New York’s own Daylon Swearingen rides into MSG this weekend for the PBR’s Monster Energy Buck Off

Daylon Swearingen, currently ranked #2 in the world, comes back home this weekend as the PBR visits Madison Square Garden for the Monster Energy Buck Off.

Daylon Swearingen is one of the grittiest, hardest-working athletes in pro sports. After taking the western sports world by storm in 2019, driving more than 30,000 miles across North America en route to the 2019 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Bull Riding Championship, 2019 PBR Canada Championship, and qualifications to both the PBR World Finals and NFR, Swearingen continued to excel in 2020 and 2021, proving he would be a force for years to come.

The 22-year-old native of Piffard, New York has been riding since he was a kid. Swearingen is the son of barrel racer and trick rider Carrie, while his father Sam created the prominent Rawhide Rodeo Company, which produces more than 100 events a year and is known for its top animal athletes. Swearingen’s career began aboard the back of sheep and calves, with the New Yorker steadily advancing to bulls by the time he entered high school, where he also competed in bareback. 

Once graduating from the high school ranks, Swearingen began competing at the collegiate level for Panola College in Carthage, TX. pursuing a degree in Land and Ranch Management. Part of the 2019 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) National Championship team at Panola College, Swearingen also claimed individual success, capturing the NIRA National Championship in bull riding. 

I had the opportunity to speak with the 2021 PBR Touring Pro Division Champion, in a fun Q & A ,to discuss his accomplishments, his hip and shoulder surgery at the end of the 2020 season, and eventual comeback that vaulted him to a #2 world ranking.

Q & A With Daylon Swearingen

When the phone rings, it’s a representative from the PBR and she asks if I am ready to speak to Daylon to which I respond absolutely, he comes on and you can hear the kindness in the 22-year-olds voice. We had a slight issue as he kept calling me sir, I am not that old, am I?  This kid was a pleasure to talk to and you can hear the passion he has for this sport in everything he spoke about.

When you were young and riding sheep and calves in Piffard, NY was becoming a professional bull rider something you always wanted to do?

Yes, I always wanted to rodeo and always wanted to PBR and I knew it was pretty cool.

How great is it to ride at Madison Square Garden this weekend?

Madison Square Garden already has a lot of history and normally the PBR season is the first event of the year so it kind of starts the year and I always wanted to be at the start of the year beyond the tour and carry on through it. I think it was in 2018 and 2019 we brought bulls here. I didn’t compete but I brought bulls here and then in 2020 I rode here.

Do you have a lot of family coming to the event this weekend?

Not as much as because with everything going on,  most of my family is from upstate New York, right between Buffalo and Rochester and it’s just kind of a little long [to travel to NYC].

You began your PBR career in 2018 and today you are ranked #2 in the world, how does that feel?

I just want to stay there, it’s the beginning of the year and just need to stay there and move forward. We’ve gotten close up in there in 2020 and then had some injuries and I look forward to being up in the top this year.

Daylon Swearingen 2020 World Finals Studio. Photo by Andy Watson / Bull Stock Media

We discussed his injuries that required surgery following the 2020 season. I asked if his rehab was harder than he expected?

I wouldn’t say it was harder, I just kind of maybe didn’t come back cool. I came back good, but then I just kind of stayed level. I had a second at my first event [back from surgery].

What is your favorite arena you have appeared at?

It would definitely be Madison Square Garden or AT&T Stadium.

I asked him if he could explain how the rating system works at a PBR event along with the breakdown of this weekends event at MSG?

This weekend here in Madison Square Garden, there’ll be two rounds and a short round. So the shorter round will be the top 12 guys from over the two days. So the first two bullls will be drawn [by] random computer draw. So I don’t get to pick the first bull I get on, but then the short round will pick on the order we’re coming back in. So that’s kind of when you want to be on the top. You want to get a bull that you want to get on and it’s 50 points for us and 50 points for the bull so you don’t want a bulll thats too nice to ride and then you have a low score. You want to have a good bull and a good ride and that makes good score.

They [the bulls] get scored on how high they jump and the extension of their kick, and  if they switch. There’s a lot of variables to it.

