Laughlin, NV 15-15 Bucking Battle 9-20-14

Good thing this broadcast was only an hour long. It really wasn’t exciting.  The event was worth double points, and Bushwacker was the bounty bull. Well, I guess that $25K bonus is safe. Does Bushwacker get to keep it?

Before I talk about the Bucking Battle:

Wow—could the PBR World Finals agenda be any clearer? Round 1 results show João Ricardo Vieira, #1 in the world standings, with a 64; Fabiano Vieira, world #2, with 51.25, and Silvano Alves, world #4, with 72.75. Clever: keep the threats down in the bubble-zone with a parade of non-Brazilians in the Top 10 (except for Marco Eguchi, whom they haven’t started hating yet). I’ll have to look up some videos of those supposedly terrible rides and prepare to be amazed.

And now to the broadcast:

  • Ty Murray is back, giving us some relief from Justin McBride.
  • More pounding at us about JB and the world title. I don’t think anyone’s real excited about his chances at this point.
  • More referring to riders as “the Brazilian,” but never “the American” or “the Canadian.” Re the two Vieiras: Hummer informs us that they have “no relation other than being Brazilian.” Jeez, they’re not krazy-glued at the hip, guy. Maybe we should also be told which riders have no relation to one another other than being American. So far I’ve not heard “American L.J. Jenkins” or “Canadian Matt Triplett.” Speaking of which, we haven’t heard from Canadianaaronroy lately.
  • But guess what: there’s a new Bad Boy Mowers bimbo, wearing more clothes. Still the same stinky delivery, though.

THE HEADLINER

Loved the sensational Bushwacker photos—that guy puts out 1000%. If they haven’t already, PBR should publish a book of his best moments, and a video, DVD, and app. Drools Hummer, “Bushwacker heads for Las Vegas and puts what he hopes is an exclamation point on his career.” Dude, I don’t think the bull knows one punctuation mark from another.

Marchi didn’t look thrilled to be going up against him again. (Bushwacker, not Hummer.) Guilherme’s riding percentage is 50%, but that means squat when you’re talking about the heavyweight champion of the world. As Ty pointed out, “If his brains don’t get you, his strength will.” Marchi was a goner in 4.88 seconds, but the bull received his lowest score: 43. Guess he didn’t have to try hard enough.

JUST ASKIN’…

Why were so many bulls bucking so close to the gate? Stage fright?

THE REST OF THE STUFF

Nothing much happened during this event except a lot of energetic buckoffs. After Chase Outlaw scored 89.50 by not falling for Southpaw’s big forward movement, the bull’s record was now 3 for 20. Chase took the lead and stayed there. Was the plan to overscore Outlaw up front, to make it harder for others to catch him?

Percolator sent Emilio Resende tumbling quickly. Surprisingly, Beaver Creek Beau bucked off JB Mauney. Raven Flyer gave Marco Eguchi an instant tumble; this is Marco’s 3rd event with no score. LJ Jenkins couldn’t tame Stone Sober; the bull’s first ass-flip sent him head over heels, and earned the highest bull score of the night: 46.50.

Ty and I thought a re-ride mighta been in order for Eduardo Aparecido, when Wicked bucked backward out of the gate, then kept hopping high, but an 86 doesn’t suck; he took third place. Matt Triplett’s 3rd time on Mr. Bull was not the charm. The buckoff caused Matt a “moment” on his way back into the chute.

I have a problem listening to everything the commentators say about Cody Nance never giving up, etc., because all I can think of is his spurs and how they may have contributed to his being a three-time “winner” this season. Regardless, the way Margy Time dumped him against the chute gave him a serious clunk on the head.

DID WE SET THE CLOCKS BACK ALREADY?

I’m A Gangster Too was a complete mess in the chute, fussing and lurching under Mike Lee. Just for extra thrills, the gate started to open while this was happening. Oops! Dangerous screw-up. However, the selectively generous judges gave Mike plenty of time to re-wrap and get settled. Not a clock in sight.

DEBATABLE

Semper Fi, son of Little Yellow Jacket, got a bit hung up in the chute; I think João Ricardo Vieira was fouled, but Ty said all the hang-up did was affect Vieira’s timing. Or did it change the trajectory of the ride, in which case a re-ride should’ve been offered? Guess we’ll just have to wait until a video is posted either on the PBR website or YouTube. Sometimes the “bootleg” videos show up faster.

OH NO, HE DIDN’T!

This is one time I wanted to strangle Silvano. He departed Walk Off at 7.83, when his ride had been looking so great. Did he stop because he slapped the bull? Did think he heard the bell?? He challenged the call, to no use. You let that one get away from you, Silvano! After all I’ve done for you…

THIS IS WHY HE’S THE NEW WORLD #1

Fabiano’s still being careful with his shoulder. His previous ride on Fire & Smoke looked like a 90, masquerading as an 87.50. This time, if he came up with more than Chase’s 89.50, he’d take the event, so just to bug him, the judge put him on the clock. It didn’t tank him. After his 88.25 ride, which put him in second place, he and Flint low-fived each other. Cute.

YEP
“Bulls don’t know when the whistle blows.”—Ty Murray.

 

 

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NASHVILLE: KNEW IT WAS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE: NASHVILLE JUDGES TREAT SILVANO ALVES FAIRLY–ALMOST

According to Craig Hummer, Pure PBR “sheds light on the inner workings of the PBR.” NOT. Close-ups of bull nose hair don’t make up for the real behind the scenes scoop. What a lot of us want is to have the judges miked—never mind the riders. We know what we’re gonna hear from the cowboys. Let’s hear the real conversations while the draw is being put together and during the scoring. Meanwhile I’ll be on the lookout for any porkers winging by my window.

