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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Built Ford Tough Series, Bull Riding, cowboys, PBR | Tagged | 3 Comments

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.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Built Ford Tough Series, Bull Riding, CBR, Charlie Sampson, cowboys, PBR, PRCA, WNFR | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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.

Posted in Built Ford Tough Series, Bull Riding, cowboys, PBR | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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

HOW TO TELL IF YOU WATCH TOO MUCH BULL RIDING

HOW TO TELL IF YOU WATCH TOO MUCH BULL RIDING

You do everything in 8-second bursts. And you expect to hear the buzzer at the end. And get a score.
(This does not make your Significant Other happy.)

You don’t start work until you have the exact right seat in your desk chair. And sometimes it takes more than 30 seconds. But that’s okay, because you might get another 20 seconds before your boss disqualifies you. Then you’ll have to hit the challenge button.

When you see a newly seeded or pesticided lawn, you wonder why it’s surrounded by re-ride flags.

When you hear the opening bars of “Bad to the Bone,” you rush to the nearest TV to see JB Mauney wrap.

You know all the bulls’ names, even if you don’t recognize the rider.

You’ve never seen a cow, but you can identify muleys, longhorns, and Brahmas.

You’ve taken to wearing only one glove, and it has nothing to do with Michael Jackson.

You’re studying Portuguese but you live in Greece.

You yell at riders to break at the hips and stay out of the well—from your couch.

You carry pictures of Ty Murray’s and JW Hart’s kids in your wallet next to photos of your own kids. Sometimes you forget which is which.

You consider hiring Flint Rasmussen as a clown for your kid’s birthday party.
You decide against it, because Flint might make them cry.

You schedule your vacation during the PBR’s summer break, because there’s nothing else to do.

 

Posted in Built Ford Tough Series, Bull Riding, CBR, cowboys, PBR, PRCA, WNFR | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

This makes it even funnier

This makes it even funnier: it’s not the first PBR attempt at figuring out what to do.

In late 2012, PBR hired Scarborough Sports Marketing to tell them what’s what. Here are the first biggies they came up with:

• 15% of U.S. adults 18 and over (i.e., 36 million) are PBR Fans.
• 8% (of the total adult population? Or of the 15%?) watched PBR on TV in the past 12 months
• 3% are avid PBR fans. (How did they decide who’s rabid? I mean, avid.).

All of this is based on—what? Did they survey the entire country? Slip a PBR survey into the census forms and voting records? (PFF: they kept capitalizing “Fans,” like it’s a title: “PBR Fans.”)

Because it was Finals time, part of the focus was on Las Vegas. They used numbers provided by PBR (a famously unbiased source), to come up with this:

38% of PBR fans visited a casino in the past year, which is 12% more likely than the U.S. average.

What? 38% of 36 million? As in, 1,368,000 people? Surely you jest.

This was further broken down into:
Within the past year, PBR fans engaged in the following casino activities:
• 31% played slot machines
• 15% ate at an upscale restaurant
• 12% played table games
• 10% went to a bar/nightclub
• 9% watched a stage show or concert

Here’s the thing:
Who the hell are they talking about? All PBR fans? Or just those who went to Las Vegas for the Finals? Or those who responded to an online survey? How can you possibly extrapolate such specific information from a miniscule sample? They also declared that 20% of all Las Vegas adults are PBR fans. Now, just how did they figure out that? A citywide survey?

So now, let’s help out the marketing geniuses and get more specific:
What do they consider an “upscale restaurant”? Olive Garden? P.F. Chang’s? Bouley?
I shudder to think.

Logic has never stopped PBR from jumping to all kinds of conclusions. According to Scarborough, there are more than 1 million PBR fans in LA and NYC. How do they know that? Is that the number of tickets sold? No, that math doesn’t work; 3 sold-out days at Madison Square Garden is 60,000 people, and that’s only if they make people sit behind the sound setup, Sky Box, and F150, and in the rafters behind the chutes—the no-view seats.

If that million includes TV viewers, how did they pin them down? Well, the marketing agency is owned by Nielsen (as in, TV ratings), so they could’ve used that technology to spy on people watching Versus. I kinda doubt they went to all that trouble—and what are the odds they’d pick the right million TVs to hook up? Naahh.

