By: Kacie Albert
OCALA, Fla. – For the first time in league history, the elite PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Unleash The Beast will travel to Ocala, Florida, opening the 2021 season at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion with the PBR Monster Energy Invitational January 16-17.
The season-launch event, part of the premier series’ American Roots Edition, will feature the Top 30 bull riders in the world taking on the rankest bulls.
The event will follow all local and state health protocols. PBR, along with the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion, is instituting a series of fan safety protocols, including:
• In addition to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-informed screening, all PBR personnel will undergo medical testing for COVID-19 and be required to wear masks.
• PBR will only sell up to 50% of arena capacity to separate fans. To further promote social distancing, fans will only be able to sit in every other row, with seating limited in each open row.
• Social distancing will be encouraged at the concession stands, restrooms and merchandise stands.
Before the PBR Unleash The Beast: American Roots Edition event in mid-January, the iconic Marion County agriculture venue will have welcomed numerous fan-attended, livestock events including the Ocala Shine Rodeo, Ocala Horse Sale and Ranch Horse Competition, 10th Annual Rob & Stopanio Memorial Barrel Race, 5th Annual Kim Landry Classic Futurity and Florida High School Rodeo.
The PBR premier series’ debut in Ocala will mark the first event of 2021, launching the highly anticipated American Roots Edition of the elite Unleash The Beast – a limited series of events scheduled to be held in historic outdoor venues and longstanding rodeo communities across the south.
While the Unleash The Beast has yet to thrill fans in the “Horse Capital of the World,” PBR’s developmental Touring Pro Division has visited Ocala twice.
At the most recent Ocala event in 2016, premier series regular Marco Eguchi (Poa, Brazil) emerged victorious, followed closely by Australian sensation Lachlan Richardson (Gresford, New South Wales, Australia) and veteran Cody Nance (Paris, Tennessee).
PBR’s 2021 debut in Ocala comes on the heels of a trailblazing season in which PBR was the first major professional sport in North America to return to competition in late April following the COVID-19 (coronavirus) related shutdown, and the first to host fans in-arena in mid-July with new safety protocols in place.
Throughout the landmark season, fans witnessed one of the greatest PBR athlete performances of all time.
During a seemingly unstoppable season, which included winning a league-leading seven elite tour events and 16 rounds, Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) went a torrid 44-for-65 covering a head-turning 67.69% of the planet’s rankest bovine athletes en route to the 2020 PBR World Championship.
The 2020 season also introduced fans to rising young gun Boudreaux Campbell (Crockett, Texas). After riding at five regular-season premier series stops, Campbell delivered a near-perfect 4-for-5 showing at the 2020 PBR World Finals inside AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas to win the sport’s most prestigious event, surge from No. 33 to No. 3 in the world and capture the 2020 PBR Rookie of the Year honor.
The bull riding action for the PBR Monster Energy Invitational begins at 2:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, January 16, and Sunday, January 17. Nightly, the Top 30 bull riders in the world will attempt one bull each in Round 1, followed by the Top 12 advancing to the championship round.
Tickets for the two-day event are on sale now.
General admission tickets are priced at $50, with kids tickets (ages 5-12) available for $15, taxes and fees not included. Children under the age of 5 will gain entry to the event for free. Eventgoers are encouraged to purchase their tickets early, with the cost of all admission levels increasing by $5-$10 on event day. They can be purchased online through PBRTIX.com or by calling (800) 732-1727.
Positioned closest to the action, fans can also purchase VIP Box Seats. Located immediately adjacent to the arena fence line, the VIP Box Seats will give event-goers a PBR experience like never before as the league’s top riders and rankest bulls go head-to-head just feet from their seats.
Individual VIP seats are available for $70, or a complete VIP Box of eight seats can be purchased for $520, taxes and fees not included. Individual VIP Box Seats can be purchased online through PBRTIX.com or by calling (800) 732-1727, while the eight-seat VIP Box Seat package can be inquired about by phone at (800) 732-1727.
For an enhanced PBR experience in a socially-distanced environment, fans can now purchase add-on PBR Premium Experiences which will include the Elite Experience and Bull Housing Tour on both Saturday, January 16 and Sunday, January 17 in Ocala for $60.
The Elite Experience will include a Q&A session with a select group of the league’s top riders, bullfighters and stock contractors, merchandise voucher, limited edition poster and commemorative lanyard, while the Bull Housing Tour will feature a stock contractor guided tour of the PBR’s bull housing in the Sunshine State where fans will get an up-close look at the world-renowned bovine athletes.
For more information on PBR Premium Experiences and to purchase the Elite Experience and/or Bull Housing Tour for the PBR Monster Energy Invitational in Ocala, visit https://pbr.com/tickets/premium-experiences/.
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