LAS VEGAS, New York (April 19, 2021) – The world’s best bull riding and rodeo athletes will head to Las Vegas for a historic western sports weekend in the entertainment capital of the world from June 11th to 13th, when PBR (Professional Bull Riders) fans out welcome back to the arena for the Unleash The Beast – Las Vegas Invitational and the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo – Vegas Showdown Vegas in the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The pairing of the world’s leading bull riding league with the only national touring all-black rodeo will mark several milestones:
- PBR will co-produce the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo for the first time and offer fans an event on Sunday June 13th that includes Bareback Riding, Tie Down Roping, Bull Dogging, Ladies Barrel Racing, Ladies Steer Undecorating, Bull Riding and Junior Break Away includes.
- The Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo will air Saturday, June 19 – Juniteenth at 1 p.m. ET on the CBS Television Network and will be the first all-black rodeo to air on national television.
Photo by Andy Watson
In early February, PBR announced a partnership with the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo (BPIR) to create new events, awareness, and opportunity for the largest, longest running rodeo that celebrates Black Western athletes.
“Our mission is to educate people about the talented and experienced black cowboys and cowgirls who not only compete in the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, but who have made significant historical contributions to American history,” said Valeria Howard-Cunningham, President of BPIR. “The presentation of an all-black rodeo on the CBS Television Network on a PBR event weekend will be a proud and bright moment for our athletes, our organization and the entire sport of rodeo. This will be one of the most important events in our 37-year history. “
“PBR has partnered with BPIR to expand their reach and bring talented rodeo athletes to new opportunities in new cities, venues and broadcasters,” said Sean Gleason, Commissioner and CEO of PBR. “We are very excited that our vision is coming to life with this great historic rodeo in Las Vegas, coupled with our premier series and on CBS.”
“We are excited about the partnership between PBR and the Bill Pickett Invitational and their efforts to celebrate black rodeo athletes,” said Dan Weinberg, executive vice president, programming, CBS Sports. “Developing and presenting a variety of programs is a top priority at CBS Sports and we are proud to be able to broadcast the very first national broadcast of an all-black rodeo on CBS on June 15th.”
Photo by Andy Watson
“When you think of the most significant black cowboy and rodeo moments, there’s Bill Pickett, who developed the sport of tie-down roping, who held an all-black rodeo at Downing Stadium in Harlem 50 years ago for the American Black Cowboy Association This year, Myrtis Dightman becomes the first black rodeo cowboy to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo, Charlie Sampson becomes the first to win a PRCA world title, and Fred Whitfield wins multiple PRCA world titles. But seeing a Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo on network television – there hasn’t been a bigger moment in 100 years, “said Keith Ryan Cartwright, author of Black Cowboys of Rodeo.
PBR has been a leader in creating logs of safe and responsible events throughout the health crisis. PBR was the first major professional sport in North America to welcome fans back to indoor arenas in July 2020 after the COVID-19-related shutdown with new safety protocols in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and also the first to host a professional sporting event in Full offer indoor arena capacity on return to Sioux Falls April 9-11.
PBR is committed to continuing to create a safe and responsible environment for all fans in attendance.
Policies and protocols for the PBR weekend include:
- Mobile ticketing replaces traditional printed tickets.
- Increased reliance on cashless, contactless concessions.
- Comply with all state or local guidelines for social distancing and face covering
- Temperature tests and screenings by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for all employees.
- In addition to CDC screening, PBR staff and athletes will undergo medical tests for COVID-19.
Bull riding action begins Friday, June 11 at 7:45 p.m. PT and Saturday, June 12 at 6:45 p.m. PT. The Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo follows on Sunday, June 13th and begins at 12:45 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the three days of non-stop action will be on sale to the general public on Friday April 23rd and can be purchased by calling PBR at (800) 732-1727, pbr.com or axs.com. Prices range from $ 20.45 to $ 140.25.
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