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The Oil City welcomes PBR tour

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Casper – The bucking chutes are set to open for the fourth time in history in the Oil City for the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour (PWVT) at the Ford Wyoming Center on April 2. 

PBR’s General Manager Robert Simpson highlights the organization, contestants and this one-night event coming to the Cowboy State. 

The beginning of the tour 

Simpson has managed the tour since 2015 and it has grown four times in size since its inception, he shares.

“The tour in general is a very large success story for PBR, because it started out as a way to enhance more markets across the country – as the years have gone by, the tour has grown exponentially,” Simpson says. “We have sold out events across the country with several staple events. In general, as far as PBR goes – a business concept, adding more events to the repertoire of PBR has been phenomenal.”

The Velocity Tour features young and up and coming talent competing against the established talent of the sport. One thing making PBR unique is the opportunities for bull riders to compete. In addition to the Velocity Tour, cowboys can compete in several other tours including the elite Unleash The Beast, Touring Pro Division, International Tours and a Team Series – new in 2022. 

Qualifying for the tour

The Velocity Tour runs from January to May, and Casper will be stop 22 on the tour, Simpson notes. 

“When we start out the season, we use the standings of the last season,” he explains. “This is how cowboys qualify for the first events. As the season rolls on, the standings start adjusting and cowboys start earning points for finishing well.” 

PBR is based on a point system, rather than a money system even though cowboys are winning money similar to the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) – PRCA’s standings are based on money; in PBR, standings are based on points, Simpson explains. 

“Through the course of the season, riders accumulate points as they go,” he says. “Riders earn points for each round and for the aggregate – the combination for rounds during an event.” 

In 2022, the Velocity Tour plans to visit more than 25 cities, including the Velocity Tour Finals in Corpus Christi, Texas. This tour is one of the most important qualifying events for bull riders to earn points needed to qualify for the Unleash The Beast Tour and the finals – further enhancing their position in the world standings.   

“For a bull rider starting out, it’s not a hard road for them to climb and actually advance,” he shares. 

Several riders will tentatively be riding in Casper, including: Thor Hoefer II from Priest River, Idaho; Josh Frost from Randlett, Utah; Silvano Alves from Pilar Do Sul, BR; Dakota Louis, Browning, Mont.; Cody Casper, Newport, Wash.; and Taylor Toves, Stephenville, Texas.  

Changes to the season 

The regular PBR season is January through May, with the Team Series running from June through November. Previously, the season ran from January to December. 

The Team Series will feature eight teams of bull riders in its inaugural season. There will be 10 regular events, including two “neutral site” events, finishing out with a playoff and championship in Las Vegas, Nev. 

The teams and their owners are as followed: Texas Rattlers, owned by the Fisher Family; Arizona Ridge Riders, owned by Teton Ridge; Austin Gamblers, owned by Egon Durban; Carolina Cowboys; owned by the league and operated by Richard Childress Racing; Kansas City Outlaws; owned by Pulley Outlaws LLC; Missouri Thunder, owned by Johnny Morris; Nashville Stampede; owned by Morris Communications Company; and Oklahoma Freedom, owned by the league and operated by Prodigal. 

“This a very brand new, groundbreaking concept,” Simpson notes. “The teams will have seven contestants on each team and can be drafted from all over the world.”

“The PBR is always looking for new ways to share the Western culture. We have been very successful putting on events – the model works great, and we are always looking for the next big thing and this is where we are hanging our hat,” he continues. “The team format in Western sports is non-existent, so we are taking a National Football League model and creating something similar in the Western industry – now fans can cheer for a team rather than just one rider.” 

The new series will provide fans with new opportunities to follow the sport but also new financial support to the riders. Normally contestants are paid if they ride well, now riders will be paid to be a part of a team, Simpson explains. 

Coming back to Casper 

The last time PWVT was in Casper was in October of 2020, notes Simpson. 

“PBR really never shut down for COVID-19. We did major television and closed events after March,” he shares. “We wanted to keep our riders, stock contractors and personnel going – everyone who depends on PBR to make a living – we completely changed our business structure so we could keep doing events.” 

PBR made sure to test contestants and personnel prior to competition, he says. 

“The 2020 event in Casper was a limited capacity crowd due to the regulations within the state of Wyoming, but the venue worked with us – they were awesome,” continues Simpson. “They were in the same boat as we were – they needed events.” 

“It was a cool event because of the town, the venue and the state came out and supported PBR during a pretty dark time for the U.S. in the fall of 2020 – we at least could bring some entertainment to our fans. We are excited to return back to Casper,” he says.  

Keeping the sport alive 

“PBR has exploded in the last two years,” he shares. “If a rider is able to work on his craft, he can make a living riding bulls. With the number of events PBR is hosting, there is so much opportunity out there for the younger generation who can ride and be a professional bull rider.”

Simpson notes in the past getting started was hard, but especially now in PBR, if contestants want to be a full-time bull rider, there is no better time.

PBR has put in a lot of time gearing up for the event in Casper, he continues, “It’s a six-month process to do a one-night event in Casper, but it’s an industry which is always working – just like farmers and ranchers.”

Simpson encourages fans to attend the Casper Invitational by sharing, “This will be a stand-alone PBR event in the state of Wyoming and we want to hang our hat on it. Right now, with where Casper is falling on the calendar and the finals being in May – time is getting short for these guys to qualify for the world finals – it should be some pretty good watching because these guys are going to be giving it everything they have.”

The bucking chutes are set to kick open at 7 p.m. MDT at the Ford Wyoming Center on April 2, with an after party scheduled after the event at The Beacon Club. 

For more information on the Casper Invitational and to order tickets, visit,WY. 

Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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