Professional Bull Riders Miniature Bull Riders
at Madison Square Garden
FDNY Racing at Daytona NBA G- Leagueâ€™s Jameel Warney Scott Machado
4 FDNY Racing: Competing for A Higher Cause NASCAR Truck Racing Team Founded on NY Metro Area Roots 12 2019 Monster Energy Buck-Off The Professional Bull Riders Kicks Off Its 2019 Built Ford Tough Monster Energy Series at NYCâ€™s Madison Square Garden 20 Miniature Bull Riders at The Garden Three young up-and-coming bull riders show the NYC crowd the future of professional bull riding 25 A Picture of Efficiency Jameel Warney of the NBA G-Leaue Westchester Knicks is making his presence known 28 NY Hoops Hero, Scott Machado, Comes Home Former Iona College standout returns with his L.A. Lakers G-League Affitilate
MetroSports Magazine | 1
Train Like a Champion. Train with a Champion. MetroSports Magazine’s former Athlete of the Month and cover of our May-June 2015 issue, Keisher “Fire” McLeod, a former NY Golden Gloves Champion, current NYS Flyweight Champion and current WIBA World Flyweight Champion can now be your personal boxing trainer at the world famous Gleason’s Gym.
www.everyday-lifters.com 2 | January-February 2019
MetroSports Magazine (MSM) is published six times a year by the New York Sports Photo Group. MSM is available online and can be downloaded in electronic format for viewing on tablet and hand-held devices, laptop and desktop computers and purchased as full-color glossy print editions. Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Art Director: Warren Rosenberg Publisher: New York Sports Photo Group: nyspg.com Editorial Director / Sales: John Chuhran Director of Photography: Clark Thompson Social Media: Clark Thompson Photo Contributors: Clark Thompson, Warren Rosenberg Cover Photo of Curtis Riley: Matthew Swensen/New York Football Giants Contributors: John Chuhran, Jim Rosenblum Advertising: For rate card contact email@example.com Please direct all inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit us on the web at: MetroSportsMag.com
MetroSports Magazine accepts and welcomes photos, short articles, opinions and letters from our readers. There is no guarantee that unsolicited contributions will be published and MetroSports Magazine assumes no responsibility for failure to publish or for editing published contributions. The Contents of MetroSports Magazine consist of copyrightable and/or copyrighted material and cannot be reproduced without the express written consent of the publishers. MetroSports Magazine | 3
FDNY Racing Competing for a Higher Cause NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Racing Team With New York Metro Area Roots by John Chuhran
im Rosenblum and the concept of retirement don’t seem to mix.
Rosenblum, a life-long resident of Westchester County, built a successful career in construction and real estate businesses that enabled him to indulge in his passion -- auto racing. He attended the first race at Daytona International Speedway in 1959 as a fan, and by the 1980s he had become involved as a sponsor and race team owner. But last February, Rosenblum announced that the NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona would be his last race as an owner. At age 78, it was time to call it a career. It wasn’t the first time. Rosenblum took the plunge into race car ownership in 1983. He entered former Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Trans-Am series champion Jocko Maggiacomo in three NASCAR Winston Cup Series races. The driver from Poughkeepsie crashed at Dover, experienced an engine failure in the first race at Pocono and finally saw the checkered flag in the second race at Pocono. With a motley crew of mostly inexperienced volunteers and a conservative plan designed to get to the finish, Maggiacomo was classified 26th, 18 laps off the pace. It was enough to convince Rosenblum that big-time auto racing was beyond his reach. So, he parked the car.