JUDGES ON DUTY:

Donald Owens, Royd Doyle, Canter? Shawn Ramirez was replay judge.

ON THE ONE HAND…

Interesting analysis by Justin McBride about how João Ricardo Vieira needs to cope with bulls turning away from his hand. I liked the demo, but on the other hand (ha ha), isn’t this the same “problem” Guilherme Marchi has? Funny how these guys are #1 and #2 in the world, even with that weakness. Basically, I think they’ve psyched themselves out; there’s no reason they can’t fix that glitch.

But JRV didn’t lose it when Dracula changed directions near the end of the ride, earning him 85.75. So much for the problem with the away-from-his-hand thing.

YOU’RE KIDDING, RIGHT??

Justin’s sour grapes: if Vieira had to ride for 10 seconds, he would’ve been bucked off. Uh, they don’t have to ride for 10 seconds, genius. Grasping for straws, are we? Anything to fault a Brazilian rider.

LIKE A KID IN A CANDY STORE

Could Jesse Byrne have been any happier introducing that hunka hunka Bushwacker? He practically broke his face smiling. Love it. It’s great how the bull’s getting tweets, too. He’s had a perfect season so far, and I don’t see that changing.

MAKING TEACHER PROUD

Markus Mariluch has been getting it done lately, with impressive numbers: taking Round 1 with 89.50, then placing second in the championship round with a 90.25 career best on Jack Daniel’s After Party. The bull’s being retired after the Finals, but it looks like Markus is just getting warmed up. Confetti on his hat is a good look.

NOT COOL

I don’t appreciate those shots the people in the bully pulpit take at J.W. Harris (“he has to get used to this level of bull”) and the Brazilian riders (they’re used to riding inferior bulls in Brazil—smaller, slower, etc.). Funny how the guys from way down south end up in the Top 10.

KILT HIM A B’AR WHEN HE WAS ONLY THREE

That story about how Rooster McKeeman got his nickname sounds suspiciously familiar, but in his case, it was a pheasant.

NO JOY IN MUDVILLE

There was no faking it—JB Mauney is bummed. “I don’t feel like a cowboy when I’m sitting it out,” he said. JB missed this dance because of his injured hip and back; after x-rays he’ll know whether he’s got a back fracture. Keep your fingers crossed that it’s not. A plan for this year’s championship and next year’s? I think not, JB.

NOW THAT HE’S HANGING WITH THE MINIBULLS…

Chris Shivers as safety man was an odd sight, and I guess it felt pretty odd for him, too. “It’s a little safer out here,” he said, sitting on a horse in the arena. “Seeing these bulls – it’s pretty scary now.” I guess now that he thinks about it, he was doing something incredibly dangerous for all those years.

AWWW, MAAAN!

King Lopez is being retired after the Finals, too.

OKAY, WE GET IT

In case we haven’t been hit over the head with it enough, the next JB Mauney is supposed to be Chase Outlaw or Gage Gay. So that’s why The Bummer and McBride (great name for a ventriloquist-with-dummy-act) were praising Chase for—get this—two rides of close to 6 seconds. Here’s a travesty for you: Chase needed 80.50 to get to the Championship Round. Pay It Forward was a plain old washing machine, but Outlaw “hit the pay window,” as Craig had to say, and was scored 85.75 to creep up on Silvano (like we wouldn’t notice).

TARGET PRACTICE

When the big ol’ PBR babies who are scared of Brazilians get bored with torturing Silvano, they turn on Renato. They DQ’d (or should that be FU’d?) him in Round 1 for “spending too much time in the chute.” Suddenly we’re being told that Nunes always has a hard time getting out of the chute. Huh? Since when? A little Gaslight, anyone?

After Renato’s Round 2 85-point ride on Roar, in response to Leah Garcia’s question about the DQ incident, he clarified, “Today the bull is standing good; that’s not a problem.” He said he wasn’t going to nod when his bull isn’t standing right. During the Championship Round, he explained that in his preparation, he does what’s better for safety and for him, not based on the clock. He exhibited outstanding self-control, though you could see the suppressed anger at the treatment he’s getting, and I totally sympathize. So of course they put him on the clock again, then to add injury to insult, Walk Off kicked him out the back door.

Guilherme Marchi and Cody Lambert watched at the chute as Alves wrapped on Delco (who has bucked him off twice). I bet this scene was a result of the “conversation” the Brazilians had with the chute guys a couple of months ago. It woulda been reeeal interesting to hear what was happening, but The Bummer & McBride kept babbling loudly enough to drown out any harassment we might’ve heard. Silvano was put on the clock, so you can bet there was some. He nodded with 15 seconds left on the clock, then scored 87.50,which was quickly followed by somebody’s snide comment about Delco having “a little bit of age on him,” just like King Lopez is an old bull, implying that they’ve become easy to ride. Hello—check the rankings—both the bulls’ and the riders’.

SHANE PROCTOR SIGHTING

Shane was at the chute helping out Kody Lostroh; he’s still recovering from shoulder surgery.

I’M JUST SAYIN’…

Cody Nance is the home state fave. Some people (not the judges, obviously) noticed where his right spur was when he came out of the chute on Hot & Juicy. And have you seen the custom helmet with the American flag on top? His previous one had a crucifix on it. Are we getting the message? He’s the all American boy with God on his side. They gave him an 86, which tied him with Marchi. What a surprise.

