For more than a decade the PBR has been going to the world’s most famous arena. And as has become customary, Monster Energy is the title sponsor the elite televised event.
This year’s Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden takes place January 6, 7 and 8.
“Well, I mean, shit, that’s where all the greats have fought battles,” said Monster Energy bull rider Chase Outlaw. “That’s where Mohammad Ali won a world title.
“All the badass warriors have fought in that building and I just aim to be badass and win a buckle that says I’m the Madison Square Garden champion on it.”
Outlaw will be joined in New York by fellow Monster Energy teammates J.B. Mauney, Guilherme Marchi, Derek Kolbaba, Gage Gay and Robson Palermo, whose first ever PBR event was at Madison Square Garden.
Mauney has won the New York event three times.
The Mooresville, North Carolina, native is anything but a big city kind of guy, but he’s still a crowd favorite in the city that never sleeps.
The two-time World Champion, who finished 2016 third in the world standings, has long since established himself as being at his best on the biggest stages in bull riding—and MSG is among the biggest.
The New York event is the first of four PBR Majors and in addition to an early lead atop the world standings, the event winner will earn a six-figure paycheck.
“You just know it’s going to be a lot of money every time you nod your head,” Gay said. “That’s what we all grow up and want to do. We want to be there riding for the most money at the biggest bull riding and that’s what it is.”
“The crowd really gets into it,” said Mauney, who thrives on the energy of what is expected to be three sold out performances, “and it’s packed out every night.”
Unlike Mauney and the other veterans, who have been to New York numerous times, Kolbaba is making his first trip to The Big Apple.
“I know there’s a lot of history there,” said the Walla Walla, Washington, native, who admitted he doesn’t know a lot about New York. “I never even thought I’d go to New York let alone get to go there and compete and get to have fun doing what I love.
“I’m excited to get to go.”
Make no mistake, the 20-year-old Kolbaba knows enough to know it’s a special trip.
Asked what it would mean to win an event sponsored by Monster Energy in the media capital of the world and Kolbaba replied, “That’s pretty awesome right there.
“For one, being able to ride bulls in New York City, not very many people can say that,” he continued, “and to walk out of there with the Monster Energy event win, that’s pretty awesome. Those guys have been great to me and that’s what we’re gunning for come January.”
Gay concluded, “That’s the start to a hell of a season right there and a hell of a check.”