Pounding Hooves, Hard Falls, And Wild Bulls The Rodeo At MSG [PHOTOS]

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Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business Insider

This past weekend the rodeo came to town. Every year the Professional Bull Riders kick off their 30 stop tour at Madison Square Garden. While New York is not exactly Rodeo Country, the city folk that were there were definitely into it.Brave riders from all over the world, though a lot seem to come from Texas and the south, try to ride a bucking bull for eight seconds. The bulls move with a graceful intensity as they try to get their riders off and it takes more than just strength and guts to stay on. Riders move with the bulls and try to finesse their way to the finish. But in the end there is nothing graceful and there is no finesse as man and beast battle it out.

It is intense and quite a sight. Didn’t get to make it?

We got there early and the arena was still pretty empty.

So we head backstage to meet some cowboys. The stretcher is definitely something good to have around at a rodeo.

Riders wait to get started. From left to right, Reeser Cates, 22, from Eldorado Arkansas; Pistol Robinson, 28, from Burleson, Texas; and Harve Stewart, 24, from Stephenville, Texas.

Dustin Elliott, 30, from North Platte, Nebraska, checks to see his bull's number before the match.

The tools of the trade. Riders use a variety of different helmets (and some don't use any at all!). The rope is what they use to tie their hand to the bull.

The grounds need to be groomed before the ride.

Gates open...

And we are off.

The sport is intense and rides begin with a bang.

You get thrown around.

But the judges watch closely. The little red button in his left hand controls the timer.

The idea is to stay on for eight seconds.

But up close it is much more intense.

Everyone watches with interest. And this guy had the best mustache we saw all night.

The bulls release a lot of energy (and snot) during the matches.

The fans loved it. From left to right, Drew Trovillion, Peter Liu, Alex Silverman, and Tamara Zagorovskaya came to the rodeo for their first time. Liu, Silverman, and Zagarovskaya are Bank of America employees and got the tickets from the company. They said they will return.

Riders need to hold on tight.

Because they will get thrown around.

But that is ok, they are real cowboys. Check out those boots.

The bulls can really get into the air.

But in the end everyone has to get off some time.

And it is rarely graceful.

The bull looks almost as surprised as the rider.

The falls are hard.

And riders need to get out of the way quickly.

You would too if that was coming after you.

Riders quickly head to safety.

And either check their scores or offer up a little prayer.

Meanwhile these guys, the bravest men in the ring, take on the bulls.

And they don't always make it unscathed.

But sometimes they aren't enough and you need to call in the big guns on horseback.

He can wrangle in a bull on or off the range.

But pulling them the way you want isn't always so easy.

They break between rounds and so checked out the lobby area. Blue-Emu is a big sponsor of the PBR.

And a lot of fans get dressed up for the occasion. Jose Daniel Morales (left) and his brother Andres Morales (right) were here for their first time. They are from New Rochelle, NY, but the family has roots in Mexico and their grandfather used to be a bull rider.

There is also a little half time performance. On Saturday night, Frank Rasmussen, the MC of the PBR, did an imitation of Michael Jackson.

At this point, the arena is packed!

So we head back to see the bull ride from a different angle.

The scene from above as riders get ready.

A bull waits.

And then they toss a rider on him.

Once in place a rider needs to steady himself. Many of the riders are married, family men.

But that probably isn't on their mind when the door opens and they shoot out.

When in the air, the bull looks more scared than the rider.

A lot of fans were first timers and while some watched intently, many were kind of hanging out and having fun.

But not the riders and the bulls.

They move so fast and change directions mid jump.

Which keeps a lot people tuned in.

But it almost always ends with a fall.

And then the bulls get to run.

Watch out for this bull.

And after their rides, the riders look up with home for their scores.

And if they are lucky they get to share their joy with the camera.

Bill Guzy (left) and Connor Spears (right), from Clifton, NJ, were also first time attendees. They were really into it and had come for the wild experience.

They weren't disappointed with scenes like this.

And this.

It almost felt like most of the ride was actually in the air.

And riders got plenty of encouragement from MC and Head Rodeo Clown Frank Rasmussen.

The last ride Saturday night ended with a bang as Pistol Robinson (remember him from earlier) was thrown off his bull. The rodeo clowns moved in quickly...

But they couldn't get their fast enough.

Eventually they got Robinson out.

But the damage was done.

But at the end of the day everyone heads in and gets ready for the next event.

Want to see some other crazy activities in NY this weekend?

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