Back in the saddle
Bull riders buck COVID trend by allowing fans inside Texas arena
Fans cannot yet attend professional baseball or basketball games, but PBR (aka Professional Bull Riders) is going against the grain of most sports organizations by welcoming thousands of fans inside a local arena next month.
Fort Worth's Dickies Arena will be the site of the PBR WinStar World Casino and Resort Invitational on August 29 and 30 as part of its Unleash the Beast series.
PBR is one of the first sports organizations in the United States to allow fans to attend indoor events amid the coronavirus pandemic. NASCAR allowed a limited number of fans at the recent O'Reilly Auto Parts 500, but that was at the outdoor Texas Motor Speedway.
Dickies Arena recently postponed WWE's Friday Night Smackdown, which was to have taken place on July 31.
PBR is putting multiple protocols in place to keep fans safe, including a face mask requirement for fans, staff, and competitors; coronavirus screening for all PBR staff and competitors; and only selling 50 percent of available seats at the 14,000-capacity Dickies Arena. Those allowed in will be seated in pods throughout the arena, which increases distancing and minimizes fan crossover when entering and exiting seats.
Other precautions will include a focus on mobile ticketing and cashless transactions; hand sanitizer stations placed throughout the venue; increased sanitization of high-contact areas, including bathrooms, concourses, concession stands, elevators, and more; pre-paid parking through Ticketmaster; and pre-packaged concessions, condiments, and utensils.
The North Texas date will be fourth event on PBR's restarted schedule, following stops in North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Utah. Riders competing are anticipated to be led by current world No. 1 Jose Vitor Leme, along with Texas’ own Cooper Davis, Cole Melancon, and Mason Taylor. The Unleash the Beast series leads up to the PBR World Finals in early November in Las Vegas.
The PBR WinStar World Casino and Resort Invitational will feature Round 1 on Saturday, August 29, followed by Round 2 and the championship round on Sunday, August 30. All 35 bull riders will get on one bull each in Round 1 and 2, with the top 15 riders advancing to the championship round for a chance at the $30,000 event title.
Tickets for the two-day event range from $16.50-$64.90, and are only being sold in groups of 2-6 people. All tickets are on sale now at Ticketmaster.com.