If you've noticed an increase in cowboy hats and big belt buckles around you recently, you're not hallucinating, nor did you wake up in a bold new reimagining of America in which the South won the Civil War and its culture dominates even New York. The PBR (Professional Bull Riding, not the beer) Monster Energy Buck Off has set up at Madison Square Garden this weekend, drawing the best pro bull riders in the country to the World's Most Famous Arena.
Like every year the competition is in town, the riders are here to see who among them can stay on a bull for eight seconds while holding on with just one hand. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it. Or at least they enjoy doing it so much they put up with the possibility of getting gored.
As you might expect, while some people enjoy the spectacle, the Humane Society is opposed to the practice "since they typically cause torment and stress to animals; expose them to pain, injury, or even death; and encourage an insensitivity to and acceptance of the inhumane treatment of animals in the name of sport."
If you ever wondered what it takes to turn the Garden into a bull riding paradise, the Post explains that it all takes place on a refrigerated floor covered with 750 tons of dirt and 400 pounds of plywood, and that the dirt is put down by a number of trucks who "back into the arena as if they’re performing a perfectly timed waltz."