PBR Unleash The Beast Preview – New York City

By: Kacie Albert and Ted Stovin  Friday, January 4, 2019 @ 9:26 AM

Dakota Buttar, Tanner Byrne, Lonnie West and five Canadian bucking bulls take to the World's Most Famous Arena this weekend. Photo by Andy Watson/BullStockMedia

NEW YORK CITY – After a short break, the elite, PBR Unleash The Beast, will resume this weekend in New York City, set to launch the 2019 season with the Monster Energy Buck Off at The Garden, presented by Ariat on Jan. 4-6.

The event, the 13th annual stop at “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” comes with added significance as both the first of four Majors of the 2019 season, and site of the first 15/15 Bucking Battle of the year.

With 37 of the world’s best bull riders heading to New York City for the event, the weekend’s draw will feature three of Canada’s top athletes – Dakota Buttar, Tanner Byrne and Lonnie West.

After as the top Canadian in the world standings to earn his second Glen Keeley Memorial Award, finishing 17th, Buttar will also compete in the 15/15 and face The Don (BMC Bucking Bulls/Jenkins Cattle Co.). The Kindersley, Saskatchewan man faced The Don before, in Jacksonville but was bucked off in 2.4 seconds while the bull was marked 44 points. In The Don’s last trip he bucked off Alex Marcilio in Round 4 of the World Finals. Before that he was ridden for 87.75 point by Fabiano Vieira in Milwaukee.

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Before the 15/15 Buttar faces Slow Ride from Mike Miller in Round 1. Slow ride has been ridden for scores as high as 89, by Winston Lopez in Worchester in February of 2017. In his last out he was ridden by Luciano de Castro for 86.25 points in Round 1 from Fairfax. Buttar and Slow Ride have actually met before, in the PBR’s debut in Toronto where the bull was victorious scoring 42.5 points in a 4.21 second buck off.

The newly minted Levi’s/Monster Energy bull rider Tanner Byrne faces The Godfather (Paradigm Bull Company) in Round 1. The Godfather has no outs on record according to ProBullStats.com. Byrne looks to compete for an entire season for the first time since 2016 and improve on the best finish ever by a Canadian on the world stage at 8th place, which he set in 2015.

Getting the call as an alternate based on the 2018 World Standings, Lonnie West make his return to competition and debut in New York City.

West, who finished No. 37 in the world in 2018, takes on Lightning Before Thunder (Jenkins Cattle Co./Emerson Cattle) in Round 1. Most recently, the bull bucked off Lachlan Richardson in 4.41 seconds for a 43.5-point bull score n Round 3 of the 25th World Finals. Also there in Round 5, Lightning Before Thunder was tamed by eventual finals event champion Marco Eguchi for 84.75 points.

RELATED: West Returns to Competition at Season Opener in NYC

In addition to the three Canadian bull riders, five Canadian bulls take to The Garden. Fresh off his first trip to the PBR World Finals, Two Point Oh from Skori Bucking Bulls, now with Gene Owen, faces Francisco Morales in Round 1. Outside the World Finals, this is the Two Point Oh’s debut at the PBR’s elite level during the regular season. Stuntman Ray is in Friday night’s 15/15 Bucking Battle against Eduardo Aparecido. Cooper’s Comet and Nailed both buck in Round 2 on Saturday while Black Rose is in the re-ride pen for Round 1 but likely to be in the draw for Round 3.

On the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour, Dayton Johnston competes in Oakland, matched up against Mr. Dill (Julio Moreno/Dallas Schott in Round 1 on Saturday night.

The Monster Energy Buck Off at The Garden, presented by Ariat begins on Friday, January 4 at 7:45 p.m. ET, continues on Saturday, January 5 at 6:45 p.m. ET and concludes on Sunday, January 6 at 1:45 p.m. ET.

CBS Sports will air the first 15/15 Bucking Battle of the season at 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 5. CBS Sports Network will broadcast Round 2 on Saturday, January 5 at 8:00 p.m. ET and all the action from Championship Sunday, with coverage of Round 3 and the championship round, on Sunday, January 6 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Fans will be able to watch the action in its entirety through live via PBR’s new streaming digital platform RidePass. Round 1 will be exclusively seen on the platform, with coverage beginning at 7:30pm ET on Friday, January 4. RidePass’ listen LIVE stream of the event will begin on Saturday, January 5 at 6:45pm ET and conclude on Sunday, January 6 at 1:45pm ET.