There’s a particularly exciting moment that happens at every rodeo. There are many thrilling events that occur over the course of the evening, but as it gets late and the performance begins to wind down, there’s an unmistakable and predictable effect that happens. Such a sudden charge comes over the entire arena as the chutes rattle, the announcer ramps up, and the music gets loud, that even the completely uninitiated to the sport couldn’t possibly miss the fact that something special is about to occur. The best has been saved for last: Bull Riding.

The Bull Riding might not be your favorite event of the night, necessarily, but no one can deny that it is far-and-away the overwhelming favorite of every crowd, every night, every performance, everywhere. This gave some guys an idea in the early ’90s.  Guys with names like Tuff Hedeman,  Jim Sharp, and Ty Murray had this concept that maybe the best shouldn’t be saved for last, and maybe it should happen all night long. Thus, we have the Professional Bull Riders, Inc., or as we know it, the PBR.

Describing the PBR isn’t easy, but one thing needs to get out of the way immediately.  It isn’t a rodeo. Sure, it contains elements of rodeo, and has its genesis there, but the similarity is not equality — the PBR is its own thing. It is a bull riding competition, but it is also a rock concert.  It is a rock concert, but it is also a prize fight. It is a prize fight, but it is also the place where the old west meets the modern day.  Can it be described, or does it simply describe itself? It is the PBR.

If you’ve never been to a PBR event, it’s hard to know what to expect. The pyrotechnics, the dramatic cowboy introductions, the flashy celebrations, and the nonstop wall of noise might throw you off guard, but it will just as quickly suck you in as well! Whether you’re a fan of the show, the riding or both, the spectacle is both remarkable and riveting, and it just keeps moving all night long! This is a high energy, no-holds-barred event that can jar the senses, but all to draw the attention to the biggest bull riding stars of them all!

Watch day one of the 2012 PBR Boise Invitational below.

Did you think we’d forgotten aboutthe sport part of The Toughest Sport On Dirt? We haven’t, because the PBR won’t let you. It is the PBR that has brought names to us like Chris Shivers, Justin McBride, and Adriano Moraes, and they are not forgettable in the least! For all the craziness of an evening at the PBR, the athletes shine the brightest, as they are the very best of the very best in their business! No wonder cowboys come from all over the globe seeking to ride for this organization — this is where their star can shine the brightest! While detractors might chip away at all the hoopla, I applaud it for being a spotlight on the athletes who are the true stars of the show, and who never seem to disappoint!

Do I have a favorite PBR athlete? Around these parts, folks are quick to point out Wiley Petersen, and I get that. If I was to pick my favorite rider ever, it would probably be him, and perhaps more for the “cool” factor than anything (and the Idaho ties, of course), but he’s not my favorite PBR athlete.My choice would be from a group of four named Bodacious, Little Yellow Jacket, Mossy Oak Mudslinger, and Dillinger. Let’s face it: at a ton apiece, the bulls are the ones really running the show, and this sport has seen some of the most amazing creatures ever to fling phlegm on an arena floor. We tend to to gravitate to our own kind, but don’t overlook the critters with the flank strap. After all, none of the humans on the other side of the gates are!

There’s nothing wrong with saving the best for last. If you’re ready for an all-out display of rides, spills, and showmanship, though, nothing beats the PBR.

All.  Night.  Long.

Here is a picture of my kids in 2008 with Wiley Petersen and Mike Lee. The hat in the second picture was autographed for my daughter by the riders. Great guys.

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