PBR returns to Premier Center amid pandemic

Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 5:56 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - For the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Denny Sanford Premier Center will host a live event with fans in the stands: the PBR.

Social distancing will be implemented to keep rodeo goers safe, from the lines at concessions to the wait for the bathrooms to the seating, cut down to 46 percent capacity. Staff underwent extra training in preparation for the event

“We’re in the live entertainment business and without them coming here and trusting the state of South Dakota and the Denny Sanford Premier Center, there wouldn’t be an event, but their super excited to have the fans back and have something new and different for them,” says Matt West, the voice of PBR.

Not only is the staff excited to be back, but everyone with PBR is ecstatic to get back in front of a live audience, after performing to empty stadiums since April. This weekend’s event is especially exciting because it is the first finals ever for team events in the rodeo

“If you’ve never followed bull riding in the past, this is a great time to get involved because it’s as simple as one team against another and they score points with rides and you’ve got to beat the other team to move on, that’s just as simple as it gets, it’s like March Madness in the NCAA except with bull riding,” says West.

But getting ready for the event during a pandemic is different for the PBR staff too. Everyone is tested before sticking to their hotel rooms and the event center, staying in almost a mini bubble while on the road

“The last couple of days have been out of the norm for me, everyone else has been dealing with this, but it’s my first time getting the swab up the nose, brought me to tears, and it’s my first time under the protocols and wearing a mask and keeping your distance from people, all sorts of things they have in place, it’s really different,” says two-time reigning champ Jess Lockwood.

Despite all the changes, the first live event at the center will kick off at 7:45, Friday night.

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