God in heaven, do we have to see J.B. Mauney the second the show starts?? Even before the theme song??

J.B.’s canned responses to questions are getting so boring. Hummer even called it a “mantra.” Then Ty Murray droned on with his own mantra about “big moments.”

“One thing we always see when J.B. Mauney’s in attendance, is that bla bla bla” goes Hummer. Then Ty picks up the bla bla bla, praising their Lord. Why are they ranting on about the guy in 3rd place?


“Kaique may scramble the alphabet,” says Craig Hummer. Huh? Need some splainin’, dude. Your mind doesn’t work the way other people’s do.

I thought for sure Stetson Lawrence would ride Crossed Fingers, but that bull turns in mid-air! Hummer babbled that the bull was “finally able to crumple up Stetson Lawrence and able to cross the North Dakota cowboy’s wires,“ which made no sense at all, and then added, “Crossed Fingers is snap, crackle, and pop.” I want some o’ what Hummer’s been drinking.

Big set of horns on Billy Bat Skat. Jess apparently was “able to scatter Billy Bat Skat’s chickens.” I don’t know what Hummer was trying to come up with here, but Lockwood came up with an 88.25.

Another unfathomable Hummerism: “Southern Style might make Kolbaba wish the border was a little farther south.”


Kate Harrison, a prescription blonde, is standing in for Leah Garcia.  Could they find more of a cliché? Fortunately, she seems to be good at her job. However, “a whole ‘nother level” is not English, Kate.


Mike Lee was on Crackerjack, and Ty says:  “Look how every jump and kick is like the one before it.” Lee gets an 86. To me, if the bull does the same thing over and over, that’s not much of a challenge, so why should the score be high?

Today’s Athlete Profile was about Jess Lockwood. It would’ve been fine if he never mentioned J.B. (Remember when this used to be Derek Kolbaba?)

Aaron Roy was not in a good place with Hornet’s Nest, and had to rewrap for a second try. Ty was blaming Roy’s confidence level rather than the bull, who was being difficult. Later, Aaron took on Vegas Outlaw, and spent a bit of time (ahem) prepping, and Ty took another shot at him. “It ain’t like you got much to lose, Aaron – you’re 1 for 19.” Roy rode for 86.50 and performed an interesting involuntary somersault getoff. But what’s with Murray’s attitude? Are we gunning for Canadians now?


Thank god they gave Shorty the job of talking about Kaique Pacheco. Yes, I have noticed that Kaique has the Alves approach – poker face. He’s concentrating, not grandstanding.


João Ricardo Vieira is #5 in the world now. Ty caught the Hummer disease: mixing up his metaphors and clichés, and coming up with how “you gotta have that eye on the tiger.” LOL. Fire Rock, who Vieira has ridden before, didn’t have a great trip. Ty said Vieira was flawless, but the score was just 84.75.

Colonel made an impressive leap into the arena, and this was the 3rd time Gage Gay couldn’t ride him.

Cranky Ty was fussing about Eduardo Aparecido taking too long to get ready on Fit To Be Relaxed. Aparecido was launched pretty high at the end of his ride, which Ty said “adds a little nervousness to Fit To Be Relaxed’s day.” I swear, he really did. And Eduardo scored 86.50.

Kaique took on Slick Rick. “Pacheco with a chance to match Mauney” is how Hummer calls it—he is so besotted by his idol that he sees everything and everybody in relation to J.B.  Pacheco needs 89.50 to move ahead of JB. Rides, lands on his feet, and walks away with an 85.50. “To me this guy is more of a machine than a human,” is Ty’s comment. I know you think that’s a compliment, Ty, but maybe you could find a better way to put it so it doesn’t sound like an insult!

Luis Blanco came up with an 87.50 on Rebel Yell. It’s been a while.


“Master Moments,” which I hope becomes a permanent feature of the broadcasts, featured 1998 World Champion Troy Dunn scoring 95.50 on Rampage during 1999 World Championship event. Yesss!


The “Tarheel Nation’s Titan” is Hummer’s latest encomium for his idol, leading into his excited voiceover. GAG ME.

“He always makes time for the fans,” Hummer claims about J.B. WOW. WTF have you been snorting, dude?? Have you ever seen him on the dirt or on the concourse at New York City? In six years I haven’t. (Or in Connecticut, either.)

And guess who “has more tattoos than anyone would care to see on his body”? (You mean, anyone but you!)

After scoring 86.25, J.B. says, “I don’t really worry about event wins.” He doesn’t have to, because the judges will help him with as many round wins as they can. All he has to do is stay on.

Then the PBR tries to shine up his image by showing him giving some kid a buckle. (Photo op.) “And there’s his daughter with a bow in her hair,” Craig says, apropos of nothing. Sitting next to whom, Craig? You neglected to say which woman—her mother, her stepmother, or their current replacement?

KMN! Now we’re calling JB a “PBR legend”?? Has he died and passed into legend?? Somebody tell that fool Hummer to stop using that word until he knows what it means!


Cooper Davis is having surgery on his right clavicle, where they’re putting in a plate and 3 screws. Eww!

Valdiron de Oliveira sprained his riding hand, but will be back next week.

Brant Atwood broke his right clavicle.

Ben Jones had reconstructive shoulder surgery, and will be back next weekend.

Robson Palermo’s left arm is totally bandaged. IROC hasn’t been ridden. Not a good combo. Robson was tracking the bull really well– until he wasn’t. Supposedly his free arm going straight up was what sent him off the back of the bull.

YAY–Fabiano Vieira passed the concussion test.


Silvano Alves’s bull Big Dan was lying down in the chute. Alves couldn’t get out on the bull—and instead of being DQd, which is usually how they treat him, he was offered a re-ride!

Marchi’s damaged knees held up, giving him his 566th ride and an 84 on Fast Talker.  “Guilherme Marchi has been drinking from the fountain of youth,” was the evaluation, and once again Ty calls him “the Gerry Rice of bullriding.”


Fraser Babbington really pissed off Blues Man. Ty translated what the bull was thinking as it attacked Fraser, digging his head into him as Fraser lay on the dirt: “This is the guy that’s gonna die today.”


Rubens Barbosa could easily have given up, but he stuck on Freakster til almost the bitter end—to 7.98 seconds. He challenged the time, but it didn’t work; he let out a very descriptive screech from where he crouched behind the chutes.

Paolo Lima’s miserable 3 for 23 situation was not helped by Black Warfare, who made it 3 for 24. Sigh.

Jorge Valdiviezo took on Shake It Up, and Ty just couldn’t treat him like any other bull rider. No, it’s all about the nationality. “He’s got all of Mexico riding on his shoulders.” “He wants to be the Adriano Moraes of Mexico.” Stupid, tunnel vision remarks. Jorge looks like one guy, to me, not a whole country. And I seriously doubt that the whole country is aware of a bullrider. P.S., maybe he wants to be the next Adriano Moraes, not “the Adriano Moraes of Mexico.” Think before you put your piehole in gear, Ty.

Marco Eguche on Get Smoked was looking so perfect –until the next-to-last moment (7.85). “He just couldn’t maintain the uprightedness,” was Ty’s assessment. I kid you not. Ty’s rewriting the dictionary.


Jess Lockwood wins his 7th round of the season. Astonishing. This rookie is kicking butt.


Another J.B. Mauney shtick about how he wants Air Time, who has 23 straight buckoffs. Still more about J.B. on Air Time: “You get to watch the two very best go head to head,” according to Ty.

And yet…scroll down to see what happened. Try not to laugh.


After commercial:

“It’s J.B. Mauney who will be the last out of the chutes.”

“Let’s continue to talk about J.B. Mauney and Who Dey.” No, let’s NOT, Craig. A lot of us are SICK of talking about J.B. Mauney. And BTW, the “Titan” didn’t pick Air Time.

OK, so now they’ve backtracked, and Mauney has made “the smart pick” (if this were Silvano Alves, they’d be saying he made “the safe pick”). The prejudice is just blinding!


Canadianaaronroy rode I’m A Gangster Too–now there’s a confidence booster! The bull wasn’t exactly slammin’, but 80 is a score.


Only Stetson Lawrence has ridden Slinger Jr., who has 15 straight buckoffs.


Eduardo Aparecido was just outrageous on Magic Train! He stuck on there no matter what that bull did. His 87.75 tied him with J.B. for 1st in the event (for now), because god forbid the judges should squeak out that extra .25 and put him ahead of their golden boy.

Kaique Pacheco teamed up with Crazy Horse. He was totally in sync with that bull, adjusting easily, and scored an 88.50.  Immediate reflux action from Craig Hummer (did I say reflux? I meant reflex): “But J.B. Mauney, he’s your defending World Champion for a reason — he loves when the pressure is square on his shoulders.” So, just totally discount what Pacheco did, because there’s only one guy who matters.