4 | January-February 2019
Three years later, with Maggiacomo itching for another chance and bringing some sponsorship money, Rosenblum resurrected the team, refurbished the car and entered races at Pocono and Watkins Glen. Engine problems sidelined the car both times. That 1986 season set the pattern for the next seven seasons: enter two or three races a year, struggle to finish as mechanical problems and crashes took their toll. By the end of the 1993 season, Rosenblum’s team had a frustrating nine-year record of 27 starts and just
Above: From Left, Norman Rosenblum and Jim Rosenblum with the #28 FDNY Racing Chevrolet. Photo Courtesy Jim Rosenblum
four finishes. After his car failed to qualify for the 1994 Daytona 500, he parked it again. Still, Jim was happy. When he paid for his annual license with NASCAR as a car owner, he got credentials that enabled him to go to any race and walk around the garage area and socialize with other owners and team members. They had become his friends and he was one of the family. But as much as he was liked, Rosenblum was also regarded as someone who could not compete at the top level of the sport. He was successful in business, but not enough to buy all the latest equipment needed for his racer to run near the front. Rosenblum was not alone and NASCAR recognized the situation. For 1995, the sanctioning body created the NASCAR SuperTruck Series by Craftsman (now the Gander Outdoors Truck Series). The “trucks” were just Cup race cars with slightly modified roll cages and new bodies designed to look like pick-up trucks. The races were short, often held on small local tracks (with a few combination weekends where they ran as a sup-
port race to the Cup Series) for low purses -part of a plan to allow teams to compete while spending a fraction of what it took to run at the top level. One of NASCAR’s top officials pulled Rosenblum aside to encourage him to turn his car into a truck and enter the new series. “Les Richter (former NFL all-pro player with the L.A. Rams, then a NASCAR vice president) says, ‘listen, we’re starting this truck series’,” Rosenblum said. “You’re gonna take your old Cup cars and cut them up a bit and make ‘em push bigger and everything’s going to be cheap -- no qualifying engines, entries are gonna be $600, tires are gonna be cheap, that’s gonna be cheap....That lasted about three races. We went from coming in with pick-up trucks and trailers to coming in with big haulers. “Those early races were held at some places so small there was no pit area. In the middle of the race, they held a halftime -- you stopped, you got to work on the truck for half an hour while they entertained the fans with some driving demonstrations or some local races, then you went back to racing. I was at the first (Truck series) race in
1995. It was fun back then -- the officials didn’t bust your chops, everybody was friendly, you could make last-minute changes to your team and nobody cared. Then all the big money came in and you couldn’t be competitive without a big budget. Which goes to show that I didn’t get any smarter.” So, with a truck prepared for the new series and driver Kerry Teague signed to climb behind the wheel, Rosenblum began a new adventure. His team entered 12 of the 20 races, they were running eight times at the end (best finish: 13th at Tucson, AZ and Bristol, TN) and ranked 22nd in the season standings. The season ended prematurely after 14 races when Teague crashed in his second straight race and the team found itself out of trucks and out of funds. “Now, there’s still a few teams where you can go up them and say, ‘I need something’ and they’ll help you out and loan you something,” Rosenblum said. “But basically we go already set to race. But the officials always gotta find something. If it was absolutely perfect, they’d say there was something wrong because it was perfect. So it still costs money to do it.” It had been an expensive and frustrating learning experience, but Rosenblum loved being a part of the show. Money continued to be a issue and the team entered just three races in 1996 before Rosenblum pulled the plug and retired again. His truck didn’t run again until 1999 when it appeared for one race and followed with a pair of starts in 2000. The truck sat idle in 2001. It had been an expensive and frustrating learning experience, but Rosenblum loved being a part of
6 | January-February 2019
the show. Money continued to be a issue and the team entered just three races in 1996 before Rosenblum pulled the plug and retired again. His truck didn’t run again until 1999 when it appeared for one race and followed with a pair of starts in 2000. The truck sat idle in 2001. The world and racing changed on September 11, 2001 when Islamic terrorists brought down the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center and caused extensive damage to the Pentagon in Washington. D.C. For Rosenblum, this was a difficult time. Of the 2,977 people killed in the attacks, 343 were New York City firefighters. The total has grown by more than 2,0000 in the subsequent years as cancer and other illnesses caused by inhaling the toxic air from Ground Zero increased the number of casualties. Many of those victims were his friends. So, with determination to pay tribute to New York’s Bravest who had made the ultimate sacrifice, Rosenblum had the truck repainted in red and white with a touch of blue to symbolize the American flag. Mechanically, the truck was refurbished and prepared for competition by long-time NASCAR car owner and engine builder Bob Rahilly of RahMoc. The team was still comprised of volunteers, but now most were New York Firefighters led by Mike Bolnick. The operation was renamed FDNY Racing and it had a new objective as it was reborn in 2002. “After the (attacks on the) World Trade Center,” Rosenblum said, “I decided it was important to make sure people remembered the first responders who were killed, so that’s when I decided to change the (team) name to FDNY Racing and to have the truck painted to honor the firefighters.
