This past weekend, I had the privilege of going to the Professional Bull Riding event at Madison Square Garden. I have no experience with bullriding or any other “farm sports”. To be honest I went into it expecting it to be no more of a “hoedown” type event with a bunch of drunkards speaking with a slurred twang.
It was mainly to go out on the city on a Friday night with the same friends I was planning on playing soccer with Saturday morning (more on that later). Considering that it was only 10 dollars for a ticket, held in one of the best arenas in the world and that a night out in New York City was part of the deal, I figured that it would be stupid to pass it up. It ended up being one of the most awesome events I’ve ever been apart of. Unfortunately, my only documentation was a long distance iPhone picture that’s not really blog worthy. But I found a clip on Vimeo that gives you an idea what the PBR is all about.
It was fantastically exciting. About everytime someone lasted more that 4 seconds, you’re heart was in your throat hoping they could hang on, you felt their disappointment when they could barely stay on for 2 and you erupted with everyone else when they hung on “The Full Eight Seconds!”. I never knew that 8 seconds could be so exhilarating.
Sure, there was a lot of plaid, cowboy hats and I even saw a bolo worn without a trace of irony. It was undeniable how almost every single person responded with a swell of respect for everyone involved. Their were numerous close calls, times when riders would be inches away from having their head crush by the bucking of a 2-ton rage-aholic. Praise was showered upon the lone cowboy whose infallible lasso handled any bull that got a little too feisty after jettisoning his rider. And even the flamboyant dancing clown/MC never failed to garner a laugh.
No one got a louder applause than the young heroes at “halftime”. Since this was my first time, I had no idea why there was a stable of sheep at the far end of the arena. Our vantage point made it a little hard to hear through the speakers, so I couldn’t figure out why there was a lineup of children being announced (did he just say “World Champion”?) until the first kid wrapped his arms around the back of flustered lamb.
These are the exact same kids that I saw.
It’s a little hard to tell, but the crowd went nuts when the red-flanneled toddler started doing his version of endzone dance after his ride. And the video cuts off before it happens but the entire building literally ERUPTED when a little girl held on to a rocketing sheep for the entire length of the arena. It was as loud of an applause that I remember when a guy hit a half-court shot at a Knicks game for $500k.
It is an experience in Americana that I would gladly return to and will recommend to anyone.