New York City, home to the New York and NASDAQ stock exchanges is, unarguably, the financial capital of the world. When the financial markets perform well and stock prices rise, it is referred to as a “bull market”. How fitting then that one of the better known landmarks of New York City’s financial district is the three and half ton bronze “Charging Bull” statue created by the Italian born sculptor, Arturo Di Modica, who worked out of a SOHO studio in the City.
This past weekend, January 3-5, New York City’s Madison Square Garden (MSG) was the site of the 2020 season kick off of the Professional Bull Riders “Unleash the Beast” series, billed as the “Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden”. Thirty-five of the world’s best professional bull riders tested their skills against the country’s top ranked bucking bulls. Located just four city blocks to the west of MSG, near 34th Street and 12th Avenue, was the the north end of what was, and is still known as, New York’s “meatpacking district”. Operating between the late 1800s and the mid-20th century, it was the site where countless cows and bulls met their demise.
On the weekend of January 3-5, 2020, on the corner of 8th Avenue and 33rd Street, the Bulls got their revenge. On hand to recognize the event, and to help celebrate the relevance of bulls to New York City, was Arturo Di Modica himself. The PBR presented Di Modica with the “Be A Cowboy” award to which the humble artist replied, “Being honored by PBR tonight is as good as it gets...to be identified with these great creatures and the talented cowboy athletes who ride them makes me even prouder to have created Charging Bull. From now on, Charging Bull will always remind me of tonight, and this wonderful honor”.
Above (Left to Right): PBR bull riders Daylon Swearingen and Jess Lockwood, the Charging Bull, Arturo Di Modica, PBR CEO Sean Gleason.
Photo Credit: Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media
On the morning of the first day of competition, PBR Chief Executive Officer, Sean Gleason, reigning PBR World Champion, Jess Lockwood, and New York’s own professional bull rider, Daylon Swearingen, were all on hand to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
Above: PBR bull riders Daylon Swearingen and Jess Lockwood with PBR CEO Sean Gleason and representatives of the PBR and Wrangler Jeans Company. Photo Credit: NYSE
Winning top honors for the 3-day event was Brazilian bull rider Joao Ricardo Vieira followed by countryman Kaique Pacheco and American rider Jess Lockwood, in 2nd and 3rd place, respectively. Equally important was the honor bestowed upon the bovine athletes with the bulls “Lil 2 Train” and “Midnight Rock” coming in at a 1st place tie followed by “Holy Water”.
New York’s own Daylon Swearingen made the cut after two days of competition, completing two 8-second rides on bulls “High Hopes” and “Chuck and Larry”, to qualify for the final round. He was bucked off of ”Blue Crush” after 5.66 second to finish 14th overall. That did not stop the New York City crowd from giving the 20-year old Piffard, New York, rider the loudest of cheers.
Above: Daylon Swearingen on Saturday night against High Hopes. Photo Credit: Warren Rosenberg
Below: Joao Ricardo Vieira aboard Bezerk (left) and looking at the video replay of his winning ride (right).
Look for full coverage of the PBR’s Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden in the upcoming January-February issue of MetroSports Magazine.