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Jewel’s Cowboy Bucked

By animal-loving city politicos.

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Last year, as part of a long-standing effort to bring the bull-riding circuit back to Madison Square Garden, Professional Bull Riders, Inc. coughed up $15,000 in lobbying fees to help spike a bill that would have banned the sport in the city. It worked. But now, after renting out the Garden for two days in January and announcing the “historic” event during a recent promotional tour, PBR president Ty Murray has learned that Queens councilman Tony Avella has reintroduced legislation that would ban “flank straps,” beltlike ropes that prompt bulls to buck. “The bull doesn’t react this way on its own,” explains Avella. Murray, a self-proclaimed fourth-generation cowboy from Stephenville, Texas, who’s also the singer Jewel’s boyfriend, says city-slicker pols are misinformed. “Anyone who knows anything about bull-riding knows this ain’t a cruel sport.” The flank straps are lined with sheepskin to make them “more cushiony,” he says, adding that the bulls are given Gatorade to enhance bucking power. “If you’re worried about cruelty, you don’t have to worry about the bulls. You have to worry about the guys.”


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