Daylon ,moved to Texas after he finished high school. I asked what he missed about New York?

Texas gets pretty hot in the summer time, New York has pretty good summers but I don’t I don’t miss the snow, I miss skiing a little bit. I miss the brisk air in the morning.

What’s harder, staying on the bull for 8 seconds, or getting off the bull once the eight seconds has expired?

I mean, they’ll definitely get you off, you don’t have to worry about the choice at the end of the day. Getting off safely, now that’s what you got to work on,  that’s what I need to worry about (laughing).

We ended our Q & A discussing how much he likes this sport.  His answer was short, but displayed the love he has for being in the PBR.

Yeah, I love this sport. I’m very thankful to have it in my life.


Event Details

For the 15th time in history, PBR (Professional Bull Riders) will buck into “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” as the toughest sport on dirt holds one of the initial events of the 2022 season for the elite PBR Unleash The Beast, invading the Big Apple on Jan. 7-8 for Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden, presented by Ariat. For two nights only, 40 of the best riders in the world will square off against the rankest bucking bulls in the nation, the ultimate showdown of man vs. beast, seeking to be crowned the event champion and earn crucial points towards the world standings. (courtesy MSG Networks)

The New York City event will also be one of three Majors this season, giving riders the chance to earn increased world points and their share of the augmented event purse.

The event will be held on Friday, January 7 at 7:45 p.m. and Saturday, January 8 at 6:45 p.m.

Tickets are available through the Madison Square Garden Box office, MSG.Com, and Ticketmaster.




New York Knicks: Julius Randle Could Be A Dark-Horse Candidate To Improve Under New Head Coach

New York Knicks, Julius Randle

New York Knicks Head Coach Tom Thibodeau tends to get the most out of flawed yet talented players. There is a possibility of fans being shocked about what Thibodeau is able to pull out of Julius Randle, especially defensively, if the Knicks actually decide to keep Randle and not ship him elsewhere before next season begins.

The Knicks head coaching position is Tom Thibodeau’s dream job. Thibodeau has a phenomenal understanding of New York due to his time as an assistant for the Knicks from 1996-2003 and the fact that as a youngster, his household grew him up as a Knick fan in Connecticut. Thibs will impact the young Knicks core in a positive way. High motor players tend to thrive under Thibs in the past. Therefore, Julius Randle could be a dark-horse candidate to improve under the new head coach.

The brilliant Tom Thibodeau, who spent four years at Harvard during the late 1980s could definitely relate to Julius Randle when it comes to attacking the boards for rebounds. Thibs was a rebounding machine in 1976 while playing for his high school alumni New Britain High.

Thibodeau, a 6’1″ senior at the time, pulled down 22-rebounds during an upset over Hartford Public. George Lynn, New Britain’s coach, called it one of the best wins he ever had in his coaching career. Thibodeau was relentless then, and he’s relentless now. The relentless competitiveness from Thibodeau may rub off on Julius Randle, who’s actually already a competitive player who may need the reigns pulled back for him occasionally. Could Thibs help tone down the often reckless Randle on the offensive side of the basketball court?

Can the New York Knicks find the best in Julius Randle?

Julius Randle is such a beast physically. He can snatch an offensive rebound, finish around the rim, then guard multiple positions on defense. He has great work ethic and a very strong physical upper body and motor. These characteristics will not rub Tom Thibodeau the wrong way. Julius Randle never played for a winning coach in the NBA. Tom Thibodeau would technically be the first winning coach Randle has played for in the National Basketball Association, and it’s finally going to happen in Randle’s seventh year in the league.

Randle and Thibs have some similarities. One similarity the two share is their love of rebounding. The new head coach hiring could be the best thing to ever happen to Randle in his young NBA career. Or it could be a disaster in which the two are so similar that they bump heads often. Only time will tell Knick fans. Stay tuned!

