The Money News team have a secret hobby after the show finishes and it’s not one you’d expect… they watch Professional Bull Riding. Global CEO Sean Gleason, world-number-19 Guilherme Marchi and American Matt Triplett join Ross in the studio to talk about the world’s fastest growing sport.
Introduction: Professional Bull Riders CEO and stars join Ross in the studio
Speaker 1: Got to stay with it. This is a heck of a bull ride. Holy cow, wow.
Speaker 2: What? Are you kidding me?
Speaker 1: Wow. Folks, I’m going to tell you what they don’t make them much better than that right there.
Ross Greenwood: They were the sounds of one of the fastest growing sports in the world right now. I’m talking professional bull riding. Now, I’m going to tell you a little bit of a secret about the Money News team here. You know that we talk about the economy, we talk about all sorts of things like that. We have a little secret here on this program, and that is quite often when we finish and everybody else is going home around the place we sit back in the office and we watch pro bull riding. We love it. We think it’s one of the great sports. It’s exciting, it’s dangerous. There are some amazing spills. There are some incredible rides that go on.
It’s our little secret. We haven’t told you about that. When we found out that the PBR Global Cup was coming to Australia first Cannes this weekend in Sydney. We could not stop but tell you about this story because not only are the riders incredibly skilled, brave but professional. That’s the big key here. That the sport itself has gone through an amazing growth phase where you see it pretty much all over the United States, North America but then around the world these days. I’m very pleased to say that I have some of the absolute keys. Number nine in the world, Matt Triplett from Columbia Falls in Montana which would be great bull riding country I would have thought, Matt?
Matt Triplett: Yes sir, it’s amazing. My dad, he grew up riding bulls there so I decided to follow in his footsteps and did the same thing.
Ross Greenwood: Also I’ve got from Brazil. Number 19 in the world I think it is at the moment, Guilherme Marchi. His residence now in Ferris, Texas. Born in Brazil, Brazilian. Are they the best bull riders in the world by the way?
Guilherme Marchi: [laughs] I don’t know. I hope so.
Ross Greenwood: You hope so? I tell you what it’s amazing because this year career earnings five and a quarter million dollars as I say. You’re tall for a bull rider can I say. You’re six foot tall, you’re 198 kilos. You’re big for a bull rider aren’t you?
Guilherme Marchi: Yes sir, that’s true.
Ross Greenwood: The fact is do you have this advantages because of your size?
Guilherme Marchi: I need be on the diet a lot.
Ross Greenwood: Does that help to be slim to be a bull rider?
Guilherme Marchi: Yes sir, more lean I think you have more balance. Not much about power for big strong something like that just more balancing and be fast when you’re on the top of the bull.
Ross Greenwood: I think when you’re three meters in the air or four meters in the air and that bull’s suddenly twisting underneath you’ve also got to have a back that can go in 360-degree directions as well. I’ll tell you what, one of the great stars of the show there is no doubt is global chief executive Sean Gleason. He’s been the chief executive since 2015, and before then was the chief operating officer but he’s got not a bad backstory here as well because Sean you see before then basically was a part of six Grammy award-winning video and recording projects. He then worked for Sierra Sports and he was involved in Nascar sponsorships all sorts of things including professional bull riding. He then came to PBR because he actually saw the scope of it, he is with us right now. Sean, welcome thank you so much.
Interview with Sean Gleason, CEO, Guilherme Marchi
Sean Gleason: Thanks for having me.
Ross Greenwood: You’re the star of the show. You’re the man who pulls all this together.
Sean Gleason: I am not the star. These guys are the stars. Let’s be clear about that. Behind the scenes, I’m pulling the strings to try and make as much money for these guys as we possibly can.
Ross Greenwood: There’s money in it isn’t there Because let’s be honest you got CBS Sports, you got CBS in the States that are covering this sport. It comes out here in Fox Sports we see it on television in Australia. This has now become a big business.
Sean Gleason: We’re actually celebrating our 25th anniversary season this year. We paid out over $160 million to bull riders since the inception of the organization and that’s something that we’re really proud of. Here in Australia I came over actually in 2006 and opened our offices here. We started in 2007 with five events and about $30,000 in prize money now we’re up to 20 plus events and over $1 million here in Australia.
Ross Greenwood: It’s a big sport. The thing that I started to think about is it’s not just the riders, it’s not just the stadiums, it’s not just the television, it’s a whole bunch of things because you’ve got to have people on farms actually breeding the bulls that really have the skills that make the spectacle and for show.
Sean Gleason: Absolutely, the bulls are half of the scoring the bull ride is awarded to the bull. There’s two great athletes in every ride. There’s these guys that ride them and the bulls that try to buck them off. It’s a great sport, it’s raw animal against man. We’re pretty excited about the feature. I have a lot of great bulls a lot of great riders coming up.
Ross Greenwood: Okay, so Matt can you go back and take me the first bull that you ride how old were you do you reckon?
Matt Triplett: The first bull I think I was 12 when I got on it. It was equivalent to saying you’re strapping yourself to a dragon and you just don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s a powerhouse, adrenaline rush that really words can’t describe it.
