We New Yorkers may like to play the urban sophisticate, but—as evidenced by the mechanical bull bars popping up around town—many of us are country bumpkins at heart. So it’s not as weird as one might think that the world’s 40 best Professional Bull Riders are bringing their heaving, bucking beasts to Madison Square Garden for the fourth consecutive year. It only takes 700 pounds of dirt—that’s natural dirt, not the scum already covering the sidewalks around MSG—to transform the arena into something out of a Larry McMurtry novel. Now, what LES bar can boast that?

Jan. 8-10, 2010

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