Stormy “swing for the fences” Wing, bla bla bla –I didn’t even have enough time to finish typing “bla bla bla” before Air Time swung him off. Demented Ty was hoping there would be a re-ride because the bull hung a horn (not much). It happens to plenty of other guys, who don’t get re-rides, darlin’.


Jess Lockwood got bucked off by Milky Jones. Hummer’s non sequitur: “Milky Jones tried to send Lockwood up into the Milky Way.” Does he really think he’s clever?


JRV was just stellar on Hammer It Again, but 7.94 was when he came down. He challenged the time and Craig made some idiotic comment, but I forgot it while I was watching the ride review. He lost some time: it was 7.63 on review. He still gets applause, though.

Marchi on Little Joe needed 88.25 to win, but noooo. I hate that he got bucked off, but I love that growl he does when he gets mad. Somehow the bull got him on the end of his arm, despite spinning into his hand.


J.B.  picked Who Dey. I thought for a second Craig called Mauney “the holy hometown son.”  Maybe he did; I wouldn’t put it past him. As we all know, Mauney is up for canonization. There was an embarrassing buckoff; Mauney hung a spur in the flankstrap, was rushed off to Sports Medicine, and Craig got off the subject as fast as possible. Of course next week we’ll hear all about the injuries.


Kaique wins the event. And then Hummer, Murray, and Gorham all get on the Pacheco bandwagon, though Hummer managed to squeeze in one more incomprehensible comment: “As he marches on… Kaique’s the one with the stop watch.”

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NAMPA                Sun. Oct. 9


Okay, here we go: right off the bat, Craig Hummer aggravates me by calling the event a “confrontation.” Then he continues to blather, “the Idaho Center is the playground …and we will see who keeps the kids in order.” What does that even mean?

JB is at the top of the show, of course. A broken rib kept him out for a couple of weeks. Um, other guys who are not considered “dragon slayers” have come back to work faster than that with their ribs just taped up.

“He’s a home run hitter.” How many times have we heard that? Only now, Hummer’s talking about JB, not Stormy Wing. Shorty’s stupid comment: “You gotta take the re-ride, you gotta have your foot on the gas, because JB’s here.” That’s offensive to all the other riders, as if Pacheco and Cooper aren’t a threat to the guy who’s behind them in the world standings.


  • I think Ryan Dirteater should’ve gotten a reride. Trigger Happy wasn’t cooperative in the chute, and had just thrown Ryan forward against it as Dirteater was nodding, then the bull came out awkwardly backwards. Maybe they didn’t give Dirteater a re-ride because he turned down a re-ride in Round 1, keeping a 77 for his ride on Iodine. I’m just sayin’…
  • JW Hart opined that Kaique doesn’t have to take re-rides, unless the other guys start catching up to him. (In Round 1, Pacheco kept 70.75 on Say Goodbye.)
  • Jess Lockwood kept a 76, also in Round 1, for his ride on Lowlife. JW told Jess he shouldn’t turn down a reride, since he’s 5th in the world.


Robson Palermo credited Shorty Gorham’s yelling, “Keep moving! Keep moving!” for helping him stick on Ringworm, for 86.75.

JW said the judges are a little tight here, but when Mason Lowe on Traveler needed 84.50 to move ahead of Palermo, they gave him 84.75.

YOW (and not in a good way)

  • Ty Pozzobon is back. In the 2014 Canadian Finals he got a concussion bad enough to keep him out four months. He came back, and a bull stepped on his chest and punctured his lung. Now he just has a bad back, he said. Heartbreak Kid “turns out to be a heartbreaking ride,” sez Hummer. Well, at least Ty had an 83.50 from his ride on Phantom on Round 1.
  • Big Sky rolled over on Nevada Newman last night, Nevada hit his head on the ground, and was knocked out. This time he got bucked off hard by Pops and looked pretty shaken up. I would say that bull didn’t have much timing.
  • What a great save Paolo Lima did! Scored, 84 got off Pile Driver, and smacked his (helmetless) head into the fence on purpose. I think maybe an end zone dance would be a little less painful.


Nice shot of Jess Lockwood clamming twice while JB preps! If Mom saw that, she wouldn’t think he was so cute anymore .


  • Of course Craig thinks the big headline is JB returning. I am so sick of both their faces.
  • Chase Outlaw miraculously got himself back into position when he was out of wack at least twice. That last judge took quite a while to figure out the math that would give Outlaw an 85.25 and move him to the lead. Judges be funny like that.
  • “I think in the years past, the Mauney Mystique counted for something here.”—Craig. Now he thinks that’s not the case. Tell that to the judges. BTW, there is no “mystique” here. Greta Garbo had mystique. A cowboy from North Carolina does not.
  • Last year in Idaho was when Silvano Alves broke his hip. I’d be feeling a little barfy tonight if I were him. I wish I’d seen his ride on Cowtown Slinger last night (only 82.75), but if I watched PBR Live, with that camera angle, I wouldn’t really see it anyway. I’d be watching an ant on a grasshopper that’s jumping up and down.
  • JW made an interesting observation that the Brazilian riders may all hang together here, but when they go to Brazil, they don’t, and that the Americans are somewhat separate here, but when they go to Brazil, they all hang together. Get it, people? It’s a natural thing to hang with people who speak your language. However, Brazilian riders have made an effort to learn English, while as far as I know, American riders haven’t made an effort to learn Portuguese. A two-way street would be a nice idea.
  • Craig keeps harping on his delusion that Stormy Wing’s a “homerun hitter” and can score 90s when he rides. What reality is he living in?? They are few and far between. Red Bandana tossed Wing. So much for a home run. “Stormy Wing looked stunned when he hit the dirt,” said Hummer. I’ve got news: Stormy always looks stunned.
  • I really thought Cooper Davis was going to go flying off Thunderbolt a couple of times, but instead he was scored 89 (43.50 for the bull). Sometimes if a rider gets wildly out of position, he loses points, even if he pulls himself back into position. Like, um, let’s say, Silvano Alves. But not Cooper Davis. “I felt like I was throwing Hail Marys over there,” he said.
  • Kaique gets into the Championship round by virtue of his lousy 70.75 score. Now do you see why he didn’t take the re-ride, boys? Having a score made it a sure thing. Gambling on a ride could’ve kept him out of the round.


  • Finally—a funny Hitch’d episode! Flint Rasmussen giving JB a lie detector test and making him recite the lyrics to “Ice, Ice, Baby” is good television. Props to JB for saying that Jesse Byrne is his favorite bullfighter. Mine, too.
  • Today’s Athlete Profile was of João Ricardo Vieira. In my recollection, it’s rare for them to feature a Brazilian rider, isn’t it? Maybe this is has something to do with the fact that the PBR has issued its first T-shirt featuring a Brazilian rider, and his name is Vieira. I’m wearing mine right now.
  • Jess Lockwood said he gets to control his own destiny, and he gets to make his own decisions; he didn’t take a re-ride, he has to live with it, and he’s fine with it. Then Cody Lambert chewed him out for not taking a re-ride. Since when is the livestock director supposed to rag on a rider? Jess rode Wipeout in this round. He needed 86.75 or more to lead; he recovered himself several times during the ride, and they gave him 86.50. Was that a little ding, a slap on the wrist for not toeing the party line?
  • Apparently Cooper Davis is teaching Jess not to let anyone else affect him, and to play his own game. That’s a good thing.
  • Stetson Lawrence has an uh, interesting look: a ski cap under his helmet. He did a good job on American Sniper, for 86.75, becoming a new round leader, tied him with Robson.
  • Intensified Clyde Remains unridden, according to Craig Hummer, and he’s wrong. There have been 10 rides. Cody Nance didn’t make 8 seconds in the first place, and he touched the bull; I could see his hand on the bull’s neck. He challenged the call, and after several reviews, the judges finally decided that he didn’t make the ride. There is some justice!


  • At this point, Eduardo Aparecideo, #5 in the world, has a 46.05% riding percentage, which is very respectable, but the direction change by Set ‘Em Up Joe did just that.
  • Kaique kept 70.75 from Round 1 on Say Goodbye. This time, Wonder Flyer threw Pacheco onto his back (Pacheco’s, not the bull’s), and that was not a comfortable landing. It was also kinda unexpected; I didn’t think that bull could unseat Kaique.
  • Guilherme Marchi now has 569 rides under his belt. He scored 86 on Wolverine in the previous round. To me, Lone Wolf was a mystery buckoff. Marchi should’ve ridden him. I’ll bet he thought so, too.
  • João Ricardo Vieira has a 43.53% riding percentage, but Joe The Grinder made short work of him.
  • Say I Won’t Playboy was The One That Got Away. Derek Kolbaba has now gone for 5 events without a ride.
  • Ty Pozzobon, Rubens Barbosa, Nevada Newman, and Ryan Dirteater were out of the Championship Round with injuries.