Summer Ice Might Be Difficult to Maintain for the New York Rangers, MSG Staff

New York Rangers, Brad Skjei

Many scenarios that include the New York Rangers playing hockey this season would seem to indicate that some games could be played in June or July. While that sounds good, it presents a problem form many stadiums around the United States as stadium ice can be tricky to keep in proper shape during summer months. While this is very true for teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning and other southern destinations, the same could be true for the Rangers and the crew at MSG. Most are quite aware that summers can be quite sultry in the NYC area.

The NHL has specific specifications for their rinks

The NHL recommendation is for ambient air to be between 60 and 64 degrees at 40 to 44 percent humidity. One of the biggest challenges happens when the doors open to allow spectators to enter the arena.  While many arenas have the equipment to help maintain these standards, but once the doors are open and all that hot, humid air starts coming in, there is no way to pull the humidity back out with the people in buildings.  Once you get thousands of people in the building for a game, you are adding to the humidity with people talking and yelling and screaming and the general body heat warming the air. This issue may be solved if fans are not permitted into games, especially the ones that are played earlier in the playoffs.

Year-round rinks sometimes struggle with summer ice

In conversing with an upstate New York rink manager about this issue, the manager stated that even for smaller rinks without many fans struggle with the quality of the ice. He states that in the summer, they do a couple of things to help eliminate the main culprit of ice issues, the humidity.

Players and fans entering the building, as stated earlier, create the most significant problem. This rink only opens its doors that are furthest away from the rink. He also mentioned that one of the challenges that rinks face in summer is the fogging of the rink glass.

“We have a big issue with the glass starting to fog over during many summer days,” but he acknowledged that larger arenas with good dehumidifying systems should not have to worry about that. Those systems help in the process of removing moisture from the air to control humidity, often in commercial buildings and industrial processes.

If teams play games in the summer,  they will have to be wary of this because of the uncertainty of what the weather’s going to do. But ii is definitely something that the Rangers and other teams are going to be forced to deal with if games are played this summer.

New York Knicks & MSG pay tribute to the late, great Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant

Everyone around the world is in shock with the tragic passing of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.  Last night, the New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden honored Bryant in multiple ways.

The lights outside the Garden, that display the Knicks blue & orange colors on game night, were switched to Lakers purple & gold.  Mike Breen and Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier remembered Bryant during the pre-game.  There was a 24-second moment of silent before the beginning of the game.  Along with both Bryant’s number 8 & 24 were displayed on the Garden floor.

Like most teams around the league, each team held onto the ball for their first possession, taking the 24-second shot clock violation.  The Garden faithful, a lot supporting Bryant 8 & 24 jerseys, stood and applauded in honor of the late NBA legend.   Chants of “Kobe, Kobe” rained down from the rafters.  It was a emotional day around the entire league.

Bryant had an effect on the lives of so many current and former NBA players, coaches, executives and, of course, fans.  Therefore, playing the games was somewhat of a head-scratching move.  Breen and Frazier began the game with both the Knicks and Brooklyn Nets looking “uninterested and sluggish.”  This was as expected with Bryant’s impact on the game.

Nets point guard, Kyrie Irving, was getting ready in the pre-game warm-ups when he got the devastating news.  Irving sat out the game as his Nets lost to the Knicks 110-97.

While it was nice for the Knicks to get a victory over their rival, fans couldn’t help to think about all the memories Bryant gave the Garden crowd.

Bryant once had the most points scored in Madison Square Garden history with 61 points on February 2nd, 2009.  That record is now broken by Carmelo Anthony’s 62 points against the Charlotte Bobcats in 2014.

Like all other greats, Bryant always brought his A-game when he stepped foot in the Garden.  The lights always seemed brighter and more stars came out when Kobe was in town.  Bryant put on a show for the fans one way or another.

Whether you were a fan of Bryant or not, one has to respect his game.  Bringing that ‘mamba mentality’ to every game is rare.  Not many bring that mindset to each game on a consistent basis.  His determination and drive to be the best is another reason why he was great.

Bryant meant so much to the game of basketball and even more to those outside the game.  He was a larger than life icon that will be greatly missed.

The New York Knicks issued statements before the game on their Twitter account.  From all of us here at Empire Sports Media we wish our condolences to the Bryant family.  Rest in peace Kobe & Gianna.