PUEBLO, Colo. – Sean Willingham still remembers going to South Padre Island in Texas in 2001.
Willingham was going to school at Western Texas College in Snyder, Texas, and the rodeo team decided to head down to the paradise island on the southern tip of Texas for spring break.
“It was me and a bunch of college buddies,” Willingham recalled. “I remember being there for the whole week with a bunch of cowboys. I had never done anything like that before. It was a big group of us; pretty much the entire college team went.”
Willingham said he and his friends loaded up there trucks and made the 9-hour drive south on Interstate 37.
The current 13-year BFTS veteran said the spring break trip let him get to know a bunch of his teammates and interact with groups of people he had yet to hang out with.
“We were learning about each other and there I was meeting all of these different cowboys, ropers and all of that.”
PBR fans have a chance to have their own Cowboy Spring Break on May 22-24 at the MGM Resorts Village in Las Vegas. Fans of professional bull riding will descend upon Las Vegas for Last Cowboy Standing, the feature event of Cowboy Spring Break on May 22-23, but there will be much more than just two days of nonstop bull riding action.
Instead, Cowboy Spring Break is a three-day party featuring some of the top musicians in the nation, such as Gary Allan and The Band Perry, and various outdoor and indoor activities for lovers of not just the PBR, but the Western lifestyle.
There will be on-site pool parties, a Rail Jam! Wakeboard exhibition, mechanical bull riding competitions, volleyball nets on the dirt, DockDogs performances, a Western gift expo and much more.
It will be unlike any other party the PBR has ever hosted.
Nathan Schaper is excited for Cowboy Spring Break.
“Well, I have never been to any live concert,” Schaper said. “I am excited to go to one, especially with Gary Allan. It’ll be fun. I’ll hang out at the concerts.”
The 24-year-old added that it will be nice to conclude the first half of the season with an outdoor event.
“I like the idea,” he said. “It is just nice after going to these buildings that look the same to change it up after a while.”
Last Cowboy Standing is the second PBR Major of the season, and the event winner will earn 600 points toward the world standings. The bull riding event will also be broadcast on CBS network television.
Two-time World Champion Justin McBride and PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert will also host the BNW Hitches pre-show on CBS Sports Network on May 22 10:30 ET prior to the first round of Last Cowboy Standing.
Markus Mariluch, who is getting married the week before Cowboy Spring Break, believes it will be a new experience for fans and bull riders alike.
“I hear there are going to be pools and stuff outside near the arena,” he said. “It is going to be something new and different for us too. I hope a lot of people come out and make it a lot more fun.”
Mariluch once went on a spring break trip to Lake Havasu in Arizona a couple years after graduating high school with his friends.
“We were all good buddies in high school and we just decided to go down there one time and hang out and see what it is all about,” he said. “We used to hear a lot of good things.”
The group stayed for three days and went wake boarding, rode jet skis and met a bunch of new people.
The Elko, Nevada, bull rider is no stranger to Las Vegas and he believes the top entertainment capital in the world will be an opportunity for PBR fans to have a memorable and fun time.
“The Vegas deal this year is going to be a lot of fun and really cool and different,” Mariluch said. “There are going to be great bands playing afterward and it will just be a really, fun party pretty much.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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