Ten dump trucks waited on standby early May 9 to fill Dickies Arena with 750 tons of dirt.
Each truck moved five or six loads from a dirt yard a few miles from the arena, for a total of about 60 truckloads to lay the groundwork for the upcoming 2023 PBR World Finals.
“We have 10 dump truck operators locally and we say, ‘Hey, you’re with me for today.’ They’ve loaded at seven, eight in the morning and they’re just sitting here waiting until they get the green light to come in and unload,” said Luke Kaufman, director of live events at PBR. “And as soon as they unload the their truck, they have to go back to the yard and get another load.”
Dickies Arena will host the PBR World Finals May 12-21, an event previously hosted in Las Vegas but then moved to AT&T Stadium in Arlington and now, for the second consecutive year, Dickies Arena. Other events will be held at the Cowtown Coliseum in the Stockyards and the Will Rogers Coliseum.
But preparation for the World Finals is taking longer than usual, Kaufman said. They have just under a week to prepare the arena with dirt, broadcast equipment, and rodeo infrastructure. Typically, the operations team has less than a day to prepare for rodeo events.
“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. “We go to Staples Center in Los Angeles, where the Lakers play, and the Lakers are going to play a game on Friday night, and we don’t even get access to the building until 2 a.m. and have to do a show the following night.”
Details matter when you’re putting on a show as big as the PBR World Finals, Kaufman said, especially when it comes to the texture of the dirt.
“It’s huge, man. Is critical. You can see the red in it, so there’s a lot of clay to make it solid. If you brought a bunch of beach sand over here, 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,” Kaufman said.
Cristian ArguetaSoto is the Fort Worth Report’s community-focused reporter. Contact him by email or through Chirping. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial backers. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.