Derek Kolbaba has been gifted a wild-looking truck, painted with red and white flag stripes, featuring a picture of a bull and rider, with what looks like a silver apartment on top. There are no words…


  • Alves is now 4 for 4 in the event. For his ride on Long Haired Outlaw, he was dumped on with a 79.50, despite the fact that he made a great ride, pulling himself back into position no matter how crazy the bull was. Let me not even say what The Chosen One’s score would have been in this case.
  • After Marco Eguchi scored 85.75 on Stars & Stripes, Hummer said he “is able to fly the Brazilian flag over Stars & Stripes.” Right there in a nutshell is how you get some Americans to hate Brazilians.


Lifting Lives was running 18/0, and then Shane Proctor made it 19.



  • Unridden Midnight Train lurched forward, bashing Pacheco’s  facemask on the front of the chute. 44 for the bull, and Kaique landed right on his knee.
  • Tanner Byrne’s attempt on Smooth Operator, who apparently has been ridden once in 28 outs, resulted in 44.50 points for the bull. “That was a heck of a lot of prep work for a 3-second ride,” said Hummer.
  • Seven Dust sure kicked up a lot of dust, and chucked Marchi pretty high. 45 for the bull.
  • Jeremiah did some fancy dancing, and Lockwood was ejected pretty high. He may have a broken bone in his riding hand, but that butt-landing couldn’t feel too good, either. 44.25 for the bull.


  • Paolo Lima won NYC on Cochise, and was #1 in the world for 6 weeks after that. Here, they put him OTC, and he got bucked off at 7.85. I reeeally thought he would ride him!
  • JW described Marco  Eguchi’s bull Torch as “a little bit of a chutebuster” and “It’s just a different chair you’re gonna sit on this time.” Not the most comfortable. All he has to do is ride, and he will lead. First they put him OTC. Then he got bucked off at 7.93, but he touched the bull at 7.8. Bummer, and his arm is hurt.


Bruiser definitely gives great scores. So far the best was Kaique Pacheco, 94 in Guymon, Oklahoma in 2015. In 2 years, there were 8 rides, total.


JB picked Stone Sober, who has 31 consecutive buckoffs. (Let’s not forget that Emilio Resende rode this bull in 2013 for 88 points.) “He has chosen one of the biggest dragons out there,” Hummer starts rhapsodizing. “JB’s gonna expose him,” said JW. Don’t know exactly what he meant to say. Just as JW says the bull isn’t going to be a problem in the chute, the bull goes berserk and they have to lift JB out of the chute. “He’s got his A-team with him,” babbles Hummer, as if the other riders are JB’s apostles. “One of the few men he lets get this close to him in these critical moments,” he utters, as if JB is a world-class neurosurgeon and this is a global drama. Well, if he doesn’t, asshole, he’ll have nobody to help pull his rope and keep him from getting banged up in there. And he continues: “JB Mauney proves once again that he is one of the best out there.” Okay, wait for it: “Today he has risen up in the sky!” Yes, boys and girls, Craig Hummer actually said that! JB is God. So naturally the score was 92.50. JB’s quote: “That’s the way I like going about bull riding: Wild Western.” Yeah, yeah; storyline. Yawn.

This is Mauney’s first 2016 win. It adds 505 points to his world ranking. Cooper earns another 385.

The post-win interview, talking about why he picked Stone Sober: “I’ve never been a businessman a day in my life.” JB talked about how making “businessman” decisions doesn’t work for him; he likes the bulls “Wild and Western,” and he’s going to pick the rankest bull in the pen. That is a subtle slap at Silvano. Think back to how many times the commentators talked about Alves making business decisions about picking bulls he knew he could ride.


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Watching “Fearless”

Markus’s Mama pointed out that I’ve been quiet for a while, so I got busy, and here it is.

Watching “Fearless”

If you haven’t seen the Netflix series, “Fearless,” do it. Take advantage of their one month free offer. If you like the Brazilian riders, you need to see this series. If you hate the Brazilian riders, you really need to see this series.

Sean Gleason is the Consulting Producer on the series, which is produced by Boardwalk Pictures, a multimedia documentary company based in California.

Unfortunately, in an effort to be dramatic and prove that bull riding is so dangerous that one must be fearless to be a bull rider, it opens with footage of Neil Holmes after his horrible wreck, being lifted out of the arena on a stretcher. I’m sure we’d all like to forget that incident.

Episode #1: Shining Knows No Borders (Yeah, tell that to the haters.)

First we get Sean Gleason, J.B. Mauney, Ty Murray, Chad Berger, and that jerk from the Texas Star Telegram (Brett Hoffman) opining. Even in a documentary that’s supposed to focus on Brazilian riders, we have to have a dose of J.B.

“Money is what drives bull riding,” says Hoffman. Um, some people do it because they love it. You mean, money is what drives the PBR. The riders who aren’t in the PBR and make doodleysquat really must love it. And if you asked riders what’s the most important thing about bull riding, most of the Brazilian riders, at least, would say it’s to be able to give their kids a better life and a good education, not “I want to be rich!”

I’m just askin’: Why did they include the footage of some blonde starting to “sing” the national anthem?

“The last seven years the Brazilians have been the best.” – Sean Gleason said. Read it and weep, you Brazilian-haters. Even he has to admit it.

J.B. talked about people who don’t like the Brazilians. Finally, I’m glad to hear one of you guys admit there are such people.

Ty talked about how the Brazilians have helped the sport so much, raising the level of competition. Yeah, and that’s what certain sore loser fans (you know who you are) hate. Now the other riders have to step up their game and not do things like show up for work drunk or hung over.

Adriano Moraes talked about the only escapes from where he grew up: soccer and bull riding. “I was a terrible soccer player,” he said. (In case you didn’t know, he lived in a tin-roofed house with a dirt floor and a whole lot of siblings.) “Education is not available for everybody.” And that is what the Brazilian bull riders want to provide for their children. Think about it: have you ever heard any other bull rider say that?

On the Alves ranch in Decatur, Texas, Silvano said, “I have only God to thank.”

Adriano called Silvano Alves “the greatest bull rider that ever lived… it took me 17 years to win two titles!”

About João Ricardo Vieira: “He was born a star.”

We get introduced to Silvano’s grandfather and his father, both bull riders, in Pilar do Sul, San Pãolo. Alves has been winning trophies since he was 7.

“He’s going to be the only guy to do it four times.” Adriano said about Alves winning the PBR World Championship. Hey, Adriano—weren’t you paying attention to what was happening to Silvano, courtesy of the judges, in 2013? He already has won four World Championships—they just gave the trophy to someone else.

Victor from WME/IMG showed up, which is a good thing, so that entity isn’t totally faceless. Can’t remember his last name, though. William Morris Endeavor/ International Management Group is the huge talentmonger that bought the PBR.

Bull riding apparently is televised in 300 million homes. I don’t know how they figure that out, unless there are a lot of Nielsen boxes out there.

Nice to see the low-key bullriding clinic in Itatinga run by Vieira; that’s where you see the stars of tomorrow just starting to get on bulls. Loved his story about being a kid and sneaking out to a bull riding, when only his grandmother knew. Grandmas are good like that.

Rancho Primavera, a big rodeo in Brazil, held an event in his honor. He was referred to as João Ricardo Vieira da Silva; is that his whole name? and if it is, why is the PBR using only part of it?

Adriano said about Vieira: “a late bloomer, 30-31, but he’s healthy as a coconut.” Moraes has a gift for words.

Excellent message: a photo of Vieira on a flag that combines the U.S. and Brazilian flags. He’s an international rider, get it?

Adriano’s explanation of the origin of rodeo whizzed by me.

As another cautionary tale, the filmmaker included a bad Ben Jones wreck. We don’t like to look at that either, folks. We hate it when Ben gets hurt.

Silvano Alves talked about his attitude toward life; one bit I caught was, “And trust what God has planned for you.” He also talked about asking for God’s blessing.

Now that’s a rodeo! Barretos hosts 90,000 people per day over 10 days.

At the family barbecue, we see how much JRV looks like his father.

“We’re all cowboys. We’re all part of the same family.” I’m not sure who said that, but I like it!

They shot a long sequence of Silvano in the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, in Barretos, where he talked quite openly about how his fractured hip affected him. That was his first injury in 10 years. Alves comes across as very thoughtful and humble. “There is a reason for everything,” he said, and talked more about God. He admitted he had been scared of the surgery, and was nervous about riding.