“When Fox Sports decided to do a little TV feature on the team, they asked me what I thought about the Middle East. They thought I was going to say ‘we should have peace’ or something like that. I said, ‘we should bomb the hell out of them.’ They’re a bunch of terrorists -- we should bomb the hell out them. After they were done, they called me back and said, ‘we’ve got a problem. We’ve got 66 hours of film and I don’t have five minutes where guys don’t curse or say ‘terrorists’. I laughed and said, ‘hey, you called us. We didn’t call you.’ But it all worked out -- they had like 26,000 hits when it was on their website. You can still find it on YouTube. “Most of the guys on the team are retired or active in the fire department or police department for New York. Right after 9/11, we just changed everything about the team to FDNY. When the cops got killed, we had them on there. When soldiers got killed, we had them on there. The point is, the cops and firefighters and other first responders put their lives on the line every day and these terrorists and protestors are out there acting crazy. These people (first responders) want to save your life and there are people protesting them. It’s crazy.” Where other trucks had advertising on the bodywork, Rosenblum’s had inspirational sayings designed to keep the loss of the 343 in the mind of the public. Lack of funding kept the team’s participation sporadic. Running on a budget of about $35,000 per race -- still just 30 percent of what the top teams spend -- FDNY Racing has never entered more than a half dozen races in any of the last 17 seasons. The truck often struggled just to be fast enough to make the starting field as antiquated parts could not give the FDNY Racing entry the same speed as the newer machines entered by the top teams.
Above: Norm Rosenblum with #28 FDNY driver Bryan Dauzat Photo Courtesy Jim Rosenblum
In addition to raising awareness of the sacrifices of America’s first responders and military members, FDNY Racing has been raising money for the cause at the team’s website, fdnyracing.com. “We’ve been selling stuff -- T-shirts, sweatshirts, decals, model trucks,” Rosenblum said. “We give the money to the widows and children’s fund for the fire department and police department. Hopefully, when tehy wear those shirts, they raise awareness and inspire others. Last February, Rosenblum announced that the seasonopening race would be the team’s last. Journeyman driver Bryan Dauzat qualified 23rd quickest at Daytona, ran with the lead group until he was caught in wreck with 18 laps to go, and, after repairs made during the ensuing caution period, eventually finished MetroSports Magazine | 7
18th, one lap behind the winner. By then, the FDNY Racing truck also honored other fallen first responders and members of the military. Rosenblum is especially concerned about the significant increase in suicides of those who have given so much to protect all Americans. There is a personal connection; long-time friend and team member Joe “Murph” Germani, a highly decorated military veteran who served five tours in Vietnam and retired as a colonel in the U.S. Army, had been involved with Rosenblum’s racing efforts since the humble start in 1983, died in 2010. Germani was remembered with a special tribute on the hood of the truck. “Last year,” Rosenblum said, “for what was supposed to be the last race at Daytona, we put a tribute to ‘Murph’ on the deck lid. He was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and he suffered from PTSD. We had him convinced to go to therapy up at the veteran’s facility in Montrose (N.Y.) and he just didn’t take it. He wound up taking his own life. He was a recipient of many military awards including the Silver Star (the nation’s third highest military honor behind the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross), the Bronze Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was a real hero and a great guy. There’s a quote by General (George) Patton that sums it up pretty good: ‘It is foolish to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.’ This is why FDNY Racing exists. We should never forget.” That was the end...until some of the firefighters and Dauzat got motivated in early summer and began preparing the truck for the Fr8Auctions 250 at Talladega, the only track with the same technical regulations as Daytona. Rosenblum couldn’t say “no” to the men who were working so hard to get the old beast ready to race, so they headed to Alabama for the August competition.
8 | January-February 2019
Above: Photo Courtesy Jim Rosenblum
The specifications for the trucks and cars competing in NASCAR races at Daytona and Talladega are designed to minimize the advantages of the expensive new parts that only the top teams can afford. As a result, those races usually feature large “packs” of competitors bunched together. Separated by under two seconds, as many as 30 trucks can race side-by-side or three wide around the entire track. It is a sight that is among the most exciting in racing, but it is also extremely dangerous; if a competitor is bumped or loses aerodynamic downforce and starts to lose control, those behind are so close that they often have no reaction time and nowhere to go to avoid being
caught in the “big one”. Crashes involving 10 or more vehicles are common. The FDNY truck qualified 27th fastest with Dauzat at the helm, an achievement in itself as four competitors were too slow to make the 32-truck field. In the 94-lap race, he settled into a slot near the back of the lead pack around 20th position and hoped to stay out of trouble. The “big one” occurred on lap 59 as a half dozen trucks were eliminated and another 8 or 10 sustained severe body damage that disrupted the airflow and made them unable to reach the top speeds of the undamaged entries. The strategy of laying back paid off. Dauzat avoided the crashing trucks all around him and restarted in 12th position. Using the draft -- the vacuum created by the air disrupted by the trucks in front of and beside him -- he hung with the leaders and climbed as
high as fourth as the laps wound down. When the final green flag came out with six laps to go, Dauzat was sixth. “We were running fourth until the truck got loose (started to get twitchy),” Rosenblum said. “So I said (over the radio), ‘Bryan, save the truck’. He did and he dropped to the back of the lead pack to like 14th or 15th or something like that.” Dauzat and Rosenblum still expected another crash and they were right. On the back straight on the final lap, six trucks got together and Dauzat carefully steered low along the infield wall. With a trio of wrecked trucks spinning towards him, Dauzat threaded the needle and avoided any contact. He then jumped on the throttle and charged beneath the checkers to finish eighth. It was the fairytale ending that saw Rosenblum take his first top-10 finish in NASCAR competition after 36 years of trying. Like Rocky Balboa in the movies, it wasn’t about winning -- it was about going the distance and proving they belonged. “When they had this big wreck on the last lap,” Rosenblum said, “Bryan was able slow down and sneak through. Eighth is definitely our top finish. It felt good, but it would have felt better to finish higher. We sure had a fun dinner that night. “ The performance at Talladega energized Rosenblum and the team. They immediately set their sights on the 2019 NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona. “Last year at Daytona was my final race -- I retired. So I said to the guys (on the crew), ‘OK, all the stuff is here. I’ll pay the entry (fee) and the tires ($2,600 a set), five sets to cover practice, qualifying and the race), you pay the rest of it.’ So, now I’m on my farewell tour. But for some reason it ends up costing me money anyway.