BULLPOWER

  • Bad to the Bone shot out horizontally from under Emilio Resende and looked like he traveled 10 feet sideways. I’m serious—look for video footage.
  • Get him a bigger trailer: Rango’s a movie star, in The Longest Ride.
  • Southpaw’s performance was Impressive, especially in slow motion. “You don’t need a Wow Factor when you have moves like Southpaw,” says the Chief Nitwit. Uhh, if the bull is outrageous in action, I think that’s called a Wow Factor.
  • Fire & Smoke flipped Cooper Davis like a pancake: that airborne backflip was even more awesome because of those pretty aqua chaps.
  • Lachlan Richardson on Asteroid? That’s hilarious. (Asteroid has 26 consecutive buckoffs.) “That’s a tall order,” says Justin, completely unaware of how funny that is when you’re talking about Richardson. The match was over in a blink.
  • Did I hear wrong, or is it true that Mick E. Mouse is tied with Bushwacker for Bull of the Year?? That’s absurd. NOBODY ties with Bushwacker!
  • As Cody Nance got ready for his Bushwacker debacle, the crowd went wild and got to their feet—and it wasn’t for the Cody. The bird’s eye view was fun: Nance was flitting around Bushwacker’s back like a mosquito on a hot plate.

QUOTABLE

  • “He had the perfect getoff—if the buzzer rang at 7 seconds.”—McBride talking about L.J. Jenkins, the notorious 7-second man.
  • “He doesn’t want me as his personal trainer; that would just involve stress,”—Craig Hummer, taking pity on Gage Gay.
  • “He’s the biggest star PBR has, and may ever have,” – Craig Hummer talking about—hold onto your Resistols—not J.B. Mauney, but Bushwacker.

ATMOSPHERE GETTING A LITTLE THICK

Marty was pathetic: a flat spinner, barely kicking, and deserved some orange flags, but instead Gage was scored 83. “Good riders make it look perhaps a little too easy,” oozes Hummer. “That’s what they’re supposed to do,” Justin piles on. Yeah, yeah; but when Silvano makes a tough bull look easy, they ream him on the score.

PFF

“Bushwacker doesn’t want to leave any doubt in the judges or the fans’ minds that he is the best ever.”—Hummer, using his telepathic powers to transmit a message from the brain of Bushwacker.

A BULLFIGHTER HE’S NOT

Ryan Dirteater’s bull, Mostly Ghostly, was another yawn, but Ryan was given 83.75. Flint miscalculated the bull’s personality, and started showing off, tossing his straw hat at him. Talk about inviting trouble: the bull came tearing after him. Flint displayed his bullfighting chops by doing a lightning fast scramble up the fence.

BUILT FORD TOUGH

Fabiano Vieira competed with a shoulder injury to his free arm—and scored 85.50 on Skid Roe Joe (and yes, the wrong spelling is the one his owners use) by keeping that arm down below shoulder level. Unbelievable.

CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND

In a flash, Silvano was put on the clock. Do the judges really think their punitive tactic is going to stop him from doing his prep? He got out of the chute with 9 seconds left, and regardless of the attempts to rattle him, rode Rango for 92.25, in beautiful form. If you want to see how it’s done, check YouTube. He finally got a score he deserved—I was SHOCKED. Shocked, I tell you! Silvano moved to the lead, and he was one happy camper. A lot of us were.

Then came the catch: Chase needed 86.75 to take the lead, and of course those SOBs awarded him 89.25, to prevents Alves from winning. Let me remind you that Outlaw’s mount, Mr. Bull, is currently ranked 44th and has a power ranking of 350th, compared to Rango at #6, with a power ranking of 80th.No offense to Chase, but was that ride really worth 89.25?

Alves on Rango was Ride of the Night. Monster ride.

 

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Nashville B.S.

From a disgruntled fan of bull riding (not me, though I am disgruntled):

“Another night of PBR in Nashville and another DQ of a Brazilian while Gage Gay and everyone else gets a free ride. Disgusting. Low score again for Alves. Come on PBR. Quit showing your biases.”

From me:

First night of Jack Daniels Invitational: 79.50 for Alves, 76.50 for de Oliveira. I didn’t see the event, but come on, boys–when has Valdiron turned in a crappy ride? We know PBR is gunning for Silvano, but what do they have against Valdiron? I’ll tune in on Sunday and see what damage has been done since Friday night.

Let’s see how PBR makes things happen. Here are the Round 2 drafts. Do we think this is all random?

JB Mauney bull was Prince Jake. In 7 outs, this is the bull’s story:

Current Ranking  1230th
Historical Ranking  3118th
Power Ranking  unranked

Do we think he’ll be able to ride that bull?

Gage Gay’s bull: Marty, who’s been out once this year, and scored 21.25. Yeah, that’s a challenge.