Last June, Scarborough came up with the earthshaking fact that within the previous 12 months, 81% of Lexington, KY adults were more likely than all adults across the land to watch PBR on cable TV. Um, why Lexington? Because this was about a month after the Kentucky Derby? Again, how did they get that information? Flyers on all the seats at the Derby?

What’s really funny is the amnesia. Far be it from me to take Fox “News” seriously, but here’s a chunk of a FoxNews.com article from 2006 that the PBR seems to have forgotten:

“And the demographics seem to break all the stereotypes about the kind of people who’d come to watch a cowboy ride a bucking bull for eight seconds at a time…”

Sean Gallagher, senior vice president of production and development for TLC, which carries “Beyond the Bull,” a 10-hour reality series on bull riders that began airing this year, said it’s obvious to anyone who attends an event that the audience for bull riding is burgeoning in all directions. “I brought my kids to a couple, and it’s amazing how many people there are from all walks of life,” he said. “It’s not just the cowboy-hat-wearing crowd.”

“Beyond the Bulls” has been “bringing a nice female number,” Gallagher said. “We try to go deeper into the lives of these guys. An audience member might say, ‘Yeah, I don’t know a lot about bull riding, but I know what he’s going through with his wife and I know what it’s like to have to leave my kid for eight days to go on a business trip.'”

And a PBR-commissioned study found that women were making heroes not of the cowboys but the bulls, some of which, like the notorious and now retired Little Yellow Jacket, have carved out fame of their own, even if it’s on the backsides of the sport’s less nimble cowboys.

“What we did find was that the women were more interested in the bulls,” [Randy] Bernard said. “We thought tight Wranglers would be the top reason women would go [sexist, much?], but it wasn’t. It was the bulls. So we started merchandising the bulls, and our bull merchandise outsells our cowboy merchandise.”

Well, no wonder: the only cowboy-on-a-tee-shirt you can buy is JB Mauney, and if you’re a kid, there’s a Chris Shivers tee. There’s more Bushwacker merchandise than anything else.

I can’t wait for the next marketing survey to get my jollies! I wonder if they even looked at the information they collected in NYC from us unfathomable females.

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PBR MARKETING SURVEY: Get ready to ROTFL

PBR continues to amuse with their latest attempt to have a clue.

They posted on their Facebook page an “opportunity” to join a small private online community for 30 days to discuss the future of the PBR: sponsors, live events, marketing, and more. A couple of people who shall remain nameless filled out the questionnaire posted, and were approved to be included. (I was not involved.) The discussion group ran for the month of March; people were required to spend at least 20 minutes a week reading and discussing issues. (You wouldn’t believe how much the PBR thinks you should do in 20 minutes). Participants also were required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement stating that anything they posted or created belongs to the PBR. Here are some of the highlights of the marketing “survey.”

Unnamed Person:
“I got invited to join some PBR feedback forum. I had to sign some totally non-enforceable NDA, but I’m sure as hell not putting any artwork on there, since they’re trying to say all postings and creative works put there belong to them. But, it should be worth a laugh.”

Feedback Forum? Hmpfh. PBR finally realized they’ve been getting free market research from fans for  years, so they don’t have to pay a market research firm +$100 a head to hear it from survey participants. (Oops, they already did. My head.) Now they’ll collect more free info, all organized in one spot—and they can say they’re listening to the fans. (The ones they handpicked. How very PBR of them!) Of course, they already have a website where theoretically anyone can post comments—if the moderator likes them.

Confidentiality agreement?? Like everyone would take notes and run to the PRCA and CBR to report on the PBR marketing strategy? Or (heavens to Betsy!) feed info to the Stockyard Queen and me so we can make fun of it?

Unnamed Person:
“I don’t know why I got in except I said on my survey that I’ve gone to live events, rock concerts and live in a suburban area. After signing their ridonkulous NDA where I had to promise to be nice, so far it’s a bunch of leading questions posed by the moderators:

  • Who do you think are celebrities in the PBR? (Who could they possibly want us to say?)
  • What do you enjoy most about Flint’s performance? (Gag.) Thankfully, a few people in there already have suggested that Flint needs new material.
    I hope they ask about the Stud of the Night, because I have a lot to say on that one.”