MetroSports Magazine | 9
“The truck’s exactly the way it was when it came off the track at Talladega. It’s been cleaned up and the normal maintenance was done, but it looks the same with the same decals and everything. At Daytona last year, we dedicated the race to Murph. We had banners up there and decals on the truck. So, when we came back for Talladega, we left it on there and we’ve kept it on for this year. He’s our good luck charm. Hopefully, we’ll do OK.” In first practice, Dauzat ran well and clocked the seventh fastest time. The FDNY Racing entry needed quick speeds; with 39 trucks entered, the seven slowest in official time trials would not make the field for Friday night’s race. During his official qualifying run -- missed by TV channel FoxSports2 while they were on commercial break -- the 59-year-old Dauzat posted a time of 50.348 (178.756 mph), good enough for 21st starting spot.
side-to-side to try to scrub off some speed, the truck was still going faster than normal and Rock made contact with the right front corner of the truck. The crewman was knocked end over end and crashed to the pavement as the Chevy Silverado finally came to a halt more than 40 feet beyond the FDNY Racing pit stall. An ambulance was dispatched and Rock was loaded onto a stretcher and brought to Halifax Health Medical Center where he was treated for a broken shoulder and released. The No. 28 had sustained too much damage to continue -- a situation that became even more disappointing as the race progressed. It was a wild affair of carnage and mechanical failures, leaving Rosenblum to ponder what might have been.
Optimistic about the race, the team watched with excitement as the 32-truck field took the green flag. But things quickly went wrong. Running 20th at the beginning of lap 2, the right front tire of the No. 28 truck blew, leaving Dauzat with no control. He sailed high up the banking, glancing off another truck before smacking the wall hard and continuing around to the pits. Meanwhile, two other trucks had also experienced blowouts and one caught fire when flailing rubber ripped off an oil line, bring out the yellow caution flag and slowing the pace as Dauzat struggled to bring his damaged machine back for service. “Going into the turn on the drop of the green, something came off Joe’s (Nemecheck, who started 19th) truck,” Dauzat said. “Whether it was from his truck or someone else’s truck, I don’t know. I thought I centered it, but it must’ve hit the right-front tire. I don’t know. I lost the brakes when I was coming in. I said, ‘I have no brakes,’ (over the radio) and he came out in front.” “He” was jackman Billy Rock, a retired NYPD Highway patrol officer. With Dauzat weaving the No. 28 10 | January-February 2019
Above: Retired NYPD Highway Patrol Officer Billy Rock, #28 FDNY front tire changer, in good spirts following his run-in with the right front fender. Photo Courtesy of Jim Rosenblum
Above: Photo Credit Jim Rosenblum
“The series has been overrun with teenagers with big checks (to pay for the rides),” Rosenblum said. “With so many inexperienced kids out there, our plan was to drop to the back and stay out of trouble. The way things worked out with all the crashes and the (11) extra laps, there were only three undamaged trucks running at the finish. That (No. 28) truck always ran well in traffic. We could have been right there with them. But we tried our best and Billy (Rock) will heal, so we’ll just keep moving ahead.” Having just celebrated his 79th birthday, Rosenblum does not see another retirement on the horizon. “Here’s the problem,” Rosenblum said. “If you get on drugs, you go to rehab. If you’re an alcoholic, you go to Alcoholics Anonymous. But there’s no rehab for racing.” For those who want to help support the FDNY Racing cause with sponsorship to enable them to race more often, Rosenblum can be contacted at email@example.com or by calling the team’s administrative offices -- often staffed by his brother, former Mamaroneck mayor Norman Rosenblum -- at 914-381-4625.
