The Professional Bull Riders (PBR) kicked-off their 2019 season with three days of extreme sports at New York City’s Madison Square Garden – The World’s Most Famous Arena – as part of the Ford Built Tough Series Monster Energy Buck Off. Along with the 35 professional bull riders competing for season points and $140,000 in prize money, the 18,000 fans in attendance each day were treated to an exhibition of bravery and talent by some of the youngest bull riders in the country. Three young men, representing the Miniature Bull Riders Association (MBR), joined their professional colleagues at the Garden to try their best at hanging on for an 8-second ride aboard 1,000 pounds of bucking miniature fury. On hand to show off their talent to the sold-out New York City crowd were MBR riders Hagen Braswell, competing in the 12-14 year old ‘senior’ division, and Ryder Carpenetti and Ethan Winckler, both competing in the 10-11 year old ‘junior’ division. Ethan Winckler was crowned as this year's MBR Junior Bull Riding World Champion with Ryder Carpenetti capturing the Reserve World Champion title.
Above: Hagen Braswell heads out from the chute on the arena floor at Madison Square Garden. Photo Credit: Warren Rosenberg www.nyspg.com
The MBR was founded in 2011 by Lillie and Cirildo Leal and grew from an organization with just a handful of riders to posting a field of 50 riders today. In 2012, Champion bull rider Chris Shivers joined on in partnership with the Leals and in 2015 the PBR itself became a promoting sponsor. According to Matt West, PBR announcer, the MBR works with young riders, “setting them up to become the next generation of superstars” in the PBR. Does it work? Just ask PBR Rookie of the Year and 2019 Buck Off at the Garden Championship Round competitor, Keyshawn Whitehorse, who came up through the MBR and is making a name for himself on the professional circuit.
Above: Ryder Carpenetti shows his classic bull riding form to the New York City crowd. Photo Credit: Warren Rosenberg www.nyspg.com
The MBR is organized into three age divisions: Pee-Wee (8-9 year olds), Juniors (10-11 year olds), and Seniors (12-13 years old). With the average 12 year-old male weighing 88 pounds and riding a bull weighing approximately 1,000 pounds, these young athletes take on a bigger challenge than their older, professional, counterparts who, weighing in at an average of 190 pounds, over double the weight of the MBR athletes, have to contend with opponents weighing approximately 1,800 pounds. With safety as a primary issue, these junior athletes are required to wear a helmet, vest, chaps and mouthpiece. Helmets are optional for the professional riders with some preferring to just wear a cowboy hat.
Above: Ethan Winckler sits firmly atop a half-ton of bucking bull at The Worlds Most Famous Arena. Photo Credit: Warren Rosenberg www.nyspg.com
It wasn’t all work for these up-and-coming bull riders. Ryan and his family enjoyed all of the typical NYC tourist sites including visits to the Brooklyn Bridge and ice skating in Central Park. Although Ryan and his sister showed grace on the ice, rumor has it that Dad took a tumble. Hagen posted on his Facebook page that, “I can’t begin to explain how much fun I had this week in New York. I thank MBR and PBR for the incredible opportunity to be one of the first MBR boys ever to ride at Madison Square Garden. It was an amazing feeling!” Well, right back at you Hagen. We had fun watching you and your friends as well.
Look for full coverage in the upcoming Jan/Feb 2019 issue of MetroSports Magazine as well as coverage of past years' events in our 2016, 2017 and 2018 issues at www.MetroSportsMag.com