Going into Saturday night's Professional Bull Riders Dickie's Iron Cowboy II Invitational presented by WinStar World Casino at Cowboys Stadium, the extent of my bull-riding knowledge came from watching 8 Seconds , starring Luke Perry and Stephen Baldwin and the Split Invitational from Oklahoma City last week on Versus. However, I was very intrigued to catch what many call the "most dangerous sport in existence" up close and personal.
My initial dip into the PBR world turned out to be a big event that was a great scene on a beautiful 80 degree February day in Arlington. Everywhere I looked around the PBR Fan Zone there were groups of beautiful women in blue jeans and cowboy hats! Country music superstar Toby Keith played an hour-long concert beginning at 7 p.m. And that was the appetizer.
Folllowing the concert, the lights stayed down and Jerry Jones, flanked by four Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, took the stage to welcome the bull riders to the competition. The biggest ovation was for the last man in the exclusive invitation-only field, Fort Worth's own Colby Yates. Rather than the normal PBR format of 2-3 days of competition for overall points, this event was a single elimination bracket built on endurance. The winner takes home one of the highest prize money purses on the PBR schedule.
"It's definitely a test," PBR co-founder Ty Murray said. "That's why it's called the Iron Cowboy."
Arlington is the seventh stop on the season. The first six were won by six different Brazilians. But on this night, in front of of an electric crowd of 38,641, the veteran Colby Yates won the $50,000 top prize and the title of "Iron Cowboy." He defeated top-seed Austin Meier in a "Texas vs Oklahoma" final match-up. Yates had the chance to earn an additional $100,000 if he could ride Super Duty, the 2010 runner up for World Champion Bull. With the crowd at a fever pitch at the first event at Cowboys Stadium since Super Bowl XLV, Yates stayed up for 2.5 seconds but eventually landed on the dirt.
From my view underneath the Cowboys Stadium massive video-board, I caught all the drama as the chutes popped open and big dreams collided with big bulls. And I must make mention of the super hot Rockstar Energy Drink model who walked the stage with the "Bring the Noise" sign.
The season culminates Oct. 26-30 in Las Vegas with the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals, where the 2011 PBR World Champion will be crowned and awarded the $1 million Built Ford Tough Bonus.
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