The scene in the church was intercut with more bits of Moraes. He talked about having lost three friends in bull riding, and said he knows three or four who are paralyzed. They interviewed one who was a paraplegic. “Sports Illustrated voted it the most dangerous sport there is,” Adriano said. “We block the fear factor. If we realized how dangerous the sport is, we wouldn’t do it,” he laughed. Somber note: “The day that you doubt yourself, there’s going to be problems, even if you are Silvano Alves.” And sure enough, that’s what’s been happening this season.

Episode #2 – A Harvest in August

Lots of footage of the 60th Barretos rodeo.

Really interesting comments from Guilherme Marchi and JRV about Silvano—which for some reason I can’t remember.

Cody Nance showed a bit of humility when talking about his experience being in a country where you can’t speak the language; he may have had a glimmer of what the Brazilians have gone through up here.

J.B.’s comments: “It made me realize how hard it is for those guys up here. When I got there, I couldn’t understand anybody, I didn’t know where I was going, I had to rely on everybody… I had a whole different respect for them when I went down there and realized—wow.” He also talked about not understanding a thing people said, and having to fill out all kinds of paperwork.

After Nance made 8, the announcer says, “A hell of a bull rider, dude.” I have yet to hear any American announcer try to say anything in Portuguese.

“Now I understand why the Brazilians do so well coming to America. It’s very ?? [KD Note: I missed something there] if you got your mind right. They don’t understand anything anybody’s saying so they just keep their minds focused on one thing, bull riding. You’re as good as who you compete with, and for me that’s a lesson.” Wish I could remember if that was Cody or J.B. talking.

Former president of Barretos Rodeo Kaka Santos made an appearance. Adriano called Barretos “a rodeo temple.” Moraes talked about not staying in 5-star hotels down there when he was young; most riders preferred to stay on the grounds. We see a clip of some guys camping out. In the beginning of his career, Moraes said, he “stayed in places where there was no running water; I had to find a creek. My bathroom was the woods.” He never won Barretos. “It’s going to bother me for the rest of my life.”

Ty Murray: “No World Champion has ever won Barretos. That’s kinda crazy.” That might change this year, dude, the other way around: Pacheco has already won Barretos.

Cute segment: Marchi singing to himself as he walks around the rodeo grounds and meets up with his family. His father’s handsome, too. Sean Gleason said Marchi is the most positive, upbeat athlete he’s ever seen. I’m pretty sure everyone would agree.

More cute footage: Marchi on an ATV waiting for his kids to come off the school bus, and they climb on with him. His (former) wife Patricia demonstrated barrel racing, with his daughter on a horse behind her. Sitting on a very domesticated bull with his son in front of him, Marchi gets the bull to lie down, then gradually dismounts, leaving his son holding the rope. The bull slowly gets up and starts walking, and the boy holds onto the rope and practices moving his free arm.

Marchi: “Family is everything.”

Adriano re Pacheco: “I’ve known that kid since he was a baby. He’s a third-generation bull rider, so he’s got good genes.”

Kaique looks just like his father; it just tickles me.

Exciting sequence from Barretos: Marchi needing 90 points to take the lead, gets it, then Kaique, needing 69 points to win, has a bull fall sideways and squash him. As soon as he’s out from under, he gets right back on another bull, and wins the event.

In Charlotte, NC, 1 month before Finals:

“We must dedicate ourselves to what we want to do. And I chose to ride bulls.” – Kaique

“We don’t ride just for the fun, just for the heck of it. Every single rider wants to be the best bull rider in the world. If you focus on winning, you’re going to be a loser. If you focus on riding, you’re going to be a winner.” – Adriano.

Ty called Marchi “durable.” Yep, that guy has outlasted a lot of people.

2015 Barretos Finals: the field narrows from 40 to 20 riders in the semi-finals, then 10 in the finals. JRV got injured in the chute, then fell off the bull, and it stepped on his shin.

“The most charismatic competitor” is what the announcer called Guilherme. Amen.

“Man, what a beautiful thing you did today,” – Marchi to Kaique after Pacheco won Barretos. Talk about gracious!

Renato Nunes enters the picture, saying he used to live off the money he made working on other peoples’ farms. “Then I said to myself, ‘I want to have my own farms.’”

Episode #3: The Thrill is Gone

Opening shot of Spiderman sitting looking dejected, obviously after a buckoff. We haven’t seen him around the BFTS lately, have we?

How adorable is this: Renato showing his daughter Renata how to ride a bucking machine sheep.

“I am no longer living the dream I had,” Renato explained his decision to retire. “And if you’re not living the dream, why live at all?”

“This is what I love to do. I was born to do it,” Kaique said. His mother was right on the dirt cheering next to him.

Why on earth was there a segment hyping J.B. Mauney in the middle of this series, showing him “winning” in Las Vegas? As my friend Fran would say: “Feh.”

At the Nunes farm in Zacarias, Brazil, Renato talked about his brother who in 1995 got head-butted by a bull, was in a coma for 17 days, and when he woke up, for two years he couldn’t remember who anyone was. Now he limps and still sometimes doesn’t remember who his family members are.

“For those who have faith, nothing is impossible,” Pacheco said, and considering his trajectory, I’d have to agree. He started riding bulls at 12, and before he was 21, he was Rookie of the Year on the Built Ford Tough Series.

Marchi said 2015 was the worst year of his career. His bull in Thackerville stumbled, gave him a shot in the knee, and tore his MCL and PCL. We see him doing rehab exercises. “But let’s see what God has planned for me,” he said.

Really funny: Kaique on a hotel room bed, watching his rides on an Apple laptop to learn how to fix his mistakes. There’s a very telling scene in another hotel room: Valdiron de Oliveira, Robson Palermo, and Renato Nunes talking about Kaique’s focus, and Renato’s desire to retire. “I don’t need this anymore,” he said. The other two guys look wistful. Something led up to Renato joking: “If I were a woman, I would hit on Kaique.” The other guys: “If you were a woman, Kaique wouldn’t even notice you, he’s focused on bull riding.” Joking about how all Pacheco thinks about is bulls. “I’m still here, but what am I here for?”  Renato asks the existential question. Big story there—he bought a farm and brought his father there; he was very determined to have a place of his own, animals of his own. That’s his motivation. I’d have to call it security and independence, and that’s why he went for the money.

Another scene of Renata Nunes riding a bucking machine, with her father showing her how to wrap. Very cool dad.

Hilarious: a name tag on the pen: Hello, my name is Air Time.

The action: J.B. gets bucked off, Kaique rides for 88, and the crowd goes silent, instead of cheering. You can call them people who hate the Brazilians. Can’t even appreciate a great ride when they see one, because it’s not their boy on the bull’s back.

Basically, the episode was about what it’s like for a bull rider nearing the end of his career.

Episode #4 – THE OUTSIDERS

Alves talked about how the Brazilian riders feel alone in the States, people look down on them, make jokes. Family and friends are far away. So they build a bond with one another, are always at each other’s houses. He also talked about how when somebody gets hurt, they lose confidence. It’s certainly happened to him.

Adriano talking about Robson: “Palermo’s a fighter. He has the strength to face everything that’s thrown at him. He’s going to prove one of the greatest bull riders that ever lived.” Already done it, dude.

Robson bought a ranch in Tyler in 2008, and more recently bought one in Bullard. His son Mateus is adorable and looks like him; Robson shows him how to ride a calf.

Renato’s ranch in Boyd, Texas. He came to the U.S. in 2004-2006 alone to see if he could make enough money here. Yeah, I’d say he’s tough enough.

Valdiron’s ranch in Boyd. Paolo, his son, tried bull riding when he was 8. Valdiron’s kids were born here, so they speak English; his son plays American football, and doesn’t want to go to Brazil.

Gleason talking about how the Brazilians are performing: “Maybe ten years ago it was surprising that these young Brazilian kids were coming up here and performing at such a high level, but in the last few years there’s been a little bit of Brazilian domination. They’ve come in and taken all the titles and taken all the money; there’s just no ifs ands or buts about it. You look at the record books and the World Champions in the last ten years, and the Brazilians have earned every one.” Yeah, even the one the PBR handed to J.B. Mauney.

Renato: “The PBR wants us to come from other countries, but we are not treated like everybody else when we get here.” He talked about a fancy banquet there used to be after Finals, “but they don’t have it anymore, because who would want to hear a Brazilian speaking– because only Brazilians are winning.” “Many things that the PBR does are questionable,” he said. They showed the clip from the event where he was so pissed off about being put on the clock, and said right in front of the camera: “They treat you like crap here, almost always. I have 30 seconds, I can do anything I want.” He had a monster ride, but was scored 81. He objected, because on bulls that give others 90s, Brazilians get 85. Speaking truth to power.

