC


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