THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING!

As an old friend of mine used to say, “I am OUTDONE!” This is just the last straw!! PBR website features a 3-page story about JB Mauney’s sprained wrist, beginning with, “The most anticipated injury update of 2014 is a sprained left wrist.” ???!!!

How about Robson Palermo dislocating his shoulder twice this month?? Oh, he’s only the three-time world-record-holding Finals event winner. World Champion Mike Lee’s knee surgery? Have we gotten bulletins about his MRI being rushed anywhere? He’s taken off less time than JB has, for a surgery that normally has a rehab time a lot longer than that for a sprained wrist. (I had two such surgeries.)

What about Claudio Crisostomo’s clavicle surgery? Fabiano Vieira’s and Tanner Byrne’s concussions? Matt Triplett sprained his (riding hand) wrist, too. I’m sure they won’t bother with stories about Thad Newell’s broken shoulder blade or Keith Roquemore, Brady Sims, and Brent Chaffin’s concussions–I mean, whoever heard of them, right? They’re lucky they got a sentence or two in the Injury Report.

Sure, last month the PBR website ran a 5-page story on Kody Lostroh’s and Robson Palermo’s injuries (before the twice-dislocated shoulder): 3 1/2 pages of it were devoted to Kody. (The extensive coverage included the fact that he’s adding rubber gym mats, wrestling mats, and exercise equipment to his home workout area.) Robson got slightly more than 1 page.

The PBR’s slavish devotion to JB above all other riders is disgusting and disrespectful to other riders, especially those who have more serious injuries. Why is JB’s boo-boo bigger, badder, and better than everyone else’s? Clearly the PBR thinks he’s worth more as a human being than anyone else, just because he’s got a certain buckle. I guess those boys all think they’re “going steady” with JB. Newsflash, boys: he’s married. Your crush is just cringe-worthy.

And I’ll bet JB thinks this hoopla is ridiculous, too.

PBR has completely lost its perspective. Tom Teague retiring is a LOT bigger news, not just for them, but also for the bucking bull industry. When PBR was getting off the ground, he gave them $3.1 million to help get them TV rights; he’s on their Board of Directors, and he won the Jim Shoulders Award. If they hadn’t put him on the front page, I’d be even madder.

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BY THE TIME I GET TO PHOENIX—it’s a month later.

SUNDAY

I liked that cinema verité opening in the locker room with Jesse Byrne and his brother Tanner discussing Tanner’s draw, Little Bighorn. They actually sounded natural. Then in comes The Hokey One: Flint with his set lines, and BLAM! We’re back to B.S.

500
So happy they replayed Guilherme Marchi’s 500th ride; I missed it happening in real time. Twitter was all lit up about it. Now let’s count how often we see it, compared to JB Mauney’s ride on Bushwacker, which I think I’ve already seen 50 times—and I don’t even catch all the events, or watch the LEC. (You know that stands for Let’s Extort Cash, right?) Speaking of—if he rode Pandora’s Pyxis for his 500th ride, how much you wanna bet the score would be 10 points higher than Marchi’s 84?
Jesse Byrne: “I can’t say enough good things about Guilherme Marchi.”
Brandon Bates presented Marchi with a plaque; Marchi’s comment: “I thank God for make me happy and a good guy.” We do too, Guilherme!

NAMING NAMES
I’ve decided that from now on, if the broadcasts name the judges and I don’t blink while they’re listed onscreen, I’m naming them here—or at least the ones I can catch. I’m sure we all want to know which one is the shithead on the chute who’s DQing Brasileiros right and left. The only ones I could catch this time were Chad Pighin, Allen Jordan, and Jeff Shear.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BEN
Ben Jones is 35 years old today, and his present was Meat Hook. Bummer. Last time they met, the outcome was a left rib fracture for the cowboy, and another notch on his belt (or wherever) for the bull. Lately it’s becoming easier for the bulls to buck him off, so now Ben’s fighting his head. Again. 44 for the bull this time.

THIS IS WHY THE BULLFIGHTERS GET PAID THE BIG BUCKS (NOT!)

  • Hideous hangup: Claudio Crisostomo put the bullfighters through their paces, with his whole leg stuck in the rope and the upside-down rest of him bouncing and rebounding headfirst under No Regrets. Jesse Byrne leaped onto the bull’s back to free Claudio’s spur, struggled, and got bucked right over the bull. That can happen when you weigh about the same as a Thanksgiving turkey. (Eventually Claudio was freed and walked away, but with a fractured left clavicle.) Jesse’s salary can’t possibly be enough.
  • As Winter Jack chased him around, Jesse was giggling! He ended up breathless at the broadcasting mics. Justin McBride (who rarely opens his mouth without saying something that’s going to offend someone other than a while male): “Jesse’s laughing all the way through it—I’d be crying like a little girl.”

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Renato Nunes, needing 86 to lead, scored 92.50 on rank Air Time. Yesss!
  • Mr. Feiger, half-brother to Bushwacker, son of Reindeer Dippin’, pounds each jump, front and back hooves—and fast. As soon as he ditched Sean Willingham, he kicked so high over his head, he almost did a headstand, then kicked his hind hooves on top of the Shark Cage. Good genes!

I’M JUST SAYIN’…
It’s been interesting (and depressing) to watch Renato trying to find the sweet spot: Should I be back on the end of my arm? Should I try staying over the front of the bull? When did this start being a problem? What’s going on with me? My backflips are gonna rust

I’M JUST YELLIN’…
Silvano Alves was DQ’d for taking too long in the chute—they stopped him in the middle of wrapping! Silvano actually looked mad, which happens about once every two years. What I heard the judge yelling to Silvano: “10, 5, 3, Out! Stop! Stop!” How does anyone think this guy has what it takes to be a professional judge? This was downright juvenile, petty, and ugly.

THE BROTHERS BYRNE
Cute to have Jesse comment on his brother’s ride last night. Tanner started out with a borrowed glove; he left his in the locker room. I had to laugh at Craig explaining that pop Ryan Byrne couldn’t be a judge at this event because Tanner had qualified, “and the PBR didn’t want any sense of impropriety.” HAH!! This would be the only they ever cared about propriety!
Nice bit on the dirt: “Heads up, he’s coming back,” said Jesse to his dismounted bro at the fence, as the bull decided to revisit his rider.
Craig Hummer: “Jesse, I got so caught up in the excitement, I called you Shorty!”
Jesse: “I’ve been called worse.”
Tanner concentrated very well, racking up an 88 on Compact as Jesse cheered him on. After Tanner got hit by the bull, Jesse reassured him that he was all right—as the kid developed a bruised eye.

I’M JUST ASKIN’…

  • Do NBA sportscasters say, “Chinese American, Jeremy Lin?” Get over it, PBR. You wanted international reach, you got it. The name is not “BrazilianJRVieira” or “NativeAmericanGuyTsosie.”
  • How is Jesse Byrne so little and Tanner Byrne so big?
  • Matt Triplett scored 88.25 on Shepherd Hills Stockman (barely). Uh, isn’t it a little weird that one of his sponsors is Shepherd Hills? Can you say “conflict of interest”? I knew you could.

A FIRST

  • I think this might be a first: João Ricardo Vieira’s bull hipped himself and changed the direction of the ride, Vieira challenged what would’ve been a zero, and his challenge was accepted! (I know; I had to pick myself up off the floor.) He was given a reride. Smart move, dude! “A very good challenge from the Brazilian,” blathers Hummer.
  • This might be a first (maybe a second): Silvano Alves, still recovering from a separated shoulder on his riding arm, accepted a re-ride after his not-very-pretty out on Frontier Outlaw.

