PBR Riders Take Part in Day of Service Ahead of USS Lexington Aircraft Carrier Event

by Jennifer Shea

The Professional Bull Riders (PBR) have been preparing for the second annual PBR Air Force Reserve Cowboys for a Cause event on the USS Lexington aircraft carrier. As part of their preparations, they recently took part in a day of service in Corpus Christi.

The PBR riders helped the USO branch on base move some bags of food out of the commissary to aid the USO’s pantry program, according to PBR.com. They also laid down some mulch for a new playground set in Parkview Park.

“All the guys are joining together to help today,” PBR rider Joao Ricardo Vieira told PBR.com. “I am so blessed, and it is good for us to give back. These [military] people are the real superheroes. The world needs more people like this.”

PBR Riders Find Day of Service ‘Humbling’

While some of the PBR riders already volunteer in their local communities, they said it felt good to give back to other communities that welcome them to town, including Corpus Christi.

“It is definitely humbling and grounding when you do stuff like this,” PBR rider Ezekiel Mitchell said. “A lot of times we get caught up in the fame and lifestyle. It is cool to slow down and help somebody else that needs it. I really enjoyed helping out today.”

To commemorate the PBR riders’ participation, Navy Lt. Mike Dominik presented them with specially made Velcro patches bearing an image of a cowboy riding an airplane. The inscription on the patch reads, “Airborne cowboy, addicted to danger.”

The riders reportedly broke out in grins at the gift, momentarily speechless. Then PBR rider Kaique Pacheco said he would keep it all his life.

“I like it,” he told PBR.com. “It is really nice… They showed us how they learn to fly airplanes. How they progress to more difficult planes and, how they protect the USA. It is very important.”

Cowboys for a Cause Kicks Off Its Second Year

The first Cowboys for a Cause event took place in November of 2020. The second annual event will feature eight teams of three PBR riders each, competing for multiple rounds on the 910-foot flight deck of the USS Lexington.

The military has converted the flight deck into a bull riding arena, carting in more than 750,000 pounds of steel and dirt and installing 15 miles of electrical cable to broadcast the event, Defense News reports.

The Lexington could at one point carry up to 110 aircraft. The ship was renamed from the USS Cabot in 1942 to honor the carrier that sank during the Battle of the Coral Sea that May (but not before inflicting serious losses on Emperor Hirohito in World War II). It was decommissioned in 1991 and sent to Corpus Christi to become a museum ship.  

Cowboys for a Cause will air on CBS this Sunday at noon ET.