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A brief history of the PBR: Just a bunch of cowboys having fun

Bull riding started as just another rodeo event
Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

The sport of bull riding has been around since the frontier days of the 1800’s. The cowboys that worked the ranches had to have the skills of roping and riding in their everyday life that the modern rodeos use today in competition. These frontier cowboys would get together and compete to show off their best skills for bragging rights.

What started out as just a bunch of ranch hands having fun, soon evolved into a competitive sport.. Imagine a bunch of cowboys coming out of a saloon, or sitting around a campfire and suddenly someone says, "Betcha I can ride that old bull longer'n you can!" Crowds would gather to cheer them on as it was great entertainment.

The First Rodeo

The first organized rodeo was held in Cheyenne Wyoming. A rodeo is different from a Professional Bull Riding event but that is where the PBR actually came from. A rodeo is a lot of different events all done in the same day or weekend. You will find calf roping, barrel racing, steer wrestling, bucking horses and bucking bulls all going on at a rodeo. What is known in the PBR as bullfighters used to be referred to as rodeo clowns. These men distracted bulls and entertained the crowds.

Rodeos are still a very popular sport attended by many fans. The Rodeo Association of America was started in 1929. It evolved and changed names many times and became the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in 1975. The bull riding seemed to be the most popular sport at rodeos, so the bull riders got together and decided they wanted their own event.

Beginning of the PBR

In 1992, twenty bull riders each tossed in $1000 to create what is now known as the Professional Bull Riders Association or the PBR. The first tour in 1998 was only 8 stops or events. Today the PBR Built Ford Tough Series has many stops all across the country. The Built Ford Tough Series is the top PBR series. The best bull riders in the world compete in this arena against the best bulls in the world.

Bull Riders have to climb to the top of the ladder to compete in the Built Ford Tough events. The PBR has hundreds of members that compete in the different levels of events but only the top 45 riders compete in the Built Ford Tough Series. Each week, the riders receive points and money for their successful rides.

When a bull rider is bumped down from the Built Ford Tough Series, he has to work his way back up. The PBR has several Challenger Series that the bull riders compete in to earn points and money. The Challenger Series is how they work their way up to the big league of the Built Ford Tough events. Just because a bull rider has made his way to the Built Ford Tough Series doesn't mean he will stay. He has to earn the right to be there with each 8 second ride.

This article was originally published by this author at a now closed Yahoo site. Rights were reverted back to author upon site closing.