PAY ATTENTION TO THAT MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN
Very cool: Catapult Sports has Gary McCoy scientifically monitoring and analyzing rider and bull movement and force. If he’s too accurate about which rider stayed on or didn’t stay on, though, and he gets objective numbers, he might find himself out of a gig.

HUMMERBLATHER:
“JB Mauney still continues to lead.” “Still continues”?

FASHION ALERT
Jory Markiss rocked a great turquoise shirt.

MAN OF FEW WORDS
What did Mike Lee know about Tank ahead of time? “He’s red and white.”

JUST SO YA KNOW
David’s Dream has been ridden 3 out of 34 outs. Valdiron de Oliveira rode him 2 out of their 3 meetups.

COWBOY DICTIONARY
Stanley Fatmax “has a lot of rare,” says Ty Murray, presumably looking forward to a Stanley steak when Fatmax retires.

AHH, YOUTH!
“He didn’t seem like nothing special.”—Gage Gay acting nonchalant about picking Tennessee Honey, because he rode him last time with no problem.

LOWLIGHTS
This is the 4th time Valdiron rode Sue. He scored 85.75, but got beat up: hoof in the face and back of his head, and stomped all over. How can he even stand up, let alone walk out?? He has to have a concussion after that. Helmet!!

HO-HUM, THE “LEGEND” CONTINUES (You know Hummer’s gonna start calling JB a “legend” pretty soon, right?)
JB needed 87 to win on Team Elk. McBride predicted 90. Of course they scored him 89.25. (Surprise surprise.) Too bad for Tanner, who was #1 for a moment, having ridden all 3 of his bulls. (And yes, that is the correct verb tense.) “I’da handed it to him, but it’s everybody for himself when you’re riding bulls,” said JB.

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IRON COWBOY– WITH SOME RUST ON IT

Bushwacker trots out for his spotlight turn, but there’s no mention of Kent Cox.
In the first minute of the broadcast, we hear The Name of Names: Ty Murray explained what a rider’s focus should be. “If you’re JB Mauney, you can’t be thinking about Bushwacker…”

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“If you think too far ahead, it’s gonna bite you in the rear end.”—JW Hart

BULLS BRINGING IT!
So many shockingly quick buckoffs! Who Dey did it to Robson Palermo, Seminole Wind put it to Douglas Duncan, Spotted Velvet took down Valdiron de Oliveira, Honey Hush tossed Silvano Alves, Altercation bucked JB onto the gate in about two seconds (didn’t even get his jeans dirty), I’m A Gangster Too faked out Guilherme Marchi, Big Tex Rocks “is able to rock the world of the big Brazilian,” as Hummer expressed what the bull did to João Ricardo Vieira (who apparently is interchangeable with all the other guys from South America), Mick E Mouse made an outrageous entrance (more bad luck for Vieira)… It’s a good thing a guy didn’t have to make 8 to advance to the next round.

SERIOUSLY??
• “We’re gonna take a moment to pause,” says Craig, explaining what’s happening between Valdiron de Oliveira and Ty Pozzobon. I was so dumbfounded by this gem that I have no idea what happened between Valdiron de Oliveira and Ty Pozzobon.
• “He gets thrown, bucked, and tossed, all at the same time.” Hummer talking about Ty P. on Wicked (debuting here; has been bucking in the PRCA). I’m trying to picture it, but all I’m coming up with is shaken, not stirred.
• “The legend of Gage Gay continues to grow,” proclaims The Blatherer. For god’s sake, the kid is 19 years old and just showed up this season, and he’s a legend?? Look up that word in the dictionary, doofus! And yet he can make it even worse: “The future is now for this 19-year-old.” Well, then I guess Gay can just go home now; apparently he has nothing to look forward to. Sigh. Sometimes I despair for the human race.
• And then Gage says Asteroid “better watch out, ’cause I’m coming for him.”
• “Silvano is one of those guys who has two World Championships not only because he rides bulls well, but also because he rides the good bulls.” Um, didn’t you and your cronies spend last year ragging on Alves because “he picks bulls he can ride”?

YIKES!
Mike Lee, #2 in the world, has had 6 top 10s this season, yet Winter Jack handed him the worst/funniest/longest hangup ever. His spur caught in the rope. Such a freakish hangup; Lee was flopping up and down like a crash dummy. Thank god for Frank the Tank climbing halfway onto the bull’s back to release Mike’s hand—or was it his foot? I’ll take that 77.25, thank you very much.

SURELY YOU JEST
• “It’s about fairness, every event that we’re at,” claims Craig, who clearly wasn’t paying attention to the scoring last year.
• “The judges will be the ultimate decider,” says Hummer. And don’t we wish someone else was!
• Ty Murray pronounced that Crossfire was “going to go the right at 100 mph.” After the bull decided otherwise, Hummer chimed in, “The bull goes to the left, just as Ty said.” It’s amazing how he can rewrite reality two seconds after it happens.
• Something that happened with João Ricardo Vieira and Ropin’ Dreams inspired the Bummer to babble, “Drinking some of that Guilherme Marchi Kool-Aid.” God knows what was going on in that squirrelly little mind of his that made him link Marchi with a mass suicide.
• Reese Cates slapped his bull, which Craig pronounced was due to “stupidity.” Nice. Since when are commentators allowed to dish out personal insults? If a rider said something snotty, he’d probably be fined. I say, make Craig fork out $500.
• “Asteroid is not one to brag, but his out-of-the-world performance…” Another eyeroll-worthy display of anthropomorphism by cracked Craig. But wait! There’s more! Asteroid “has nothing left to prove, he just likes to prove he’s still got what it takes.”
• “Mick E Mouse may be cute and cuddly, but once you open that gate…” Cute and cuddly, Craig? You wanna get in the chute and try to pet him?

PFF
• Ty Murray being thoroughly aggravated by Ryan Dirteater’s lack of serious effort on Stanley’s Fatmax: “There’s a million dollar bonus at the end of this!” “Maybe a million dollars isn’t worth as much to them as it is to me!”
• “Stormy Wing is going to have to weather the storm against this bull,” proclaims the Bummer about Stone Sober. Well, by now a lot of us have seen that photo of the bull’s first jump—10 feet in the air, right out of the chute. “Stormy Wing as confident as they come,” Craig’s wishful thinking continues. Instant buckoff and a hoof-crunch. Hummer turns on a dime: “Confidence can take you only so far.” 46.75 was the best bull score of the night.

I’M JUST SAYIN’…
• “The Mick E Mouse bracket” just sounds so funny when you’re talking about bulls.
• Finally Kent Cox is mentioned. Part of the acknowledgment: “This sport is built on toughness and denying pain.” Yeah, and that’s exactly why Kent is gone. “Cowboying up” can be dangerous to your health.
• “Let’s go, Robson” was the refrain at the chute as Palermo wrapped. Guess they got bored with the “Let’s go, Silvano!” song.
• “While Meat Hook dispatches one Brazilian, he will look ahead to another one.” “We now move on to another Brazilian,” says The Bummer, who seems unable to see past nationality.
• Rookie Gage Gay was flashing all the right countermoves, and beat JB. Leah, interviewing Gage, noted that Mauney walked right past her and Gay. Hmmm— any sour grapes in the vicinity?
• Notice how Hummer is particularly obnoxious when he’s at a big event? He’s like a kid on a sugar rush from eating  too much cotton candy at the circus.
• And there’s the ever-annoying nonsensical conundrum: “How do you judge Asteroid when he’s so good that he gets a rider off so fast?” Here’s the clue, doofus: Guys can’t stay on him. That means he’s great. Give him a high score. If he didn’t get rid of his riders fast, he’d be considered more rideable—and then what kind of score would you give him? Low because he’s easier to ride, or high because he’s “rider-friendly”? Figure it out, PBR! I’m sick of hearing this idiocy.

