PUEBLO, Colo. – Ryan Weaver wants you to get up for the national anthem.
PBR liked that idea, and the former combat veteran’s rocking music and message so much, the league formed its own record label and has released Ryan’s first song encouraging everyone to “Get Up.”
As PBR Music’s first artist, the former U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter pilot has a poignant story matched by a passion to perform as the patriotic voice of the PBR.
Weaver, who lost his brother and brother-in-law in the Middle East, came home from war to sing about his service, his loss and his continuing love of country.
He will make his PBR debut at World Finals as musical headliner on Nov 4 and 5 with a debut EP, Celebrate America, available to fans. All CD sale proceeds on the days Ryan performs will go directly to the Border Patrol Foundation.
Forming its own music label is the latest incarnation of the PBR’s music strategy, demonstrating the crucial role sound and music plays in setting the bull-riding scene and rousing the crowd.
When Jess Lockwood is in the steel chute on top of a quivering bull taking his wrap to the booming strains of Wiz Khaifia’s “Black and Yellow,” fans can seemingly cut the airborne testosterone with a knife.
The PBR soundtrack builds drama, gets fans on their feet, and gives them comic relief.
No two shows are alike.
While Joan Jett, Bon Jovi and Flint Rasmussen singing “Sweet Caroline” are staples across the tour, Biggie Smalls only pumps loud in New York and Anaheim. Places like Billings, Sioux Falls and Thackerville would instead get Keith Urban.
On the PBR tour, city to city, venue to venue, each “room” as the audio engineers call it, has to be tuned differently.
Chief Audio Engineer Brady Schwarz has to custom mix the mics, because the spoken word from arena announcers Matt West, Clint Adkins, and Brandon Bates, along with Rasmussen’s comedy, is competing with the rock, country and hip hop blasting all night long.
PBR is not about to mess around with someone else’s system to get the sound right. The league brings in its own hardware.
And boy, do they bring it — a thunderous 320,000 watts at the average Built Ford Tough Series arena, courtesy of 11,000 pounds of speakers trucked in each week by the traveling production team.
“Sound is everything,” PBR Music Director Marc Stephenson says. “With enough sound, you can take the crowd in different directions.”
Stephenson can’t afford tinny or muffled chords when George Thorogood’s Gibson slams into “Bad to the Bone” signaling the arrival of J.B. Mauney into the chute.
Every rider is now getting an identifiable walk up song – helping set up unforgettable moments bound to happen.
When the soulful tenor of Gregg Allman is growling that he’s not going to let anybody catch the midnight rider, even fans on the concourse grabbing a beer instantly know Stormy Wing is climbing into the Jack Daniel or Las Vegas bucking chute.
Fat Joe’s refrain of “nothing can stop me I’m all the way up” means reigning World Champion Cooper Davis is about to ride.
Riders are thoroughly enjoying in their audio branding.
“Bad to the Bone is old school, just like me,” Mauney says.
Many will lob in song requests.
Rookie of the Year contender Cody Teel asked for Kid Ink’s “Hell and Back.” Matt Triplett wanted Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” Marco Eguchi lobbied for “Believer” by the Imagine Dragons while Gage Gay wants their song, “Thunder.“
Riders have requested new tunes when mired in a slump. Or, after a break up, to avoid hearing the former girlfriend’s song pick.
Weaver hopes one of his songs will be adopted by a rider.
Meantime, he’ll record music for the PBR and perform at its events as the Official Patriotic Voice of the PBR’s Celebrate America campaign.
“It’s a very big deal” to make his official PBR debut in the primetime performance slot held in 2016 by Steven Tyler at the PBR World Finals at T-Mobile Arena and to have his music lead off PBR on CBS broadcasts next year, Weaver says.
The first two songs on the Celebrate America EP “Get Up” and “That’s What America Means to Me” are available on iTunes. The remaining songs will be released during the World Finals.
Proceeds from the CD sales at PBR World Finals on November 4 and 5 will benefit the same military, children’s and community charities being helped by Celebrate America.
“I am so grateful for this opportunity to partner with a sport whose message aligns with mine,” Weaver said. “I hope that fans hearing my story and songs will be further inspired to love their communities and each other.
“I’ve become a big fan of these tough-as-nails cowboys and the amazing bulls they go up against. I’m as excited to watch the bull riding in Las Vegas as I am to perform for the fans.”