Mike Lee: Redbone. 5 outs,

Current Ranking  553rd
Historical Ranking  1499th
Power Ranking  unranked

Cody Nance: Hot & Juicy. 19 outs,

Current Ranking  948th
Historical Ranking  2476th
Power Ranking  1024th

Let’s see what creampuff bulls those sissy Brazilians were given:

Guilherme Marchi: King Lopez. 49 outs,

Current Ranking  30th
Historical Ranking  175th
Power Ranking  141st

Silvano Alves: Delco. 43 outs,

Current Ranking  85th
Historical Ranking  395th
Power Ranking  511th

Marco Eguchi: Modified Clyde. 28 outs,

Current Ranking  151st
Historical Ranking  557th
Power Ranking  1216th

Emilio Resende: Bad to the Bone. Only 7 outs, but–

Current Ranking  67th
Historical Ranking  333rd
Power Ranking  unranked

Claudio Crisostomo: Who Dat. 46 outs,

Current Ranking  146th
Historical Ranking  545th
Power Ranking  583rd

Joâo Ricardo Vieira: Dracula. Only 8 outs, but:

Current Ranking  319th
Historical Ranking  962nd
Power Ranking  unranked

The two surprises, to me, were Renato Nunes matched with Roar, whose record is less than stellar, and Valdiron with RMEF Gone Huntin’, a debut bull. I’m thinking, Renato is losing confidence again (he feels his feelings and forgets that he has a gold buckle) and somebody’s gambling on Valdiron’s bull being of the same caliber as the other RMEF bulls. Fabiano Vieira got Skid Row Joe, but I can’t tell you anything about the bull because there are two with that name in the ProBullStats records, neither of which seems to belong to Dakota Rodeo / Chad Berger / Clay Struve/Joe Rose, who are listed as owners on the PBR website.

I think the facts pretty much set the b.s. straight.

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Just Sayin’…

From the PBR website: “After riding Bruiser for 88.75 points to win Round 1 on Friday, [JR] Vieira almost put up an identical score in Saturday’s Round 2 by covering Crack the Whip for 88.5 points.”

Note the .25 ding.

Also from the PBR website: “Willingham missed the Built Ford Tough Series second-half opener in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last weekend after feeling lingering discomfort in his hip after a grisly wreck at the Newark, New Jersey, BlueDEF Velocity Tour event on June 28 that also gave him a concussion.”

This is exactly why I thought it was a dumb idea to have the BFTS guys do extra duty as “names” to pull audiences to Touring Pro and BlueDEF Velocity events. They have enough chances to wreck; they don’t need extra risk.

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THE SAGA OF SILVANO

Note: All statistics are from ProBullStats. For those who think I imagined everything: numbers don’t lie.

2010
During his first 6 months on the Built Ford Tough Series (he started in April), Silvano Alves scored the most times (11) in Round 1, then did well in Rounds 2 and 3 (7 scores in each), and in the Final Round (8 rides). He had 2 scores of 90 or better, 18 scores in the high 80s, 13 in the mid-80s, and 5 in the low 80s. Seems pretty fair to me. His two worst scores were 79.25 and 69. The fact that he kept them instead of taking re-rides was puzzling to a lot of people.

2011
Silvano’s most successful Rounds were 1, with 22 scores; 3, with 21 scores, and the Final Round, with 10 scores. He had 3 scores of 90 or better (the judges hadn’t started totally hatin’ on him yet), 34 scores in the high 80s, 17 in the mid-80s, 11 in the low 80s, but twice as many low scores as in the previous year: 73.50, 79, 78.75, and 72. This time, he received 18 “Get Silvano!” scores. The judges were getting annoyed with his “keep any score” strategy. He just wasn’t living up to their definition of what a rider should do, hence the slew of low 80s and 70s. And yet he won his first World Championship.

His riding percentage was even higher than it was in 2010, 69% compared to J.B.’s 43.18%.

2012
The gloves came off. Silvano scored more times than ever in Round 1 (27), and did very well in Rounds 2 and 3 (14 and 13 scores, respectively). However, the number of his scores in the Final Round dropped shockingly, to 3. I guess by the short go, the judges’ head games took their toll. They granted him only one high-marked ride: 90.25—and more low scores than ever: 78.25, 72.75, 68.50, 79.50, 70.50, 79, and 73.75. They were seriously hatin’ on him now: sliced his number of high-80s down to 25, gave him 22 mid-80s, and 5 low 80s, dishing out 18 “Get Silvano!” scores.

The judges were really ticked, so they kept lowballing him, figuring they’d force him to take re-rides, and then he’d have a 50-50 chance of no score at all. No soap. Alves stayed cool and on his own track. They developed several other “Get Silvano!” strategies: harassment while he was in the chute, wonky clocks and time vagueness, DQs, inflated scores for J.B. Mauney and a few other Americans, .25 dings to keep him from a 90-point score—but they still couldn’t prevent him from winning his second World Championship.

One example of a loud ding:

Albuquerque:
“That right there is a microcosm of how Silvano Alves won last year’s World Finals Title,” said Craig Hummer about Alves taming High Octane Hurricane (85.71% buckoff rate). “Ever notice that Silvano makes all bulls look easy?” said Ty Murray. And that’s why the judges gave him 89.75, instead of the at-least-90 he deserved for mastering a difficult bull: the 15/15 event was thrown to PBR fave Luke Snyder by dinging Alves for .25.

2013
This year was an all-out assault on Alves. PBR did not want another Brazilian world champion, especially not a “three-peat” champ, and they geared up to grab the crown for Mauney. The “storyline” was set from day one, and the marketing campaign was relentless. The judges’ hostility and chute boss harassment stepped up enough to rattle Silvano’s cool. They used all the weapons in their arsenal to slide him down the leaderboard—even dinging some bulls to lower his score.

Still, in first rounds he had 19 scores, in second rounds, 17 scores, and in Final Rounds, 10 scores. He had 3 scores of 90 or over (those rides must’ve been so sensational, the judges knew they couldn’t get away with less—or else these were different judges), 22 in the high 80s, 8 mid-80s, more low 80s than ever (14), and lowest scores of 73.75, 79.75, 79.50, 79.50, 71, and 72, for a total of 20 “Get Silvano!” scores.