PROPS TO MATT TRIPLETT
Shorty Gorham talked about how Matt tries until his head hits the ground: “He’s a trying little sucker.”

NO MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKERS NEEDED
“There’s a lot of big bad scary bulls ahead of me, but I can guarantee you a million dollars is a lot more appealing.”–Reese Cates.
“I guess I coulda did a little better, but I guess being 19 and taking second with the top bulls in the world—I’ll take it.”—Gage Gay. Yeah, 85.75 and 90.50 don’t stink.

LOVIN’ IT
Panda Trax, who, according to Ty, “said I’m not gonna turn it up to 10 if I only have to turn it up to 7.”
Shepherd Hills Trapper’s patented drop-down sharp cornering. It never gets old.
The power of Sasquatch.
Hot Iron’s ridiculously long jump out of the chute. Wonder how it compares with Mike Powell’s 1991 record 29’ 41/2” jump?
Meat Hook’s cool little hop-skip.
The way Bushwacker stands obediently at the out gate, then scores 46.75, to tie with Stone Sober. “That’s him turning the dial to about 6,” Ty explained. Calm, cool and collected, they said—then we get a shot of the boss bull licking mucus away from his nose. He actually can get his tongue into his nostrils. Eewww!

THIS IS WHY HE’S CALLED THE TANK
Frank Newsom jumped between LJ Jenkins and fierce Cowtown Slinger; the bull threw LJ out of the way, Frank got rolled and trampled—and kept on ticking.

CLOSING IN ON 500
Craig was yammering on about “the story of the Brazilian,” while Marchi rode Redneck away from his hand for 87.50—his 499th ride. Leah asked when his 500th ride would be: “Maybe today.”

STELLAR MOMENT
No wonder they named Palermo’s bull Crack The Whip! His first few moves were wild. Robson’s miraculous core strength earned him that 89.50. Loved his answer to Leah about what he’s going to do if he has to ride against Marchi. Robson was giving the standard polite “I just have to ride my bull, maybe Marchi will ride his”… Guilherme yelled from off camera, “You lie, cowboy, you lie!” and jumped in to tease him; Robson batted his hand away. A little more byplay and everybody’s laughing. It’s cute to see the big boys acting like little boys. I’m glad Marchi has been flipping the rigid PBR script every now and then. The PBR could use some spontaneity!

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BULLSISTERS

In honor of Women’s History Month, I’ve put aside other bull riding topics to talk about women in bull riding: riders, contractors, trainers, owners, breeders. Some fall into all those categories, some are doing a combination of them; some names you may know, some you don’t.

This is not an exhaustive study by any means; research on this would fill a book! (If there’s an organization or publisher out there who thinks I should write the book, talk to me!) If you want to comment or share information you have, the more the merrier— but please don’t start with, “I can’t believe you left out so-and-so.” If so-and-so isn’t in this post, it just means she wasn’t in my Google Alerts, Twitter feed, Facebook, or LinkedIn list, and didn’t come across my radar screen. There were no deliberate omissions.

So here’s the quick backstory:

Women competed in bronc and bull riding in the early 1900s, until a bronc rider died in a 1929 rodeo. Of course that meant they shouldn’t compete— convenient excuse to shut them out. Can you imagine if men were locked out of bull riding after Lane Frost died?

Return to the present:

Maggie Parker, from Michigan, has been widely touted as “the only female professional bull rider,” but thankfully that’s not true. There are quite a few—and there always have been—which is a miracle, considering the odds they have to buck. (Ha ha!)

The Little Britches Rodeo Association doesn’t allow girls to ride roughstock. Girls are barred from competing in the National High School Rodeo Association (it’s true—look it up: III. Event Rules: 1. This event is open to boys only), attending most bull riding schools, or competing in most of the events leading to the big leagues. The pipeline to professional status is clogged, so women formed their own organizations, events, and training schools: Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA), for one—which unfortunately no longer has bull riding events, as far as I can tell. (I’d love to be wrong.) Professional Women’s Rodeo Association (PWRA), however, is open to female roughstock riders. Women’s Roughstock Foundation was founded by T.J. Hooker and several other female bull riders, and the International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA) allows women to compete against men in bull riding. And in case anyone’s ready to disparage the riders, they use the same equipment as male riders, and ride with one hand, not the two that some women formerly did; however, some organizations require that a ride be only 6 seconds, not 8.

Parker traveled from Michigan to California to work with Gary Leffew; fortunately he didn’t have a Neanderthal hangup about women riding bulls. Parker was probably the first bull ridin’ woman to win PRCA prize money (2012), which generated a lot of publicity. It also generated a lot of sick hostility, as I saw when I checked out a YouTube video of her in a practice pen. The comments some men posted were unbelievably hateful. They sure feel threatened that a woman dared to get on a bull. The only equally horrible remarks I’ve seen directed at bull riders are aimed at Brazilians; ain’t it interestin’ how sexism and racism go hand in hand? Apparently these fools expect a woman to instantly achieve JB Mauney caliber, and if she doesn’t, well then she sucks.

Parker still deals with insulting shit, even after competing in more than 200 events. In almost every media story, the writer is amazed that this 5’5”, 130-pound (and don’t forget to mention pretty and blonde) woman is riding 2,000-lb.bulls. For god’s sake, the majority of male bull riders are about this size! Have they seen Cody Nance up close?

This is verbatim from the announcer at last year’s PRCA Bennington, Kansas Rodeo:
“Have you ever heard that anything boys can do, the girls can do better? …here is a young lady in the professional ranks of rodeo that can ride bucking bulls…Do you wanna watch the young lady make a ride? This little blonde-haired beauty… she can ride!” Maggie made 8, so then comes, “Everybody says, Is she legit? I guarantee, she’s legit!”

Can you imagine a PRCA announcer saying, “Here is a young gentleman in the professional ranks of rodeo that can ride bucking bulls…Do you wanna watch the young gentleman make a ride? This little blonde-haired beauty…he can ride! Everybody says, Is he legit? I guarantee, he’s legit!”

A newspaper article once referred to Parker as “the Danica Patrick of bull riding.” Another form of idiocy: she’s a woman in a male-dominated sport, so naturally she must be compared to another woman in a male-dominated sport—just like up-and-coming stock contractor Paige Stout has to deal with automatically being likened to another female contractor, Mesa Pate. Classification by gender—how quaint. It just proves how desperately these fields need a whole lot more women, so that instead of being compared on that basis, they can be compared on their scores, bull scores, records broken, and money won. You know: like the boys.

BTW, last summer, Parker was seriously injured, went through four hours of surgery, and now has two long rods and eight screws in her back, just like the boys. She spent her 21st birthday having staples removed from her spine. Says Maggie, “Recovery is going great. Building my strength back up and ready to ride again after the summer. Staying positive.” Meanwhile, you can spot her in a Dr. Pepper TV commercial, along with other “one of a kind” women.