MetroSports Magazine | 11
“Unleash the Beast” 2019 PBR Monster Energy Buckoff They are athletes pure and simple, make no mistake about it, and they go by such names as Slam Dunk, Hitman, Bad Decision, American Gangster, Slingshot, Dynamite Cap, Heartless and Brother Dave. Over 100 of them gathered at New York City’s Madison Square Garden on January 4-6 to take on the Professional Bull Riders’ best international cowboys in a match billed as The Monster Energy Buckoff. In previous issues of MetroSports Magazine we’ve featured the Bull Riders (January 2017) and Bull Fighters, formerly known as rodeo clowns (March-April 2016). In this issue, our focus is on the bulls. Since so much of what tests the bull riders’ skill and so much of what attracts sellout crowds and lucrative sponsorship deals and television contracts are the bulls, the PBR recognizes the importance of these athletes to the success of their sport.
The catacombs under Madison Square Garden might not be all that different from the waiting rooms and passageways of New York’s Penn Station, also under Madison Square Garden, and are certainly not the kind of place you’d want to your elite athletes sleeping overnight. So, while the cowboys and support staff of the PBR spend their nights while in New York at Manhattan hotels – also not suitable for 1,500 pound bulls – the PBR’s elite bovine
Above: Living Large throwing rider Jose Vitor Leme at 3.40 seconds. Photo Credit: Warren Rosenberg Facing Page: Maybe So bucks off Koal Livingston at 2.11 seconds. Photo Credit: Clark Thompson
12 | January-February_ 2019
MetroSports Magazine | 13
athletes are chauffeured back and forth between the Garden and their luxury “hotel” in New Jersey. With the current tolls for crossing the George Washington Bridge, the PBR spends approximately $21,000 transporting bulls between the Garden and their “hotel” for one weekend’s Monster Energy Buckoff at the Garden. And why wouldn’t the PBR invest in such highend treatment of their bucking bulls. Let’s face it, Madison Square Garden would be hard-pressed to sell out three nights of a major sporting event if all that spectators might expect to see were talented cowboys riding comfortably on an animals back for 8 seconds. What draws the crowds to PBR events in major cities across the country is what the PBR bills as “the world’s most dangerous sport”. In the months and weeks leading up to the PBR’s Monster Energy Buckoff at the Garden, the promotional tagline frequently used was, “Unleash the Beast”. It is, in fact, the “beasts” that many spectators come to see or, if not, to watch the bullriding cowboys to use their strength, courage and technical skills to prevail over the “beast” which has been both bred and trained to try and throw, or “buck” them off. The danger in The World’s Most Dangerous Sport is the “wreck”, the sport’s unofficial name for the rider being thrown off the bucking bull. The PBR’s bulls are provided by a select group of breeders, known as stock contractors, who compete against each other to provide the most challenging bulls. While the sport of professional bull riding does award points to the bull riders based on their ability to complete an 8-second ride aboard 1,500 pounds of bucking fury and does crown a bull riding champion each year, the sport also scores and ranks bulls based on their performance. Perhaps most important to the bulls and their stock contractors is the bulls’ “buckoff percentage”, a measure of how many riders the bull has thrown off before the 8-second ride has finished. Right: Heartless at work against Rubens Barbosa
14 | January-February 2019
Photo Credit: Warren Rosenberg www.nyspg.com
MetroSports Magazine | 11
It’s not unusual to expect that Major League Baseball players study the pitchers that they will face by reading scouting reports and watching tapes of recent outings. If you’re a left handed hitter known for power, it would be helpful to know what types of pitches to expect before stepping up to the plate. Similarly, bull riders know which bulls they will be riding, can study how that bull has performed in the past and, particularly, what he has done when mounted by a right or left-haded rider. The rider can adjust his technique to suit a particular bull. To make things more interesting for knowledgeable fans, the PBR publishes “The Morning Line” each day of an event giving the spectators some insight about how a particular bull matches up with a rider. Here are two of “The Morning Line” postings from the New York City PBR Monster Energy Buckoff.
