This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001



Austin Meier on Robinson's Mac-Nett's El Presidente at NYC Times Square final five showdown PBR. Photo by Andy Watson.

The Professional Bull Riders will Unleash the Beast in New York City for annual season kickoff at the Garden (photo by Andy Watson/BullStock Media)

Madison Square Garden
31st - 33rd Sts. between Seventh & Eighth Aves.
January 4-6, $28-$226 ($551 for PBR Elite Seats)

There are a lot of traditions in New York City tied to the New Year, and one of the most exciting is the Professional Bull Riders opening its season at the World’s Most Famous Arena the first weekend of January. The sport’s twenty-sixth season, dubbed Unleash the Beast, gets under way January 4-6 with the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden, as thirty-five riders attempt to hold on to hard-battling bulls for eight damn-tough seconds. Among the anticipated competitors are PBR legend and two-time world champion J. B. Mauney, a three-time MSG winner and all-around badass cowboy; 2016 world champ Cooper Davis, who we introduced you to three years ago; and 2017 Garden victor and world champion Jess Lockwood. Due to injuries — bull riding is one of the most dangerous sports on the planet — 2018 world champion Kaique Pacheco and 2018 MSG winner Gage Gay will have to sit out the contest.

PBR riders and bulls first invaded New York City in 2007, and the event keeps getting bigger and better, with pyrotechnics, cowboy hats worn the wrong way by Brooklyn hipsters, and a barrel of laughs from PBR “Exclusive Entertainer” Flint Rasumussen, who we interviewed in 2017. In addition to the competition, PBR will be hosting a Cowboy Brunch on January 5 at the Renaissance Hotel ($75, 10:00 am), with Rasmussen, such riders as Stetson Lawrence, and other special guests; you can also join PBR and Boot Barn as it rings the morning bell at the New York Stock Exchange on January 4 at 8:00 ($225), including a continental breakfast and photo ops with PBR CEO Sean Gleason and Canadian superstar Tanner Byrne, who we profiled with his brother Jesse two years ago. (Yes, we kind of have a thing for this crazy event at the home of the Knicks and Rangers.)

Fire and Pyro in the opening during the first round of the New York City Built Ford Tough series PBR. Photo by Andy Watson

Professional Bull Riders are all fired up for the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden January 4-6 (photo by Andy Watson/BullStock Media)

TICKET GIVEAWAY: PBR Unleash the Beast bursts through the gates of Madison Square Garden January 4-6, with such participants as Ryan Dirteater, Chase Outlaw, Dakota Buttar, Stetson Lawrence, and Keyshawn Whitehorse, which are their real, given names, and twi-ny has a pair of tickets to give away for free for Sunday afternoon’s finale. Just send your name and what your cowboy alias would be if you were insane enough to get on a one-ton bucking bull to by Monday, December 17, at 3:00 pm to be eligible. All entrants must be twenty-one years of age or older; one winner will be selected at random.

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