A name PBR followers might remember from way back in the mists of time is Kaylynn Pellam, who competed in a 2011 PBR Touring Pro event in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was bucked off, so we never heard about her again. That happens to plenty of newbies; when it’s a male, it’s no biggie, but because it was a female who got bucked off—well, by golly that proves a woman can’t be a bull rider! Pellam wasn’t the first woman to compete in the PBR, though. Sarah Bradley in 2007 competed on the Challenger Tour, the predecessor to the Touring Pro.

Some people say that until 2011, Colorado-based Polly Reich was the only woman competing professionally against men—and she started at 29 years old. Larry Mosely trained her—as a black rider, he could relate to working in a sport controlled by white men. Reich was bullied (I’m not trying to be clever; there’s no other word for it) by men who probably spouted a lot of guff about “the cowboy way.” When she rode in the IPRA, they killed her dog with poison, unhinged her truck hood to make it blow off while she was driving on a highway, and beat her up in the dark. Read that again: several men jumped her in the dark and beat her up because they didn’t like a woman competing against them.

Reich eventually left the IPRA and instead of competing in the Women’s Pro Rodeo Circuit, she rode in the Professional Bull Riders Association (not PBR). Injuries? Yep: she broke her ankles, wrist, pelvic bone, tibia, and five ribs, dislocated a shoulder, punctured a lung, and had her scalp ripped off and reattached with 60 stitches. (Name one guy who had that last operation. Pretty gruesome.) Her career ended not because of a bull ride but because of a motorcycle cop who rammed into her as she was on a bicycle, and drastically separated her shoulder from her body.

The younger generation of bull riders includes Tayler Laflash from Boston, a 2012 Youth Bull Rider World Finals qualifier; in 2013 she was 17th in the world in Youth Bull Riders. Last year, because of an injury, she switched riding hands —sound familiar?

Want to hear more names? Tavia Stevenson (PWRA reserve champion, 2003), DeeDee Crawford (WPRA World Champion), Tammy Kelly (National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, Women’s World Champion Bull Riding, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2003), Jocelyn Martin (retired), Vanessa Hodgson (also from Michigan), Wendy Persons, Abreanna Kuhn, Melissa Taylor, Denise Luna, Whitney Bates…

One of the coolest—and toughest—riders has to be Lynn “Jonnie” Jonckowski, two-time PWRA World Champion Bull Rider (1986, 1988) and National Cowgirl Hall of Fame inductee. She attended bullriding school with 105 guys—and ranked second in the class. (She also earned her first facial reconstructive surgery.) In 1992, she was the first woman to compete in the Men’s World Bull Riding Championship, and did it again in 1993. Jonnie and another woman also signed up to ride at Cheyenne Frontier Days, though the event was open to men only. Jonnie broke the barrier in Pendleton, Oregon, too, where a woman hadn’t been on a bull for 68 years (again, because a woman died doing it).

Jonnie’s life story is just begging to be a major motion picture, full of dramatic highs and lows: near Olympic status as a pentathlon champ, downed by an injury; entering an all-female rodeo, winning a lot of firsts as a “Weekend Warrior,” but not enough to live on: broke, no heat, and kinda hungry. A miraculously timed check paid her way to the finals, where her first bull’s hooves crashed down on her leg and mangled it. The doctors told her all the dire consequences if she tried to ride her next two bulls, including that she’d be dragging her leg behind her for the rest of her life. She had to be lifted onto her short round bull because her leg wasn’t working, but she won the buckle.

Retiring from bull riding didn’t stop the injuries, though. A horse landed on her and broke so many bones, she almost died. She also suffered a rare tumor that nearly killed her; she lost most of her jaw, all her teeth, palate, eye socket, and cheekbone, and went through numerous reconstructive surgeries. Jonnie’s been written up in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and numerous magazines; she did the David Letterman and Charlie Rose shows, was a regular on two TV series—and the music playing on her website is Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.” Even cooler is what she does now: runs Angel Horses, an organization in Billings, Montana that rescues horses and trains them to be therapy animals. Oh, yeah—and that Hollywood screenplay is in the works.

Great quote from her website: “What I learned about success in my quest for gold is this: success comes to those who are willing to risk more than other people feel is safe.” Yeah, I’d say Jonnie “don’t have no quit in her.”

One organization that doesn’t have a problem with women riding bulls is the International Gay Rodeo, composed of regional rodeos. The only difference is that roughstock riders here ride for 6 seconds. Casey Jackson (Sharon Norman), a Hall of Fame inductee, has a pretty wild background: riding a buffalo on a dare, she won a Little Britches Rodeo; she worked as a Hollywood stuntwoman (bison, this time); while she was in the Navy, she got military orders to stop riding bulls; after she retired from competing, she taught bull and bronc riding at the Ford Arena in Denver.

Plenty of bull riders segue into being stock contractors, and one of the colorful ones is Joy Hawks of Rhinestone Renegades. The 1997 PWRA Rookie of the Year and Reserve Champion (who also holds bareback and all-around championships) has been hauling bull teams to CBR events for the past five years. Rhinestone Renegades offers a training program for female contractors and hosts events such as the Women’s Only Open Bull Futurities. This year they’ve teamed up with UBBI (United Bucking Bulls Inc.) for some events.

Hawks thinks big: over St. Patrick’s Day weekend she produced and filmed an open bull team event in Stephenville, TX; she’s sponsored Women’s Futurity events, currently putting together a TV show for the U.K. and Germany, and planning some Women’s Challenge events.

The Chief Renegade has this to say about male and female bull riders: “There’s not much difference in the mentality.” So right: the phrase that constantly pops up in interviews with bull riders, male or female, is adrenaline rush.

As for female bullfighters, they’re few and far between. The first to be noticed was Robin Sindorf, who worked for Flying U Rodeos in the 1980s as a barrelwoman? barrelperson? How annoying that there aren’t enough of them to make that sound normal.

And let’s not forget the bulls—or rather, bucking cows. I don’t mean cows that are just for breeding purposes—I mean cows that can dump a dude in the dirt. Mossy Oak Mudslinger’s granddaughter has been known to buck off a few lads. Some PFF Twitter comments from guys who tried her: “As you can see, I didn’t last very long but she sure was rank.” “She wasn’t that rank; got on her 5 times, last one almost covered.” “U covered her for six seconds but nobody’s ever covered her for 8.”

Some people just can’t admit that BullSisters–two or four-legged– can kick ass.

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KANSAS CITY SUN, FEB. 23

HIGHLIGHTS
• This was no highlight for star-crossed Austin Meier, though: Bad JNJ must’ve been binge-watching Olympic figure skating; he pulled a bizarre move, low to the ground on his hind legs and spinning. To his credit, Austin hung with him, then alongside him in a hangup until he hit the ground. He “valiantly” accepted the re-ride. (Tee hee. That one’s for Deezy.)
• Guilherme Marchi has won in Kansas City before. He made a heroic effort to stay on Western Hauler despite that backwards turnout, and scored 80.50. Said Marchi, “This ride not too pretty, but it’s 80 points in the short round.”
• Stone Sober, Dickie’s Pick of the Pen, is frightening. A photo of him with legs stretched out horizontally in a powerful mid-air kick way above the top of the gate, bull rope flying loose at both ends, and a (no doubt) very surprised cowboy perched on top is enough to make me queasy. At that point, when a guy realizes he has no control over his life, I wonder what goes through his mind: “I’m gonna come down sooner or later, but where the hell am I gonna land?? Shorty looks like a little red dot down there.”
• Caddy Shack, says The Bummer, “is going to try to manhandle the big Brazilian before the gate gets open.” The bull did a lot of thrashing around in the chute, as the chute guys yelled at de Oliveira to go. Right out of the gate, the bull burst up into the air, then frantically popped up and down, desperately trying to get rid of Valdiron. A measly 83.25 ties him with Marchi.

