With COVID-19 protocols continuing to vary state by state, the Professional Bull Riders will move the first four 2021 events in its top series, “Unleash the Beast,” from various cities across the nation to outdoor venues in just Arizona and Texas.
The 2021 season of “Unleash the Beast” will now kick off Jan. 9-10 in Tucson, Arizona, followed by subsequent stops in Payson, Arizona, and the Texas cities of Pecos and Del Rio over the remainder of the month. PBR will hold events in Longview, Texas, as well as to-be-determined cities in Florida and Louisiana in February through the first week of March.
PBR spun the pandemic-necessitated shifts as a return to the sport’s roots: Pecos is largely recognized as the birthplace of organized rodeo, while Payson hosts the world’s oldest continuous rodeo, dating back to 1884.
“Bringing a retro presentation of PBR outdoors to iconic rodeo venues across the country furthers our commitment to putting safety first to keep our industry employed, helping open communities responsibly, and providing fans the sport they love,” PBR CEO and Commissioner Sean Gleason said. “We’re very excited about getting back to our roots by bringing the top western sport to our fans in legendary rodeo arenas.”
A limited number of tickets will be available at PBRtix.com, with small exceptions that may allow for a larger socially distanced audience. CBS and CBS Sports Network will air the events, with broadcast dates and times to be announced.
PBR will continue to implement the same protocols that enabled the sport to finish its 2020 season last month: testing athletes and crew, social distancing and wearing masks. Despite the pandemic, PBR held 13 of the season’s 20 event weekends with fans in attendance. The organization also held an event on the World War II aircraft carrier USS Lexington on Sunday. PBR plans to eventually return to indoor venues when health and safety guidelines allow.