Preparing Dickies Arena for the PBR World Finals is a dirty job, but someone has to do it

Ten dump trucks were ready and waiting on standby early May 9 to begin filling Dickies Arena with 750 tons of dirt, each moving between five and six loads from a nearby dirt yard for a total of approximately 60 truckloads. The process was intended to lay the groundwork for the upcoming 2023 PBR World Finals. Luke Kaufman, director of live events at PBR, explained that ten dump truck operators from the area participated in the operation and had loaded the trucks at seven or eight in the morning before waiting for the green light to unload at the arena. As soon as the trucks discharged, the drivers returned to the yard to collect another load, repeating the process until their job was complete.

The PBR World Finals are set to take place at Dickies Arena from May 12-21, and the venue has been preparing rigorously for the event, which was previously hosted in Las Vegas before moving to AT&T Stadium in Arlington and finally settling for the second consecutive year at Dickies Arena. The event will be spread across multiple locations, including Cowtown Coliseum in the Stockyards and the Will Rogers Coliseum. However, as Kaufman explained, the preparation for this year’s World Finals is taking much longer than usual, as they have just under a week to ensure the arena is equipped with the necessary dirt, broadcast equipment, and rodeo infrastructure. Typically, driving teams have less than a single day to prepare for such events.

Kaufman stressed the importance of the finer details when it comes to putting on an event as significant as the PBR World Finals, emphasizing the significance of the dirt’s texture. “It’s huge, man. It’s critical. You can see the red in it, so there’s a lot of clay to make it solid…those bulls, as big as they are and as strong as they are, would go straight to the concrete and then slip and fall, which is not what you want,” he said.

Though Kaufman acknowledged that the PBR has already been faced with challenging situations in the past, such as limited access to the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where the Lakers play, the operations team is giving it their all for the World Finals. “Believe it or not, that’s the longest time we have to put on a show, which we need because it’s our final — we have to pay close attention to detail,” Kaufman said. The PBR World Finals are a significant event that draws crowds from far and wide, making this a momentous time for both Fort Worth and the larger rodeo community.

Cristian ArguetaSoto is a community-focused reporter for the Fort Worth Report. For more information, contact him via email or Twitter. The Fort Worth Report makes editorial decisions independently of its financial backers and board members, as part of its commitment to editorial independence. For more information about our editorial independence policy, follow this link.

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