Saturday, January 19, 2013

NYC Skeeball League Wants You!

Looking for a fun, social sport that doesn't require you to kick a ball or run on a field? Think back to your childhood... No, not your soccer days, and not your softball days either... Remember your days at the arcade? Think about the first time you placed a quarter (or a game token) in a Skeeball machine, got your nine balls and aimed high to outscore your friends. Now, add a beer or three, and you've got yourself the NYC Skeeball League

NYC Skeeball League 
You don't have to be an athlete to throw a skeeball, and in fact, the creators of the league ask that you leave your athletic skills at home, and instead bring your socializing skills. The NYC Skeeball League focuses not on competition, but on camaraderie. You can come with your own team, or come solo and join a team. Best of all, your membership in the league gets means all of your Skeeball games are FREE while you're playing for the league. 

A typicaly Skeeball "season" consists of several game nights over seven or eight weeks, taking place between 7pm and 9:30pm, during which your team plays two matches against other teams.  (A "match" is a best out of seven games series... so the first team to win four games takes that match). Games are located at bars around Manhattan and Brooklyn and typically take place on the same night weekly. During a single season, your team will always play at the same location, and your membership also includes a league t-shirt, and drink and food specials at the bar where you play. Game play also promises prizes and parties! 

Read an overview here, or view the full set of rules here. Membership fee for an entire season costs only $50 to $65. The earlier you sign up, the better rate you'll get. 

Skeeball Brings People Together
In addition to league games, by joining the NYC Skeeball League, you'll also be privy to special member-only happy hours, movie nights and other fun events. Learn more on the league's meetup and facebook pages. There are still a few spots left for various game locations in the Winter season league, so sign up now.  

Current open team locations include:

Ace Bar (East Village/Alphabet City, E. 5th btwn Aves A & B) -- season begins Thursday, January 24.

Brother Jimmy's (Murray Hill, E. 31st and Lex) -- season begins Thursday, January 31; registration closes January 25. 

Bar East Ale House (Upper East Side, 1st & 90th)  -- season begins Thursday, February 7; registration ends January 27.

Boss Tweeds Saloon (Lower East Side, Essex btwn Rivington and Delancey)-- season begins Thursday, February 7; registration ends February 1.

(**Note, registration at any of the above locations may end earlier, based on availability**).

All photos and logos in this post were used with permission and are the property of the NYC Skeeball League.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2013 "Professional Bull Riders" Season Opener Invitational Rode into NYC This Weekend

Professional Bull Riders 2013 Season Opener at MSG
This weekend, cowboys ruled the streets of the city as New Yorkers put on their boots and spurs and saddled up for the 2013 "Professional Bull Riders" season opener at Madison Square Garden.  The 3-day "Monster Energy Invitational" was the first of approximately twenty-five national invitationals in the "Built Ford Tough Series," which will culminate in a winner-takes-all world championship event in Las Vegas from October 23-27, 2013.

It's no easy feat to maintain this kind of control...
New York City is the only northeast stop for the Built Ford Tough Series, where 40-odd riders vied for top scores.  With tough bulls like "Bushwhacker" and "Asteroid" in the competition this year, it is no wonder that many riders could barely stay atop the bulls for 3 seconds, let alone the 8 seconds granted for judging.  Finding just the right combination of bull and rider is what can help one make it to the top, as judges look for how challenging the bull itself makes the ride, as well as the rider's own determination.  Find a full explanation of the scoring rules here.  There's much more to bull riding than meets the eye, as even a rider who can maintain his posture for 8 seconds may become disqualified in other ways, such as using two hands to ride.

Some riders had less than elegant falls, while others performed steadfastly upon the furious animals leaping and kicking below them.  A horse and rider pair stayed nearby to rope in any bulls that were reluctant to return to the pen after a ride, but aside from a few errant charges here and there, most of the bulls strutted back without a care.  Complete with a rodeo clown to tell jokes, "Moonwalk," and otherwise keep the crowd warmed up between rides, the PBR event brought wholesome family fun.

Down and out!
The top rider at the New York Invitational was 29 year old Robson Palermo, from Rio Branco, Brazil, who scored a total of 816.50 points, with an average ride score of 86.58.   Next weekend, riders will head to the PBR's Chicago Invitational, and the events across 18 states will continue just about every weekend through May 10, stop for the summer, and then pick up again in August as the October finals in Las Vegas draw nearer.  Check the series schedule to see if you might be traveling to a town or city where the PBR will be held this year, and purchase tickets on ticketmaster.