For New York Exes, The Bull Riding Is Mechanical

Despite their distance from the motherland, the New York Texas Exes know how to infuse their city with Texas pride.

They already hold a chili cook-off that draws more than 1,000 people to a Manhattan rooftop for a taste of back home each year.

Now they’ve taken Texas Independence Day celebrations to a new level, throwing a wild party complete with a mechanical bull-riding competition — and raising thousands for scholarships in the process.

This year’s event, the second annual, took place Feb. 27 at Johnny Utah’s in midtown Manhattan.

When Billy Gyarfas, BA ’01, Life Member, came up with the idea, he realized there were exactly two venues in New York that had mechanical bulls. Johnny Utah’s, he said, offered the 400-plus guests and 70-some bull-riders lots of room to have a good time.

“It’s rowdy during the day,” he says. “People play beer pong and flip cup, and we have the Texas-Texas A&M basketball on in the background. People come in and have a great time. We bill it as come and have Texas fun at Texas prices.”

Not only Longhorns, but also Aggies, Horned Frogs, and Mustangs — plus New Yorkers who just like Texans — have been invited to the party. This year, it cost organizers nothing to put on, and raised $2,500 for scholarships.

The bull riding, though, is only for the brave (and those willing to sign waivers and pony up an entry fee). Chapter president Chad Robertson, BA ’03, set a lionhearted example. Gyarfas didn’t drum up the courage.

“Honestly, I haven’t ever ridden the bull,” Gyarfas says. “It looks scary. I have a lot of fun getting up on the microphone and doing that stuff.”



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