LOVE IS BLIND. AND DUMB.
Craig Hummer was on his soapbox bloviating to JW Hart about “generational change” amongst bull riders: “You were part of it, JW, along with Justin McBride, Chris Shivers, and of course JB Mauney.” So, is JB now past tense? As far as I know, he hasn’t announced his retirement. Hummer just wants to say JB’s name as much as he possibly can, in any context, no matter how nonsensical. And we’re all sick of it.

BULLISHNESS
Mike White’s debut bull The Motto is a son of Bodacious, which should be enough to scare you. And yes, he was wicked wild.
BootDaddy.com twerked Ryan Dirteater off his back with a funny little booty move. Big booty, actually.

QUOTABLE
“These bulls have hearts, and they can be broken.”—JDub

MIRACLE MAN
Robson Palermo pulled himself up to 14th in the world standings after his long absence, scoring 87.25 last night (yay for the replay that let us see the ride) and 85.50 on Prince Jake tonight. This is how The Bummer backs into acknowledging how much people respect Robson: “We always talk about JB Mauney being a fan favorite…” He truly is unable to say anything about another rider without mentioning his idol. Kinda like when a certain kind of woman has a boyfriend whose name she has to inject into every conversation.

NEVER CALL THEM DUMB BEASTS
You could see the moment at which Roar said, “Oh, shit—he’s still here!” and lost heart. 84.50 for João Ricardo Vieira. After that humiliation, Roar resorted to showing off, performing a Mike Lee lap, then looked for the exit, all confused (poor thing, as Mom would say), finally spotted it and hustled out.

THIS IS WHY THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT GAGE GAY
JW Hart was telling us how Dale Doback’s action resembles his sire, Little Yellow Jacket’s: a little stutter-step, hop and skip out of the gate. Gage made that ride, even though the bull hung a horn, and then the bull must’ve tossed him 20 feet away. 84.50

YIPES!
• Luke Snyder was pulling Pistol Robinson’s rope on Hell or High Water. That bull was both Hell and High Water! What a wild ride and wreck—Frank Newsom took another kapow! to the ground. Lyndel Runyan managed to get Pistol’s hand out of the bull rope. Shorty flunked this one, but at least he told on himself: “It was just a bad deal; I feel like an idiot.”
• JB Mauney stands on a medicine ball to practice balance. Whew! Glad we got that national secret out in the open. Play Harder was just trying to shove his horns back into Mauney’s face, not really bucking. Shorty hollered for JB to pick a good spot. There was no good spot to land—he had to hustle pretty far and cling to the fence to get away from a hooking. Flint took the opportunity to pat JB’s butt. This bull was definitely mean. On top of that, JB was called for a slap.
• After the guys at the chute were yelling at João Ricardo Vieira to get out, South Paw pulled a big fake to the left, then went to the right, Vieira got bucked off, the bull went after him, Vieira rolled away from under his neck—and when you see him juxtaposed against the bull’s head, then you realize how huge those things are.

FYI
Sean Willingham’s good ride on Dillinger (for just 83) was the result of core strength training—and changing a lot of diapers, claims the new daddy.

PFF
Cheerio is the bull that whispered sweet nothings in Craig’s ear. (On the PBR website you can see the photos of Hummer getting some tongue.) Markus Mariluch exasperated Shorty by making it pretty far, then just jumping ship, for no visible reason. Shorty hollered from the dirt: “Markus!! He just gave up on that one!” then followed up with needling that if Mariluch doesn’t shape up, he’s going to be back doing farm work in Nevada.

THE SILVANO SCOOP
Alves last night made a ride but was thrown to the dirt and separated the shoulder of his riding arm. Dr. Tandy gave him a choice of riding or not. It’s amazing that he’s never been really injured before.
While Silvano was wrapping on Kiss Love Gun, the bull stuck his nose into the corner of the chute, refusing to cooperate, then jumped up to pay a visit to the cameraman. Hello! Can you imagine being all wrapped up in your work, carrying a kinda heavy piece of equipment, when all of a sudden this gigantic head and set of horns pops up at you six inches away? The score: 84.75. Oh, are we doing that mid-80s thing again, boys?

CALL THE MEN IN THE WHITE COATS
Delusional Brady Sims plans to be Rookie of the Year, in the top 5 this year, and win 10 world titles, since Ty Murray has 9. JW Hart couldn’t do anything but chuckle “I’m gonna say it’s hard enough to stay on the tour at this level. Took JB 8 years…But hey, set ‘em high.”
And then, we saw him perform on Bull Arrow, a nuts bull who stuttered and stumbled and dipped and dropped, Sims countering every move, for 83.40. JW had to laugh.

THE BOOK ON BEN
JDub’s analysis of our favorite Aussie: “He hits the ground harder than most other guys, ‘cause he hangs on ‘til the bitter end, and that’s why you hit the ground.” The proof was in the clips of Ben smacking to the dirt with a sound you could hear across the arena. We saw the scenario played out a bit later: Chin Music gave Ben some of that in the chute. ON the ride, Ben got hurt in the ribs, slammed against chute, kicked when he was down, then Lyndel Runyon came running between him and the bull to give Ben a chance to get up—slowly. For a moment it looked like it was dirt nap time. Then it was back to Sports Medicine for Ben. (At this point, I think he has a regular table reserved for him.) He earned 82.25 for his pains.

THE HARD WAY
Zane Lambert picked Stone Sober for the short go. Not a good move. JW’s commentary on the attempt: “He’s got his chin up in the air and lookin’ like he wants no part of it. If you don’t want no part of it, don’t pick ‘im!”

CLOSING IN ON 500
JW reminded people that it’s not just 500 rides Guilherme Marchi is making, it’s 500 rides against the best bulls in the world. Marchi racked up another one on Whippin’ Post, for 85.75 points—and came off on this feet. 2 more rides left to make 500. (That’s 500 rides out of 835 career outs.)

I’M JUST SAYIN’…
• Valdiron de Oliveira challenged the clock stopping at 5.10 during his ride on Evel Knievel. Hummer said that for de Oliveira to get a score, the replay has to be conclusive that it wasn’t a slap. But according to everything else we’ve been told on PBR broadcasts, if the replay is inconclusive, it goes to the rider’s favor. Those bendy rules again. It was a good thing he challenged; not a great score, but better than nothing: 81.50.
• Hummer then began blathering about Marchi possibly making “another Brazilian victory.” I’d like to shove a couple of flags up Craig’s (ahem) nose and see if he can tell which one is Brazilian and which is American. I am beyond sick of him constantly emphasizing a rider’s nationality. He’s creating more resentment among the ignorant bull riding fans who hate the Brazilians for being good riders. Some examples: “We’ve got 3 Brazilians out of the top 3; we know 4 out of the top 5 are going to be Brazilians.” “The top three spots: our podium filled with Brazilians: Emilio, Guilherme, and Valdiron.” “We started out the show talking about the dominance of the Brazilians. It looks like we may end the show talking about the same.” Hummer’s driving the wedge even further between fans of American riders and fans of Brazilian riders—as if no one can be both! If you’re a fan of the sport, does it really matter who’s playing it, as long as they play it well? And if you do have favorites, does that mean you have to resent and revile the other riders? Hummer probably thinks that the more he mentions Brazilian riders doing well, he’s proving that the PBR likes them. The judges aren’t buying it. They’re acting out their resentment.