Gleason claims there’s no bias in the PBR “as it relates to the judges, and we do extensive analysis to make sure that that’s the case.” Give me a f***ing break! All the evidence is to the contrary.

JRV: “We want to be judged fairly like the other riders.” Seems like a reasonable expectation.

Then they showed Robson’s wrecks, including one where he got a concussion. He’s sitting with his head down on a table, but as soon as someone comes into the room, he wants to know his score.

“I don’t think them judges score anyone unfairly.”—J.B. Mauney. How would he know? They rain 90s on him almost every time he makes 8.  “You gotta take the good with the bad.” Oh, really? When have they ever scored him badly? Here’s an example: in Tucson he needed 86.50 to take the lead; they gave him 88.

“We are not just competing against the other competitors, we compete against the judges, too,” Kaique said. “If a Brazilian wins here, they deserved it. They can’t take it away.”

JB:  “There’s a lot of people say, they’re on his side, they’re on his side, they want him to win—if [I’m #1] in the world, I don’t want anybody to be able to say, well, they gave it to him.” Well, they did, Blanche; they did.

Needs 89.75 to win the round, they gave him 90

Episode #5-  Glory and the Price Paid

So annoying to have the first person we see be J.B. Like we can’t go a half hour without him.

Next scene opens on Robson’s ranch with him bottle-feeding a calf, then we see Lucas, his baby who was born during the Springfield event. He said usually he calls his wife after an out. She went into labor while he was 9 hours away, but he talked to her almost the whole time.

JRV has a college degree in zootechnics, did you know that? His mother wanted him to be a doctor: “Now that you have your college degree, will you quit this bull riding thing?” Kinda like Bruce Springsteen’s mother saying to him, “When are you going to get a real job?” (Oh, yes she did.)

Those silver bull heads with the eyes flashing red and smoke pouring out of their noses are hysterical. The first time I saw them in Madison Square Garden, I laughed my head off, while being mortified.

Marchi with a torn PCL and MCL still rode in the Finals. Then he talked about his divorce, obviously hurting.

One of the dopey announcers said of JRV: “Is tonight the night he gets hot?” LOL

The judges gave no score to Kaique because the bull’s horn came up and touched his hand. I recall that once when a bull came up and hit a rider (not a Brazilian rider), he was allowed to score; they actually made the distinction between when a rider touches a bull, and when a bull touches a rider. KP: “The judges think they’re right. I don’t think it’s right.”

Valdiron and Nunes having a conversation in the locker room: “Why kill yourself riding bulls if you don’t want to be there anymore?” Renato said.

We see Alves in physical therapy having a miserable time, yet he says, “With God’s help we can accomplish anything.”

Nunes: “When you stop riding bulls, there’s nothing to do in the USA. I want them to say, ‘Renato stopped riding bulls, but he gave the Americans a run for their money.’” And he did.

This one made me wince: Robson’s son is playing with a toy bull and cowboy.  Robson asks him, “Who’s going to ride him?” His son says, “J.B.” Then he says “Uncle Silvano” is going to fall off, and he makes the cowboy fall. He even doesn’t let his father ride. Even he’s brainwashed by the PBR’s Mauney Mania.

Then we see the terrible wreck that took Palermo out of commission for a long time. One of those horrible silence-in-the-arena times, and eventually he’s taken out on a backboard, neck stabilized, and anyone who didn’t know the outcome would think, That guy is now paralyzed. The camera practically rides into the ambulance with him. Then we see Priscila holding Lucas as they travel to the hospital and wait to hear what’s happening with Robson. What was not funny was the sound track: funeral music played as they took Robson out of the arena.

Episode #6 – Being Mortal

Somebody has to explain to me those horrible fake humans at the top of each episode. They’re amateurish and badly done.

“I have always told my mother and father I want to die inside the arena, doing what I love most in my life, which is bullriding… Die happy.”—Marchi, who makes you want to kill him. I thought he cared about his kids. Not so happy for them if he died in the arena.

Robson in the hospital: they kept the suspense going, until the announcement that his injury isn’t as serious as they thought.

Marchi was out for 1/3 of the season with his knee injury and needed surgery. The video showed him making the ride, then grabbing onto two guys to help himself stay upright and get out of the arena.

The shithead judges gave JRV 86 when he needed 86.25 to win. They deliberately didn’t squeak out that last .25. J.B. rode well, and they gave him 86.50 when he needed 87.75 to win. That score isn’t as much of a shock as you realize why the judges didn’t bestow one of their customary 90s on him: they needed to have a last day of Finals. “And the world must wait 24 hours at least before we know our World Champion,” says the ever-annoying Craig Hummer.

Silvano on Rebel Yell – “As soon as a person gets hurt, he loses confidence.” “You can’t live off victory alone, you have to live off victory and defeat.”

Kaique’s mother Giovana, crying about him, told the invisible interviewer that he’s helping his family, but had to go away from them to do it.

Cute: Renato asking if his little girl can “jump” the [stuffed] buffalo. Renata is very cool—riding a bull, and saying, “People who say girls can’t ride bulls—well, you can’t ride bulls, so stop talking.” Renato is so proud of her; it’s great that he lets her ride bulls.

Sad that Marchi had to sit out the Finals because of his knees and bicep surgery, especially during the year he got divorced. Even sadder to see Renato retire, but he looked so happy after he did it!

The shithead judges scored Kaique 88.50 when he needed 89+ to win. That left JRV needing 88.50 to win– but they gave him 86.25, to make J.B. the “World Champion.”

“You did so much for the sport. You defended us.”—Marchi said to Nunes as Renato got ready to leave the locker room for the last time. Hilarious – Guilherme giving Renato a baseball cap big enough to cover his ears. “Maybe I’ll defend you some more,” Renato says. Marchi: “You can’t. You retired.”

Adriano talked about feeling like Superman when you’re riding bulls, then when you stop, you have to hang up your cape. “Being mortal hurts.” The perfect summary.

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

FILLER – Thackerville 15-15


Once again, the first thing TV viewers get is Craig Hummer talking about his patron saint: “JB Mauney completes the 8, but pays dearly.”

Two seconds later we get, “In the past, JB Mauney has always turned up the heat in the second half of the season.” Like none of the other guys, who apparently always turn up the cold.

“The name at the top of the marquee for [how long?] has been JB Mauney…” Guess who said it?

The JB report: he got stepped on after his ride and has a stomach contusion. When they ask him about having to sit out, their Golden Boy says, “I’ll give those other guys a fighting chance.” Hummer claimed, “It’s not just gamesmanship, he means it.”  Maybe The Bummer is too in love to hear straight, but JB’s comment makes Mauney a completely arrogant asshole.


Cooper Davis is in the #1 spot by 2 points—some of the points he gained when Fabiano Vieira had to doctor out.

Now they’re all on the Cooper Davis bandwagon. You remember this trend: find a substitute Favorite White Boy in case JB tanks. It used to be Matt Triplett.


Out of the top 10 in the world standings are 1 American, 1 Canadian, and a whole lotta Brazilians. If Hummer and the other booth jerks want to keep stressing the nationality of a rider from south of the border, then they should give them props for populating the Top 10 list.

I just can’t help laughing my ass off every time I see Steve Tyler all trussed up like a cowboy, screeching out of tune.

Chris Shivers is the safety man. That  just seems odd to me.

They could’ve skipped this episode of Hitch’d: a repeat of the utterly stupid “Sumo softball” sketch. Gotta say, Guilherme was a good sport about it, and got into the spirit, dressed in a fat suit and a giant blue foam cowboy hat, making sumo noises. It took him a while to hit the bulls-eye and drop Fabiano into the dunk tank, though. (Fabiano in plaid shorts and a similar hat.) I think the PBR guys come up with stuff like this when they’re skunked.

The Behind the Ride segment was about bull rider Injuries: Matt Triplett’s surgery, JB, Reese Cates, Nathan Schaper, JW Harris (whose father has a similar idiotic dictum to JB’s father’s: if you’re not knocked out or your legs folded up to your head, get up and walk out of the arena). I just happened to notice that no Brazilian riders were featured—as if they never get hurt, or their injuries are minor. How about Fabiano, folks? Or Robson? Or Silvano? Not worth mentioning? This is not done by mistake.


Robson Palermo is back (yay!). Midnight Train, though is 0 for 14 (or is it 14 for 0?) Whatever—it means nobody in 14 outs has ridden him. Neither did Robson. And of course he landed hard on his left shoulder, because that would be the easily dislocated one. He took a looong time to get up, and was helped out by Sports Medicine. The verdict: Robson has a concussion and a possible rib fracture. Well, for a change it’s not a shoulder; at this point, he probably can pop them out at will.