Yeah, so do I. That Stanley Stud Finder commercial is totally misleading: you think you’re gonna get Douglas Duncan, and instead the dumb thing always picks the dorkiest, worst dancer in the audience. :)

Other Unnamed Person:
“There is very little conversation between anyone on this blog, including the moderators. It’s not really a blog. It’s a more of a Q & A thing. You can’t respond directly to someone’s post. All you can do is add another post under the topic question. As a result, the only way you know if someone responds to something you write is to read through all of the posts. It takes a lot of time and I don’t think anyone bothers to do it. It’s a shame. I think there are some really interesting people involved in this. There are also some token PBR fans who think the PBR can do no wrong. There are quite a few “PBR Herdies.” I still think this is being done by an outside marketing firm. The moderators just go through all of the posts every day and “like” them. They don’t respond in any meaningful way. It’s all kind of lame…very PBRish.”

Unnamed Person:
“I want to know who’s reading our responses. I wonder if it’s a marketing company compiling the information and presenting it to the PBR, or if PBR folks are actually reading some of the comments. From the looks of it, the moderators are in Chicago. I’m waiting for them to start asking questions about the events,  fan club, etc. Then I’ll be able to speak my mind. So far they have been fluff questions.”

Unnamed Person:
“I have to wait until I’m home to give this the time it “deserves,” but at least there do seem to be some reasonable people in there. The PBR seem to really want to push musical acts or attempt to get musical acts (presumably country), so they probably won’t like most of what I have to say, but oh well, they can block me if they want. They gave us “Women of the PBR” and Tyson foods, what more could we want?! There’s just no understanding females, those strange creatures who want to be treated like people.”

Here are some of the questions from the PBR private blog:

  • Who among the PBR competitors would you say is a celebrity?

Who would I say? That would not be the answer they want, which is: JB. Do they not think we’ve got the point by now?

  • What gives a celebrity status?

A cool theme song—plus a big PR effort behind him to make him a celebrity.

  • How does the celebrity aspect of the PBR impact your experience watching it?

It makes me want to run screaming from the room. (Actually, I have run screaming from the room.) There are other riders who could be celebrities with the same push behind them. Ben Jones could be a celebrity (but he’d have to get teeth). Marchi could be a celebrity (but he’s Brazilian). Jody Markiss was on his way, but– and this is straight from another rider’s mouth—not if he rides in any more CBR events, because the PBR is pissed. Backflippin’ Renato could be a celebrity (but he has the same problem as Guilherme). Valdiron could be a celebrity (but he’d have to bleach his skin to appease the haters). Gee, I guess there’s no one who could be as good a celebrity as JB Mauney.

Other Unnamed Person:
“I’m trying to answer the celebrity question and having a hard time keeping it diplomatic and non-judgmental. PBR promotes a few riders as celebrities; sometimes because of their riding, sometimes because of their personalities. These guys keep the sport exciting, but my interest in PBR events has dropped because of this celebrity obsession. The top riders deserve to be recognized, but there’s too much publicity about one rider. A lot of fans are tired of all the hype. PBR should focus its attention on the riders more equally.
I didn’t mention names but it’s obvious who I meant. Most of the other people named a few people they liked to call celebrities, but a lot said they felt that the top 35 riders (not just one or two) should be considered celebrities. One guy said it was a time bomb to put all the focus on one guy in a sport where people get injured and have to stop riding for long stretches. Most said they wanted more even coverage of the riders.”

Unnamed Person:
“People in there are mostly saying J.B. is the celeb, but there’s a fair amount tagging Guilherme, Silvano and Mike Lee. And someone sensible saying none of them are really celebs outside the PBR world, but anyone who makes it to that level deserves recognition within the PBR fandom. There are guys with more name recognition, but since guys get hurt and career spans are relatively short, there’s only so much celebrity to be achieved, unless you’re Ty Murray or Adriano Moraes. Setting up celebrities is a bad idea, since careers are short and a guy can get sidelined in an instant. But, seeing the hundreds of gushing comments about J.B. on Facebook on every article about him, I’m not sure they’ll listen to me.”

