PBR returning to Shipshewana for fifth time

·3 min read

Jul. 6—SHIPSHEWANA — For the fifth time in series history, the Professional Bull Riders are set to compete in Shipshewana.

Some of the PBR's top talent will be heading to LaGrange County for the All Star Family Pets Tour Pro Major, which takes place this Friday and Saturday at the Michiana Event Center.

"We have really great crowds there, and obviously (Shipshewana) is a unique town," event promoter Justin Cornwell said. "It's really great because the whole community in that area really gets behind it, sponsorship-wise. A lot of the businesses and stuff really jump in to make it all happen."

Doors open at 5 p.m. each night, with competition set to start at 7 p.m. A total of 36 riders will compete in the first round, with 12 advancing to the finals afterwards. The same 36 riders will then go again on Saturday, with the top 12 of that session advancing to Saturday night's final. Whichever rider scores the most points across the four rides will be the champion.

"If you were to ride all four bulls, you're more than likely going to win the event," Cornwell said. "If you're the only one who rides four, then you're definitely going to win."

Tickets start at $29.95 for each night. Children under the age of three are allowed in for free as long as they sit on one of their parents' laps. Friday night's ticket also allows attendees to stay for a concert from The Hubie Ashcraft Band after the bull riding has finished up.

The PBR is also working with The Ronald McDonald House Charites of Northeast Indiana this weekend to help collect funds and resources for those families in need. A full list of items that RMHC is looking for donations of can be found on the event's website, michianaevents.com/pbr. That is also where tickets for the event can be purchased.

"We like to try and give back to the community, and we thought this was a way to be beneficial," Cornwell said.

Along with being the promoter of the event, Cornwell provides some of the bulls that will be used for the competition. Organizing a big PBR event like this is a long process, according to Cornwell.

"About two weeks after the event will end this weekend, we'll start planning for the next year," Cornwell said. "We take a couple of weeks off just to kind of let the dust settle. We have a post-event meeting, and then we start trying to put together what we can do for next year, but better and bigger. We just want to do whatever we can to make it the best possible event we can have."

A past winner of the event, Dakota Louis, ranked No. 29 in the world standings, will be part of the field this weekend. Other notable entries including No. 9 ranked Eli Vastbinder, No. 21 Bob Mitchell, No. 30 Keyshawn Whitehorse and No. 39 Silvano Alves.

Vastbinder was the 2021 PBR Rookie of the Year, while Mitchell won that award for this season. Alves has the most pedigree of everyone competing, as he is a three-time PBR World Champion.

"We definitely have some great talent coming, and it helps the event a lot," Cornwell said. "Part of it, too, is because our event is considered a major, the points count for double toward the finals."

For those who may not have ever attended an event like this one, Cornwell says to expect a jam-packed two nights of entertainment.

"It's fast-paced action," Cornwell said. "It moves right along. We have an entertainer, or 'funny man,' that, in the down times, keeps the crowd entertained. It's kind of like a rock-n-roll atmosphere, but at the same time, it's something that grandkids to grandparents will enjoy."

Austin Hough can be reached at austin.hough@goshennews.com or at 574-538-2360. Follow him on Twitter at @AustinHoughTGN.