“Red Rover, Red Rover, sends Fabiano right over” is Hummer’s idea of being clever. If Fabiano had had the shoulder surgery, he would’ve been able to make the free arm move he needed to stay centered on the bull. Watching TV with my Dad, I explained that Fabiano is afraid of surgery. Dad (a retired surgeon) laughed. “Look at what he does for a living!” True– how can you be more afraid of getting patched up than of getting on a cranky 1500-plus-pound hunk of beef?


Why do Derek Kolbaba’s spurs have a longer shank than others?

I saw Jess Lockwood nod twice for Margy Time—why didn’t they open the gate the first time?

Didn’t Wallace Vieira de Oliveira’s bull Hey Jack hit himself on the way out? He still scored 44.75. (De Oliveira is leading the Rookie race.)

Eduardo Aparecido’s re-ride was Jump Street, for 88 points. But where was the first ride? Another commercial break?


Bruiser scores 44.50 for dumping Kolbaba. Hummer: “Bruiser continues his march toward what he hopes will be…” Seriously? The bull hopes?

Tanner Byrne had no luck on Jeremiah. Guilherme Marchi remains the only one to ride him.


So far, Jess Lockwood has scored 90 points in each of two events. “Lockwood just put Margy Tim on lockdown,” is Hummer’s way of saying, the boy scored! 88 “That is textbook from an 18-year-old kid.”—Justin McBride. Yup.


Mike Lee’s re-ride was Sam, but when was the 1st ride?? Another one we didn’t get to see, thanks to a commercial break. 501 qualified rides for Lee so far. This time he reached for his rope early—bummer! I think maybe he got a little cocky and thought, “I got it knocked out. I’m done.”


Cooper Davis went from 167 to 138 lbs. since last year. Lambert, with his kind touch, told him he was too fat to be riding bulls at this level. JW Hart told him he was the fat kid. His poor dumb wife ate the same chicken and broccoli and brown rice (no salt) just because that’s what he was doing. Nobody told her they’re not connected at the stomach. He also can’t do math – he said it’s like strapping a 20-lb. weight on and trying to make the fast moves you need to make.


It was great to see Cody Custer’s 95.50 ride on Red Wolf – the 13th highest score ever.

Lachlan is in because JB’s out. Seven Dust is the bull. I agree with McBride – that bull is underrated. 92.25! Great ride. Apparently Richardson doesn’t research the bulls’ resumes before he gets on them. “And that’s why you don’t look at the paperwork!” Hummer says. True. Real motivation: Richardson said he rode the bull for a buddy of his who was killed.

Lachlan Richardson wins his first 15/15 Bucking Battle!


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


INTERVIEW WITH ROBSON PALERMO                                     Aug. 22, 2016

BRM: How are your shoulders?

“My shoulders feel good; no complaint. Not have a problem no more. Sometimes my left shoulder feels a little sore because I have a bone graft and two screws in my shoulder…The shoulder is still loose, but somehow it still holds up pretty good.”

BRM: Did you rest over the summer?

“Well, I did. I went to a couple of events: Calgary, and a couple of Touring Pro events—I think about 6 events.”

BRM: That’s not so much rest.

He laughs. “Yeah.”

BRM: When did you first come to the States?

“I first came here in 2005 to watch the Final. Guilherme Marchi and Justin McBride were trying to become Champion. [McBride won the Finals.] I first rode here in 2006; I started riding on the Touring Pro, and to make money. Before I didn’t make much before I came to the tour. It wasn’t points like now. I started riding on the Touring Pro, and I started to make a little money here. I think it was four months I was on tour.”

BRM: Did Adriano Moraes help you get here?

“No; I met Adriano one time in Brazil. I talked to him a little bit, but I didn’t know him much. I knew him from the TV in Brazil and here. When I moved here, I didn’t talk to him much, because I lived in Gainsview, right close to Decatur, and Adriano lived in a different town. Also, he was going to the Built Ford Tough, and I was going to the Touring Pro. But Adriano helped a lot of people come over here. He helped me a lot, and he was a good friend. I came to his house, and we talked a lot.”

BRM: If you guys hadn’t come here, it would be boring.

He laughed again. about bull riding.

BRM: I’m glad Adriano is sending the Killer Bs up here.

He laughed. “Like Ty [Murray] said: Before they came one at a time, now they come ten at a time.”

BRM: Without you guys, it would be boring.

“I love to see those young guys come, not just Brazil, but Americans. This year these young guys ride really good. I think it makes more pressure for you to ride better, because you need to do well to beat those guys, and this I like; it’s making me keep going. I’m 33 years old now, and for a bull rider it’s a little old, not much, but my body is beat up so much: so many surgeries, bones broken. Jess Lockwood is 19 or 20 years old and I’m 33; it’s a big difference.” [Note: Lockwood is 18.]

BRM: Do you live in Tyler [Texas]?

“I had a ranch in Tyler, but a year and a half ago I bought this place in Bullard and I moved here. It’s a little small: 11 acres and a house, but the place I got in Tyler was a little bit bigger.

BRM: Do you raise bulls?

“I did before, but it’s too much trouble. [He’s laughing while he’s talking.] I not stay much at home when I go to all the main bullridings, and I think these bulls are smart. I think when I go they talk to each other and say, ‘When he goes, let’s go jump the fence.’ I’m bull riding and my wife calls [he adopts a high-pitched voice and imitates Priscila complaining], Look what your bull did. [I can just tell he’s rolling his eyes.] Oh my god.

I tried for three years; I bought some cows and I raised some bulls, but I never make nothing; I never sell nothing. I tried to make one to put on the PBR classic bulls, but I never sold. They’re hard to take care of.”

[Sage Steele Kimzey, CBR double World Champ & PRCA World Champ told me the same thing: bulls are too much trouble.]

BRM: Do you remember your first event in America?

“My first event in America I think was Charlotte, and it was not so good, because I have my shoulder first time dislocation. I went to Brazil, I did rehab for four days, and I got a phone call from the PBR, and they told me I’ll maybe make it to the top 45 this time; they said, Are you gonna come back and ride or wait a little bit more? I said, No, this time I was crazy to go on the Built Ford Tough top 45, and I just jump on a plane, and my shoulder was not so good. I rode one bull and I bucked off two. I have in my mind good things, because first time I come over and go to the event riding with those guys, the big names like Justin McBride, Ross Coleman, Chris Shivers, and all those guys. I was so happy to be in the middle of those guys.” [He doesn’t mention that he happened to be the Brazilian champion in 2005.]

BRM: Do you study the bulls?

“No, not before. I’m the guy that doesn’t care much about it, but the last couple of years I start to just a little bit take a look at those bulls, watch videos about those bulls, because those bulls get so smart, it’s not the same like three or four years ago. Those bulls feel you do everything; if you to one side, they go to the other side. If the bull is 100% going to the left, and you’re left-handed, he’s gonna turn back right. Those bulls are really, really smart. Before, they didn’t care; they just buck and jump and kick and spin, and not much change about it.”

BRM: Which way do you like a bull to go?

“You know, before I used to not care much, but now I prefer a bull come in my hand, to the left. I have a little bit of trouble with bulls away from my hand, turn back to the right. But when I feel good, and my body’s good, my mind’s good, then I don’t care which way he goes. But sometimes I want him to turn back left; it’s a lot easier for me.”

BRM: Are there different rules in Brazil about how much time you’re allowed to take in the chute?

“You know, before, they didn’t care much. Those Brazilian guys is lazy because in Brazil they didn’t care how much time you stay in the chute. If you do get really, really, really slow, then those guys get mad, but not like on the PBR; it’s a lot different. Another thing is over there they don’t have a TV show the time, not like over here where they have a TV show the time. I think that’s why it makes those Brazilian guys lazy over there.”

BRM: I think a guy should have all the time he needs to get set, but they hustle the Brazilian riders out of the chute, and disqualify them so many times, and they don’t do that to the Americans. The one time they disqualified Pistol Robinson, people got so upset.

“Oh yeah, I remember that. And I think it happened to Ross. People got upset. They do it to us, and we go to those meetings and tell them, This is not right, and they say, ‘Okay, I’ll do it because it’s going to be good for everybody.’ This is why guys get so mad, because every single week, every single day on the bullriding, they put Brazilians on the clock, and they even disqualify them in the chute. It happened to Valdiron last week. I was watching the TV, and saw Valdiron get fouled. The bull started to buck, and they started Valdiron on the clock, and Valdiron didn’t know, and the bull buck, buck, buck, and Valdiron get up. Valdiron get off the bull, and the judge say, You’re on the clock, you have four seconds. His rope fell on the ground. Some rules—I know you gotta go fast because of the time with TV and everything, but it’s the same every single weekend is the same problem. Every single weekend.” [He said more, but because he was outside in the wind, his voice got muffled.]