The next questions:

  • How would you describe the sport of bull riding to someone who has never heard of it?
  • What is it that you like about the PBR?
  • How knowledgeable do you feel you are about the PBR compared to other fans you know?
  • What social media outlets do you use to follow the PBR and related topics?

Other Unnamed Person:
“There are a few people that have made some good points. So far I think all the comments have been pretty pro-PBR. I am the only one to come out and say that I don’t like something. Maybe that will change as the questions change. I think sometimes people feel like they need to say what the PBR wants them to say.”

Unnamed Person:
“Oh, dear God. Now they want us to make a collage or video that we feel represents “cowboy culture.” So, this supposed 20-minute-per-week commitment now includes responding in 3-5 sentences or more to each of their 8 questions, and making a collage? Because I am sure as hell not making a video. Although I guess I could film a rant about certain cowboys making dumbass comments about women and get kicked off and be done with it. They even sent me an email to say they’d updated the question, so if I’d already answered it, please look again and add to my response. I kind of just want to take a video of my cat in the litter box or my dog taking a dump. I’m just not even going to answer the question. If they want to kick me off, they can, but I do not have the time or the inclination to make a damned collage. We don’t want no stinkin’ collage!”

Other Unnamed Person:
“We even had homework. We had to create a collage that represented the Cowboy Culture. I did it but have no idea how to post it on the blog. Only one person has successfully posted it so I’m not alone. I think only two or three people posted the damn collages in the end.”

Other Unnamed Person:
“I’m waiting for the PBR to start asking about the fan club, the fees required to be able to read any personal information about the riders, etc. Why would you pay to get information on someone you don’t know? That’s back-asswards. I’ve tried getting information on riders on the PBR website…ridiculous. All you get are random riding stats which often times aren’t even current. A lot of the bull riders have Facebook pages or websites but they either don’t keep them up or often times they don’t have anything to do with them (JB Mauney, for example). I often look at the PBR wives’ Facebook pages. They usually post family pictures and updates.”

More questions:
• In your opinion, which network would make the best home for PBR?
• What is your opinion of ABC’s sports programming?
• What is your opinion of CMT?
• What is your opinion of FOX’s sports programming?
• What is your opinion of CBS’s sports programming?
• What network do you usually watch PBR on?

Other Unnamed Person:
“I really don’t care what network carries PBR. The things I’m not liking about the PBR have nothing to do with the television station. I wouldn’t pay extra for a channel just so I could watch PBR. I’m sitting here watching the NFR from this past year! I taped it but never had a chance to watch it. I LOVE the commentators! Joe Beaver is my favorite. I’ll follow whichever organization they are commentating on next year.”

Then keep your eye on the PRCA!

Unnamed Person:
“This week seems to be questions about sports programming on various channels, which I can’t really speak to; other than the odd ice skating or gymnastics or Super Bowl, or the college basketball that ends up in my PBR slot, I don’t watch other slots. But they didn’t can me for not making a collage, so there is that!”

And now the sponsor questions:

  • What luxury brands do you like? This can be for any item.
  • What of the brands that you like would you be surprised to see associated with the PBR?
  • Name some brands that you are especially loyal to. This could be any kind of brand such as clothing, liquor, hotel, jewelry.
  • What of the brands that you like would you be surprised to see associated with the PBR?

Items/brands I like? Single malt Scotch, Dom Perignon Champagne, Bose speakers, Godiva chocolate, old Corvettes (Sting Ray), Virgin Atlantic, Apple computers, Fender Stratocaster, Nordstrom Department Store, Angel perfume, Opium perfume… Let’s see how many of those become PBR sponsors.

  • How would you describe the typical PBR fan?

The fact that PBR is asking this question shows how clueless they still are. THERE IS NO TYPICAL PBR FAN! That’s the whole reason they’re still fishing around for a marketing strategy. Let’s see if the marketing geniuses can comprehend this:
Half the fans are female, half are male—right there, you have to lose the “typical.”
PBR events in Colorado are packed; NYC is pretty full. What do those ticketholders have in common? Maybe just an interest in bull riding.
Even if you think all the men wear cowboy hats and drive pickup trucks, you still have to figure out the female fans.