Cody Teel on Cut the Cord: This is a great draw for Teel. On paper, Cut the Cord is a much better fit for right-handed riders, and he normally likes to go to the right. He can go to the left equally well if they buck him on the left side, and he threw Kaique Pacheco off at the World Finals out of a left delivery. He’s listed as a right delivery here, so he should spin into Teel’s hand. Which direction he spins isn’t a huge factor here, because Teel is really strong on bulls that go away from his hand. Cooper Davis on Breaking Bad: This is a pretty wild and out of line bull, but he relies on his agility and doesn’t have a lot of real power. He usually goes to the left, and he’s squirrely enough to be a challenge for a right-handed rider. He’s never allowed a righty to make the whistle. Davis is good enough to end that streak and make this an even matchup.
Above: Bull Rider cowboys studying notes and preparing for their ride at MSG Facing Page: American Gangster taking a victory lap around the MSG arena
16 | January-February 2019
Photo Credit: Warren Rosenberg www.nyspg.com
MetroSports Magazine | 13 MetroSports Magazine | 17
Not more than one mile south of Madison Square Garden, beginning at the corner of 9th Avenue and 16th Street, the Cityâ€™s now upscale Meatpacking District was once home to approximately 250 slaughterhouses and meat packing plants where countless numbers of cows and bulls met their demise. Five blocks north and three blocks west of Madison Square Garden were New York Cityâ€™s stockyards where cattle destined to be processed for the dinner table in the 16th street slaughterhouses were held after beimg unloaded from trains rolling in from the American west. It was not an uncommon sight from the 1850s right up through the 1950s for New York Citys streets, from 39th to 41st street between 11th and 12th Avenues, to be closed to traffic to allow for cattle drives. On a weekend in early, on the corner of 8th Avenue and 33rd Street, the bulls get their revenge.
Photo Credit: Warren Rosenberg www.nyspg.com
18 | January-February 2019
Contrary to what some might think, the PBRâ€™s bulls do not buck because of any devices, straps, or mistreatment of the animals. In fact, nothing is done to make these bulls buck other than sitting a man on their back which they simply try to throw off. The bucking bull athletes are specifically bred for their bucking ability, trained first with dummies and then actual riders. Only those that show a native ability to jump high, turn forcefully, and change direction unexpectedly, are selected to compete in PBR events.
Photo Credit: Warren Rosenberg www.nyspg.com
MetroSports Magazine | 19
Miniature Bull Riders Association Display Their Talents at MSG The Professional Bull Riders (PBR) kicked-off their 2019 season with three days of extreme sports at New York City’s Madison Square Garden – The World’s Most Famous Arena – as part of the Ford Built Tough Series Monster Energy Buck Off. Along with the 35 professional bull riders competing for season points and $140,000 in prize money, the 18,000 fans in attendance each day were treated to an exhibition of bravery and talent by some of the youngest bull riders in the country. Three young men, representing the Miniature Bull Riders Association (MBR), joined their professional colleagues at the Garden to try their best at hanging on for an 8-sec-
ond ride aboard 1,000 pounds of bucking miniature fury. On hand to show off their talent to the sold-out New York City crowd were MBR riders Hagen Braswell (competing in the 12-14 year old ‘senior’ division and Ryder Carpenetti and Ethan Winckler, both competing in the 1011 year old ‘junior’ division. This past November, Winckler was crowned as the MBR Junior Bull Riding World Champion. The MBR was founded in 2011 by Lillie and Cirildo Leal and grew from an organization with just a handful of riders. In 2012, Champion bull rider Chris Shivers joined on in part-
Photo Credit: Warren Rosenberg Above: Hagen Braswell heads out from the chute on the arena floor at Madison Square Garden. Facing Page: Ryder Carpenetti shows his classic bull riding form to the New York City crowd.
20 | January-February 2019
Photo Credit: Warren Rosenberg
MetroSports Magazine | 21 MetroSports Magazine | 19
Photo Credit: Warren Rosenberg
nership with the Leals and in 2015 the PBR itself became a promoting sponsor. According to Matt West, PBR announcer, the MBR works with young riders, “setting them up to become the next generation of superstars” in the PBR. Does it work? Just ask PBR Rookie of the Year and 2019 Buck Off at the Garden Championship Round competitor, Keyshawn Whitehorse, who came up through the MBR. The MBR is organized into three age divisions: Pee-Wee (8-9 year olds), Juniors (10-11 year olds), and Seniors (12-13 years old). With the average 12 year-old male weighing 88 pounds and riding bull weighing approximately 1,000 pounds, these young athletes take on a bigger challenge than their older, professional, counterparts who, weighing in at an average of 190 pounds, over double their weight, have to contend with opponents weighing approximately 1,800 pounds. With safety as a primary issue,
these junior athletes are required to wear a helmet, vest, chaps and mouthpiece. Helmets are optional for the professional riders with some preferring to just wear a cowboy hat. It wasn’t all work for these up-and-coming bull riders. Ryan and his family enjoyed all of the typical NYC tourist sites including visits to the Brooklyn Bridge and ice skating in Central Park. Although Ryan and his sister showed grace on the ice, rumor has it that Dad took a tumble. Hagen posted on his Facebook page that he, “I can’t begin to explain how much fun I had this week in New York. I thank MBR and PBR for the incredible opportunity to be one of the first MBR boys ever to ride at Madison Square Garden. It was an amazing feeling!” Well, right back at you Hagen. We had fun watching you as well.
