Drug Testing Started at PBR’s VERSUS InvitationalNEW YORK (January 6, 2008) – In recent weeks steroid use has taken center stage in the sports world.  As major league baseball players have had to respond to the questions and speculations, so have bull riding athletes.  But it’s not the bull riders who are the target of the rumors – it’s the bulls. 

Whether the bucking bull steroid problem is real or perceived, the Professional Bull Riders, Inc. (PBR) has deemed the issue of such importance that it has developed a PBR Bull Testing Committee which is introducing a Steroid Testing Policy for the 2008 Built Ford Tough Series season. Under the new policy, PBR will test the top performing bull or bulls at various events throughout the season. The first such testing was conducted following the conclusion of the PBR’s VERSUS Invitational event held this weekend at Madison Square Garden in New York City. A stock contractor whose bull is found to have yielded a positive test result will be subject to discipline by the Committee.

While it is unclear to what extent, if any, bulls competing in sanctioned PBR events are being subjected to anabolic steroid treatments, concerns have been raised of late, in large part by PBR member stock contractors themselves, with respect to that very possibility.  Those concerns could be residual in nature.  Proponents contend that steroid use was far more prevalent in the past.  Stock contractors have since realized that the serious and detrimental side-effects that steroids had upon their bulls simply out weighed any benefit gained.

In an effort to ensure and maintain the integrity of competition and the health of its bull athletes, PBR and its Bull Testing Committee have partnered with the leading veterinarian in the bucking bull industry, Dr. Gary Warner, DVM. and world renowned veterinary scientist Dr. Walter Hyde, M.S., Ph.D. to create the first ever anabolic steroid bull testing protocol and policy in the history of the sport.  Testing methods will include taking samples of a bull’s blood and urine.

The Bull Testing Committee is comprised of PBR Board Advisors Ty Murray and Cody Lambert, Richard Patterson, co-founder and partner of Spire Capital Partners LLC and Chairman of PBR’s Corporate Board, and Matthew A. Rivela, PBR’s General Counsel.  In keeping with the belief that PBR’s founding cowboys should still drive those decisions which tend to affect the sport of bull riding, the PBR Board of Directors have seen fit to create three advisory committees to that end. In addition to the Bull Testing Committee, there currently also exists a Competition/Rules and Regulations Committee and a Conduct Committee.