Response from PBR Board Member to Petition to Reinstate Justin McKee

Well, folks, true to PBR style, only one person so far has acknowledged receiving our petition: Rick Patterson, Co-founder of Spire Capital. Don’t get excited; it’s a blowoff. Here it is:

Dear Ms. DiLorenzo,

I received your package this morning. We too value Justin McKee and what he brings to our fans. In case you did not see it the is the release that was posted to the PBR site about Justin.
Leah has not disappeared from the Versus telecasts. She is splitting the season with Erin, a schedule which pleases her I should add.

Thanks you for sharing your passion.

Rick P

Here’s their cagey press release:

PUEBLO, Colo. (February 4, 2011) – The Professional Bull Riders is excited to announce that Justin McKee and PBR Now on RFD-TV will both return to the airwaves on Thursday, Feb. 10th for a special edition of the highly popular program. McKee and PBR have also finalized an agreement to include McKee as a media and live event personality in future projects.

“I’ve enjoyed being able to spend quality time with my family and on the ranch, but it is time to get back to work” said McKee. “I am very happy to join PBR Now and continue to be a contributing member of the PBR family as the sport grows.”

“It’s been different watching PBR from the other side of the television set, but I think the new broadcast and competition format are great,” he added. “I appreciate the fans who have reached out to let me know I am missed, but I’m excited about some of the new projects we’ll be doing and what the next chapter holds for the sport and our great fans.”

McKee’s first assignment will be hosting a special 90 minute show on RFD-TV on Thursday, Feb. 10, 9:30 p.m. ET previewing the Dickies® Iron Cowboy Invitational presented by WinStar World Casino. He will be joined by popular PBR Now hosts J.W. Hart and Justin McBride, who also work as color commentators on PBR BFTS television broadcasts.

McKee will then join Brandon Bates and Clint Adkins in arena for the special event at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Feb. 19. Tickets for the 2011 Dickies Iron Cowboy Invitational are still available, starting at just $20, by going to or by calling (800) 745-3000.

McKee will work with the PBR in select television, digital media, and live events throughout the 2011 season. His complete schedule will be announced at a later date.

PBR Now is produced and broadcast by RFD-TV in cooperation with the PBR. PBR and RFD-TV continue to work on scheduling and logistics issues in an effort to bring the popular show back as a weekly offering on the network. In the interim, additional specials are being discussed and will be announced at a later date.

“We appreciate our fans interest in PBR Now,” said PBR President and COO Sean Gleason. “The relationship between the PBR and RFD-TV remains strong, and we’re working together to keep PBR Now available as a regular offering on RFD-TV.”

“RFD-TV is thrilled to have the opportunity to bring PBR fans this special edition of PBR Now on RFD-TV previewing the Dickies Iron Cowboy Invitational,” says Kelly Kantz, General Manager and Vice President of RFD-TV. “We hope our viewers will show their support for this programming by tuning in and we look forward to finding a way to continue airing PBR Now for the sport’s loyal fans.”

Now here’s the between-the-lines meaning, from yours truly, a journalist and former publicist:

That press release translates to, We’re keeping Justin as invisible to the TV audience as possible. It also sounds like he doesn’t have a contract. It’s clear that the PBR does not value him.

This announcement means virtually zilch in terms of reinstating McKee, for several reasons:

1. RFD-TV has a very limited reach, and most people tune into Versus to watch the PBR. The “R” in RFD stands for rural, as in, “Rural America’s Most Important Network.” Versus reaches nearly twice as many homes as RFD-TV, and is carried by most cable systems.

2. In-arena announcers rarely get on-camera time, and their job isn’t equivalent to “color commentators.” And if McKee isn’t colorful, I don’t know who is.

3. Justin’s quotes are formulaic corporate-speak that people are required to use when they don’t want to make waves. Nobody talks like that.

Leah has disappeared, as far as we can see. If Leah wants a different schedule, let her choose the events she wants to cover. Why should she “split the season with Erin,” who has no experience, no knowledge of the sport, and is a terrible interviewer? Garcia’s a pro, Coscarelli is embarrassing, and thousands of other people could do her job better. I’m very surprised that the PBR is settling for looking amateurish. I thought the goal was to go mainstream.

The PBR never explained its moves and never responded to fans. This announcement isn’t a response to viewers, it’s a flimsy attempt at diverting the pressure. No, thanks. We’ll keep pressuring. Fair warning: two people posting to my blog recently suggested contacting the PBR sponsors about the situation.

I’ll respond to Patterson, and for those who would like to contact the PBR execs and Board directly, here’s their contact information:

Jeffrey Pollack, Executive Chairman
Sean Gleason, President and Chief Operating Officer
M. Dockery Clark, Chief Marketing Officer
Rodd Granger
Kevin Camper, Chief Partnership & Sales Officer
Jay Daugherty, Senior VP of Competition
All of the above are at:
103 W Riverwalk
Pueblo, CO 81003

Board members:

Andrew J. Armstrong, Jr.
David K Schaible (email:
Richard H Patterson (
All three are at:
Spire Capital Partners, LLC
1500 Broadway
New York, New York 10036

Thomas L Teague
Teague Bucking Bulls
Turkey Crossing Farms
P. O. Box 24788
Winston-Salem, NC 27114-4788

PLEASE KEEP THE PETITION CIRCULATING — I’ll send off the second batch of signatures soon.

About Bull Riding Marketing

Creative services, marketing and public relations professional from entertainment industry background. Published in magazines and newspapers worldwide. I believe bull riders are the new rock stars.
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19 Responses to Response from PBR Board Member to Petition to Reinstate Justin McKee

  1. Janet Rogers says:

    Justin McKee MADE bull riding fun to watch. Sorry to say his replacement by Ty Murray is just too boring to listen to. Bring back Justin and the fun!


