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Prepping Dickies Arena for the PBR World Finals is a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it

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 away from the arena — totaling about 60 truckloads to lay the groundwork for the upcoming 2023 PBR World Finals.

“We’ve got 10 dump truck operators locally and we say, ‘Hey, you’re with me for the day.’ They loaded at seven, eight o’clock in the morning and they just sit out here waiting until they get the green light to come in and dump,” said Luke Kaufman, PBR’s director of live events. “And as soon as they dump their truck, they gotta go back to the yard and get another load.”

Dickies Arena will host the PBR World Finals from May 12-21 — an event that was previously hosted in Las Vegas, but then moved to AT&T Stadium in Arlington and now, for the second straight year, Dickies Arena. Other events will be held at Cowtown Coliseum in the Stockyards and Will Rogers Coliseum.

The preparation for the World Finals is longer than usual, though, Kaufman said. They get a little less than a week to prepare the arena with dirt, broadcast equipment and rodeo infrastructure. Usually, the operations team gets less than a day to prepare for rodeo events.

“Believe it or not, it’s the longest amount of time we have to set up for a show, which we need that because it’s our finals — we need to pay the most attention to detail,” Kaufman said. “We go to the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where the Lakers play, and the Lakers will have a game on Friday night, and we won’t even get access to the building until 2 a.m. and we’ll have to have a show the following night.”

Details matter when you put on a show as big as the PBR World Finals, Kaufman said, especially when it comes to the consistency of the dirt.

“It’s huge, man. It’s pivotal. You can see the red in it so there’s a lot of clay that’s to make it firm. If you brought a bunch of beach sand in here, those bulls, as big as they are and as strong as they are, they would go straight down to the concrete and then they would slip and fall which is not what you want,” Kaufman said.

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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