If you looked at these numbers and didn’t know what was going on, you’d think this guy Alves was getting worse and worse as a bull rider. The combination of sabotage techniques worked: PBR successfully maneuvered J.B. Mauney into a championship by shafting Silvano at every opportunity, despite the fact that Silvano’s riding percentage was 54.95% and J.B.’s was 52.22%.

Some examples of the “Get Silvano!” strategy:

Anaheim, Saturday night:
Alves did everything right, and even threw in an extra few seconds on Filmore Trouble, but was scored 81.25. We knew he’d be underscored; this time it’s at least partly on the bull, whose score was only 39.75. On the other hand, Snickers, with the same score, gave Cody Nance an 81.50. Oh my; are we starting with those .25-point dings this early in the season, so it won’t look as obvious as the Finals approach?

Las Vegas Finals, Sunday night:
We’re supposed to believe that the 70 Silvano kept when he turned down a re-ride earlier in the event lost him the championship? Some of us have longer memories. For those who don’t: Does the number 84 ring a bell? 84.50? 84.75? It should: that’s what the judges stuck Alves with so many times this season, while they did their best to keep J.B.’s scores in the high 80s and over 90.

The judges’ favorite “Get Silvano!” scores:
84.75, 8 times
84.50 and 83.75, 7 times
84, 6 times
83.50, 81.25, 81, 5 times
84.25, 82.35, 81.50, 4 times
83, 82.50, 80.25, 3 times

I don’t have the time or energy to review rides and analyze scores, bad calls, etc., but I know what the rankings would’ve been if everything was fair.

To a lot of bull riding fans, Silvano is the back-to-back three-time World Champion.

2014
Not including the Tulsa event, Silvano scored 13 times in third rounds, and 10 in first rounds, while his Final Round scoring dropping to 4. He’s been given no scores over 89.75—ding! Now the judges are just plain vicious: they’ve dinged him four times already, decreased his number of high 80s to 9, gave him 8 mid-80s, 8 low 80s, and the lowest scores of 55.75, 71.50, 79.75, 76.75, 79. I think 55.75 is the world’s record bottom (so far; you never know how far they’ll go). P.S. Right now, Silvano’s riding percentage is 47.62%, higher than J.B. Mauney’s.

Alves is #4 in the rankings, but the judges aren’t taking any chances. I wonder if they’d stoop to sabotaging Guilherme Marchi if it looked like he was heading for a World Championship.

I’m just sayin’.

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Bending the Rules in Australia

If you thought the idea of bringing bull riding to China was amusing, you’ll laugh your socks off when you hear how the PBR boys are doing it. (Read the Aug. 8 article on the PBR website, “Hairihen Ready to Ride in China.”)

First, they pick an equestrian/archer/wrestler (I kid you not) from Inner Mongolia who’s never been on a bull, can’t speak English, and apparently has just one name, like Sting. (Or maybe they just didn’t bother to find out if his name has another half.) Then they ship him to Australia, where stock contractor Rick Ruhland tries to teach him bull riding in 6 weeks—without a translator, of course. The kid used a cell phone app to translate between English and Mandarin. And yet, we’re supposed to believe there really is a PBR China.

Then comes the funny stuff. See if you can spot what’s hilarious in this sentence: “As time went on, the former bull rider immediately saw glimpses of potential thanks to his pupil’s history on horseback.” Clearly no editor is on duty in the PBR neck of the woods.

And this one (not just because it’s a really run-on sentence): “The mind is just a blur because everything happens so fast,” Ruhland explained. “He took to it really quickly and I think that is from being a horseman and it wasn’t such a transition to his mind to do those basic moves he had to do because it probably all slowed down for him a lot faster.”

I kinda like that last bit. It’s perfect for a tombstone: “It all slowed down for him a lot faster.”

But here’s the stinky part: they let Hairihen compete in PBR Australia Cup events. How can they possibly justify that? Oh wait a minute, what am I saying—PBR never justifies anything—they just do it; the hell with everyone. Wonder what the real PBR riders think of this? Oh wait a minute, what am I saying—they’re not allowed to express an opinion or a feeling. Haven’t you noticed? Has there ever been a case of a PBR rider saying anything unscripted—anything even remotely disapproving of what goes on in the organization? Nope. Because if you do, you’re banished. Or at least DQ’d.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Fine Print

That new point system initiated by PBR last year confused a lot of people, and I’m still wondering about that second sentence:

“There will be only one set of standings, starting this year (2014), and the draw for each Built Ford Tough Series event will be the top 35 riders on Tuesday, based on cumulative points from BFTS, TPD, and international events.”

This change confirms my half-facetious comment a while ago that more Australian riders are showing up at BFTS events, as part of the PBR effort to combat the Killer Bs.

Here’s the thing about the new system: Most of the Western Hemisphere riders aren’t going to schlep to Australia to rack up points, though they’ll go as far as Canada. But that factor is balanced by the fact that now, BFTS riders have even more incentive to work TPD and Canadian events–wearing themselves out before the second half of the season. The Americans aren’t going to shlep to Brazil to compete, though I think Douglas Duncan did at one point. (Not sure.) So the U.S. is still the battleground– but the Brazilian riders are smart; they go home to rack up points, and so far as I can see, they don’t come back from the summer all banged up. (Robson Palermo’s boo-boos were all acquired here.)

Maybe this new system will level the field a bit for the TPD guys so they can open the BFTS door a crack. Lately, we’ve seen new names at BFTS events more frequently. Usually the explanation is that the rider won some event last weekend that entitled him to be at the BFTS event, but that doesn’t quite make sense to me, unless his cumulative points somehow vaulted him up to a position just below the top 35 guys. Or maybe it’s a quota system, but nobody’s calling it that.

