OAKLAND—What I saw of it, anyway.

A funny thing happened on the way to the Finals: I started to lose interest. That’s why it takes me so long to post something these days. Why is my enthusiasm starting to flag? Because the PBR events have become so predictable: the ratbag judges will score Silvano Alves in the 60s and 70s most of the time no matter how he rides, which is even worse than last year, when they decided to keep him mostly in the 82-84 range, no matter how he rode.

They will continue to ignore Cody Nance’s spur-hooking, use the J.B. clock, inflate some American riders’ scores (even more than last year) and shave points off Brazilian riders’ scores, and DQ a Brazilian rider at the drop of a hat, while they let American riders take as much time as they want in the chute. Just about every week a Brazilian rider gets DQd for any old thing the judge feels like, but remember the huge outcry when Pistol Robinson was put on the clock? One or two American guys in a year get DQd for taking too long in the chute, and holy hell breaks loose.

Still, I love watching the riders. I just have to score them in my head instead of taking the judges’s word for what their rides are worth. And I also keep watching because in another couple of weeks, I’ll never get to see Bushwacker buck again. Thank god for YouTube.
Bushwacker was the $50,000 bounty bull. Stormy Wing won the event, the first win of his career, with a 90.75 on Mr. Bull.

The judges on duty were Jeff Shearer, Pacheco, Pinchin, Paolo Crimber, and I’m probably missing one.

LIKIN’ IT

  • It’s utterly corny to use the phrase “one for all and all for one,” (or is it the other way round?), but when you see Jesse Byrne zooming to protect his brother from a bull, and dad Ryan choking up when he talks about Tanner’s wreck, it’s not a cliché.
  • Now this was a ride: Jason Malone’s 90.25 on Fire Rock put him into the first championship round of his career so far. He did have plenty of prep time, though.
  • Billy Robinson deserved that 89.50 for his ride on Semper Fi; his right arm whipping in sync with the bull’s spin was a thing of beauty, and it tied him with Vieira.
  • Gage Gay’s the #1 Rookie, and his 87.25 ride on Rooster’s Egg was evidence why. It was a tough ride, and Gay was impressive.

STOP HIM IF YOU’VE HEARD THIS BEFORE

  • “It’s not a countermove if it’s not timed perfectly.”—Ty Murray
  • J.B. Mauney didn’t make 8, so Ty complained that J.B. was planning where to escape: “That’s a dismount, not a buckoff!”
  • Guilherme Marchi is struggling with his confidence, age, and knee trouble. Etc.

LOL

  • “I’d love to find the guy who decided you have to ride for 8 seconds.”—L.J. Jenkins, King of the 7+ Seconds Ride.
  • Every time I watch an event with someone who’s never seen bull riding, I hear something that cracks me up. This time it was Dad. After seeing Eduardo Aparecido thrown by Get Smacked, Douglas Duncan dumped on his butt in the dirt by Hard Knocks, and Renato earning a re-ride, he watched Joao Ricardo Vieira perform on Boogie Shoes (for a crummy 80 points, I might add), and said, “That guy’s good.

 

JUST SAYIN’…

  • Josh Faircloth’s ugly K.O. that left him flat on the ground possibly could have been prevented with a helmet.
  • Now, here’s the thing: Joao Ricardo Vieira’s ride on Cowtown Slinger was judged “picture perfect” by Ty Murray, yet his score (89.50) was lower than Jason’s. Was 206th-ranked Fire Rock (44.50) reeeeally that much better than 85th-ranked Cowtown Slinger (43.50)? Or is this another situation that has to do more with the riders’ nationality?
  • The J.B. Clock was in full operation while Mauney took forever in the chute on Heavy Dose; we heard him say, “He’s squattin’ real bad.” Since when has a squatting bull ever kept the chute bully from putting a Brazilian rider on the clock? So much for all the commentator guff about J.B. being so quick to get out of the chute. Don’t ya hate when people tell you the opposite of reality, and think you’re stupid enough to disbelieve your own eyes?
  • Disgusting “F.U.” from the judges to Alves: Take 58.25 for your ride on Gator, or take a re-ride. He didn’t flinch. Don’t those assholes know who they’re dealing with? He’s smarter than they are.

 

GROAN
Valdiron’s 4-out-of-30 slump (did I hear that right?) wasn’t helped by Stanley Fatmax’s change of direction. He thoroughly rattled de Oliveira (who needed to be escorted out), and scored himself a 45.