Above and Facing Page: Ethan Winckler sits firmly atop a half-ton of bucking bull at The Worlds Most Famous Arena
22 | January-February 2019
Photo Credit: Warren Rosenberg
There’s one particularly notable thing about the MBR. While all of the PBR’s professional bull riders are men, there is one young lady who currently competes in the MBR. Najiah Knight, a 12 year old and who grew up in a bull riding family and has been training since the age of 3, starting off riding mutton. Last year she finished in 11th place in the MBR’s Junior Division World Standings. As quoted just a few days ago to writer Darci Miller of the PBR, Najiah spoke about her long-term goals. “I want to be the first girl in the PBR,” she said. “I know that girls can do anything.” Although MetroSports did not catch Najiah at the NYC Monster Energy Buckoff at the Garden, we’re still darn proud of her and look forward to a future visit - either as an MBR rider or, better yet, in a future PBR event.
Above: Photo Courtesy Cark Thompson www.ClarkShots.com
24 | January-February 2019
A Picture of Efficiency The NBA G-League’s Westchester Knicks Jameel Warney Captivates His Home Town Fans With Outstanding Performance Since signing with the Westchester Knicks in early January, local product Jameel Warney is making his presence known as one of the team’s leading scorers and one of the NBA G-League’s most efficient players. The Westchester Knicks, the NBA G-League affiliate of the NBA’s New York Knicks, play their home games at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, N.Y., which also serves as the home court for the WNBA’s New York Liberty. At the time of February’s last game against the Lakeland Magic, Warney stood as the Knicks leading scorer, averaging 19.1 points per game and was ranked as the 18th highest scoring player among all 262 active NBA G-League players with 607 total points and, again, leading the Knicks just ahead of teammate Billy Garrett with 601 total points. Perhaps most impressive, is Warney’s calculated NBA Player Efficiency Rating, a mathematically calculated composite factoring in both offensive and defensive performance ((Points + Rebounds + Assists + Steals + Blocks) - ((Field Goals Att. - Field Goals Made) + (Free Throws Att. - Free Throws Made) + Turnovers)). Warney’s NBA Efficiency Rating of 19.1 puts him at the top of the team and at 11th in the NBA G-League. In the January 16th match-up against his former teammates on the Texas Legends, Warney led the Westchester Knicks scoring effort by sinking 25 points in what was his second consecutive 20-point game. He scored 22 points in just his second game with the Knicks against the Salt Lake City Stars on January 14th after joining the team on January 8th in a swap for Xavier Rathan-Mayes. Warney played
Above: Photo Courtesy Clark Thompson. MSG Sports & Entertainment
MetroSports Magazine | 25
22 games this season with the Texas Legends, the G-League affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks and has notably picked up his productivity since landing on the court of the Westchester County Center. On January 21st against the Windy City Bulls, he put up 31 points in what was his then season high score and in his last outing, a 120-106 win against the Grand Rapids Drive, Warney poured in 23 points on 62.5-percent shooting. He also hauled a team-high 12 boards and dished eight assists on the night. With a roster populated by former college standouts from big-name basketball programs such as Arizona, Tennessee, North Carolina, Vanderbilt and UNLV, it is somewhat unexpected that a local player out of SUNY Stony Brook is performing so well. It comes as no surprise however to the residents of nearby Roselle, New Jersey and Stony Brook, New York. Raised in nearby New Brunswick, New Jersey and polishing his skills as a member of the AAU New Jersey Hot Shots and 26 | January-February 2019
the Roselle Catholic High School basketball program under the tutelage of coach Dave Boff, Jameel completed his high school career in 2012 as the school’s all-time leading scorer. The next stop for Warney was the State University of New York at Stony Brook where, once again, he established himself as the program’s all-time leading scorer, the winningest player in school history, and also the all-time leader in rebounds, blocks and games played. He set a career high scoring record of 43 points in a game against the University of Vermont in 2016. So dominant was he at Stony Brook that the university retired his number, 20, at a home game ceremony in 2017. The Westchester Knicks and their home-town fans continue to expect big things from #34 and, given his history of playing a dominant role wherever he’s been, he’s sure not to disappoint. Photo Credit: Above and facing page: Warren Rosenberg courtesy of MSG Sports and Entertainment
New York Hoops Hero Scott Machado Comes Home by John Chuhran
It was an unfamiliar gym, but the moves were the same. The public address announcer confirmed his identity when he said his name after scoring two points, though it sounded a bit strange to hear it spoken in the subdued tone reserved for players on the visiting team. Still, Scott Machado was back in the community where he had become a basketball star and he was playing the game he loves. A group of family and friends was there to watch him. Everyone was happy. The Westchester Knicks pulled away in the closing minutes to defeat the South Bay Lakers 103-89. Coming off the bench, Machado played 31 minutes for the Lakers -- the fourth most on the team -- and finished with nine points and a game-high 10 assists. The performance was a reminder of days gone by. From 2008-12, Machado was the dominant force for the Gaels of Iona College, Westchester Countyâ€™s perennial contender for a berth in the 64-team NCAA Menâ€™s Collegiate Basketball Championship Tournament.