The Tyson chicken thing, PBR perfume (are you kidding me? What were they thinking??), energy drink bimbos, riders’ wives interviews, and a guest appearance by Martha fucking Stewart show that they just don’t get it. They still think women’s primary interests are food and homemaking. Newsflash: Half the U.S. labor force is now female, as in, working outside the home. Think about advertising to this market. And no, fast food doesn’t cut it.  Thinking that after a day at work, a woman doesn’t have a lot of time to cook, so instead of having her pick up a bucket of Kentucky Fried, let’s convince her to pick up a bucket of Tyson’s? Uh, here’s an original thought: men can cook, too. People can share this chore. They don’t have to resort to junky food.

I don’t know why this escapes the PBR, but there’s an easy way to see who the fans are: Walk around the seats in all different sections of the arena and use a freakin’ camera!

  • What brands do they wear?
  • What restaurants do they eat at? (Great grammar)
  • What car do they drive?
  • What music do they listen to? (ditto)
  • What do they spend money on at a PBR event?

Some of them wear Brooks Brothers, some of them wear Wranglers. Some of them eat at McDonald’s, some of them eat in restaurants that have tablecloths and silver service. What car do they drive? Can PBR not conceive of a place where people don’t need cars? Most people who live in NYC (and other major cities) use public transportation. I didn’t need a car for 23 years.
Music? I’ll bet they think all bull riding fans love country music. Wrong. A lot of them love rock.
What do they spend on at events? Overpriced, unhealthy food (there’s no choice). What they spend the most on is overpriced tickets.

  • Imagine that you are going to a live PBR event. What brands are you wearing?
  • What restaurant do you eat in before or after the event?
  • What car do you drive to the event?
  • What are you listening to in the car?
  • What do you spend money on at the event?

I don’t have to imagine. I’ve done it a number of times. I don’t dress according to brands—who thinks like that? “I’ll wear my Wrangler jeans, my Ariat boots, my PBR perfume, my Country Outfitter shirt…” I dress according to what’s clean, fits right, is comfortable, and looks snazzy. I couldn’t care less what the label says. I don’t even remember what I wore the last time.
Restaurant? Once it was some cheap place where we ran into Flint and his family. Once it was a place that looked like a diner but had good wine and fancy desserts. Once it was an expensive, well-known steakhouse (I am not talking Outback). Other people ate the steak.
Once again, THERE IS NO TYPICAL.
If I were listening to music in a car, I’d listen to the same music that’s on my iPod for when I ride trains and subways: Delbert McClinton, John Fogerty, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, James Brown, Etta Britt— I have eclectic taste.
I try not to spend money at events unless I’m starving. $4 a pretzel and $3 a bottle of water is ridiculous. The tickets cost enough.

Unnamed Person:
“Our last week of the PBR survey, they asked us to take pictures of our closets, pantries and fridges. I didn’t do that. They actually wanted us to display some of our “favorite items” in our closets.”

LMAO! Is PBR so clueless that they think they can figure out “the typical PBR fan” by what’s in the fridge? If they don’t see beer and beef, will they be confused?

My closet would really screw up the survey: Sparkly shoes, Japanese flight jacket with embroidered tiger and dragon, foofy red snake and black cowgirl boots that no self-respecting real cowgirl would ever wear (at least, not near a cow pasture), feather boas (yes, plural), Rhinestone Renegades tee shirt, Louisville slugger, denim jacket, ankle-length black cape, zebra jacket, Mae West hat, Grandma’s satin evening gloves (in 6 colors)… need I go on? The PBR boys would think I was a drag queen.

It’ll be PFF seeing what cockamamie marketing strategy the PBR comes up with after this survey.

Posted in Built Ford Tough Series, Bull Riding, cowboys, PBR, PRCA, WNFR | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Don’t know why I bother…PBR in Tacoma

THE BULL STUFF
This trip is Smackdown’s last Washington gig, and he even got a perm for the occasion. Get Smacked is his ½ brother.
Kimosabe is a PRCA bull. How often do we see that kind of crossover?

