Bull-riding boss takes reins of Indy Racing League

February 2, 2010

The Indy Racing League has a new CEO to fill the position left vacant by former leader Tony George.

The IRL said late Monday that Randy Bernard, CEO of the Professional Bull Riders Association, will take the reins of the struggling racing series. IRL directors offered him the job on Thursday.

The position became open when directors dismissed George last summer as boss of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and he declined an offer to remain as CEO of the IRL.

Bernard will answer directly to Jeff Belskus, whom the IMS/IRL board tapped last year to replace George.

Bernard, who resides in Los Angeles, will leave the Pueblo, Colo.-based Professional Bull Riders Association on March 1. He has been CEO of the association since it launched in 1995.

“The PBR has been my life for 15 years, and I am very proud of our accomplishments,” Bernard said in a written statement. “From the cowboys, stock contractors, sponsors, staff and board, to our great fans, it has been a great ride, and I am very thankful to have so many great memories.”

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.

IRL officials were not immediately available for comment.



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