By Makenzie Plusnick —
The Professional Bull Riders’ (PBR) Global Cup was this past weekend. Teams from different countries tried to stay on bulls for eight seconds to bring the Global Cup home to their country. Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and two teams from the United States (the Eagles and the Wolves, which were comprised of bull riders from different Native American tribes).
Before the teams began battling it out, the U.S. flag was posted, and the national anthem was sung. The flag was escorted by the U.S. Border Patrol Honor Guard. The U.S. Border Patrol was a sponsor for the event, and their logo was all over the place. The bull fighter’s shirts read “Protected by U.S. Border Patrol” on both the front and back.
This seems in poor taste for this specific event, an event where teams from different countries are competing. In this current political environment, when President Donald Trump is calling for a wall to be built to keep immigrants out, having a controversial sponsor seems tacky. It almost seems disrespectful to the other teams, especially Mexico’s team.
Of course, the PBR definitely knew what they were doing when they accepted this sponsorship. They know their audience, those attending the events, would primarily be from the area, which is primarily republican. It was a strategic move, but I believe that it was a harsh statement to the non-U.S. teams.
Award winning rodeo clown, Flint Rasmussen, entertained the crowd at the event. He was charming, funny and at one point, insensitive. During a long bit about the dance move flossing, he told a boy who appeared to be Hispanic that if he continued to do that dance, he should leave the country.
Though I do not believe this was meant as a racial comment, along with the Border Patrol presence, it put a sour taste in my mouth about the event.
I believe that someone within the PBR should have thought better than having the Border Patrol at an event like this. This should have been a fun competition that brought athletes from different countries together, and having something like the Border Patrol there seems counterintuitive to the cause.