NYC bull-riding promotion: Take a taxi by the horns

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NEW YORK (AP) – For the rest of this week, New Yorkers can take a taxi by the horns.

Not just the honking kind, but also the kind that bulls sometime use to flip people bold enough to get on their backs.

Five normally yellow cabs, covered in fake brown and white cowhide and decorated with bull’s horns on the roof, lined up outside Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, part of a promotion for a two-day Invitational Bull Riders event on Jan. 6-7.

“It’s hard to get noticed in New York,” said Gavin Harvey, a cable TV executive backing the event. Through Sunday, fares will be free for anyone willing to hail a cab that looks like a cow on wheels.

Adriano Morales, a 36-year-old Brazilian who has won the world bull-riding championship, and two other ex-champions are among 45 competitors in the event. “I’ve been doing this 18 years – half of my life,” he said between picture-takings with passersby.

In addition to Brazil, riders come from the United States, Mexico, Canada and Australia.

It will be Gotham’s first experience with professional bull-riding, which is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, according to Harvey, president of Versus, a cable channel that features various rugged sports including professional hockey and boxing.

“We like the tough stuff, the hard-hitting sports,” he said. Professional bull riding, in which a competitor has to stay aboard at least eight seconds, “is as tough as it gets,” he said.

Scores are based on how well both riders and bulls do their jobs. “The bulls win more often than the riders,” he said.

Harvey said PBR has been compared to NASCAR racing, another heartland-born sport that has captured a large following across the United States. Whatever the similarities, they produce different kinds of exhaust.

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