Bull-riding CEO mulling offer to lead IRL

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The Indy Racing League board of directors has offered Randy Bernard, CEO of the Professional Bull Riders Association, its vacant CEO position.

The IRL position became open when Tony George was dismissed by the board last summer as boss of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and declined an offer to remain as CEO of the IRL.

Although series officials declined to comment, Bernard confirmed today that he has been offered the job, and is still mulling the offer. If he takes the job, he would answer directly to Jeff Belskus, whom the IMS/IRL board tapped last year to replace George.

Bernard, who resides in Los Angeles, has been CEO of the Professional Bull Riders Association since it launched in 1995.

In April 2007, Bernard executed a merger between Professional Bull Riders Inc. and Spire Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm.

The merger allowed the founding members and other bull-riding shareholders to grow their venture while maintaining a significant equity stake in the organization.

Bernard attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and spent six years in the marketing and entertainment department of the California Mid State Fair prior to joining the PBR.

Belskus also talked to Just Marketing International CEO Zak Brown and Central Indiana Corporate Partnership CEO Mark Miles about the opening. Both said they weren’t interested.

Visit IBJ's sports-business blog The Score to weigh in on the IRL's choice for CEO.


  • Really
    I as kind of encouraged when i first heard about Randy Bernard but now that so many people turned down the job it might not so good. I was hoping the IRL was thinking outside the box but no. This just tells you how bad things are at the IRL.
  • Punto
    From ESPN's Terry Blount 1/28/10:

    "Not everyone agrees, including Indy car legend Mario Andretti. "Tony's legacy is not a very good one from my standpoint," Andretti said Thursday. "His grandfather, Tony Hulman, did more for open-wheel racing than any other individual. Tony George did more to destroy it than any other individual. "That's the only way you can put it. It is diminished today because he started the IRL."
  • Yup
    IRL failed by ever letting go of Tony Stewart. Dang, that Tony George blew a good thing back in 1998...and it was his own creation that was supposed to prevent stuff like SMOKE from leaving and Vision from going out of business! Guess the IRL was a BAD business decision!

    My apologies to any bullriders....your sport will be dragged down too by any association with IRL.
  • sophisticated
    as a former bullrider i take your comments as
    a slap in the face! SOPHISTICATED?
    that's why the average american hates open wheel racing. you people run around with your nose in the air like you are better than the next guy. irl should take notes from
    NASCAR. anyway, everybody knows irl drivers
    are a bunch of pantywaste. the only reason they drive in the irl is because they CANNOT
    drive in nascar!
  • Disappointment in this selection
    Why someone not even remotely associated with open wheel racing? What does Bull Riding have to do the Indy 500? Other than sharing the same un-viewable Versus network, geez, why not just get Joe Heitzler? At least he has AOW experience.

    I think this is a step in the wrong direction for American Open Wheel racing. It used to be a sophisticated sport....not any more,.

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