Speaking of quota systems: do you mean to tell me that in all of the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Brazil, in both the BFTS and the TPD, the only black cowboy is Jay Miller? We haven’t seen Craig Jackson on the BFTS since 2007, so as far as I know, that’s the current total. In any business or institution, the usual explanation for this scenario is that “The competition’s open to anyone at the entry level,” “Black people just don’t apply for the jobs,” “We tried recruiting, but they weren’t interested,” “We don’t intentionally exclude anyone,” “This is just about meeting the requirements, nothing else,” bla bla bla.

Pull the other one. This setup is NEVER accidental. At least the CBR doesn’t seem to have an issue with the color of their cowboys.

And now someone will post a comment to this blog saying, “You always think there’s a conspiracy.” “What about Myrtis Dightman,” “What about Fred Whitfield,” “What about Charlie Sampson,” “What about Abe Morris,” “What about Willie Thomas”?

Uh, if you can name most of the well-known black bull riders, that should tell you that there’s something going on, other than talent. Incidents like this may explain what the atmosphere is like: in a San Antonio event, PRCA rider Willie Thomas rode his third bull for 14 seconds, and then the whistle blew. Somehow that put him in 2nd place, without the average money, instead of 1st, which an 8-second ride would’ve done. I’m sure the scoop on that one was, a clock malfunction. Uh-huh.

If some math whiz out there wants to compare what this season’s standings are like, using the new system, with what they’d have been under the old system, I’d love to see the stats. The numbers might not make me happy, but the truth would be nice to hear.

 

 

 

 

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DQ or Not DQ? That is the Question…

According to Shorty Gorham at the BFTS Albuquerque event, judges can DQ a rider even without putting him on the clock. Is that what they mean by “discretion”? I guess now the judges can use their “discretion” to DQ Silvano Alves while he’s still in the locker room. Saves the trouble of putting him on the clock. “You’re taking too long to zip up your pants, Silvano!” “Nod your head!” “Out, out, out!”

With apologies to Shakespeare: “How do we DQ thee? Let me count the ways…”

ALBUQUERQUE: TY MURRAY INVITATIONAL

In Round 2, Valdiron de Oliveira was violently ejected from Whippin Post’s back. He said he hadn’t nodded, but the gate opened. Watching the playback monitor, you could see that his head was bent over his wrap, and when he was done, he lifted it back up, which the gate men interpreted as a nod. But it wasn’t: you can see the difference. For one thing, Valdiron usually gives a verbal go-ahead.

NAMPA: DEWALT GUARANTEED TOUGH INVITATIONAL

During the Championship Round I turned on the TV to see a camera’s view of Renato Nunes’s ass climbing up the steps behind the chute, and it was a very expressive ass, let me tell you. He was bummed big-time about something I’d just missed. Both Craig Hummer and J.W. Hart sounded very solemn as they watched him walk by, and neither one dared to say anything to him. Nunes was doing his best to keep his feelings under wraps when Leah asked him if he thought a judge’s call was fair. He said he was having trouble with his bull in the chute. I can just imagine what the call was.

BILLINGS: STANLEY PERFORMANCE IN ACTION INVITATIONAL

PBR’s new fave rave, rookie Gage Gay, was given an extra 20 seconds on Soldier Boy in the chute, because the bull’s head was stuck in a corner. Gay nodded his head at 1 second before the clock ran out, but the bull didn’t move instantly. The judges decided that was a DQ. I booed along with the crowd. Maybe the judges should’ve used their “discretion” to DQ the bull.

COLORADO SPRINGS: RUMBLE IN THE ROCKIES

 Ty Pozzobon’s bull, Remember When, delivered quite the balletic aerial display; he has definite Cirque du Soleil potential. Ty was doing an outstanding job, keeping his free arm away from the bull. It wasn’t clear whether he made 8 seconds, so he wasn’t going to get a score—and here was I, thinking that when it’s uncertain, the call goes to the rider, as we’ve been told at various times. He challenged the call, and the ride was reviewed. As far as I could see on the various replays, he still had the rope in his hand at 8, but Jeff Shear saw an elbow touch. The crowd cheered when Ty’s time was verified, but when he was DQ’d for the touch, Booo!

I’m sure there’ll be many more of these scenarios starting in August.

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Raindrops and Roses and Whiskers on Kittens…

…a few of my favorite things? Nahhh. I just thought I’d “review” the last few PBR events thematically: in other words, what keeps popping up? This week’s topics:

1) JUDGES

Now that PBR has finally responded to years of innumerable complaints about anonymous judges, we see their names on TV broadcasts. I think I’ll keep track of them, so by process of elimination, people can figure out which ones are problematic. Who’s consistently lowballing certain riders and over-scoring others? Who’s responsible for those .25 dings against the Brazilian riders? Who misses the slaps? Who harasses which rider(s) in the chute? Who gives more chute time to certain riders and less to others? Who DQs only certain riders? Here are some of the judges’ names (excuse me if I’m missing anyone; sometimes I blink):

  • Albuquerque (Ty Murray Invitational):

Chuck Lambert, Lane Foltyn, Dean Randolph, Jeff Shearer.

  • Fresno:

Allan Jordan – replay judge, Grant Ogilvie…. they flash those judges’ names so fast, you can barely register who they are.

