GUEST BLOG: OCTOBER 1, 2016 - The Blaze by Mike Opelka
When the national anthem plays at Professional Bull Riders events in America, you won’t see any of its members sitting, kneeling or otherwise protesting “The Star Spangled Banner.”
In fact, all 35 members of the Professional Bull Riders have signed a pledge to honor America as the anthem is played.
The pledge was initiated by Shorty Gorham, one of the PBR’s bull fighters, which is a person who jumps into the arena to distract a rampaging bull when a rider dismounts or is bounced from the back of one of the 2000 pound animals.
After Gotham proposed the pledge to the PBR riders, the reaction was swift and unanimous. PBR’s CEO Sean Gleason posted this news on the sport’s Facebook page, announcing all 35 members of the PBR — from six different countries — “unanimously, willingly and passionately made this choice.”
Here’s the pledge Shorty asked the riders to sign:
WE STAND UNITED
We are professional bull riders and bull fighters representing six countries competing on PBR’s largest stage.
We respect the right of all citizens to engage in peaceful protest. It is a fundamental freedom that makes America one of the greatest countries in the world.
For us the choice is clear, WE choose to stand united and without protest during the national anthem of the country in which we are competing.
We stand to honor all men and women whose sacrifice and commitment ensures these freedoms, helps unite the nation, and propels America forward.
Gleason spoke with TheBlaze Radio about the riders’ pledge and a recent incident at the Charlotte Invitational where the local arena operator wanted to disarm the U.S. Border Patrol agents presenting the colors for the anthem.