Pueblo, CO – July 2010… Dirt, dust and moisture can easily spell the kiss of death for electronic equipment. Toss in what many would simply refer to as physical abuse of the product, complicate matters further by requiring the gear to perform over an extended range, and you begin to grasp the challenges of obtaining top quality, consistent audio performance from one’s wireless microphone system. Such was the case for the Professional Bull Riders, Inc. (PBR)—until they experienced the robust performance of wireless technology from Rio Rancho, NM-based Lectrosonics.
Headquartered in Colorado, the Professional Bull Riders, Inc. was created in 1992 when a group of 20 visionary bull riders broke away from the traditional rodeo scene seeking mainstream attention for the sport of professional bull riding. Today, the PBR attracts over 1.5 million live event attendees each year with its multi-tiered event structure. To ensure top-notch audio performance during their events, the PBR recently switched to Digital Hybrid Wireless® technology from Lectrosonics and, as Clayton Cullen, the PBR’s Senior Vice President of Production describes, they’ve experienced a night and day transformation.
“Flint Rasmussen is our entertainer,” explains Cullen. “The modern day equivalent of the rodeo’s old ‘barrel man’, or clown, Flint is tasked with filling in any lulls in the action and keeping the audience engaged. During our shows, he runs, dances, rolls in the dirt, jumps across the ‘shark cage’ and runs up to the top of the arena among the crowds. He’s routinely out there with a bull, so things can get pretty crazy. Not only is he communicating with the audience, he’s also communicating with our staff so that he can be advised when to extend or cut his routine short, such as for a commercial break. For this, he wears both a wireless microphone transmitter and an IFB (Interruptible Feedback) system.
Since February, Rasmussen has been outfitted with a Lectrosonics REFUM Digital Hybrid Wireless® Referee Transmitter System mated to a Countryman ISOMAX headset microphone. Further, the PBR purchased two Lectrosonics HM Digital Hybrid Wireless UHF Plug-on transmitters that are used in a multi-purpose capacity for the anthem vocalist, various entertainers, and others. A Lectrosonics Venue Series receiver system—stocked with three VRT receiver modules and expandable to six channels—rounds out the wireless microphone system. To facilitate communication with the PBR’s staff, Rasmussen also dons a Lectrosonics T4 Frequency-Agile Compact IFB Transmitter that communicates with an R1a Synthesized UHF Belt-Pack IFB Receiver.
“Prior to deploying the Lectrosonics wireless microphones,” explained Cullen, “we had no end of problems. We routinely experienced serious audio dropouts because Flint would overtax the range capability of the system as he ran from one end of the arena to the other. This level of performance just didn’t make for a very professional presentation. Since we started using the Lectrosonics equipment, the dropout issue has literally disappeared.”
“We’ve also been extremely impressed with the rugged build quality of the Lectrosonics equipment,” Cullen added. “Flint has the transmitter strapped to the upper portion of his torso just beneath his arm level. Since bulls are on the field, he frequently jumps up onto the fence to avoid them. Not only is this a very dirty, dusty environment—there’s also moisture from perspiration while he performs. The transmitter takes a beating.”
When queried about the need for Lectrosonics’ customer/technical support services, Cullen offered a rather surprising response. “The Lectrosonics gear is so well made and easy to operate, we literally haven’t needed any kind of tech support,” he said. “Our only encounter with customer service was during the time when we selected our equipment. We explained our situation and the Lectrosonics staff made the equipment recommendations for us. They were extremely helpful.”
Before turning his attention back to the business of the day, Cullen offered the following thought. “Lectrosonics’ wireless technology is awesome—absolutely tremendous,” he notes.” Sound quality is as if we’re using cabled microphones and the system’s performance has never been better. I’m in love with this equipment and can’t wait to buy more! Whenever we need anything wireless from this point forward, it will be Lectrosonics.”
To learn more about the Professional Bull Riders, Inc., visit them online at www.pbrnow.com.
Well respected within the film, broadcast, and theater technical communities since 1971, Lectrosonics wireless microphone systems and audio processing products are used daily in mission-critical applications by audio engineers familiar with the company's dedication to quality, customer service, and innovation. Lectrosonics is a US manufacturer based in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Visit the company online at www.lectrosonics.com.