4TH TIME IS NOT THE CHARM!
Western Hauler fell down on his side as Billy Robinson went flying. According to Ty Murray, this is the 4th time the bull has fallen. So either the bull has a drinking problem or there’s something wrong with him, and he needs to take time off.

ET TU, BRUTE?
Craig Hummer started complaining about Marchi being picky about how his bull is sitting. Well, Cali’s Cruel Intentions was a boring bull that netted him just 83, but he said the bull “Make me happy today.”

INCH BY INCH
When Renato’s bull did a squatty little spin, Nunes was offered a re-ride or 76 points. So he took the re-ride and was optimistic about his choice: “Why keep a small score when I can get a big one?” Are ya satisfied, re-ride fanatics? It was amazing that he stayed on the back of that bull, but it was all for a measly gain: 79.75.

CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND
Marchi has been #1 for 13 weeks. Deerango, however, didn’t help. The bull came out backwards, hipped himself, and generally did everything he could to make it rain orange flags.

Josh Faircloth had the worst Championship Round of everyone: his head smacked the bull, he was knocked out, and sustained a concussion.

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Neil Holmes is here

You’ve heard me talk about Neil Holmes making his PBR BFTS debut; now read an interview with him in The Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cynthia-dagnalmyron/bull-rider-neil-holmes-ma_b_5890670.html

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PBR in Laughlin, NV – Sept. 21

Is it just me, or is all that loud hyperbolic hype at the top  of the broadcast turning you off?

Pretty amazing top tier going into Sunday:
1. Fabiano Vieira, even with his bum riding arm
2. JRV, rookie (I have succumbed to laziness—in a Word program it’s a pain to find the cedilla to put over the “a” in his name. Besides, if you watch bull riding and you don’t know who this is by now, give it up.)
3. Guilherme Marchi, the next “grand old man” of bullriding
4. Silvano Alves, coming up on the inside
5. Mike Lee—he’s been surprising me all year with this resurgence, and sure getting a lot of exercise doing those victory laps.
6. Eduardo Aparecido, This is unexpected. I kinda thought Marco Eguchi or J.B. would be here by now.

STOP THE PRESSES!
Wow, an articulate cowboy: Matt Triplett. And he sure deserved to strut after his 88-point ride on Tyree’s Pretty Boy.

LIKIN’ IT
Yes! Brendon Clark is a commentator, just like I told him I wanted.

SPOTLIGHT
Neil Holmes in his BFTS debut. Check this: Round 1, 84; Round 2, 87.25 and a flying dismount from a bull sadly named Reaganator (though not the voluntary flying-over-the-animal’s-head dismount that was bronc rider Hawkeye’s specialty). Holmes has been riding for 10 years; this summer, he scored 88, 90.50, and 92.50 in the CBR’s Road to Cheyenne Finals. Looking at his CBR scores in the last few years, I can say that with only a couple of exceptions, he has just two gears: north of 86, or zero. I’d say that’s a cowboy worth watching. His interview quote: “I just wanted to let everybody know I was here and I’m here to stay.” Succinct.

WHO DO THEY THINK THEY’RE FOOLING?
Headline: U.S. riders have won the last 4 events. Yeah, because look at how many times the judges shafted the Brazilian riders and failed to notice Cody Nance’s spurs.
On Kiss Animalize, “Nance found a way,” says Craig Hummer, to get an 86.50 score. You mean, his right spur found a way.

Ty Murray was blathering about how the top 3 guys are struggling with things: JRV is struggling with bulls that turn away from his hand, Fabiano with his shoulder injury, Marchi with “Father Time” (and more of the bulls-turning-away-from-his-hand thing). Shorty chimed in about how they’re all struggling with something. Yeah, boys, and they’re STILL the top 3 guys, so as Liz Lemon would say, “Suck it, monkeys!”

We should track how many bulls Cody Lambert gives JRV that turn away from his hand. (Vieira still won the most rounds of anyone this season.) Marchi also was matched with another bull going away from his hand. How many times does this happen?

There was more J.B. hype (a montage) before a commercial, then the Athlete Profile after. Why? To make us think he’s still in the Finals race? Later we got an Extreme Close Up at the chute as he sat on Cowboy Phil. The ride was good as far as it went—halfway—then J.B. got into a bad position. Even so, Ty managed to find something to praise.

