By: Andrew Giangola
PBR has bucked bulls in some unusual, highly visual locales, including Times Square, Huntington Beach, and in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard.
And now the sport may have outdone itself in announcing a special broadcast event on top of the USS Lexington in Corpus Christi, Texas.
PBR will construct a bull riding arena on the 872-foot long launch deck on top of the famed aircraft carrier known as “The Blue Ghost,” bringing in 300 tons of dirt and steel and more than 15 miles of copper and fiber optic cables to support the event and television broadcast. Bucking bulls will be brought on board via the ship’s still-functioning aircraft elevator, the same system that brought planes up to the flight deck from the hangar during battle. Aircraft aboard the ship will be used as set pieces around the arena.
PBR Air Force Reserve Cowboys for a Cause is an invitational team event featuring five teams of three cowboys, each riding to support military members and their families. Rides won’t count toward world points.
The event marks the launch of PBR Cowboys for a Cause: Every Second Counts, a new PBR initiative that will raise money for a range of charitable organizations.
While the event is closed to the general public, PBR will offer exclusive viewing for VIP guests, ultimate experience ticket packages, and members of the military.
The event will raise money for Operation Homefront, an organization providing financial support, housing and various resources to U.S. military families. PBR and its sponsors will donate money for each second each cowboy stays on his bull, for up to 8 seconds. In rolling out the initiative, PBR chose a military charity first to acknowledge and thank members of the armed forces and their families for their sacrifices to our country.
“As we get ready to close out a very challenging year, PBR wants to present an early holiday gift of an unforgettable bull riding event atop the grand and historic USS Lexington to the fans who support us through thick and thin and to military families who sacrifice so much for everyone,” said PBR Commissioner Sean Gleason.
“Bucking bulls on the deck of the USS Lexington has long been on our list of iconic places for the most exciting 8 seconds in sports. We’re excited and honored to partner with the Air Force Reserve to bring this once-in-a-lifetime event to life. Air Force Reserve’s motto is ‘Fly, Fight, & Win,’ which represents the spirit embodied in our own ‘Be Cowboy’ mantra.”
PBR, the first major professional sport to safely return to competition and then welcome fans inside an arena during the COVID-19 pandemic, featured team competition earlier this season. The Monster Energy Team Challenge competed in closed, televised events from South Point Arena in Las Vegas throughout June, and then in mid-July hosted fans in the arena in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with new fan safety protocols in place.
PBR will bring its industry-leading COVID-19 protocols to Corpus Christi for the event.
A select number of fans can experience this special event firsthand. The ultimate experience, including hotel, premium food and beverage, and VIP access, is available for purchase at PBR.com.
It’s sure to be an unforgettable experience aboard the ship nicknamed “The Blue Ghost” more than 70 years ago by Japanese propagandist Tokyo Rose, because she was sunk no less than four times yet returned to fight again.
Sounds a little like J.B. Mauney.
All told, the USS Lexington was the Navy’s longest-serving working carrier when decommissioned in 1991.
During World War II, as part of the Fifth Fleet, the carrier participated in nearly every major operation in the Pacific Theater, spending 21 months in combat.
Her planes destroyed 372 enemy aircraft in the air, and 475 more on the ground. She sank or destroyed 300,000 tons of enemy cargo and damaged an additional 600,000 tons. The ship’s guns shot down 15 planes and assisted in downing five more.
After the war, she was briefly decommissioned (1947-1955). When reactivated, she operated primarily with the Seventh Fleet out of San Diego, California.
Although not involved in actual combat, the ship kept an offshore vigil during tensions in Formosa, Laos, and Cuba. In 1962, she sailed into Pensacola, Florida, and began training operations, eventually being officially designated CVT-16, Navy Training Carrier. Corpus Christi is now the permanent home to this national treasure.
Photos courtesy of USS Lexington Museum on the Bay
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