THE WINNERS
It’s the first BFTS win for Emilio Resende (or in Hummer language, “for the 24-year-old Brazilian”). And Marchi regains the #1 spot in the world.

I love seeing all the guys behind the chute hugging one another.

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MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS–JUST A LITTLE LATE!

DID I MISS SOMETHING?
Craig Hummer keeps saying Pure PBR is “the show by the fans, for the fans.” I must’ve missed that casting call when the PBR handed the cameras, microphones, and scripts over to TV viewers and ticketholders and said, “Here— go behind the chutes and onto the dirt and into JB Mauney’s face and make a show!” If they did, I’m sure the fans wouldn’t rig the sound so that what’s happening in the arena drowns out interviews, they wouldn’t talk incessantly, and they certainly wouldn’t forget to tell all the other viewers who’s riding what and what the score is. Well whaddaya want from a guy who’s wearing what looks like a tight disco cruising shirt under his jacket?

UNMASKED:
The judges for this event were Shawn Ramirez, Ryan Byrne, Jeff Shear, Lane Foltyn. Nice to know who to blame. For example: Western Way pulled a most bizarre move: literally tilted sideways down onto a knee and dumped Fabiano Vieira off the side. The judges denied him a re-ride and got booed by the crowd. And me.
Another example of WTF: Who Dey dove down, his cheek scraping the dirt a few times, trying to remove Matt Triplett from his back. No re-ride granted. The crowd (and me) booing again. Well, at least the judges didn’t give Matt a re-ride and not Fabiano. They were even-handedly stupid.

STRONGEST BULL OF THE NIGHT
Gotta love the sense of humor: Sue was still in the chute when he clobbered a cowboy—and it wasn’t even the guy on his back. Chase Outlaw was helping another rider get set, when he suddenly was thumped in the chest by Sue’s horn and knocked five feet away onto his back. He had trouble sitting up. His mates just laughed. Leah asked him what he learned. “Situational awareness. Stay away from the horns.”

HIPPEST BULL OF THE NIGHT
Hobo’s Magic did a James Brown knee drop (actually a belly drop). Matt Triplett had on his own dancing shoes, though (do I sound like Craig Hummer yet?) and handled every move the bull tried. Very impressive. 86.50

BEST NAMED BULL
Wreck It Ralph. I remember nothing about what he did tonight. I just love the name. And I’m sure a lot of 7-year-olds do, too.

CERTIFIABLE
It probably was Shorty Gorham who said, “This bull has a personality disorder.” I’m A Panda, Too was violently bashing around in the chute, and after Valdiron de Oliveira rode him, took out after him in revenge and delivered several crunches. All that for 84.75.

CLIFFHANGER
“In the column usually reserved for JB Mauney,” Craig Hummer says, apparently surprised that someone else besides his man-crush can make 90-point rides. João Ricardo Vieira has made several. This time he took a pounding from Throbbin Robin on the ground: leg, arm, shoulder. No helmet! He made the ride, it looked like he slapped the bull, but good thing he challenged: the replay showed his hand was close, but Shear did the right thing. (Shock!) 84 wasn’t enough for the roughing up Vieira took.

HIGHLIGHTS
• Jory Markiss’s 85.50 ride on Happy Feet wasn’t exactly graceful, but it sure was exciting, especially that wild money chop at the end. I love that he gives it all he’s got. If he hadn’t been at 8 right then, he would’ve gone flying off into the ozone. PFF: he went straight to the dummy to practice.
• Loved seeing JW Hart dealing with the bulls behind the chute. One of them actually backed away in fear.
• How could João Ricardo Vieira have been stomped on so much last night, and still want to go to work tonight? He scored 87 on Electric Prune (because he needed 90+ to lead). McBride’s evaluation: “He never made a mistake.” Hummer’s ridiculous comment: “JR able to short circuit Electric Prune.”
• Mike Lee was lucky I’m A Gangster Too stumbled when he charged after him, having already stomped his leg. Lee waited for his score (88.75), then hobbled around the arena in his victory lap.
• João Ricardo Vieira’s 90.75 ride on Smackdown (who’s16 for 89) was thing of beauty, and he stuck the landing! It’s his 3rd 90-point ride on Smackdown out of four tries.

YET ANOTHER VERB TENSE I CAN’T FIGURE OUT
“Guilherme has rode for so long…” Justin McBride.

I’M JUST SAYIN’…
• Wow, the scores for the Brazilian riders (82, 83.25, 85.75, 80.25, 84, 84.75) sure don’t match the praise they’re getting from the PBR on Twitter: “Awesome, amazing, super, terrific, fantastic”…yeah, yeah, yeah. Never mind the adjectives—put your points where your mouths are. Keeping them in the mid-80s range is the strategy that shaved down Silvano’s lead last year. Tonight it looks like the strategy’s been extended to most of the Killer Bees.
Yet Justin McBride said good things about Eduardo Aparecido’s 85.75 ride on Nashville, reminded us of what Silvano Alves has accomplished in two years, commented positively on “The consistencies that he’s rode with;” said that Claudio Crisostomo’s very strong, always keeps his head down, keeps the bull in sight, that’s why he makes as many great rides as he does; and talked about “how much fear these Brazilian riders strike into the contractors—Jeff Robinson has 8 bulls here, and 6 Brazilians are on them.” I’m thinking, Justin must’ve taken some Nice Guy pills tonight. Keep it up!
• Somehow even when Guilherme’s on the bull, the subject of the conversation is still JB Mauney—who’s not even here this weekend! And any time Mauney has been on a bull, Hummer or McBride mentioned it.
• What the hell is going on with Silvano?? It’s like he forgot how to ride bulls. Maybe all that flak the PBR gave him last year took its toll, and this is a delayed reaction.

YIKES!
• Cody Nance’s crazy hangup on White Velvet. He was getting bucked off when the bull fell on its side, scrambling on the dirt with Cody still attached. “Boy, it sure makes your job easier when the bull just lies down for you,” Jesse Byrne joked. It took all three bullfighters busting their butts to put an end to that situation, even though, as Justin said: “I guarantee that bull is not afraid of three bullfighters.”
• Eduardo Aparecido was the first to ride Total Com Dirt Peddler, for 85.25, but his spur got hooked in the flank rope on his way off, and he was dragged under the bull just in time for the hind hoofs to stomp him twice full-force; at the rail, he sank halfway down and Sports Medicine came to the rescue.
• RFD-HD was fidgeting in the chute, while Marco Eguchi was yelled at to get out. He got popped in the face by the bull (again), hung up, dragged, and stomped something awful.

QUOTABLE
• Shorty: “This ride is not over until you get in the locker room.”
• Percolator took Claudio Crisostomo on a trip all the way to the Shark Cage.
“Someone forgot to tell Percolator that he was supposed to buck in St. Louis, not Kansas City,” said Craig, of all people. Score 1 for Craig. I think that’s 2 so far this year.

WTF R U TRYING 2 SAY??
“Alves himself not too shabby; two World Championships as well.” As well?? How many other people have two, Craig??

BEFORE AND AFTER
In the draft, Valdiron chose Crack the Whip because one of his friends told him which bull to pick: “I believe Ben Jones. I don’t think he lie to me.”
The ride was messy—and he took 2 shots in the face. (No helmet.) He told Leah afterward, “Ben Jones is lying to me!”

THE MATH
Clever idea, to put Who Dey and Mississippi Hippy in adjacent pens so we could see the difference in size: the Mini Me effect. The mistake was in letting Justin McBride do the comparison—he can’t do math. Neither can Craig. They both paid no attention to the numbers on the screen. If one bull is 1300 lbs. and the other is 2400 or 2500, he’s not twice the size. If one is 4’ tall and the other is 6’, he’s not twice the size. Looks like the guys’ll have to repeat fifth grade.

TA-DAA!
João Ricardo Vieira wins his 1st event of season, 4th of his BFTS career. (He’s now #2 in the world standings.) Claudio Crisostomo was 2nd, Mike Lee 3rd, Markus Mariluch 4th.

I guess missing Downton Abbey wasn’t so bad.

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CHARLIE SAYS…

troub charlie kentIt’s a sad commentary on so-called bullriding fans (not all of them, obviously) that so many people were more willing to argue and trash one another on this site than to respond to the idea of sending in positive compliments about Kent Cox. The next piece is the last I’ll post on the subject, and I think it says it best. Charlie Bullware has given me permission to quote from his Facebook page. I like to call this The Ballad of Kent Cox:

“I was struttin’ through the pasture just the other day… when I loped up to Troubadour Pbr Bucking Bull… and said, “Hey, Hey.”.. I said, “Troub, Dude, remember back when… we were hangin’ in Texas… with our buddy Kent… It was up in the mornin’ and running laps… then chompin’ grain and Two Bulls.. he was determined to make us champs… Troub, you’d paw and throw dirt, and I’d beat up that tree… But Kent would just laugh and go get the keys… It was time to load up… and head for the show… we’d buck like hellyuns… and Kent would glow… He’d call my mom, and he’d call our pop… the results were good… but he wasn’t gonna stop…Miles and miles and buck after buck..Troubadour T11/3, Dude… we made it a home… inside of that truck… Kent got us to Vegas… the bright lights, the big show… we didn’t let him down… you claimed the big spot… and I was just below… All fun aside… it’s time to reflect… on an awesome dude… we love and respect… As we graze in the grass… and look up to the sky… we are retired champs… and we KNOW why… so we holler to Kent with heavy hearts…. save us a spot in your pen…”

Thanks, Charlie.

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KENT COX

If you haven’t heard, Kent Cox, Bushwacker’s trainer, was found dead this morning, a probable suicide– but you’d never know it from looking at the PBR’s website.

Cox had recently been released from a mental health facility, where he was placed last month after police determined that he was a danger to himself. He had been arrested in front of City Hall, holding a gun and refusing to cooperate with police who wanted to take it from him; he was sent to a county jail. Police dropped the charges of resisting arrest so that he could be evaluated by mental health professionals.

The PBR released a statement of condolence, but do you think there’s a front page story knocking any other news off their website? Noooo. The news is all about the Iron Cowboy event this weekend.

If Bushwacker had dropped dead, you can bet that bull’s photo and obit would be splashed all over the PBR homepage, and a two-page press release would’ve gone out to media all over the world. Does that mean Bushwacker is more important than the man who spent more time with him than anyone else, and helped him be what he is? What does it take to stop the PBR machinery for an hour to write and post something about this terrible news? It didn’t take me long, and I found out less than an hour ago, without being in the PBR pipeline.

Really shabby, boys. I have a few choice words for you, but you can fill in your own blanks.

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The rest of PBR Anaheim

IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR
Strongest bull of the night, Mr. Feiger, is Bushwacker’s brother, and there’s definitely a resemblance.

    YIKES!

  • EWW, gross! Gene Simmons with his fake hair under a fake cowboy hat, looking awful and puffy. He also doesn’t talk the way he did 35 years ago, and I’m thinking this isn’t necessarily age-related. So thrilling to see him diddling on his phone, visiting the locker room, etc. Snorrrre… BTW, he may have an interest in bull riding, but the contractor listed for all the Kiss-named bulls is Jeff Robinson. Gene’s Anaheim appearance is hooked (ha ha) to promoting the LA arena football team in which he and Paul Stanley have a stake.
  • Rooster Foot causing chaos at the chute: taking down several guys who weren’t even on his back, as they yanked Pistol Robinson off the rearing bull.

QUOTE OF THE SEASON
“Our Bad Boy Blower Weed Dog,” said Craig, stumbling over his own tongue. You know that got globally tweeted. I’ll never be able to see that ad again, or look at the leaderboard, without hearing it in my head. And I’ll never get tired of it.

NO LOVE LOST HERE
“He was psychotic. Literally, if he was a human, they’d put him in an rubber room in a strait jacket.” Ty Murray’s take on Panhandle Slim.

TUFF ENOUGH
Frank Newsom broke some ribs last night when he got rolled and stomped in an awful Warbird wreck. Then he bounced up and kept working. The fact that tonight he came to work with broken ribs is insane. They keep calling him “tough,” but I think there’s a serious disconnect between certain neurons.

HUMMERBLATHER

  • “In order to get any chance for a re-ride, you must stay on for 8 seconds.” Since when??
  • “Somebody needed to tell Lambert he needed to put 4 quarters in the bucking machine and not just 2.” Huh? What goes on in that oddball brain before this stuff comes out of Craig’s mouth? Are the squirrels that turn the wheel stoned?

LAFFS
The broadcast aired a videoclip of Ty in 2001, making a ride. His comment: “I’m surprised that wasn’t in black and white.”

LOWLIGHTS
Nathan Schaper was rushed to the hospital after Bushwacker took care of business: surgery for a broken tibia and fibula, a rod inserted in his tibia; he’ll be out for 3 to 6 months. It’s not much consolation, but at least he can say that the rankest bull in the PBR did this to him, not some wussie little no-name—them’s bragging rights.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Valdiron de Oliveira’s happy face after he scored 88.50 on Braveheart, and his knuckle pushups after Warbird became no longer unridden, (85.75).
  • Jory Markiss broke his losing streak on Right Cross, for 86.75.
  • On fire: João Ricardo Vieira, with 90 points on Deer Me (bull score, 46.50!), who went into his hand. Man, what a big ol’ rack on that bull.
  • “Guilherme Marchi said, Welcome to my office.”—Ty describing last night when Betray Me turned into Guilherme’s hand, for 87.50. Kiss Animalize had an appointment too; tonight for 90 points. “Marchi about to terrorize Kiss Animalize,” was how Hummer put it. MGuilherme was pretty talkative in his interview with Leah Garcia: He wants to win the title again this year, his wife and kids are back, so are his parents, yadda yadda yadda.

THE SEESAW THAT IS BEN JONES
Ben Jones missed the Sacramento event because of broken rib injuries—more, or the same ones from last year? In the wings, he was all hyped and nervous, which as we all know, isn’t usually the way he gets a score. But he did! On Boogyman, for 87.50, just when he was on the bubble. Then he crawled across the dirt out of the bull’s way, and had trouble getting up. Sports Medicine trotted out to take care of him, but Ben shrugged them off and burst out with his dance—reminded me of James Brown on his knees, suddenly throwing off that satin cape and bouncing up to put out one more burst of energy. Ty was amazed that Ben was “able to do a dance like this, even as bad as his dancing is.” (Aw, come on, Ty—so what if Ben didn’t make it to Dancing with the Stars?) And then Ben bent over and faded.
In Round 3, he rode Knothead (83.75), but after his bad landings, he got trampled. Julio Moreno had to rope the bull out of there. Ben couldn’t really walk; he crumpled and was carried out upright by several guys. No Championship Round for him.

TA-DAA!
Alves finally pulled himself out of his funk by scoring 87.25 with Texicali, whose score was 44.50. I have no idea why Hummer said this, but when do I ever? “Silvano doesn’t need a doctor, he just wrote his own prescription.”

ARRGGHH!
Marchi, 6 rides away from his 500th career ride, bailed halfway through his ride on Mr. Showbiz. (Gee, wonder why “Hollywood” was matched with Mr. Showbiz? Cute, Cody.) Somebody call Adriano to give Guilherme a good talking-to!

NEW FACES
Cody Brown, in his 1st BFTS event, since winning Touring Pro Little Rock event.
Gage Gay, 19, who scored 86.25 last night in his 4th BFTS event. Cute: when he was 9, he told Leah Garcia that some day he’d have an interview with her; this weekend, he had two. When asked how it felt to score 86.25 on Mate: “It’s what I’ve been doing, except I get paid a lot more.” Ty: “I love that interview.”
Keith Rocquemore – after being jerked down over Good Times’s head, he got stomped in his mid-section and left trailing medical personnel.
Poor thing, as my mother would say: debut bull, Packin’ Heat, had a quick spin, but nothing else. Ty: “He’s basically running in a really tight circle. He’s just chasing his tail as fast as he can go.”

JUST SAYIN’…

  • Markus Mariluch was taking so much time prepping and rewrapping on Snow Goose, that Ty piped up, “Markus is getting very picky…I’m surprised the judge isn’t getting on his case for not taking a nod there.” Well, I’m not. They just don’t put more than two Americans per year on the clock.
  • On Crazy Action, JB was scored 88; that’s .25 above Alves—just for old time’s sake.

THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES!!
It was unbelievable that JB Mauney stayed on Stirred Up’s cockamamie trip! He sure deserved a re-ride. Thank you, Ty, for saying on air what I’ve said many times: it doesn’t make sense that half the score is for the bull’s difficulty, but when a rider has a bull that’s “like a train on square wheels” and impossible to ride, he gets a low score. JB was offered a re-ride, but kept 65.25 instead. Now, did he “valiantly” decline the re-ride?

JUST ASKIN’…
Do you have to be American to ride in The American? Because according to people I met in Costa Rica, people living below Mexico also consider themselves Americans; North and South were one big land mass, until the Panama Canal was cut.

FASHION STATEMENT
Mike Lee is so stylin’, with that green leather glove.

CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND

THE BOO-BOO BRIGADE
Fabiano Vieira is out with a concussion, from when Imagine That slammed him to the ground on his back.
Marco Eguchi has a right shoulder sprain
Ryan Dirteater has a forearm contusion
Another concussion for Ben’s collection
Eduardo Aparecido out of the Championship Round with a strained groin

COOL MOVE
Stormy Wing did an amazing handstand on Roy’s back, even if he didn’t mean to.

NOT SO COOL
Marco Eguchi’s grip on the back of his neck saved hat-wearing Claudio Crisostomo from a broken face when Hustle Up lurched forward a few times in the chute, but after Claudio’s 86.75 ride, the bull’s left hind foot crashed down on his face. One word: helmet!!

BULL POWER
Strongest Bull of the Day: Big Tex “Rocks”
Stone Sober, according to Ty: “This bull’s gonna do everything he can but pull a knife on you, and the only reason he doesn’t is ‘cause he doesn’t have one.”
Shepherd Hills Tested continues to buck off World Champions—6 so far. JB is now 2 for 6 against this bull; he must be getting really pissed off.
High Steaks is 3 for 31 on the BFTS; Ty described his action: “Sort of like what Bushwacker does, but more horrible.”
Valdiron “made a safe pick” said The Bummer, about C Note. Ty had to remind him that the idea is to pick a bull you want to get on and get a score. Exactly what Valdiron did: scored 90.75, did one more knuckle pushup than Flint did, and won the event.

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Anaheim 15/15 Bucking Battle

JUST SO YA KNOW
Hummer proclaims that Anaheim is “just a stone’s throw from the world-famous beaches of Southern California.” That would be a 30-foot throw, Craig.

TOO EASY
“He might be the bull to inherit the keys to the magic kingdom for next season.”—Craig re Mick E Mouse

FUNNIEST THING I’VE HEARD ALL YEAR
Nathan Schaper re Bushwacker: “I hope he fits my riding style.”

FINALLY, HUMMER—A GOOD ONE!
“The bulls are gonna be just a little bit better… it’s like turning it up to 11.”

BULL TALK
• Love it! Bushwacker’s trailer has his name on it. Now that’s star power!
• Did Ty Murray actually compare Long John to Bodacious, because the bull brought up his head once? Guilherme Marchi rode him last weekend in Sacramento for 86.
• Mick E Mouse, raised from a calf by Marlene Henry, did her proud, racking up 45.50 points. At least he didn’t do to Reese Cates what he did to Justin Koon: broke his jaw in spite of Justin’s helmet.
• Strongest bull of the day: Stone Sober. He blew up so high, he made me go WHOO! For once Craig wasn’t exaggerating when he said, “Stone Sober looked like Michael Jordan!” I’m surprised Billy Robinson was conscious after his facemask contacted the bull’s horn. Surprisingly, the bull’s score was only 43.

HIGHLIGHTS
• João Ricardo Vieira’s faultless ride—away from his hand, no less—on Shepherd Hills Stockman: 46.25 for the bull, 90.75 for the cowboy.
• Nathan Schaper tried to pretend Bushwacker is “just another bull.” After Nathan was down and had his leg stepped on, things got intense, with Shorty yelling, “Get him out of here! Get him out of here!” To his credit, Bushwacker doesn’t mess with his victims; he just wants to get back to his trailer. Nathan was taken out on a board, with lots of medical support. He’s never gonna forget that ride. Bull score: 46. Schaper: broken fibula and tibia—surgery, and then he’ll be out for several months. That’s the ride of a lifetime. (and not in a good way)

THE POOR THING TRIES SO HARD (CRAIG, THAT IS)
“Chocolate Thunder may have made a lot of noise, but Willingham brought the lightning,” said Hummer about Sean, who scored 88, apparently by keeping his belly button in front of his rope. That bull tried, but when he realized Sean wasn’t going anywhere, he gave up and just tried to make Willingham dizzy.

OH GOODY, THOSE COWBOY VERB TENSES AGAIN!
“That could not have went worse for Matt,” said Ty about Shepherd Hills Tested shooting Triplett from the ejector seat.

AND NOW THE NEW VERBS
“He overshatters the riders.” That had to be Ty.

JUST ASKIN’…
What is that ugly tattoo on the inside of JB Mauney’s riding arm?

I’M JUST SAYIN’…
• JB didn’t get on his re-ride bull in Round 2, but nobody insinuated that he was lazy or chicken. As Deezy asked me on Twitter, “So did he “valiantly” decline the re-ride?” (For backstory, see my post about Day 1 of the Sacramento event.) Can you imagine the comments if Silvano Alves didn’t take the re-ride? Palm Springs scored 46. JB slapped the bull’s head, but as Ty pointed out, the clock didn’t stop. Funny, that JB clock. Guess the judges were counting on him making 8, then they could conveniently ignore the slap, not replay the ride, and give him a nice juicy score.
• Winter Jack was “able to cool off a very hot Guilherme Marchi,” said Craig Hummer. Sorry, dude, nothing can cool off that guy. He’s always gonna be hot (whether he’s on the back of a bull or not).

THE WINNER: João Ricardo Vieira
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw so many people, walking past Vieira without even acknowledging him! Sickening!

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