The action normally starts to slow down at the Mobile Civic Center once Carnival season comes to an end. That will not be the case next month.
The Professional Bull Riders tour, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, is pulling into the Port City for one night on April 5. The Mobile PBR Challenge will begin at 7:30 p.m. that Saturday at the downtown facility.
Making an appearance will be Chris Shivers, the two-time PBR world champion bull rider who became the first to earn more than $3,000,000 in prize money. Organizers say the Mobile event will showcase some of the rising stars of the PBR, in addition to other fan favorites and veterans.
The Professional Bull Riders tour offers competitors the chance to enter sanctioned events. They earn money along the way, and attempt to quality for the Build Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas, where the overall champion takes home $1,000,000.
Tickets for the Mobile PBR Challenge are $15 to $38. A VIP pass for $65 grants access to a question-and-answer event with Shivers and other bull riders, bull fighters, barrel men and contractors, plus a tour of the back pens. The VIP tour starts at 5:30 p.m. prior to the event.
Roll, Tide, Roll for a cause
If having the University of Alabama’s Million Dollar Band in Mobile for Mardi Gras was not enough to carry you through the off-season, a visit from “Saint Nick” is on the horizon.
For the seventh straight year, the Mobile-based Team Focus group will host “A Night with Nick Saban” on Tuesday, April 8. Mike Gottfried, a former head coach, television analyst and the 2010 Mobilian of the Year, is the founder of Team Focus and will introduce the Crimson Tide head coach.
“We are so thankful for Coach Saban’s continued support of Team Focus and the lives of the young men the organization represents,” said Gottfried, who founded the group in 2000, with his wife, Mickey. “It is an honor to introduce him each year at this event.”
The evening will include silent and live auctions. On the list are national championship tickets, Southeastern Conference championship tickets and Sugar Bowl tickets, along with numerous signed sports memorabilia.
Team Focus states it is a non-profit group “rooted in utilizing leadership skills, Christian values, guidance and continual relationships to reach young men ages 10-18 that lack a father figure in their lives.” Team Focus has locations in Alabama and Texas, and has impacted the lives of more than 3,000 young men.
This serves as the group’s only fundraiser. It will take place at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center. The silent auction is at 5:30 p.m.; the live auction is set for 6:15 p.m., while the dinner is served at 7 p.m.
Sponsorships are available, starting at $5,000. Individual tickets are $75. For more information, call 251-635-1515 or visit www.teamfocususa.org.
Get ready to rumble on the river
Once the Alabama fans leave the building, the Mobile Convention Center will turn around and make the facility ready to host a night of mixed martial arts. The “Battle on Mobile Bay” is set for Saturday, April 12.
The event, hosted by Atlas Fights along with the Mobile Sports Authority and the Mobile Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau, is being promoted as the first live MMA cage fighting matches in the local area in more than five years.
“We have been working on this event since August of 2013, and now to see it finally come together we are ready to get to work in promoting this event,” said Glenn Mattina, owner and president of Atlas Fights. “This is a very exciting time for the downtown businesses and for the city of Mobile.”
Local fighters who will be showcased are Brok Weaver, Randy James, Hollis Sylvester and Mike Barnett. Weaver has an undefeated record in the pro featherweight division.
On the schedule from Atmore are Dallas Scruggs and Justin Ramer, while Melvin Smith and Justin Howard will represent Orange Beach. Numerous fighters from the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the Florida Panhandle are also scheduled.
“This fight card will show fight fans that you don’t have to go to an Ultimate Fighting Championships event to see good fights,” said Paul Andres Domenech, Atlas Fights’ matchmaker and president of MMA Solutions Global. “I am excited about the fighters we were able to pull for this card, since the location is right in the middle of our talent pool.
“The ‘Battle on Mobile Bay’ will be by far one of the best matched cards in the region, featuring the top talent in the South.”
The doors will open at 6 p.m. Tickets are priced from $25 to $45, while VIP party tables range from $600 to $800. Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com, at any Ticketmaster locations or at the convention center’s box office.
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