AUSTIN, TEXAS and PUEBLO, COLO.—Seeing strong growth in the number of western sports fans in Chicago, PBR (Professional Bull Riders) and World Champions Rodeo Alliance (WCRA) today announced a major western sports weekend in the city, combining the two sports in three days of on-the-dirt action.
As PBR’s elite series returns to Allstate Arena on January 12-13 for two days of epic rides and wrecks, a marquee rodeo has been added to the popular bull-riding event. The WCRA Windy City Roundup–a $1 Million Major Rodeo–will open the WCRA’s 2019 series at Allstate Arena on Friday, January 11.
This will be PBR’s ninth year in the Chicago, and as the crowds grow bigger, for the first time in history, world-class rodeo will storm into the city when 81 of the world’s top rodeo athletes compete for one night on January 11.
“PBR is a staple in Chicago, a market known to be passionate about exciting sports. As our Chicago fan base grows, we’ve added a rodeo to our popular signature Windy City event,” said Sean Gleason, CEO, PBR. “We have a successful history of pairing a PBR premier series event with rodeo in places like AT&T Stadium in Dallas, and we believe the concept will work as well in Chicago, where the appetite for western sports continues to grow.”
From 2014-2018, paid attendance for PBR events in Chicago has grown 43%, according to Gleason. Over the same five-year period (2014-18), the PBR fan base has grown +33% in the Chicago DMA, along with a +17% increase in the number of Pro Rodeo fans in the Chicago DMA, according to Nielsen Scarborough.
During Round 1 on Saturday and Round 2 on Sunday, the top bull riders of the PBR will face one bull each. Following Round 2 Sunday afternoon, the event’s Top 15 riders with the highest cumulative scores after the two rounds will advance to the Championship Round for one more ride and a chance at the event title.
The Windy City Roundup follows the November 15-18 WCRA Semi-Finals at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma. In Chicago, the top nine cowboys and cowgirls in each event will go head-to-head with contestants in eight events—bareback riding, women’s breakaway roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping, barrel racing, and bull riding— competing for their piece of the $1 million purse. Athletes in each discipline—including both headers and heelers in the team-roping event—will compete for more than $111,000, with the champions walking away with $50,000 each.
“We launched WCRA with a goal to grow the sport of rodeo with large-payout events, greater media exposure, and exposing rodeo to major markets,” said WCRA President Bobby Mote. “The Windy City Roundup paired with PBR fulfills all of those objectives. We couldn’t be more excited about exposing our great sport of rodeo, alongside the PBR, in the third-largest market in the U.S.”
A first of its kind, the WCRA Major Event Series will dish out $6 million to contestants in 2019, including four $1 million rodeos. The 2019 series also will feature a $500,000 semi-finals before each major, which will provide an additional $2 million in prize money. Qualifying for this series will be based purely on performance and on series points, rather than dollars won, through a new world-ranking points system.
In early February, PBR and WCRA announced a collaboration to jointly produce, market, and promote rodeo events in an effort to expand television and digital coverage of the sport, build the profiles of the world’s best rodeo athletes, and grow the sport’s fan base. All WCRA events will be broadcast live on RidePass, the definitive source on western sports and lifestyle, which delivers fans the most entertaining, authentic, and accessible western sports experience in the world.
The PBR action starts at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12 and concludes at 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13. Tickets for the two-day PBR event as well as the Windy City Roundup on Friday, Jan. 11 starting at 7 p.m. go on sale Tuesday, October 30th and start at $10. All tickets for the event can be purchased at Allstate Arena Box Office or by calling Ticketmaster 1-800-745-3000 or going online at Ticketmaster.com. Combination tickets for the WCRA and PBR events will be available through PBR Rewards as well.
This year Elite Seats will once again be available for those fans wanting to be up close and personal with all the action. Elite Seats can be purchased for $350 and are available on Saturday only.
About the PBR
The world’s premier bull riding organization began as a dream of 20 bull riders 25 years ago and now operates in five countries. On its elite tour, the organization features the top 35 bull riders in the world and the top bulls in the business. The televised PBR: Unleash The Beast, along with the PBR Velocity Tour (RVT), the PBR Touring Pro Division (TPD) and the PBR’s international circuits in Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico have paid nearly $184 million in earnings to its athletes. Thirty bull riders have earned more than $1 million, including two-time PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney who is the top-earning athlete in Western sports history with more than $7.2 million in career earnings. PBR is part of the Endeavor (formerly WME | IMG) network. For more information on the PBR, go to PBR.com, or follow on Facebook at Facebook.com/PBR, Instagram at Instagram.com/PBR, and YouTube at YouTube.com/PBR.
WCRA is a professional sport and entertainment entity, created to develop and advance the sport of rodeo by aligning all levels of competition. In association with the PBR, WCRA produces major rodeo events, developing additional opportunities for rodeo-industry competitors, stakeholders, and fans. To learn more, visit wcrarodeo.com. For athletes interested in learning more about the WCRA Virtual Rodeo Qualifier (VRQ) system, visit app.wcrarodeo.com.
For PBR, Andrew Giangola, [email protected], (646) 871-2402
For WCRA, Kyle Jones, [email protected], (775) 304-2545