GEEZERS
Billy Robinson, LJ Jenkins, Harve Stewart, and Guilherme Marchi all weighed in on the “young guns.” PFF: Baby-faced LJ talking about himself as an “old guy” and referring to “these kids.”

HIS OWN WORST ENEMY
Mike Lee is king of the creative hangup. Last night his up-curved spurs were responsible for him losing a boot; then the bull trashed him with his head. Flint returned the ripped-off sole.

THE FUNNY STUFF
Loved the snowboarding footage: riders showing off, and not so well, either; there were some funny buckoffs. Justin McBride wasn’t out there, though, because “There are too many screws and bolts holding me together.”

VISITORS
Australian David Mason recently competed in his 1st BFTS event.
Derek Powell made the Championship Round in his 1st BFTS event.
Alex Aparecido Marcilio, 5th in Brazil’s standings, won a Touring Pro event in West Plains, Missouri recently. He didn’t make 8. “Welcome to the Big Leagues,” Craig said, as he always does when somebody new gets bucked off. What would he say if they scored?

I’M JUST SAYIN’…

  • Gee, what a surprise: the Athlete’s Profile was about the one guy who doesn’t need any publicity.
  • Ryan Dirteater was paired with a bull called Red Thunder. I’ll bet Cody Lambert thinks that’s funny. I don’t.
  • Because of Buckoff’s mediocre trip, Tanner Byrne was given a choice of 82.25 or a reride. Clearly he’s a favorite son. (Or rather, brother). He kept the points—hell, it ties him for 2nd). (“Making a very calculated decision,” says Craig Hummer. But when Silvano Alves turns down a re-ride, it’s a mortal sin.)
  • When Buckey’s stinky trip stuck Guilherme Marchi with an 81, he got no reride option.
  • Renato Nunes has switched to an American bull rope. Why? Because he was told that a Brazilian style rope he’s using is illegal. Too much slack (4”). Every week we learn a new rule. Or an old rule that nobody told us. Or a rule the Brazilians didn’t know because nobody told them. Or a rule that doesn’t exist. Funny how these obscure rules always involve a Brazilian at the short end of the stick. How is it that in the last 5 years this “rule” has never come up? Don’t tell me no other rider from any other country has ever had too much slack in his rope. Maybe the ruler they used to measure Nunes’s rope was made by the same people who make the judge’s stopwatch.
  • Hummer harping on his “Brazilian dominance” theme—does he not see the connection between that and the judges’ hateful attitude toward them?

CALLING ALL ENGLISH MAJORS: JOIN ME IN DESPAIR
“This dirt is very, very unique.”—Shorty Gorham.

TICK TOCK
They’re “still working out the kinks in those clocks,” according to Shorty. Yeah, pull the other one. The judge told Valdiron de Oliveira to get off Arctic Cooler’s back, because he “missed an opportunity to ride.” That call caused something I’ve never seen before: Guilherme Marchi, Adriano Moraes, and other Brazilian riders being upset enough to go talk to the judge about that fishy DQ. Ridiculous explanation: There’s a difference between the chute clock and the clock in the judge’s hand. Great— so the chute clock everyone sees is bogus, and it’s still the judge who decides who gets how much time.

FASHION ALERT
Anticipating spring: Brady Sims in acid-green chaps. Mike Lee’s turquoise hat.

THE NEW KID
Liked the split-screen photos of Gage Gay and JB Mauney in action. I guess I wasn’t the only one noticing that Gage’s hand motion is like Mauney’s when he’s doing things right. But then: “We’re not comparing him to JB Mauney quite yet,” says Justin McBride. “Yet” is the scary word. Oh dear god, are we lining up a successor already? Well, the kid really seems to want it; in fact, he’s a bit much. He came in 2nd in the Iron Cowboy event, and now says he wants to be Rookie of the Year and World Champion in the same year. Leah Garcia asked him if he liked the number on the back of JB’s vest (#1). “Yeah, I want it,” he said. Start looking over your shoulder, JB.

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

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.

Posted in ABBI, Built Ford Tough Series, Bull Riding, CBR, cowboys, PBR, PRCA, WNFR | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments