Ryan Weaver’s story is an incredible one, even before you get to the part where the Florida native becomes a headlining artist for this year’s PBR World Finals Week at T-Mobile Arena.
“Pressure is not the right word. Excitement is the best word,” Weaver says. “I’ve been doing this since 2006, chasing this dream, working my way through the club and festival scene. To be able to kick it off like this is the opportunity to showcase everything I’ve worked my tail off for.”
Weaver embarked on his musical journey while still on active duty as a Chief Warrant Officer and Black Hawk Aviator for the Army. He had followed in his two older brothers’ footsteps by going to flight school, but everything changed on January 8, 2004, when Weaver’s brother, Aaron, was killed in action when his Medivac helicopter was shot down in Iraq. His family suffered a second terrible loss in 2013 when Ryan’s brother-in-law, also a pilot, was killed in action.
“It’s unfortunate sometimes that it takes circumstances like these to make you step back and take a look at your life and wonder if you’re taking the path you should be,” Weaver says.
He decided to chart a new course, using his family’s sacrifices to fuel his fire. “I’ve definitely hit some roadblocks—I call them speed bumps—but they are the reason I haven’t quit,” he says. “I promised myself every time I get onstage I’d tell their story and not let people forget.”
Now the up-and-comer who calls Garth Brooks and Travis Tritt his top performing influences is ready to tell those stories and connect with bigger audiences. “If the audience feels they could be up there with you, [and] you’re the kind of person they would love to sit down and talk with, that’s what I want people to see.” Ryan Weaver at T-Mobile Arena, November 4.