Explorebigsky.com Staff Writer, Photo by Andy Watson
The group that last year organized the Professional Bull Riders tour in Big Sky announced Jan. 30 that it will repeat the event Aug. 1 this year. The same pre-event including music and Calcutta auction will be held on July 31.
One of the organizers, Eric Ladd of Big Sky, said they have opened talks with new sponsors and government for funding this year and hope to make changes that would help capitalize on the success of the first event.
“This is a huge event and it requires not only the support of tickets sales but also sponsors and grant money,” Ladd said. “A true community event, since we don’t have a permanent arena we have to build everything from scratch.”
The event has already received a $12,000 grant from the Montana Office of Tourism for out-of-town marketing of the PBR, and is talking with sponsors like Jack Daniels and GoPro, among other companies. Local businesses and organizations like Yellowstone Club, resort tax and Continental Construction helped make the event possible last year.
Montana rider Beau Hill won the event last year and other tour riders like Luke Synder and the famous entertainer, Flint Ramussen, participated in the show.
For Ryan Hamilton, Big Sky Town Center project manager, last summer’s event helped create a vibrant downtown scene in town, albeit for one night.
“The biggest thing was just the energy level that night,” Hamilton said. “Last year’s event was mentioned several times on national TV as the best outdoor event on the PBR circuit.”
Hamilton said the event gave some insight into what a permanent arena could do for the town.
Last year’s sellout event sat 2,000 people (including a Geyser Whitewater crew sitting atop roof seating on buses outside the gates). Because the arena was filled with temporary bleachers surrounding the arena dirt, the only way to increase capacity would be to get more bleachers. The group plans on asking resort tax to help fund bleachers purchases this year.
If successful the bleachers would become an asset of the community and be available for other community events like football and hockey games as well as concerts.
“We could have sold another 1,000 to 2,000 tickets last year if we had the seats,” Ladd said. “We are hopeful that with stronger sponsorship support, and support from resort tax, we can acquire more bleachers and in-turn sell more tickets to accommodate locals and visitors alike.”
Tickets for the two-day event go on sale in June. For individuals or businesses interested in sponsorship contact Eric Ladd at Outlaw Partners – 406-995-2055.
Check back to explorebigsky.com/pbr for constant updates leading up to the event.