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PBR Is Bullish On Return to Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

PBR's Flint Rasmussen - the world famous rodeo clown - wasn't clowing around when he assessed the large crowd in the Bridgestone Arena as the event's best since March of 2020 when the bull riding circuit just like the rest of the world was forced to shut down due to pandemic related restrictions. The PBR's return to Nashville, Tennessee on August 21st and 22nd, 2021 for the Ariat Music City Knockout, presented by Cooper Tires represented a miraculous comeback for the league that no doubt came with many twists and turns. Over the two days some of the world's top riders battled high rated bovines for the title of Champion. The PBR is the only sport that pits a lightweight against a heavyweight in epic 8-second confrontations.

High flying action was on tap all day at the PBR in Nashville.

The Professional Bull Riders, Inc. (PBR) is an international professional bull riding organization based in Pueblo, Colorado. The PBR was founded in 1992 with the goal of creating competitions that focused more on the actual sport where as in the past bull riding would be part of a rodeo which generally features a wide array of events.

The organization also refers to the bulls as athletes and on the PBR's website bovines are ranked alongside the humans. The PBR states that they are committed to maintaining the health, safety, and welfare of their animals and there is a no tolerance policy for any mistreatment. Most of the bulls seem to know their jobs as many go straight for the exit after a ride but a few more rambunctious ones like to roam before they leave.

This rider didn't last eight tenths of a second.

On Sunday, the excitement was palpable as flashing lights paired with music filled Bridgestone Arena before the competition. The top men from the previous night were introduced. A prayer was said before the singing of the National Anthem. Throughout the event there were games with giveaways. The fun parts of the festivities were ably handled by Flint Rasmussen who is the exclusive entertainer of the PBR.

For the first few rides the bulls prevailed until Eli Vastbinder stayed on Viper for the full 8 seconds. Cooper Davis had a chance encounter with Roulette. After he made time Cooper's hand got caught in the rope as he tried to jump off the bull. Dangerous dismounts are part of the sport. We witnessed a number of riders walk off the field clearly in pain including local favorite Cody Nance from Paris, TN. This is not a sport for the faint at heart.

Scenes from the Music City Knockout in Nashville, Tennessee.

On a lighter note, some fans won gifts packs from Ariat, Ford and the Tractor Supply Company. Flint chose a cute set of kids as his pick for best dressed dudes and they got something from Wrangler. The Cooper Tires Fan of the Night went to a man from Texas who Rasmussen had been chatting with all afternoon.

In the second and deciding round the top twelve contenders got to select the bull they would battle. On Sunday, men from Brazil dominated the board including World Champion Jose Vitor Leme. Cooper Davis got the brute no one wanted - War Dress. The animal was moving around a lot in the pen before the gate open and it was not that surprising that Davis did not remain on the bull's back for the required time.

The final round Bull Draft put a new spin on the intense competition.

Before his ride commentators stated that Jose Vitor Leme maybe the greatest bull rider ever with scores and titles to support this accolade. Leme had an early pick and he opted for Bubba G a bull who had previously bucked him off in April in Oklahoma City in 7.71 seconds. The risk paid off as Jose not only made time but won the Championship with a record 91.75 point score thus adding to his legacy and leaving the Nashville crowd in awe.

The Bridgestone Arena in the heart of Downtown Nashville is home tuff for the Predators hockey team. This venue has both traditional concessions along with BBQ and other local vendors. The Bridgestone hosts a wide range of music and sporting events such as the PBR.

The bulls had the last laugh for much of the night in Nashville.

Related Links: For more information on the PBR and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Professional Bull Riders | PBR in 2019 | PBR in 2017 | PBR in 2016 | Bridgestone Arena


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