BRM: I think sometimes they disqualify Silvano even before he leaves the locker room. He chuckles.

“Yeah, I see that a couple of times with Silvano. Before he finishes his wrap, the clock starts. Now when you sit on the bull, they see nothing, and sometimes the judge puts you on the clock … I see this for Valdiron and Silvano. He is doing his second wrap, and they cut him off, and I say, What happened?”

BRM: Have the riders talked about this at their meetings with the PBR?

“Yeah; me and Guilherme talk a little more English, and we talked to the board, but you know, in the meetings everything is all well, they’re gonna help us, they’re gonna talk to the judges, and they’re going to change judges, they’re going to bring another judge and all that stuff. But they just say that, and when bullriding starts, everything comes back again.”

BRM: Renato was right; they do treat the riders like crap a lot of the time.

He laughs. “Renato tells the judge every single time. When he gets mad, he gets mad, and he says anything he wants to.”

BRM: Have you seen Renato?

“No, but I just see something on Instagram or Facebook that he rode bulls in Brazil for a benefit. He got on one bull to help a hospital there for the child who has some problem. Renato get on one bull to make money.”

BRM: Does Renato still have a ranch in Texas?

“No, he has a ranch in Buritama, in south Sao Paolo in a little town, and he lives on that. He’s got another ranch in the north of Brazil; this is a big ranch he bought, and he’s been going there, he has cattle on that ranch, but he lives on the little ranch.”

BRM: What would you think if your son wanted to be a bull rider?

He laughed. “You know, I don’t know. Like I say, my daddy he’s not a bull rider, he’s a cowboy. I learn to ride bulls by watching people on TV, and I thought to be bull rider. The first time bulIriding, I fell off, and I say, Mama, I want to be that. Bullrider. And I started to ride there in my house—chairs and all this stuff, and I say, Now I ride bulls. Now I got a son [Mateus], and he loves it; he rides sheep. I got one calf and I raised her on the bottle, and she’s gentle, and he’s been riding her. He loves all kinds of sports and now he’s 100% baseball, and he wants to be a baseball player, so he’s got all his stuff and plays here outside. Now the soccer season starts and he’s gonna play soccer. Gabby, she’s six; she’s going to turn 7 next week, and Mateus is five. My little one, Lucas, he’s 11 months old. I think he is gonna be the bad guy.”

BRM: What would you like to say to my blog readers?

“I just would like to say about Netflix Fearless, it shows a little bit more about us, the bullriding guys, where we come from, what we do, what we eat or not eat, travel together or not travel together, what we like or not like, the way we’re living here. I think it’s really helped us, because many people here don’t understand about us. They think we’re coming here, riding here, and going back to Brazil every single week. People don’t understand that we have a family here, we’re living here, kids born here, going to school here, and all this stuff. And everything what’s going on with the PBR, the rules and all this stuff. I think pretty much everybody told something he knows about…Every week here they watch bull riding and there’s some trouble. For us, it’s awesome living here, because the way the people treat us, the fans, is awesome because they treat us as professionals. In Brazil it’s not like that; like if you won something, nobody knew; nobody knew you the next day. But here, it’s awesome, because everywhere you go people know your career and ask for autographs and pictures and everything. So much more TV…and people take it a little more seriously, when they see us every week.”

BRM: Are there stand-alone bull riding events in Brazil, not just bull riding as part of a rodeo?

“Yeah, we have separate bull riding here; the PBR is here now. We’ve got some different associations here too, like the CBR, PRCA, IPRA [International Professional Rodeo Association]—we got all kinds of stuff like that in Brazil.” [He means organizations similar to the U.S. ones, not that the U.S. ones are there, except for the PBR.]

BRM: What did you think about Fearless?

“I did watch it; my wife watched it, but I watched it when I was in Nashville last week. I started watching about 12:30, and I stopped watching about 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning, and I was so tired. I didn’t read what people said about it, but my wife said, Yeah, it’s pretty good.”

BRM: In the series, his mother and someone else were pronouncing Guilherme’s name “Mar-kee.” Why?

“It’s Mar-chee. I think when he first started riding here, it was a little bit difficult for the announcers, so they started to say ‘Mar-kee.’” Laughs.

BRM: “It’s an Italian name.”

“Well, actually Guilherme is some Italian. My family is some Italian, too, because Palermo is from Sicily, and my daddy he’s an Italy guy. My mama, she’s Brazilian Indian. My grandpa came over from Italy a long time ago; people came from Italy to the U.S., Brazil, everywhere. My daddy is halfway Brazilian and halfway Italian. When I came here to the U.S., there were two families named Palermo, and one guy wanted to do the family tree. He wanted to know where my grandfather came from and if this guy was part of the family, too. I said, I don’t know about that.”

BRM: Do you speak any Italian?

“Actually, I talk a little bit. If I talk to somebody else from Italy, I can talk. It takes me a couple of seconds. If I spend 10, 20 minutes, and I start to speak a little, because it’s more easy. My grandfather, yes, but my daddy, not; he’s trying a little bit, but he’s full Portuguese. My mama’s daddy, my grandpa, is full Indian, and he spoke a different language, like a different Portuguese. He’s not Portuguese. I’m a half Brazilian, half Italian, and half Indian.”

BRM: Have you been to Italy?

“No, I want to go there. I want to go to Palermo one year.”

BRM: I hope you have another good season and win another Finals event.

“I look forward to that. My mind is good, my body feels good—not 100%, but still good. I just have a little problem in my knee this week. A few weeks ago I was in Amarillo, and I got bucked off, and I aggravated my right knee that I hurt before—my MCL. And then in Nashville, I thought I feel really good, and on the bull, he got out and jumped and I squeezed with my leg, and I felt my knee, and I said, Oops, I’m gonna stop right here.”

BRM: Listen to the doctor!

He laughed. “Yeah, I usually not listen to the doctor. Dr. Tandy come to me and he say, Oh, no. But now I’m smart, I listen to everything he say.”

BRM: You’re a stubborn Scorpio, right?

This time he giggled. “Yeah, Scorpio, that’s right.”

BRM: Me, too.

BRM: What are some of the bulls you think are the best right now?

“Air Time to me is the best right now. He’s really smart; he’s got a lot of power and he kicks hard.” [He mentioned several other bulls, but the wind blew his voice away.] Red Moon can really jump and kick. He’s a really good bull for a big ride. There’s lots of great bulls out there; I forgot their names. Some bulls come from Canada, and they turned out really good, too.”

BRM: I think the PBR changed the format for the Nashville event because the bulls were so good that they were afraid nobody would ride.

He laughed. “Exactly. Exactly. If you bring just the best there, and maybe none of them are going to ride those bulls.”

BRM: I saw a Touring Pro event in Worcester where nobody rode.

“The whole event? Then they have to decide on peoples’ time or something like that?”

BRM: Yep. I thought they should give the money to the bulls.

“Exactly. They should do that. Yeah. They should do, because if nobody rides, they should give it to the bulls, and next time those guys will ride.”

BRM: I should let you go. I’m going to put this up on the blog, so keep your eyes open for I’ll tell the people who arranged the interview to remind you.

He laughs again. “Okay.”

BRM: Thank you for your time.

“You’re welcome. And if you want to have some time, just call me.”

BRM: Have a good weekend.

“All right; take care.”

BRM: Take care.

Note: I don’t know if they still have some left, but you can order tee shirts and hoodies with the Palermo family motto on it: “Dream. Work Hard. Succeed.”

Robson Palermo rides New Frontier Rodeo's Spitball for 84.75 during the second round of the Kansas City Built Ford Tough series PBR. Photo by Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media. Photo credit must be given on all use.

Robson Palermo rides New Frontier Rodeo’s Spitball for 84.75 during the second round of the Kansas City Built Ford Tough series PBR. Photo by Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media. Photo credit must be given on all use.

Robson Palermo. OKC studio shoot. Built Ford Tough series PBR. Photo by Andy Watson

Robson Palermo. OKC studio shoot. Built Ford Tough series PBR. Photo by Andy Watson

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I spent some time on the phone with Silvano Alves recently, with the aid of a translator.

I asked if Adriano Moraes had helped him:
“Originally I came to the U.S. on my own to ride on the Touring Pro level, and stayed here for two weeks, then went back to Brazil and stayed there for a few months, and that’s when Adriano gave me a call, and I made it onto the Brazilian World Cup team to compete in the spring. I stayed in Brazil for the break and came back after the break in 2010.”
He laughed when I said Adriano had told us he had a secret weapon named Silvano Alves. “Adriano probably just said that because he heard from all the guys down in Brazil how good I was riding. I didn’t use to ride with PBR Brazil before. I didn’t ride in Barretos.”

