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Nicholas Sparks' Novel Featuring the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Showcased Exclusively in Walmart During "Sparks Month," Through June 6

PUEBLO, CO--(Marketwired - May 08, 2014) - The paperback edition of "The Longest Ride," the latest No. 1 New York Times bestselling novel by author Nicholas Sparks which is centered around a fictional cowboy who competes with the Professional Bull Riders (PBR), is now featured at Walmart stores nationwide.

In the tradition that begun with "The Notebook," "The Longest Ride" is filled with everything readers look for in Sparks' books -- heart, romance, irresistible characters, a rich plot with unexpected pleasures and some surprises -- and will surely capture the minds and hearts of generations of readers to come. One of the two love stories at the heart of the novel centers on Wake Forest College senior Sophia Danko's chance meeting of a professional bull rider named Luke. Through Luke, Sophia is introduced to a world in which the stakes of survival and success, ruin and reward -- even life and death -- loom large in everyday life. As she and Luke fall in love, Sophia finds herself imagining a future far removed from her plans -- a future that Luke has the power to rewrite... if the secret he's keeping doesn't destroy it first.

Last year, timed to the hardcover publication of "The Longest Ride," PBR worked with Nicholas Sparks' publisher Grand Central Publishing and Walmart on a special contest allowing fans to vote for the PBR bull rider they thought was the sexiest cowboy and should appear on the Walmart exclusive trade paperback cover. The contest finalists were PBR riders: Brant Atwood, Brendon Clark, Douglas Duncan, Jory Markiss, Luke Snyder, Markus Mariluch, Mike White, Pistol Robinson, Reese Cates, Ross Coleman, Sean Willingham and Stetson Lawrence. The fans selected Jory Markiss as the winner. All of the photos from the contest, which were turned into a calendar, also appear in the book. 

"Nicholas Sparks captured the essence of a PBR bull rider with his character Luke Collins," said Sean Gleason, PBR COO. "The opportunity to have 12 of PBR's top cowboys associated with the exclusive paperback edition at Walmart is another great milestone in our partnership."

The PBR branded edition of "The Longest Ride" by Nicholas Sparks is now available exclusively at Walmart. 

"It is beyond an honor to be associated with such a world-renowned author," said Jim Haworth, PBR Chairman and CEO. "This is a rare and very welcome opportunity to bring the PBR to a new demographic segment and also reach loyal PBR fans with Nick's compelling story."

A Nicholas Sparks/PBR-branded pallet showcasing "The Longest Ride" is now in close to 2,000 Walmart stores along with other editions of Sparks' novels and movies through June 6.

About the Professional Bull Riders, Inc. (PBR)
The world's premier bull riding organization, the PBR, turns 21 in 2014. In just two decades, the dream of 20 bull riders has become a global sports phenomenon with PBR broadcasts reaching more than half a billion households in 50 nations and territories around the world, and more than 2.5 million fans attending live events each year. PBR has paid out more than $130 million in earnings to its athletes, and 25 riders have earned more than $1 million, including Justin McBride with $5.5 million -- the most of any western sports athlete in history. For more information on the PBR, go to PBR.com, or follow on Facebook at Facebook.com/PBR, Twitter at Twitter.com/PBR, and YouTube at YouTube.com/PBR.

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