For the 12th consecutive year, PBR (Professional Bull Riders) will buck into “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” as the toughest sport on dirt launches the 2019 season for the elite PBR Unleash The Beast. Invading the Big Apple on Jan. 4-6 for the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden, the Top 35 riders in the world will square off against the rankest bucking bulls in the nation, the ultimate showdown of man vs. beast, in an effort to be crowned the event champion and earn crucial points towards the world standings.
The New York City event will also be one of four Majors, where riders will have the chance to earn increased world points (1,125), and their share of the augmented event purse, with the event winner poised to collect a $100,000 check.
Last season, Gage Gay went a flawless 4-for-4 to capture the first Major win of his career, and surged to the No. 1 spot in the world standings, another career milestone. While Gay will be unable to defend his title, sidelined by a knee injury, five past winners, including 2017 World Champion Jess Lockwood (2017), two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney (2014, 2009 and 2007), Fabiano Vieira (2014), Cody Nance (2012) and Valdiron de Oliveira (2011 and 2008), are all anticipated to return to Madison Square Garden in search of claiming yet another win in New York City.
The event comes on the heels of yet another electric race for the PBR World Championship. While Kaique Pacheco fought through a torn PCL and MCL to retain his lead atop the standings and claim the 2018 PBR World title, No. 2 Jose Vitor Leme, No. 3 Cody Teel, No. 4 Claudio Montanha Jr. and No. 5 Marco Eguchi, winner of the World Finals event, kept the pressure on, leading the title to be decided by the final outs.