Arizona Ridge Riders sign Eli Vastbinder for 2024 season

The 2021 Rookie of the Year spent last season with the PBR Teams Champion Texas Rattlers.

Mandi McCary | PBR

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Western sports media and entertainment company Teton Ridge, owner of Arizona’s professional bull riding team, the Arizona Ridge Riders, announced today that the team has signed PBR (Professional Bull Riders) veteran Eli Vastbinder (Statesville, North Carolina).

“Adding Eli to our roster was part of a strategic move for the team,” commented Ridge Riders Coach Colby Yates. “With Colten Fritzlan out due to injury, we needed to get the closest match to his riding style and mindset as we could. We needed a guy who just does things correctly, and that is Eli. He has a diverse set of skills that are all highlighted by the fact that he keeps things simple – which is what I am looking for as a coach. He’s talented but humble, tougher than nails, and has a winning mindset with a positive attitude, which will mesh well with our current locker room.”

The PBR Teams league launched in 2022, featuring the world’s top bull riders competing on eight teams in five-on-five bull riding games. Following expansion to 10 teams, the 2024 season begins in Oklahoma City on July 12, culminating in a team championship Oct. 18-20 in Las Vegas.

Having narrowly lost the inaugural season championship in the final game in November 2022 and repeating the same down-to-the-wire loss in 2023, the Ridge Riders are invested now more than ever in strengthening and training their team for the upcoming 2024 season.

As the only rookie to ever record four 90-point rides at the PBR World Finals in PBR’s separate individual competition, Vastbinder was crowned the 2021 PBR Rookie of the Year and hit the gas on his career. The tough-as-nails veteran became well-known to fans worldwide after starring in the acclaimed Amazon Prime docuseries “The Ride,” showcasing the balance between his life at home with his growing family and on the road as one of the top bull riders in the world.

The 33-year-old North Carolina cowboy began the 2022 inaugural PBR Teams season as the captain of the Oklahoma Freedom and went 4-for-5 at the Las Vegas Championship. Traded to the Texas Rattlers in year two, he again showcased his determination and grit, going an impressive 3-for-4 at the Teams Championship.

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“Eli has a toughness and drive to never let his team down,” remarked Ridge Riders General Manager Casey Lane. “We are one of only two teams that have made it to the final day of the PBR Teams Championship in each of the first two seasons, and adding a guy like Eli who excels in those hotseat moments is key for us.”

In addition to Vastbinder, the 2024 athlete lineup is a collection of the world’s top competitors, including powerhouse riders Luciano De Castro (Guzolandia, Brazil), Eduardo Aparecido (Gouvelandia, Brazil), Keyshawn Whitehorse (McCracken Spring, Utah), Dener Barbosa (Paulo de Faria, Brazil), Nick Tetz (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) and Chase Dougherty (Decatur, Texas). Coach Yates (five-time World Finals qualifier) continues to lead the all-star squad.

The Ridge Riders represent one of several elevated Western sports properties that Teton Ridge has assembled under its portfolio with the ultimate goal of elevating the Western lifestyle and culture to a global stage. From acquiring and producing The American Rodeo and The American Contender Tournament, which awarded more than $4.6 million in cash and prizes in 2024, to assembling a team of the most accomplished and elite champions in the industry, Teton Ridge is committed to strengthening, enriching, and furthering Western sports for future competitors.

Tickets for the action-packed, three-day Ridge Rider Days homestand event in Glendale, Oct. 4-6, can be purchased at Ticketmaster. To follow the Ridge Riders’ journey throughout the 2024 season and beyond, please visit them online or follow @arizonaridgeriders on Facebook and Instagram or @AZRidgeRiders on Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Josh Homer/Bull Stock Media

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