It’s official! As one of the first sports in the United States, Professional Bull Riders (PBR) will return to live competition this weekend amid strict safety guidelines around the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Presented by Monster Energy, the 2020 PBR season continues with the PBR Las Vegas Invitational as a closed-to-the-public, live television event inside Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma from April 25-26, 2020.
The Professional Bull Riders (PBR) circuit is the world’s biggest stage in professional bull riding. Fans can watch this weekend’s PBR Las Vegas Invitational event on CBS Sports Network and RidePass, Saturday night at 6 p.m. ET, and Sunday live at noon ET.
“Since Be Cowboy is our motto, we take the coronavirus pandemic very seriously; we haven’t thrown caution to the wind,”
The PBR Las Vegas Invitational will feature Monster Energy rider Jose Vitor Leme looking to expand on his current lead in 2020 World Championship rankings, alongside the sport’s top athletes and bucking bulls. All athletes and crew members will be following strict social distancing and self-isolation protocols approved by the local, county, and state officials to ensure safety amid the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
“It took every aspect of the ‘Be Cowboy’ mantra to get us to this point. Cowboy ingenuity, cowboy grit, and the no-quit cowboy attitude will bring PBR events back to life as one of the world’s first sports to return to competition,” said Sean Gleason, CEO of Professional Bull Riders (PBR) in an official statement announcing the organization’s return-to-action plan.
Presented by Monster Energy, the Unleash the Beast Series (UTB) is the elite series of the Professional Bull Riders. When the gates crack open at Lazy E Arena in Guthrie this weekend, 41 days will have passed since the last official event of this year’s series. The Gwinnett Invitational in Duluth, Georgia, was contested as a closed, non-public event, on March 14-15 before the league declared a hiatus because of COVID-19.
“Since Be Cowboy is our motto, we take the coronavirus pandemic very seriously; we haven’t thrown caution to the wind,” said PBR CEO Gleason going into this weekend’s event. “We’ve approached this with a detailed, thoughtful, and intelligent plan that took into consideration any and all interactions among our constituents. We developed a comprehensive safety and wellness plan that has been reviewed and approved by the city of Guthrie, Logan County, and Oklahoma state officials.”
Monster Energy team rider Jose Vitor Leme comes into this weekend’s Unleash The Beast event as the world’s top-ranked athlete with a 72.5-point lead in the 2020 World Championship race.
But it’s not going to be a walk in the park: Leme has been sidelined from competition since sustaining a rib injury attempting to ride, The Right Stuff on February 29 in Kansas City, Missouri. Although he celebrated his 21st overall career win in the season opener in Sacramento in January, Leme missed two Unleash The Beast events recovering from the injuries before the PBR went on hiatus due to COVID-19.
In the organization’s statement, PBR CEO Gleason thanked officials in Oklahoma for their support in ending the coronavirus-related break from the competition: “We can’t thank the great State of Oklahoma enough for working with us to bring our events back to fans through our television broadcasts. Oklahoma is a great cowboy state, and Lazy E Arena is the site of some of PBR’s earliest premier series events. There is no better place for the return of western sports than the Lazy E.”
Fans can look forward to tuning in to this weekend’s event on CBS Sports Network and RidePass, Saturday night at 6 p.m. ET, and Sunday live at noon ET. Also make sure to follow Monster Energy on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.