Sports league has unique partnership with Border Patrol

Imagine the NFL and NBA sending Tom Brady and LeBron James to accompany the U.S. Border Patrol on a hunt for undocumented immigrants. Or how about Mike Trout and Serena Williams watching as a group of immigrants are apprehended trying to cross the border. 

Several members of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) did just that on a scorching day in July, riding horseback along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Although immigration and border security are among the most polarizing political topics in the U.S., the PBR did not hesitate in putting four of its prominent personalities front and center.

On that day, 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis, 2018 Rookie of the Year Keyshawn Whitehorse, 17-year tour veteran Sean Willingham and bullfighter Seth “Shorty” Gorham joined the Border Patrol. And they were not disappointed.

The group sprung into action when surveillance cameras spotted undocumented immigrants on the American side of the Rio Grande River. One of the PBR members broke from the pack and may have broken the law during a hectic scene.

A member of the U.S. Border Patrol, left, and Keyshawn Whitehorse, the PBR 2018 Rookie of the Year, are at work near the border during a ride-along last year.

Patrol boats and a helicopter swooped in to offer support and protection not only for the agents but also for the Border Patrol’s special guests. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection supports the PBR in another way: with a $2 million sponsorship deal this year that the Border Patrol says is used to bolster recruiting.

Over the past three years, the Border Patrol has spent more than $5 million on the partnership.

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