Want to ring in the New Year with a buck instead of a bang? Then the place to be is Madison Square Garden because it’s rodeo time as the Professional Bull Riders kick off its 2014 Built Ford-Tough Series riding, trying to stay on the most incredible monster bulls you’ll find anywhere for eight seconds.
JB Mauney conquers Wipeout for 93 and clinches his first World Championship. Photo By: Andy Watson/BullStockMedia.com
J.B. Mauney, a New York fan favorite, will compete for the first time as reigning world champion after a dramatic, heart-pounding finish in October at PBR’s 20th Anniversary World Finals in Las Vegas, where he captured his third consecutive title (championship belt buckle and a million buckaroo$) after staving off Brazil’s two-time, back-to-back world champion, Silvano Alves.
To be in competition, the champion riders must stay on their bull for eight edge-of-the-seat — literally! — seconds with the cowboy allowed to use only one hand. In addition to the riders, the Durabull Fighters (similar to daredevil rodeo clowns) jump into action to deflect the bulls’ attention as soon as the riders are ejected.
The race to the 2014 World Finals starts in New York as Mauney and Alves continue their intense competition. Each day, the world’s top 35 riders will face off with foes 10 times their weight in sinewy brawn during eight-second battles to the last stand when only one will be left standing.
In 2013, the Monster Energy Invitational drew more than 43,000 fans to the Garden to set a new attendance record for the three-day competition. As “America’s fastest growing sport” (Forbes.com), the PBR expects the same in 2014.
Robson Palermo returns to the Garden as the defending PBR New York event champion. Soon after his win in 2013 he opted for season–ending surgery on his free arm. He’s now rehabbed and ready to compete and returns to compete. Another comeback cowboy is Pistol Robinson, injured in 2012 when his bull ran over him after bucking him off, breaking both of his legs.
Other champs in competition will be Mike Lee, Kody Lostroh, Guilherme Marchi, and Renato Nunes.
Bushwacker becomes the Champion Bucking Bull. He bucks off Eduardo Aparecido and posts 47 for a bull score. Photo By: Andy Watson/BullStockMedia.com
The bull riders will face one bull each during Round 1 on Friday, Round 2 on Saturday and Round 3 on Sunday. Following Round 3, the Top 15 riders with the highest cumulative scores will advance to the Built Ford Tough Championship Round that same day. The event winner with the highest combined score will capture glory and $30,000 or more.
New York is the first of 27 stops on the 2014 series. The Ford Tough World Finals are in Las Vegas on October 22-26 when the 2014 PBR World Champion, the bull rider who amasses the most points during the 2014 season, will receive the coveted World and $1 million bonus.
Tickets are $20-$200 and available at MSqG box office, Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling (800) 345-3000. For more information, go to www.pbr.com, or follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PBR, Twitter at twitter.com/PBR, and YouTube at www.YouTube.com/PBR.