Ross Greenwood: Just explain. Is your background on a farm? Is that the way you grow up to become a bull rider?
Matt Triplett: Yes sir. My dad he’d train colts and horses all of his life so I had to do that. He put me on my first colt when I was eight and I didn’t want none to do with horses and I said, “Dad, let me get on them bulls so I can just do something a little more crazy.”
Ross Greenwood: It’s an amazing thing but it’s one of those things like so many other sporting heroes that we hear about that you feel as though you’re just one injury away from the end of your career because there are serious injuries that occur. It’s a dangerous sport there’s no doubt, you’re conscious of that at every time. In terms of how do you justify that in your own mind, Matt?
Matt Triplett: That’s just something that we deal with each and every time because the time you nod your head could be the last time. That’s why we love it because it’s such an adrenaline packed sport that it could take our life the next time we nod our head. That’s something we really don’t think about but it’s something that can cross our mind but we just go at it because we love the sport so much and we dedicate our whole life to it.
Ross Greenwood: Guilherme, they say that you’re a bit of a trailblazing legend of the sport. 15 series you’ve gone through 15 years. This has been a career for you. There are injuries that come with it there’s no doubt.
Guilherme Marchi: Yes sir. I got blessed career since when I come to Brazil move to United States. That’s the dream for all the cowboys to be on the top on this sport. To have the gold buckle and I’m so blessed. I came the first guy to ride 500 bulls and the first guy to ride 600 bulls. That’s going to be my 15th finals this year. I’m 35 years old and still fight with the young guys.
Ross Greenwood: What does a 35-year-old bull rider do when he stops riding bulls? What do you do then?
Guilherme Marchi: I don’t know. I going to miss for sure the bull riding when I stop but I still enjoy, I still love. You find fire when you want to keep going.
Ross Greenwood: You got to have the fire in the belly. You’ve got to have that desire to keep on doing this and to try and be your very best. Sean, in terms of the sport, here in Australia as I say for a lot of people it might be a relatively new sport but it’s been around for a long time. I can remember as a kid growing up in the country we would go to the local rodeo and basically see the bull riders there or the horse riders there. It’s not as though this is foreign territory for Australians, is it?
Sean Gleason: No, there’s been a great cowboy culture here in Australia just like there is in the US, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico where we currently operate. If you think about it it’s the first extreme sport. The first crazy guy that said, “Let me see if I can stay on that bull,” really started the extreme sports genre. Today we contemporize it. We bring it to major markets. We wrap it in a great entertaining wrapper and it’s the fastest growing sport in the world.
Ross Greenwood: Go back and tell me about those six Grammy award-winning video and recording projects that you started out with and how did that work into your entry into professional bull riding?
Sean Gleason: I spent the first 10 years in the music and video business of my career and that translated then to computer games where I ran the Sierra Sports Division. We made traditional sports games Nascar Racing, American Football, baseball, basketball and I made a bull riding computer game and met the guys that had started the PBR. When the first time I saw it I just said, “That’s the best entertainment product I’m going to ever have an opportunity to work with,” and so I joined up 19, 20 years ago and it’s been a great ride ever since.
Ross Greenwood: It’s an astonishing thing. For anybody who gets a half a chance head to Cudo Stadium this Saturday night or this Sunday night and you’ll see some of the finest entertainment. I can guarantee that secretly the Money News team has got a desire to watch the whole time. Matt, just give people the little bit of a feel here when you’re in the chute, when you’re actually getting yourself basically settled over the top of that bull. When you get your hand strapped in to basically hang on for dear life. Just explain the feeling that’s going through you. Does it ever get nothing but exciting, nothing but adrenaline fulfilling?
Matt Triplett: That’s all it is. You’re strapping yourself to a 2,000-pound animal that you really don’t know what it’s going to do. It could go left it could go right but it’s going to be one heck of a ride. It’s such an adrenaline rush and so fun. The fans if you’re paying for the whole seat you’re going to be sitting in half of it the whole entire time. We can get thrown up in the air, we can get run over. These animal athletes they’re remarkable and it’s super fun to come watch. You’re going to see pyro, fireworks, loud music. It’s like going to a rock concert, tremendously fun.
Ross Greenwood: Okay. Tell me the feeling when you suddenly hear the final siren go off to tell you that you have made your eight seconds, you’ve got through your ride, what does that feeling feel like as you’re trying to get of the bull?
Matt Triplett: There’s no better feeling in the world when you’ve accomplish something that you’ve worked so hard throughout the weekend to do and it’s just amazing, words really can’t describe how good it feels to make the eight seconds and make a 90 point ride or just let alone just make eight seconds. It’s awesome.
Ross Greenwood: Well, there you go, it is a great story. Well, since April 28 I think that Matt’s ridden some 18 different bulls and as you’ve heard here, you’ve heard that Guilherme has actually ridden more than 600 bulls during his career, which is really the first accomplishment of that type. So to Guilherme Marchi, to Matt Triplett, and also to the boss, Sean Gleason, we trust you have a great time here in Australia. We know you’re back into North-America very quickly, but in the meantime, have a great weekend.
Sean Gleason: Thank you. Thanks for having us.
Guilherme Marchi: I appreciate you have us.
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