It won’t exactly be Pamplona, but the bulls will be running in Manhattan this Thursday.
Versus, touting its title sponsorship of the second Professional Bull Riders event at Madison Square Garden next weekend, plans to kick off its “Invasion of the Bulls” at Union Square on Jan. 3. Passersby should be warned that the bulls, starting on the west side of the square at 15th Street any time between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., will head in a northward herd toward 17th.
Then beginning at noon, 10 top riders, including J.B. Mauney, third-ranked on the PBR’s top-level Built Ford Tough Series circuit in 2007 Matt Bohon (seventh) Brian Canter (11th) and Kasey Hayes (12th), will try to stay in the saddle against a bevy of bucking bulls at the 17th Street side of the square.
Comcast-owned Versus has also marked the PBR’s Apple arrival with “wild postings” featuring medical-themed copy around Manhattan.
As for the Versus Invitational itself, there will be a pair of 8 p.m. shows on Jan. 4 and 5, followed by a 1 p.m. event on Jan. 6. On the small screen, the network will present a pair of 2.5-hour shows at 8 p.m.: the Jan. 5 telecast will present the action from the Friday primetime session, while the second will be a same-day delay on Jan. 6 encapsulating the stomping and twirling action that occurred earlier. (NBC is also in the mix Jan. 6 at 4:30 p.m.)
The Versus Invitational is the first of 37 PBR events (excluding encores) the network is scheduled to televise in 2008, culminating with the World Finals from the Thomas Mack Center in Las Vegas over two weekends next November.
Last year’s inaugural bovine Garden party drew some 30,000 fans to three sessions. The Saturday and Sunday night telecasts averaged a 0.3 rating and 349,345 viewers, in keeping with Versus’ PBR average, according to a network spokeswoman.