28 | January-February 2019
While playing for the little school in New Ro chelle, N.Y., Machado became the key player by doing the crucial little things that do not get much publicity but are so important to victory. He logged a school-record 880 as sists (a whopping 322 more than secondplace Rory Grimes) and in turnovers recovered (440) while ranking 11th in total points scored (1,613), fourth in free throws made (432), and sixth in steals (191). Being a player who helped his teammates be their best remained his signature. As a junior, he logged 281 assists, becoming the first Iona player to top 200 in a season. A year later, he was even better, registering 327 as his unselfish play earned him finalist consideration for the Bob Cousey Award and the John Wooden Award. But despite his achievements, the 6-foot-1 point guard went undrafted in the 2012 NBA draft. He agreed to play with the Houston Rockets Summer League team. In September signed to play for the organization and was assigned to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. On November 26, 2012, Machado was recalled by the Rockets. Two days later, he made his NBA debut, recording two points (appropriately, they were free throws) and one assist
in a 98-120 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. After being returned to the Vipers, Machado was recalled to the Rockets on December 22. He appeared in five of the next eight games, adding a two-point basket in three of the contests while playing more than 4:08 just once. Never really settling in at the NBA level, Machado was waived by the Rockets on January 7, 2013 after playing just six games at the sport’s highest level. He has been trying to get back to the Promised Land ever since. “I started off in the NBA,” said Machado, still a trim 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, “but then I ended up going overseas -- to France, Estonia, Germany, Spain. Then I came back here to dream again with the G League. I also played for my national team in Brazil.” That allegiance to his national team may have hurt him in his return to Westchester County. After scoring 17 and 33 points in two games for the Lakers, he was permitted to leave the team to go to Brazil for a tournament. He missed three games for South Bay and joined the team in New York after a long journey that saw him get just a couple of hours sleep on a plane over the preceding 24 hours. “When I found out we were having a road game in New York,” said Machado, who shot an uncharacter-
istic 3-for-11 from the floor against the Westchester Knicks, “I just couldn’t miss out, so I hurried home. I made it back and tried to fight through it (the lack of sleep and physical drain from travel), but we couldn’t come out with the victory. Scoring (well) in those last two games before I left was pretty satisfying, especially since we got the wins. But I was running on adrenalin and I just didn’t have the touch tonight.” At age 28, Machado is grizzled veteran compared to his teammates and most of his opponents. He enjoys the challenge of playing against some players nearly a decade his junior. “They keep me up, keep me young every day,” Machado said. “We see new faces every day, so we just keep trying our best and trying to adapt. I feel like that’s just life -- you’ve got to adapt to new circumstances, seeing new guys. It is what it is. We just go through it a day at a time and try not to stress about any stuff that is happening. We just keep positive about it. “ “My goals?,” Machado asked as he flashed his trademark ear-to-ear smile, “To play this game as long as I can. Of course, I’d love to go back to the NBA, but if that doesn’t happen I’ll just play at the highest level I can for as long as I can.” Since visiting Westchester, Scott Machado has continued to play a strong game of basketball. Through 39 games, the Lakers were just 15-24, but Machado was coming off a 22-point, 10-rebound performance (his seventh double-double of the season) in a 115-95 win over the Austin Spurs. Machado continues to inspire and mentor younger teammates while showing a talent and an unselfish sense of teamwork that provides him with great personal satisfaction while he plays the game that fuels his passion. And he is happy. Everyone should be lucky enough to have job like that.
Above: Photo Credit Warren Rosenberg Facing Page: Photo Credit Clark Thompson
MetroSports Magazine | 29