THE ANTI-BRAZILIAN RE-RIDE STRATEGY: 50 SHADES OF SHIT

  • Because of Finger Roll’s bad chute behavior, JRV was offered a re-ride— or 64 points. Vieira didn’t fall for it. He did the math in his head and said he’d keep the 64, because 9 times this year he hasn’t scored on a re-ride. And there you have it, monkeys: the Killer Bs are smarter than you. They’re not trying to prove anything; they’re trying to win.
    Silvano’s bull, Mr. Twitter, blew up in the chute, then just kept spinning. So here’s the choice handed to Silvano: 63.75 or a re-ride.
  • Next on the crazy train: J.W. Harris (out with a back injury) and Neil Holmes were helping Chase Outlaw at the chute. Crazy Trip has history of giving scores to left-handed riders, and whaddaya know: Chase is one. The bull did a lot of lurching, and Neil kept Chase from getting hurt. Then came the rewrap. Lots of time. After all that, the bull hip-hopped sideways, barely left the chute, and bashed Chase against it upside down. Outlaw was offered a re-ride—without an insulting score. Just a plain old re-ride. Later, he was matched with Brown Sugar, a bull that Ty says goes to left.
  • Emilio Resende’s bull banged against the rail a few times, sending people up the fence. Though Emilio rode just fine, the judges gave him a choice: a re-ride or 70.75. Yeah, the bull stunk, so penalize the rider.
  • When Mike Lee went out on Dr. Wishes, the bull did some up-and-down, no spinning, stopped dead, and Mike climbed off like he was dismounting a stuffed cow. No re-ride jazz: he got an 80 instead.
  • Here’s a head-scratcher: Flyin’ Crazy bucked Nunes half out of the chute—Renato’s leg was completely over the top rail; pretty scary. Then the bull hung his head in the chute rail on the way out—I’ve never seen anything like it. How that wasn’t a re-ride beats me, but Renato rode and scored 89.50. (Probably because he was good and mad.) His back-flip was only from the Shark Cage, and kind of wonky, but WTF, I’ll take it.
  • Fabiano kept a 51.50 in Round 1, with Ty calling his result a dismount, not a buckoff, and discounting the shoulder problem, saying it wasn’t involved.
    Those judges suck. And now Ty does, too.

TWO-FACED TY
Ty said J.B. Mauney proved last year that the Alves re-ride strategy doesn’t work. HOLY M.O.G., YOU TWERP! Do you think we’re all half-wits?? That we didn’t pick up on all the harassment, DQs, and low scores thrown at Alves all year, and all the high scores and selective treatment thrown at J.B.? (And for the millionth time, yes, J.B. is a great bull rider, and it’s not his fault that the PBR thinks he wears a halo.)

Later we’re told Alves has a 59.62% riding percentage, 3rd highest of all time–and Hummer starts quibbling about how many  scores were below 80! (Craig must be really slow if he doesn’t know why.) Here’s the unbelievable part: Ty then contradicted himself, saying that Silvano’s strategy won him 2 championships. (Ya mean 3.)
Ty needs someone to talk to at home. He just can’t stop. There was one pearl of wisdom in the whole broadcast: “Every time you ride, you either win something or learn something.”

I’M JUST SAYIN’
There were a lot of awkward entrances by the bulls, and Western Hauler took a spill onto his side after dumping Marco Eguchi. Finally Shorty, uh, mentioned that yeah, the sand was a bit of a problem; too soft, too deep; pock-marked from lots of hooves. Once again, who’s in charge of dirt? Why can’t the organization find a local supplier of proper dirt, instead of sometimes dirt, sometimes sand, sometimes limestone chips? It’s not safe for the bulls, and if it’s not safe for the bulls, it’s not safe for the cowboys. Plus the sand slowed down Mike Lee’s victory run after his 87.25 ride on Meat Hook! But his event win moved Lee to #3 in the world standings.

Lachlan Richardson is making me despair. The way More Big Bucks launched him against the chute, if he wasn’t wearing a helmet, his skull would’ve split. The kid is jinxed.

Renato went way too wild, doing a back bend over Modified Clyde’s rump. That is one flexible spine! (Renato’s, not Clyde’s)

“As good as you ride, where have you been?” naive Leah Garcia asks Neil Holmes. Uh, stuck behind the race barrier, girl.

TAKE YOUR HEAD OUT OF WHERE IT IS, TY!
“Quit acting like a girl,” Murray said to J.B. Oh, really, little boy? You mean, like the “girl” who was such a sissy that she gave birth to you? Or the “girl” that was such a wuss that she gave birth to your son? You think you know what pain is? HAVE A BABY, you little twerp, and stop insulting women! Maybe this half of the human race should start saying, “Stop acting like a boy.”

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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.

 

 

 

 

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