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  4. David Hamilton says:

    Well the new format stinks. And it looks to me like it is a fix. Or has American cowboys forgot how to ride bulls. Also Justin and Michael did the show up right.


  5. S. says:

    The positive:

    1) You got an individualized reply.
    2) …

    I’m glad McKee is back in any capacity, but what people wanted was him back in the commentator booth and it doesn’t seem like this is happening.

    I did see on the PBR comments section a bit ago that someone had contacted Cooper Tires and gotten a response from them that indicated that they weren’t especially pleased with the format in NY and were working to try to change things. Honestly, I don’t want the advertisers to decide that the PBR is too much hassle, but the PBR doesn’t seem to be responding terribly well to what I can only imagine is a large fan response.


  6. Well, that hits home with me because I am a total Ford man, but I will forswear a new pickup for the cause, for sure.

    Yes, a hat like Kate Middleton wore to Ascot. I am pretty sure that girl has a sense of humor–you couldn’t wear anything that stupid and still take yourself too seriously.


    • You realize, of course, that now I am obliged to hunt for photos of that hat all over the internet so I can have a laugh.


      • That’s odd– I thought there was a reply button with every comment by anyone. I still don’t totally get WordPress.
        About the public figure and honesty thing: I don’t think I can name one public figure who’s totally honest about him/herself. I mean, look what they found out about Saint Bill Cosby! I love rock & roll music, but if I examined the private lives of all the musicians who make the music I like, I’d never buy another CD again. Whether Ty Murray is straight or gay makes no difference to his credibility as a bull rider, and that’s about all he’s selling.


    • S. says:

      Maybe she just watched “My Fair Lady” many times. 😉


  7. Kris D says:

    Gosh darn, Ah fergot–Ah’m gon’ hafta git ridda mah Super Duty truck, too. Tarnation!

    If you order a pink gin, make sure you’re wearing the right hat in honor of the Queen Mum. With a big ol’ flower on it.


  8. Yeah, well, I’m devastated not to be able to drive around on my Yamaha ATV or to join the Air Force, but I’ll get over it. Pink gin is made with Plymouth gin and bitters and usually garnished with a lemon twist. I have a good friend from Britain who informed me it’s a “little old lady drink,” as in the late Queen Mum.

    That said, I’d probably try it too, once, just to be able to say I’d done it.


  9. Kris D says:

    Thanks, SQ. I’ll post her link with my next installment.

    I have no problem with those boycotts, since the only whisky I drink is single malt (go ahead and call me a snob, but those American things burn my throat). I always wanted to know what pink gin was. I know Bombay has a sapphire gin, but if saw pink gin, I’m sure I’d order it. And now you tell me it’s low-klass? Dang, gurl!

    But the REALLY tough thing is going to be not getting my ‘mo on when I have to give up my Big Boy lawn mower.


  10. Kris, I have enormous respect for your energy and persistence in staying on top of this issue. Honestly, do they think we’re going to be fooled by this hogwash? I really don’t think this is an issue of corporate America wrecking something good, though. I think the PBR needs someone at the helm with a strong sense of what needs to be done to take the sport into the mainstream, and Jeffrey Pollack is not turning out to be that guy. I’m going to link to your blog so maybe a few more folks will come over here and see the kind of mealy-mouthed crap the PBR marketing machine is dishing out.


    • Kris D says:

      Wal, shucks, thank yew, Ma’am… since apparently Patterson thinks I’m an ignorant hick who doesn’t recognize flim-flam when I see it.

      I don’t know how hands-on Spire Capital is, but if Pollack is indeed calling all the shots, his aim leaves a lot to be desired. In the music bizz, we called this technique “Throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks.”

      I’ve asked Cindy to post the sponsor info here when she gets it. I’ll also Tweet it, and if you would be so kind as to post it on your blog, this will be a many-pronged attack. I’m also putting out the word on sites the contractors use.

      Can you post the correct link to Pearl’s article here? I can’t figure out what’s the right address, I’m embarrassed to say.


  11. Cindy Glaser says:

    I am in the process of contacting all the people on your list. I will watch my tape of last week and make a list of all the sponsors and try to contact them also.
    We belong to two fairly large horse groups and have sent out an e-mail to those members to do the same. Rick Patterson’s response really ticked me off! It was condesending, making it sound like the fans are dispensable fleas! I’ve met several of the original founders of the PBR and they valued their fans and would have never treated us like this!


    • Kris D says:

      Cindy, you are a star! Please post that sponsor info here, and I’ll Tweet it and post it to the Turn Him Out! web site as well as a couple of others.

      I agree, that response was condescending. He probably thought I was some ignorant hick. Boy, is he going to be surprised!


  12. Cindy Glaser says:

    This is SO typical of a large company buying out a successful, fan supported business and RUINING IT! How many times have we seen it happen? We MUST contact the PBR, the advertisers and the founders of the PBR to let them know how displeased their longtime fans are with all the poor decisions that have been made. It’s not just the void that Justin has left, the excruciating “interviews” that Erin attempts, but the overall amateurish, annoying, programming changes that have been made. We used to look forward to watching PBR most weekends with our friends and would discuss it through the week, but now, we mute the TV so we can enjoy watching. We are NOT buying tickets this year to Columbus until this gets straightened out. If they don’t listen to the ones that brought them to the “dance” then we will quit dancing and move on. Don’t take us lightly Mr. Patterson. Who do you think kept Ty on Dancing all those weeks??? It was his Army and his Army is NOT happy!


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