Buck Off, New York

The Beast is Unleashed at This Weekend at MSG

2018 PBR World Finalist Sean Willingham

Start the night with PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) down the street at Brother Jimmy’s before heading to The Garden for a new world of PBR (professional bull riding!). This Friday through Sunday the 2019 Monster Energy Buck Off is at MSG.

The event begins with pyrotechnics before the stars saddle up and provide two hours of thrills and spills. One of those stars being Sean Willingham.

He’s a fifteen year veteran of the sport of professional bull riding and we got the chance to chat with him before things get bucking wild on Friday night.

How did you first get into the sport of bull riding? 

I had a friend that was doing some roping and horses, and I enjoyed riding horses at the time. And then I got introduced to the sport of bull riding, and I stopped riding horses. When I got on my first bull ever, it was a blur, I don’t really remember it. All I remember is that feeling, and wanting to get on over and over again so I could feel it again.

Once I got started riding bulls it was a challenge, and I enjoy challenging myself in everything I did. The sport of bull riding is still the same 20 years later, it is still a challenge every time I get on the back of one. And that’s what I love most about our sport.

What’s the career achievement you’re most proud of?

Finishing fourth in the world in 2006. I was in the running to win my first world title. I went into Las Vegas second in the world. And then I had a pretty decent Finals, but I didn’t come out on top, but overall that was the best year I had in bull riding. Any other year with the new points system now, I would have been the World Champion that year, and I would have been the World Champion the next as well. But, we don’t count that. But that’s still one of my proudest accomplishments, and being able to win three Major events that year and finish inside the Top 5 in the world.

What’s a goal within the sport that you’re still chasing? 

World Champion. That’s the bottom line. For me, people always ask me why I keep coming back and ultimately it’s because I have never won a world title and I do believe in myself that I can accomplish that still at 37, going on 38 years old, as long as my body can hold up and I can keep my mind focused on what I do. There’s not one doubt in my mind that I still can compete with the best guys in the world.

What sets the PBR event at The Garden a part from all other cities you tour? 

This is a Major event so the points are double, and the money is tripled. It’s a three-day competition, which we have some of throughout the year, but this is the first event of the year and it sets the standard for the rest of the season. If you win the first Major of the year in New York you pretty much lock yourself into the World Finals in November. So it’s a pretty big deal. And everybody is coming in fresh, you’ve had about 8 weeks off, and people like me haven’t been on a bull since. So we’re ready to come in fresh and win lots of money.

Do you have a favorite spot to visit when you’re in NYC? 

Rockefeller Center because the ice skating and the big Christmas tree is a pretty sight and we don’t have that kind of stuff in Georgia.

In one sentence, convince people who have never been to a PBR event to check it out this weekend.

Intense, bone-crushing action, in only 8 seconds.