Arena News

PBR Velocity Tour Returns to Knoxville

Knoxville, TN (April 28, 2021) – For the fourth consecutive year, the PBR’s (Professional Bull Riders) Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour (PWVT) will buck into Knoxville, Tennessee, and Thompson-Boling Arena, welcoming fans for the two-day PBR Knoxville Invitational. 
For two nights only, some of the best bull riders in the world will battle the sport’s rankest bovine athletes in the ultimate showdown of man vs. beast in one of the most exciting live sporting events to witness. 

In cooperation with local government and the University of Tennessee, and through the activation of the PBR’s “Be Cowboy Safe” guidelines, both Thompson-Boling Arena and PBR have instituted a series of protocols to enhance the safety of guests, including: 
- All fans as well as staff and competitors will be required to wear face masks inside Thompson-Boling Arena. 
- All PBR personnel will undergo Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-informed screening and medical testing for COVID-19. 
- PBR will sell limited arena capacity to fans in a POD seating format, to physically distance groups of fans and minimize fan crossover when entering and exiting their seats. 
- Focus on mobile-only ticketing and minimal person-to-person contact where possible.  
- Signage and physical distancing measures have been placed strategically throughout Thompson-Boling Arena to encourage physical distancing and health safety protocols.
- Increased sanitization of high-contact areas including doors, railings, concession counters, merchandise stands, bathrooms and elevators. 
- Hand sanitizer stations have been placed throughout the venue at high volume areas to promote hand hygiene. 

The PBR Knoxville Invitational will mark the first touring event held at Thompson-Boling Arena since the onset of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. 

PBR’s Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour last travelled to Knoxville in 2020 when surging Brazilian Joao Henrique Lucas (Bastos, Brazil) captured his career-first victory on the league’s expansion series. 

The win was pivotal in Lucas’ rise to prominence on bull riding’s world stage. He earned a berth to the elite Unleash The Beast and has been a consistent competitor on the premier series since. Lucas concluded the 2020 season with his career-first qualification to the World Finals en route to finishing the year ranked No. 33 in the world. 

Other past PBR Knoxville Invitational event winners include: Dylan Smith (2019 – Ararat, Virginia); Ryan Miller (2018 – Waterloo, Indiana).

The Knoxville tour stop will tentatively mark the 11th PWVT event of the year, with PBR’s fastest-growing tour first stopping in cities including Greenville, South Carolina; Lexington, Kentucky; Pensacola, Florida and Grand Forks, North Dakota.
The bull riding action for the PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour’s Knoxville Invitational begins at 8:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, June 4 and 7:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, June 5 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
On Friday night, all 45 competing riders will attempt one bull each in Round 1. The Top 30 riders from Round 1 will then return for Round 2 on Sunday afternoon. Following Round 2, the Top 15 will then advance to the championship round where they will attempt one final bull, all in an effort to be crowned the event champion. 
Tickets for the event go on sale Friday, April 30 at 10:00 a.m. EDT, and start at $15. They can be purchased online at or, or by charge by phone at (865) 656-4444, or by calling PBR Customer Service at 1-800-732-1727.

For an enhanced PBR experience, fans can also purchase PBR Elite Experience Add On for $50, which will provide a behind-the-chutes look into the toughest sport on dirt.
The Elite Experience Add On includes a pre-event question and answer session with PBR stars, commemorative lanyard and photo opportunity on the shark cage. For more information, contact PBR Direct at 800-732-1727.

Throughout the 2021 season, PBR will continue to commit to providing a safe environment for fans, athletes, employees, and crew by working with its venue partners to implement health and safety protocols for live events while following health guidance from local and state officials.
About the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour:

The PBR’s Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour (PWVT) began in 2014 as the premier expansion tour for the PBR. The Velocity Tour, the sport’s fastest-growing tour, brings the excitement and top-levels of cowboy and bovine talent that fans have come to expect from the sport to cities across the United States. The PWVT is proudly supported by Pendleton Whisky, Lucas Oil, the United States Border Patrol, Boot Barn, Cooper Tires, USCCA, Union Home Mortgage, TicketSmarter, Kubota and the South Point Hotel and Casino. Every Velocity Tour event is carried by RidePass, the PBR’s flagship digital network.