Professional Bull Riders, Inc. (PBR) returned to New York City Friday evening to celebrate a half-decade of bull bucking at “The World’s Most Famous Arena.”
The MSG Invitational is a three-day event featuring the top 40 bull riders in the world competing against the fiercest bucking bulls in the business.
Each day’s competition consists of at least one round in which the riders attempt to cover a bull (long round).
At the conclusion of the second round, a newly introduced ‘short round’ takes place, in which the 10 riders with the highest combined scores in the event attempt to ride an additional bull in an effort to distance themselves from the rest of the field.
After Sunday’s long round, the top 10 riders in the competition advance to the Built Ford Tough Championship Round, where each rider faces off against one more bull.
The rider with the highest combined score over the entire three-day event will be crowned the MSG Invitational Champion.
On the first night of action, PBR’s top, and more notable, riders stumbled out of the gate as Renato Nunes (Buritama, BZ), the 2010 World Champion, Austin Meier (Kinta, OK), the 2010 World Championship runner-up, and J.B. Mauney (Mooresville, NC), a two-time winner of the MSG Invitational, were all bucked off their bulls.
Who do you think will win Round 2 of the MSG Invitational?
Instead, it was 24-year-old Douglas Duncan (Alvin, TX), competing in his first MSG Invitational, who captured Round 1 with a scintillating ride on My Space (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve), earning him a total score of 89.50.
The judges awarded Duncan new life, in the form of a re-ride, when it was deemed his attempted cover of Silver Valley (American Bucking Bull) earlier in the evening did not give him a fair chance to earn a high score. Duncan took full advantage of the opportunity to learn from previous errors in judgment.
“It was good,” Duncan said when asked about the importance of getting off to a fast start. “I made some mistakes in the past, worrying about what bull that I have after the one I have today instead of looking at what the opportunity was right before me.”
Duncan added, “Kind of changed some stuff around this year; just go out on every bull, try to win every round and don’t worry about the next day until the other day is gone. It always feels good to win, but it’s a long season and every bull counts, so ride ‘em all.”
And that’s exactly what Duncan, in only his second full year on the BFTS tour, expects to do in New York City.
“See ya’ll here tomorrow,” Duncan half-joked on his way out of the media room, which hosts the winner of each round in the MSG Invitational.
Joining Duncan atop the leaderboard was Travis Briscoe (Edgewood, NM), who received a score of 86.75 for his cover of Segs the Juice (Jeff Robinson Bucking Bulls) to finish as the Round 1 runner-up.
Ned Cross (Midland, OR) and Pistol Robinson (Burleson, TX) tied for third, receiving scores of 86.25 for their respective rides. Cross, whose bull was switched at the last minute, rode Chick’N Fried (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve) while Robinson managed to stay on Red Bull (Gene Owen Bucking Bulls).
Josh Koschel (Greeley, CO) rounded out the top five in his first event back on the BFTS tour after sitting out most of the 2010 season due to injury.
Koschel made the buzzer on Cheerio (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve) to register a score of 86.00.
Click on the following links for Examiner.com’s coverage of PBR’s historic bull bucking showcase in Times Square.
Click on the following links for Examiner.com's coverage of PBR's highly successful invasion of New York City in 2009: