FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – For the first time in 16 years, the Professional Bull Riders’ “Unleash the Beast,” event is happening this weekend at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth.

Staff poured over 750 tons of dirt inside on Friday. It won’t be a full venue, Professional Bull Rider’s CEO Sean Gleason says only about 3,700 of the 14,000 seats are filled. But he’s just excited that fans will get to experience it at all.

“It definitely takes a toll on the business when you can’t sell out arenas like we are accustomed to… but we would rather be working for 3,700 fans than no fans at all,” Gleason said. “Any event we get to hold in these challenging times is one of the best events we have ever had, even if we have to limit the number of fans who get to enjoy it.”

This is their fifth competition with fans since the start of the pandemic with an audience. He says by now, they’ve got the safety protocols down. They are seating families in pods and marking off sections of chairs. Face masks are required and they are not allowing cash transactions.

“We have developed industry protocols, not only for the safety of our athletes, and the other staff here making this event happen, but the safety of our fans,” Gleason said.

The competition will be filled with 35 of the top bull riders in the world, squaring off to hit the 8 second buzzer.

Professional Bull Rider Cody Nance will be competing here tomorrow and said quiet arenas have a different feel.

“It was different, it was kind of like a big practice pen…and all our buddies were just hanging out riding bulls,” Nance said.

That’s why he says he couldn’t be more excited to get in front of Fort Worth this weekend.

“It’s a lot more action when we have got the fans involved, and we love that- and we are happy to have everybody come back in, that’s what makes it great.”

Nicole Nielsen