  • Billings:

Allan Jordan – Judge 1, Line & Replay; Bill Pacheco – Judge 2, Line; Chad Pighin – Judge 3, Back; Grant Ogilvie – Judge 4, Back

  • Des Moines :

Lane Foltyn, Shawn Ramirez, Royd Doyal, replay judge = Allan Jordan

  • Last Cowboy Standing:

Donald Owens, Allan Jordan, Lane Foltyn, Jeff Shearer

I’ll be paying more attention starting in August. Let’s see how early PBR declares a World Champion.

2) THE CHUTE CLOCK CRAPSHOOT (same old, same old):

Previously, the rider and TV viewers couldn’t see the chute clock; if you were in the arena sitting right near the chutes, you could. Now they’re putting one in the chute so riders can see it—it’ll light up. Let’s see how that works.

So glad to hear that the Brazilian riders “had a conversation with the PBR about the chute time situation.” Not that it will do any good.

  • Albuquerque:

Under João Ricardo Vieira, Mr. Bull was bucking and thrashing in the chute; Vieira’s spotter, Renato Nunes, had to hold onto him for dear life. Then the bull stuck his nose into the front of the chute, which usually causes a problem. And just as I typed, “If that fucking judge makes a peep I’ll kill him,” the judge yelled, “Let’s go!” Sigh. His next bull, Flick the Switch, needed pushing over, and tried to roll over in the chute–but we already heard, “Let’s go!”

Cody Lambert predicted that Chase Outlaw on Brown Sugar would score an 88.  Now, how long was Chase taking in there? More than a full minute; I timed it with a digital clock. Conveniently, the chute judge was asleep.

Jason Malone was another guy taking 1+ minutes in the chute. And this time, it wasn’t even Whiskey’s Rebel’s fault. For a change, the bull was behaving. Jason also took a lot of time in there getting Jet Airliner set the way he wanted him.

Tanner Byrne got an A for effort on Smashmouth, but still, he was in the chute more than a minute.

  • Fresno:

Tanner was allowed to rewrap, because firstBoo-Ray’s rear was down in the chute, then his front end was. You know how much Byrne was fussing around in there because Shorty razzed him that his shirt was untucked.

Before Alves was in the chute the allotted time on Dirt Devil, his re-ride,  the refrain started: “Come on, Silvano!”

  • Billings:

“I can tell you the idea of the rule is not to screw anybody.”—Ty Murray, talking about getting the kinks worked out of the new system.

  • Des Moines:

“The chute rule was tweaked a little. The pendulum has swung back to the judges’ discretion.” JW Hart says a lot of guys got “time crunched.” Translation: judges can’t tell time when it comes to Killer Bs. Now riders get 30 seconds, and the judge has the discretion to disqualify someone. More blather about ditching the chute clock: “PBR was big enough to know, you can’t have it as a blanket rule.” Of course not— why treat all riders equally? Why be fair? Why shouldn’t judges have the “discretion” to favor some riders over others?

One of JW’s explanations: not enough time for judges to adjust all the different clocks they use. PBR changed it mid-stream to make it right. Um, exactly how many different clocks are they using? AND WHY? Why is there always a gap between the buzzer clock and the wristwatch or stopwatch they show us on TV? So they can start either one when they want, which would give some guys less-than-8-second rides and a score?

So now they’re back to letting the judges really exercise their “discretion” about time in the chute. The whole chute clock thing was a sop thrown to the masses, so PBR could pretend they tried to be fair, and then go back to playing favorites.

JDub then demonstrated chute procedure (on a dummy). Sure, that’s nice and neat, when a bull is standing still.

The first person put on the clock: Valdiron de Oliveira.

So here’s what TV viewers saw. I didn’t see PBR Live events, and I didn’t see all the televised events, but I think it’s safe to say that there were other incidents as well:

  • Incident #1: Albuquerque

Apparently Silvano Alves isn’t allowed to rewrap more than once before we hear, “Nod your head, Silvano!” In Round 2, he was punished with a 71.50 for not taking a re-ride. On Sunday, there was a big discussion about his “chute procedure,” with Leah Garcia reading out peoples’ tweets on the subject. Mine didn’t show up; I named names about who takes longer than Silvano. He then rode his third bull, and got more punishment: 81 points.

  • Incident #2: Fresno

Fabiano Vieira, competing with an injured riding arm, compensated for it by using a different position on Hustle Up. The judge was shouting, “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, Fabiano!” when Vieira still had 5 seconds left on the clock. “It seemed to rattle him,” said Craig Hummer. Ya think?? The bull pushed Fabiano against the inside of the chute as the gate opened– with 4 seconds left.

  • Incident #3: Billings

Tanner Byrne prepping on Raven Flyer was given another 20 seconds. Shorty Gorham was trying to help him in the chute. Isn’t that supposed to be a no-no? Tanner’s given another 20 seconds. Someone finally says, “Get out of there, now”—but the clock is re-set. What the hell is that?? Oh for Pete’s sake, now he’s just getting as much time as he wants, and the clock isn’t even showing any numbers.

  • Incident # 4: Des Moines

Hummer said Silvano Alves has had trouble this season with the clock and chute procedure. Um, wouldn’t it be the judges having problems with him? “He’s gonna have to man it up, be a cowboy at some point,” was JW Hart’s insulting remark. Altercation was bucking around in the chute. David Fournier was yelling; Shorty started complaining about Alves, because there was a split-second when the bull stopped, but then started up again. (In other organizations’ bull riding events, I don’t remember hearing any bullfighters on camera badmouthing a rider.) JW said that once you get known for taking too long in there, and the judges get irritated about it, it “compounds.” And that is exactly what’s wrong with the judges’ attitude: they have no right to hold a guy’s previous actions against him. They’re supposed to judge based on what’s happening in the present.

