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Thursday, October 20, 2011
Bull riding is the most popular and dangerous of the rodeo sports, and has also been called "America's original extreme sport". The PBR is the top bull riding organization in the world, with riders coming from Brazil, the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Australia.
The highest-ranked rider during the 2011 regular season was Silvano Alves of Brazil, followed by fellow Brazilian Valdiron de Oliveira. They are among the 43 riders who have qualified for the 2011 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals, which will be held Wednesday, October 26, to Sunday, October 30, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the U.S., the PBR World Finals will be televised on Versus every day from October 26 to October 29, and on NBC on October 30.
We spoke with Craig Hummer by phone on Thursday to introduce us to bull riding, preview the PBR World Finals, and analyze the appeal of this sport. We discussed who are the favorites both among the riders and bulls at the PBR World Finals, how this sport exemplifies the cowboy culture, why so many Brazilians have been successful in it, issues relating to safety and injuries of the riders, how this sport respects the bulls and treats them as athletes, the role of the bullfighters, the structure and governance of bull riding, the similarities between bull riding and combat sports, and much more.
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