By: Kacie Albert
OMAHA, Neb. – For the first time in 12 years, PBR’s (Professional Bull Riders) elite Unleash The Beast, featuring the Top 40 bull riders in the world, will buck into Omaha, Nebraska, holding the fan-attended PBR Omaha Invitational at CHI Health Center Omaha May 1-2.
For two nights only, the world’s top bull riders will battle the sport’s rankest bovine athletes in the ultimate showdown of man vs. beast in one of the most exciting live sporting events to witness. The fearless riders of the PBR are eager to bring back to Omaha the only sport that pits a lightweight against a heavyweight in epic 8-second confrontations.
The PBR Omaha Invitational will follow all local and state health directives, taking into consideration guidance from the Nebraska Governor’s office, the Douglas County Health Department and Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Those fan safety protocols for the event include:
• All fans, as well as staff and competitors, will be required to wear face masks inside CHI Health Center Omaha.
• All PBR personnel will undergo CDC-informed screening and medical testing for COVID-19.
• Contactless temperature checks will be performed daily on all CHI Health Center Omaha and PBR personnel, including staff, competitors and contractors.
• PBR will sell a limited arena capacity to separate fans and promote a safe seating environment.
• CHI Health Center Omaha has gone cashless. All purchases, including concessions and merchandise transactions, will require a debit or credit card or form of mobile payment.
• Signage will be placed strategically throughout CHI Health Center Omaha to encourage physical distancing and health safety protocols, as well as remind guests of new and updated policies.
• Increased availability of pre-packaged concessions, including cutlery and condiments.
• Increased sanitization of high-contact areas, including doors, railings, concession counters, merchandise stands, bathrooms and elevators.
• Hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the venue at high volume areas to promote hand hygiene.
CHI Health Center Omaha first welcomed back fans in December 2020 for Creighton University Men’s Basketball games. In the months since, the venue has also hosted the NSAA High School State Wrestling Tournament, Disney on Ice, and is scheduled to welcome the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Tournament April 13-24.
The PBR’s elite Unleash The Beast last travelled to Omaha in 2006. Going a perfect 3-for-3, Wiley Petersen (Fort Hall, Idaho) captured the sixth premier series victory of his career in Omaha, cementing the victory with an 89.25-point ride on Bo Time.
The league’s premier series made three subsequent trips to Omaha, holding events consecutively from 2007-2009. Justin McBride (Whitesboro, Texas) won the tour stop in 2007 – one of his record eight event victories that season – en route to his second PBR World Championship.
In both 2008 and 2009, Brian Canter (Randleman, North Carolina) rode supreme, delivering back-to-back, perfect 3-for-3 efforts at the Omaha Unleash The Beast events.
While the league’s elite tour has not travelled to Omaha in more than a decade, the PBR’s expansion series, the Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour, held events in the Gateway to the West from 2014-2016. Those event winners are Tyler Bingham (Tremonton, Utah – 2014); Gage Gay (Staley, North Carolina – 2015); and Nathan Schaper (Grassy Butte, North Dakota – 2016).
The elite PBR Unleash The Beast’s return to Omaha comes on the heels of one of the league’s most historic seasons. PBR was the first major professional sport in North America to return to competition in late April following the COVID-19 related shutdown, the first to host fans in-arena in mid-July with new safety protocols in place, and this season will be the first to hold a major indoor sporting event at capacity in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in April with new safety protocols in place.
Throughout the landmark season, fans witnessed one of the greatest PBR athlete performances of all time.
After 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 Omaha Invitational in Omaha at CHI Health Center Omaha begins at 6:45 p.m. CDT on Saturday, May 1, and at 1:45 p.m. CDT on Sunday, May 2.
Tickets for the two-day event go on-sale Friday, March 26 at 10:00 a.m. CDT and start at $15, taxes and fees not included. Positioned closest to the action and including a Q&A session with top talent from the PBR, Elite Seats will also be available for $350. Tickets can be purchased online at TicketMaster.com or PBR.com, at the CHI Health Center Omaha Box Office, or by calling PBR customer service at 1-800-732-1727.
For an enhanced PBR experience, fans can now purchase add-on PBR Premium Experiences, including the Elite Experience on both Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2 in Omaha.
The Elite Experience, available for $75, 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.
Fans will also have the opportunity to purchase a complete travel package for $1,200, including a two-day hotel stay, two event tickets, daily food and beverage vouchers, a behind-the-scenes tour, and more.
For more information on PBR Premium Experiences and to purchase the Elite Experience and travel package for the PBR Omaha Invitational in Omaha, visit https://pbr.com/tickets/premium-experiences/.
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