  • Incident #5: Colorado Springs

Hustle Up was torturing Valdiron in the chute, rocketing around, up and down, while the judge was yelling, “You’re on the clock! You’re on the clock!” So Valdiron should nod while the bull is fussing and fighting in there?

  • Incidents #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, & #11: Last Cowboy Standing
  • Stormy Wing was getting set on Big Sleazy. He was on the clock, but nobody was yelling at him.
  • Pistol Robinson was in the chute on Duck Butter for more than 40 seconds, but wasn’t put on the clock; he was allowed to re-set, then got up and out, and while he was doing whatever he was doing, the next rider took his turn. Eventually he was on the clock (after 30 seconds), with the judge telling him he won’t get a re-ride if he doesn’t get out of there. He was DQd for the same situation in Billings.
  • David Fournier started yelling at Alves at exactly 42 seconds, and instantly put him on the clock. Bullet Proof was doing tricks in the chute like standing on his front legs, with one rear hoof hooked in the chute rail. “He didn’t get the best shot at that bull,” Justin McBride admitted. “He did an awesome job, I thought.” 88.50, even with the harassment designed to screw him up.
  • Past Time was blowing up in the chute, jerked the rope out of Guilherme Marchi’s hand, a rope had to be put across the bull’s head, and he still bucked up against it. Marchi was put on the clock.
  • Renato Nunes wasn’t even wrapped on Shepherd Hills Tested before they put him on the clock.
  • Markus Mariluch was put on the clock while I’m A Gangster Too was messing around in the chute; he didn’t get a clean out.
  • On Honey Hush, Alves was put on the clock so fast, I don’t think the judge bothered to look at the time; it was just automatic: Silvano’s up—put him on the clock.

In the next few posts, I’ll take a look at the more recent DQs and close calls (the ones we saw and the judges didn’t, and vice versa), .25 dings, over-scoring and underscoring, new faces, and words of wisdom (or not) from various cowboys. And whatever else pops up.

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Touring Pro Division at Pala – Guest Post by Ms. Dee Cued

Saturday, May 17, 2014
— by Dee Cued

PalaThere is something about the fresh air, an outdoor arena and a raucous crowd that takes me back to my roots. I grew up in a small town where the biggest events of the year include the local Lions Club Rodeo and the National Junior High Finals rodeo finals, both held during the summer in an outdoor arena on the outskirts of town.

image-2That nostalgia and my penchant for being at live sporting events brought me to the PBR’s Touring Pro Division at the Pala Casino Spa and Resort for the second year in a row. (Not to mention that the tickets were less than half the price of a BFTS event at $48 for reserved seating/$28 general admission. Plus, I wouldn’t have to listen to TV commentator bias while watching the action…but I digress.)

The format for this event was a round of 35 riders with 10 advancing to the short go each day. Saturday’s competition included veteran riders such as Kody Lostroh and Sean Willingham as well as cowboys from places I would not have typically associated with producing bull riders including one from Guatemala (Mynor Morales) and another from East LA (Christian Galindo). I love the diversity in this sport! In fact, I think it’s still a bit of an untapped resource that has strong potential for growing the fan base worldwide.

Getting to discover up-and-coming bull riders is another aspect I love about TPD events.   PBR fans have probably seen Stetson Lawrence and Brady Sims on TV, but how many people know much about Jay Miller (Liberty, SC) if not familiar with the Touring Pro? According to the PBR website, he’s sitting in the #2 spot in the TPD standings! I would love to learn more about these rising stars, but aside from the rankings, there isn’t much information on the site about them, unfortunately.

I was also more than happy to see two cowboys from my home state competing: Ryan McConnel (Bloomfield, NM) and Travis Briscoe (Edgewood, NM). It’s not often that I get the chance to cheer for professional athletes from NM, so I make it a point to cheer a little (lot) louder for them. No score for Ryan in the first round, but Travis put together an entertaining ride on his second out. The bull performed well and Travis made the necessary corrections when the bull switched directions. The judges, in their infinite wisdom (eyeroll), scored the ride an 85 – – lower than the crowd and I expected. A comparable ride by certain other riders could’ve easily received an 88. Regardless, it was really nice to see Ryan and Travis still on the circuit.

Final Results (Round 1-Round 2-Total Points-Earnings)

1. Stetson Lawrence, 86-90-176.0 points, $9,193.60
2. Jay Miller, 86.5-86-172.5 points, $7,397.97
3. Tyler Harr, 83-83-166 points, $3,663.07
4. Brady Sims, 76-83-159 points, $2,657.52
5. Sean Willingham, 88-0-88 points, $2,930.46

Now, I must make a bold statement here. Brinson James, entertainer of the TPD, gives Flint Rasmussen a run for his money. Not only is he funny but this guy can D-A-N-C-E! I can safely say that Brinson performed the best “Dougie”I’ve ever seen. If you’re an avid sports fan, you’ve seen plenty of athletes do the Dougie, especially after a big win (ok admit it, you’ve also watched model Kate Upton do the dance too…several times lol). Well, Brinson puts them all to shame. I would be totally okay with Brinson being Flint’s successor after he retires.

And yes, in case you’re wondering, the obligatory PBR songs – Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” – were played at this event with full crowd participation. Ha!

I will take an outdoor event over a dim-lit, indoor stadium any day. See you next year, Pala!

 

Posted in ABBI, Built Ford Tough Series, Bull Riding, cowboys, PBR | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment