World class rodeo spectacle comes to region

IT all started two decades ago in a motel room, when a group of rodeo cowboys were comparing bruises and chewing the fat.

Well, chewing pizza to be precise, and thinking about how to get a buck out of their bucks.

Twenty disgruntled but optimistic bull riders competing on the rodeo tour in the US got together and invested a thousand dollars each to get a bull-riding business started.

The business became Professional Bull Riding - and those 20 riders sold half of the company in 2006 for more than $100 million. Not a bad investment.

"They were sick of travelling all the miles and not getting the paydays for the effort they were putting into the sport," PBR Australia general manager Glen Young said.

"They took the most valuable component of rodeo - the main attraction which everyone comes to see - and made it a stand-alone sport.

"Some of them didn't even have the money in the bank when they wrote the cheque. They had to get out and win to cover it."

In 2006 the company expanded to Australia, Canada, Mexico and Brazil. Until then, bull riding in Australia was centred on rodeos.

Now, bull riding is big business. PBR internationally pays out more than $13 million a year.

Riders can compete in all four countries, accruing points towards their world standing. And the holy grail is the PBR world title - which comes with a cool million-dollar bonus.

Australian Regional Media, publisher of Rural Weekly and The Observer, has teamed up with PBR Australia to deliver an adrenalin-filled series of bull riding events around the regions, starting with Rockhampton on September 27.

Top bull riders will be chasing valuable competition points plus an ARM prize bonus of $20,000.

Tickets for the Rocky event are available now at themorningbulletin.com.au/liveseries.



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