What does it take to be the “Official ATV and Side-by-Side” of the tough-as-nails Professional Bull Riders? It takes rugged products like the Brute Force sport utility ATV and the Kawasaki Mule side-by-side that ranchers and farmers use every day.
Motorcycle USA recently traveled to Music City, USA, to witness Kawasaki’s role as a national partner with PBR during the Jack Daniels Invitational in Nashville, Tennessee. It began with a Kawasaki Teryx parked outside of Bridgestone Arena that is part of a promotional giveaway going on as part of the sponsorship. All you have to do is text WINMYRIDE to 868727 in order for a chance to win a Mule or one of the Brute Force ATVs Kawasaki will be giving away also.
It’s the calm before the storm as we head into Bridgestone Arena before the PBR event that night. The way crews come in, hauling thousands of pounds of dirt, and transform an indoor arena into a rodeo arena reminds us of Supercross and the way they bust out tracks. The stars of the show, almost a ton of pure muscle with names like Smack Down and Bushwacker, seem almost docile sitting in stalls below the chutes. Cowboys soon take to the arena for a pre-show meet-and-greet with a few lucky fans.
Energy levels kick into hyperdrive as the show starts, pyro technics, laser lights and loud music pumping, the spectacle comparable to what you’d see at a Supercross opening ceremony. The crowd goes wild as the first bull rider breaks out of the chute, hangin’ on for dear life trying to reach that elusive eight seconds. A Kawasaki sticker has its place on the bars of the chute gate, Kawasaki commercials play on the JumboTron during commercial breaks, and every time a bull runs out of the arena the gate bearing a large Kawasaki logo has to be swung open.
PBR is a big-time production. In between the explosion of the bulls out of the gate, rodeo clowns entertain the crowd and giveaways get them up on their feet. At one point a Kawasaki Mule 4010 rolls out into the arena telling everyone to text in to win. The fun only amplified when country star Ronnie Dunn came out to address the crowd.
When the dust had finally settled it was Robson Palermo who was the top rider of the day, beating out Brandon Clark. Afterward, riders walked around the arena meeting fans, signing autographs and taking photos with little ones and admirers alike. The low-key demeanor and approachability of the riders reminds us a lot of flat track and the family atmosphere it fosters. As the day ended, we headed out with our friends from Kawasaki to meet up with some of the riders and wind down the day with a cold one at Tootsie’s, the fabled Nashville honky tonk.