Keith Ryan Cartwright graduated from MTSU in 2001 with a degree in Mass Communication with a focus on magazine journalism, and minored in film studies and political science. This past April, he was inducted into the department’s “Wall of Fame.”
Last weekend, some of the toughest athletes in the world made an annual stop in the Music City when Professional Bull Riders celebrated 20 years with the Jack Daniel’s Invitational inside Bridgestone Arena.
Recent MTSU Mass Communication Wall of Famer, Keith Ryan Cartwright was there to cover all of the action for the PBR.
“I travel to all of the Built Ford Tough Series events and several Touring Pro Division events and make other trips to visit riders and stock contractors at their homes and ranches for in-depth features and profiles,” Cartwright said. “I am the senior writer for PBR.com. Part of my job is covering the PBR beat and writing about the events, world standings, news and notes, but my favorite part would be getting to know the riders and contractors and writing long form profiles.”
He also helps out with the television and satellite radio broadcasts during each stop of the Built Ford Tough Series.
Cartwright graduated from MTSU in 2001 with a degree in Mass Communication with a focus on magazine journalism, and minored in film studies and political science. This past April, he was inducted into the department’s “Wall of Fame.”
Currently, he is in the middle of his sixth season with the PBR, and he is enjoying every minute of it, especially with the organization celebrating 20 years in 2013.
“Six years ago, I would have never dreamed of writing about professional bull riding,” he said. “Now I cannot imagine not writing about it. Everyday I wake up and either write about bull riding, conduct interviews, research or talk about it. The PBR is my life. These guys do not owe me anything, and yet from one week to the next they share their thoughts and insights as well as their personal trials and tribulations. I am afforded an incredible opportunity to observe their experiences and share them with others. Not many journalists are granted this kind of access. Then again, I do not think of myself as a journalist. I am a storyteller.”
In the past few years, I have followed professional bull riding on a regular basis, and these riders prove time and time again why they are some of the toughest athletes on the planet. It’s not a catchy promo to get fans to buy tickets. It’s the truth; because I have seen some of these riders come back from bad luck injuries during one event.
Most of them, unlike other athletes in the traditional sports, would come back the following week trying once again to hang on for those precious eight seconds on the nastiest bulls in the world. By the way, I learned that the PBR is not a rodeo, and it has proved that point for the past 20 years.
A couple of years ago, I had the chance to cover a PBR event in Nashville for this publication. I earned a whole new respect for them watching them up close and personal. By the way, I had a chance to interview a couple of them after the event, including my favorite and one of the best of all-time Chris Shivers. They were some of the nicest athletes I had ever dealt with while here at The Post.
Cartwright is one of the luckiest men in this profession by getting a chance to cover one of the fastest growing sports in the world, and he told some pretty unbelievable stories, including one about a rider from Brazil, which has produced several world champions during the past few seasons of the PBR.
“When I get to share the story of someone like Robson Palermo, who grew up in a village along the edge of the Amazon Rainforest and is now a multi-millionaire living on a ranch in Texas, and you see the reaction to that story and interest in the sport that comes from reading or hearing a story like that, well, that’s why I do what I do.”
By the way, Cartwright wrote the recap from last weekend’s event in Nashville, which focused on another former world champion from Brazil, Guilherme Marchi winning the two-day, three-round event. Marchi covered all three bulls during the weekend and rode After Party for a score of 89.5 in the final round of action.
Two-time Built Ford Tough Series champion and fellow Brazilian Silvano Alves was second in Nashville, and he currently leads the overall point’s standings as the PBR heads to Oklahoma for this weekend’s event.
Of course, if you want to read more about it check out Cartwright’s work on PBR.com.