By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
This weekend, the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) kicked off its 2019 season at Madison Square Garden in New York City with the Monster Energy Buck Off at The Garden presented by Ariat. The event will begin on Friday night, with additional shows on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
This is the 13th straight year that the PBR has kicked off their season at the World’s Most Famous Arena. The shows will begin at 7:45 pm EST on Friday, January 4th.
There will be a 6:45 pm show on Saturday, January 5th, before concluding with a Sunday, January 6th show at 1:45 pm EST.
Last year, Gage Gay won the event. He was one of two riders, who went a perfect 4-for-4, as the North Carolina cowboy captured the No. 1 ranking for the first-time.
In order for a chance to win the event, the rider has to remain on the bull for eight seconds with one hand on the bull rope and one hand in the air. If they fail to reach the eight second-mark, their ride does not count.
The combination of the bull score and rider score will give the rider his overall score. The best overall score of the event wins.
There are two previous winners, who are expected to compete this weekend, who have won multiple times at MSG. J.B. Mauney won in 2007 and 2009, while tying for the win in 2014.
Valdiron de Oliveira won this event in 2008 and 2011.
One of the new faces that will be competing at Madison Square Garden for the first-time is reigning Rookie of the Year Keyshawn Whitehorse.
“It’s going to be great,” Whitehorse said. “There’s a lot of history in that building with great players and games, along with the people, who have played there with concerts. I’m going to love it. I’m going to enjoy every moment of it.
“I would say there’s no pressure. Everything I’ve been doing the same as before since I started getting on bulls. That’s putting my hand on the bull and trying to hold on for eight seconds. It would be good to have a good showing at a place that has so much history in it. That would be icing on the cake. It would be something amazing.”
This weekend, the PBR Major at MSG will be one of two events for the tour this weekend. The lower-level PBR Velocity Tour will kick off on January 5th at 7 pm PST with the Oakland Classic in Oakland, California.
“I’m very excited to get the season going,” Whitehorse said. “This is what I love to do. I love bull riding at events. I love every moment of it, so being able to get on a bull and kick off the season. I’m as excited as I can be.”
This will be the first event for the Unleash the Beast Tour since November 7th. Marco Eguchi won the 25th PBR World Finals: Unleash The Beast on Smooth Operator.
“I think I’ve knocked all the rust off,” Whitehorse said. “I had gotten on some bulls earlier this week so I think everything will be worked out. I just need to go out to perform to my best abilities and everything else will take care of itself.”
Whitehorse ended last season as the Rookie of the Year. He also finished with a No. 19 ranking.
“Each and every bull I get on, I want to give 100%,” Whitehorse said. “As bull riders, we all seek to become a world champion — and that’s obviously something I have in the sights –but I want to be sure to go into each event with everything I got.
“Each and every one of us is the Top 35 in the World. We all deserve to be here for a reason. That’s what I play in my mind, I’m here for a reason. I was able to accomplish that goal with hard work and dedication. Yeah, there’s other guys out there, who ride good, but I’m here because I ride good, as well. I’m just trying to do good to separate myself from everyone else.”
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