As the CFR leaves town this November, the PBR is moving in. The Oilers Entertainment group announced Wednesday that a professional bull riding competition will highlight a Western Lifestyle Festival starting in November of 2017,
During that, the PBR Monster Energy Canada Tour Finals will be a three day professional riding showcase with a $1.25 million purse up for grabs. The Entertainment group calls the event the centrepiece of a new festival to coincide with Farm Fair.
“We’ve identified these dates because we want to work with Farm Fair,” OEG vice-chair and CEO Bob Nicholson told reporters. “We haven’t had any formal discussions on that but we’ve made sure that we’ve placed this in a time period that we can work with Farm Fair. Farm Fair is so big to this city with everyone coming in and that really helps the economic impact of Edmonton.”
The goal is to include an Oilers and Flames game as part of the week, as well as concerts. Negotiations are still on going with the city and Northlands for the finished product.
The Friday night event will be the Canadian Finals said Sean Gleason, the CEO of PBR. It will select the 20 competitors who’ll take part against the others over the final two performances.
Gleason said PBR is enthused about being part of the Western Lifestyle Festival. “Being part of a bigger event like that is so much fun. We’ll be here the entire week, taking it all in. It won’t be just show up and put on the event. We want to be part of this community and come up and enjoy it with you.”
He describes PBR as being a “rock concert with a bunch of cowboys competing in it.”
“At the World Finals, at a big event like this, we’ll have acts that open for PBR and basically play outside or surrounding after parties, etcetera. We have a brand new announcement that’s coming out next week, Stephen Tyler who produced a new song for PBR is going to play the PBR World Finals. So it’ll be acts of significant caliber.”
Nicholson confirms discussions between OEG and PBR began before the Canadian Professional Cowboys Association rejected the initial bid from OEG for the Canadian Finals Rodeo. It was centred around building the brand through television and sponsorships, something Nicholson said is part of the PBR package.
“We want it to be really successful in other cities in the country, and we want to be the leading city. If we do that I think from sponsorship, from television, the sky’s the limit. That’s the way we’re going to approach this, a new start for Bull Riding in Edmonton and to help them build the Canadian Tour to another level so that it’s recognized not just in Canada but world wide.”
The $1.25 million purse compares to the $5 million U-S that will be up for grabs at the World Finals in Las Vegas.