story & photo
by Amy Pjura
The excitement that I had when I found out I was attending the Professional Bull Riding (PBR) Mohegan Sun Invitational greatened when I had the opportunity to meet Wiley Petersen, a professional bull rider. I was at Critical Signs & Graphics, Waterford, visiting some friends, when Wiley walked through the door. I was star-struck. Wiley won last year’s Invitational, so I was eager to see how he would perform this year.
The PBR’s Built Ford Tough Series was held at the Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, October 17-19. Each night, the sold-out audience watched as the top 45 bull riders in world competed to secure a spot at the World Finals in Las Vegas. The flashing lights and pyrotechnics were like any that you would see at a concert and was very entertaining. During intermission, t-shirts and mini footballs were thrown into the audience to hype up the crowd even more.
Overall, Kody Lostroh, Longmont, CO took the number one spot and received a check for $40,375, which puts him well over the $1 million mark in career earnings. Splitting second and third place overall was Valdiron de Olivera, Brazil, and Kasey Hayes, Liberal, KA. My friend Wiley scored in the top five, placing fourth overall.
The PBR is indeed one of the toughest and most dangerous sports on dirt. Unfortunately, there were some injuries at the Invitational, but that’s common. Imagine holding on to a 1,700-pound raging bull for 8 seconds, only to be bucked off and tumble to the ground. Ouch. Every safety precaution is practiced when performing and the clowns in the ring help to prevent any serious injuries.
The riders will compete in Las Vegas for the 2008 PBR Built Ford Tough Finals Oct. 31-Nov. 2 and Nov. 6-9. The winner will receive $1 million, bragging rights and the world title until next year.