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Professional Bull Riders (PBR) is taking its Velocity Tour to Rochester's Blue Cross Arena on Saturday, September 22. Want to attend the Rochester Rumble as a true pro? We have your bull riding crash-course with PBR 101.

PBR 101

PBR was founded in 1992 by a group of 20 visionary bull riders, who broke away from the rodeo, each investing $1,000. The group was seeking mainstream attention for the sport of professional bull riding, the most popular sport at a rodeo. Now a quarter century later, the PBR is one of the fastest-growing sports in America and a worldwide phenomenon.

 PBR has 82.5 million fans in the U.S. (2016 ESPN Sports Poll), and on television, the PBR on CBS is often one of the weekend’s top-rated sporting events. 

 Professional bull riding is the only sport featuring a lightweight (150-pound cowboy) and a heavyweight (1,800-pound bull) in the same arena, squaring off in 8-second, epic confrontations all night long.

 Every ride has two athletes, a bull, and rider. PBR riders are some of the world’s toughest and most skilled athletes. PBR bulls are legitimate stars in their own right, bred like racehorses and taken care of very well. (There is no agitation to any area of the bull.  They are bred to buck.)

PBR is a global sport, competing in Australian, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the USA. More than 1,200 bull riders hold PBR memberships. 


  • 300 – Annual events hosted globally by PBR

  • 150/1,800 – Average weight of bull riders/bulls in PBR

  • 8 – seconds required for a qualified ride

  • 3,000,000 - fans annually attending PBR events around the world


Forty-five trucks bring in 750 tons of dirt locally (roughly 1,500,000 pounds). The dirt needs to be firm enough to give the bucking bulls good footing, and soft enough to cushion the landing when cowboys are thrown like rag dolls. The ideal surface is six inches of solid footing topped by two inches of “fluffy stuff.”

Sometimes the dirt needs to be moistened; in other conditions, the moisture is cooked out with lime. PBR’s veteran dirt man Randy Spraggins knows all this by touch and smell.

It takes about six hours to haul the dirt up to arena level, dump it, and push it out evenly. After the event champion is crowned, the dirt is hauled back out. In some cities Spraggins has to rent the dirt; other times, the dirt is bought and then sold back to either where it came from or another company that wants the dirt. Spraggins and his team try to prep well ahead of time. In some arenas, the dirt has to be dried if it’s a bit too sticky by using hydrated lime or try to moisten it by watering it down. Most of this is just by touch. PBR’s dirt man can tell right away by looking or touching it if it’s too moist or not.

For more information, visit PBR.com. And, don't forget to share pictures from the Rochester Rumble on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using #VisitROC.