Updated June 26, 2020 - 6:51 pm
Three bull riders competing at the Monster Energy Team Challenge Professional Bull Riders series at South Point Arena have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and have been sent home.
The identities of the riders, who were not exhibiting symptoms, were not disclosed after they tested positive before last weekend’s events. The PBR said four additional riders also were sent home after being exposed to those who tested positive.
The seven have entered isolation per the PBR’s coronavirus protocols.
The positive results were the first for the PBR in five weekends of events — three at South Point — that were closed to spectators. The team challenge at South Point concludes this weekend with three nationally televised rounds on CBS and the CBS Sports Network.
“All the protocols we’re doing are the same protocols UFC is doing,” South Point Arena director Steve Stallworth said about the Las Vegas-based mixed martial arts organization that was first to return after the pandemic virtually shut down live sports in March.
The bull riders have no access to South Point patrons, Stallworth said.
“When they leave the arena, they are only allowed to go to their hotel rooms. That’s it. They can’t go to a restaurant, they can’t go gamble, anything.”
Stallworth said those in the casino also are isolated from the bull riders.
“If you are out in the casino, you can’t even come up here,” he said of the second-floor equestrian and special events arena.
The PBR said no additional riders have tested positive ahead of this weekend’s events.
Under the team format, 48 cowboys are divided into 12 teams and two divisions, with the top teams advancing to the finals in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, July 10 to 12.
The finals are scheduled to take place before a live crowd.