Odd Ball: Weird NYC Sports
by Jonathan Zeller, 01/02/2013
Photo: Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media
Professional Bull Riders (PBR) at Madison Square Garden
What is it? A bull-riding competition in Midtown Manhattan might seem as incongruous as a kosher deli in Alabama, but PBR has brought this marquee event—now called the Monster Energy Drink Invitational—to Madison Square Garden year after year (January 4–6 this time around), laying down 700 tons of dirt on the arena floor. Unlike a traditional rodeo, which includes such events as tie-down roping, steer wrestling and barrel racing, PBR is all bull riding, all the time—athletes do everything they can to stay atop a 2,000-pound bucking bull for eight seconds, earning points for control, body position and style. Legendary rider Ty Murray (Mr. Jewel to pop-culture fanatics) explains more in this article.
Why should you go? Says Luke Snyder, who's earned more than $1.5 million in his bull-riding career: "It's almost like a rock concert with a little bit of added bull riding…. They're going to shoot off pyrotechnics [and] they're going to play current music like what you might hear at a hockey game." And, of course, "[it's] probably the most dangerous sport going on right now." Snyder is also bound to be at his best in New York City, as he proposed to his now-wife in front of the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.