Does he remember what happened on his first ride in America?
“I covered. It was on the Touring Pro; I don’t remember where. I went to two Touring Pros here, and ended up second in one, and fourth in the other. I started riding in the Built Ford Tough Series in 2010. 2009 was Touring Pro.”

Does he have a preference for any particular kind of bull?
“Because there’s so many different kinds of bulls, I have no preference. There’s some good ones that go to the right that I like, and then there’s some good ones that go to the left that I like, but then there’s bad ones, too, that go to the right that I don’t like, and the same thing with the left. There’s some that are good that jump a lot and have a high kick that I like, but then there’s some I don’t. Each bull is different. I think Smooth Operator, Asteroid, War Time, Bruiser, and a couple more are the best bulls out there.”
“There’s definitely a difference between the bulls in Brazil and the bulls up here, in my opinion. The ones here are very strong and they’re quick; they’re athletic. They might be smaller than the ones from Brazil, but because they’re so agile, they’re harder, and I think they’re really smart. The ones in Brazil are also hard because they’re bigger, but they’re not as quick as the ones here.”

What did he think of that bracket format the PBR used for the Nashville event?
“I didn’t like the bracket format in Nashville. It’s a good format for a one-time event, to change it up, to make it different, but it depends a lot on the draw, because if you don’t have a good draw—you have to be lucky to get a good draw, and if you don’t have luck, it doesn’t turn out so good for you. I like the normal format the best: the long gos and the short gos.” He laughed when I said I thought maybe they used that bracket format because the bulls were too good and they were afraid nobody would ride.

I told him that we see how the judges treat him differently from the other riders and always put him on the clock.
“I know that it’s different for us, and it’s probably because we’re from a different country, because we’re not from here. There are a lot of times an American will be in there a lot longer than we are, and they don’t get put on the clock. I know this happens, and I know I’m treated differently, but all I can do is do my best, do the best that I can do and be better, to try to get ahead.”
I told him that Cody Nance can make a sandwich in the chute and not get put on the clock, but they disqualify Silvano before he even leaves the locker room. He laughs. “Yeah, that’s normal.”

I asked if there’s a chute clock in Brazil. There wasn’t before.
“Now they’re using a chute clock in Brazil, too. They do use the clock, but it’s different, because in Brazil the judges are watching and they understand when you can’t get out. They can see if you’re having a hard time setting up in the chute with the bull, like if a bull’s acting up inside, they can tell, and they work with you. If they can see that it’s because of the bull, they won’t put you on the clock; they’ll give you some time to work it out. If they see you’re taking too long and you’re just wasting time, then they’ll put you on the clock. But here, they don’t care what the bull’s doing, they don’t care what’s going on, they just want you out. Sometimes it might be because they want to hurt your chances; they just want you to get out.”
We discussed what happened to Valdiron in the chute in Nashville: they put him on the clock while his bull was rocking wildly in the chute, and Valdiron lost the rope, then they disqualified him. “The bull was jumping, and the rope came out of Valdiron’s hand, it wasn’t his fault, but they still put him on the clock. It hurt him; they just did it to hurt Valdiron.”

I asked if the Brazilian riders had meetings with the PBR to talk to them about this kind of thing.
“In the riders meeting with the PBR, we have tried, we do speak, and we’ve told them many times about it, and nothing changes. Everything is the same. Nothing changes, and it’s always the Brazilians that end up getting hurt by it. We do get treated differently, and it’s not just Brazilians, it’s Latinos too; with the Mexicans it’s the same thing. That’s why you have to make sure you do your job right, to get ahead.”
“Being that the PBR is such a big corporation now, it’s all business, it’s starting to fade out from the sport, from taking care of the guys– and the guys are the ones that make the sport. If it wasn’t for the riders, they wouldn’t be getting the audiences they’re getting or the tickets they’re selling; it’s because of the riders that tickets are being sold and the arenas are getting filled.”
“The PBR doesn’t want to see that there are a lot of issues, that a lot of people are mad about it, and that they see a problem in what is going on, and that people are starting to lose interest. The PBR thinks that they’re winning and that’s all that matters, but the only place where stuff like this is happening is in the PBR, for the Brazilians. They’re starting to lose sight of the athletes. I don’t understand why PBR does it that way, but yeah, I know what you’re saying.”
“There’s no point in getting mad, because then you’re just giving them a reason to hurt you more.”
I asked how he manages to keep his feelings from showing on his face.
(Laughs) “It’s better not to show anger, because then you’re just going to make it worse.”
I said, “Well, I can show anger; I’m allowed to.”
He said, laughing, “Yeah, you can.”

I asked if his son wanted to be a bull rider, would he let him:
“I’m going to support him in whatever he decides to do. If he wants to be a bull rider, I’ll support him, but I’m not going to push on him. Whatever he wants to do, as long as it comes from him and he enjoys it, then I’ll support it, whether it’s bull riding or roping or whatever. Whatever he wants to do.”

Did he see Renato when he went back to Brazil?
“Since Renato left the U.S. and went back to Brazil, when I was over there I didn’t see him; I just saw pictures.”

I said that a lot of us know that he really won four World Championships, not three.
“Me, too. The judges didn’t let me win it.”

I told him we see that the judges are very prejudiced in favor of someone who I won’t name.
He laughed. “Yeah.”

I said, The judges gave you a lot of 84s. He said, “Yeah, my scores will never go higher

Silvano Alves. Stanley/DeWalt studio shoot. Photo by Andy Watson

Silvano Alves. Stanley/DeWalt studio shoot. Photo by Andy Watson

Silvano Alves attempts to ride Chad Berger/Clay Struve/Jonathan Fine's Beaver Creek Beau during the championship round of the Kansas City Built Ford Tough series PBR. Photo by Andy Watson

Silvano Alves attempts to ride Chad Berger/Clay Struve/Jonathan Fine’s Beaver Creek Beau during the championship round of the Kansas City Built Ford Tough series PBR. Photo by Andy Watson

Silvano Alves and Son. OKC studio shoot. Built Ford Tough series PBR. Photo by Andy Watson

Silvano Alves and Son. OKC studio shoot. Built Ford Tough series PBR. Photo by Andy Watson

than 85.” Laughs again.

“Whatever you want to write—thank you for writing about the guys and about the organization. We’re thankful to you for writing about them and interviewing them. Thank you very much; I’m very happy.”

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“I tried riding at the beginning of the summer, but I got hurt, so I took the rest of the summer off. It’s good now, I’m recovered, because I rode last weekend and it felt good, it didn’t hurt; I’ve gotten on a couple of bulls, so I’m good.” [in Nashville: Ante Up, 85.50 and Sheep Creek, 87.50]

BRM: Does Adriano have a few more young riders to send up to the States?
(Joking) “Adriano doesn’t want anyone coming over here to ride!”

“I used to ride in PBR Brazil, then I came over here in 2012 and started riding in the Touring Pro Division, and then I rode in the World Cup on my own after being here for a little while. I don’t remember my first ride in the States. I was in a Touring Pro event in Mississippi, close to Texas; I covered all my bulls and made it to the final round, and ended up fourth in that event.”

“I always study the bulls. I like to study my draw before. I study how they’ve been performing now versus before, also to see if they’re healthy, and their temperament, besides which side they go to, and whether they have a high kick, and all that stuff. I prefer the ones who have a high kick, that they jump in the air, and that they go to your left, and also the ones who don’t come out of the chute strong immediately, because it doesn’t give you a chance to figure out what’s going on.”

“I don’t really remember a lot of the names of the bulls, but one of them I’d like to get on is Air Time.”

BRM: What are the best rides you remember?
“Last year I rode a bull for 92.50, the highest score I’ve gotten, and then a 92 in 2014.”
[Note: ProBullStats says he’s made 15 rides for 90 points or more.]

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Correction re Guilherme Marchi

Okay, I just got the official word from Robson Palermo that “Mar-chee” is the right pronunciation of Guilherme’s last name. Apparently when he first came to the States, the announcers were calling him “Mar-kee.” In one of the first two episodes of Fearless, his mother was joking about it, but because there were no subtitles at the time, I got the opposite end of the stick!



Leave it to the PBR–what starts out as a great idea–a mini-series about bullriders, giving the Brazilians their due, with interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, including from the Barretos Rodeo–ends up cockeyed.
I watched the first two episodes as Netflix screeners, and couldn’t believe it. NO TRANSLATOR, NO SUBTITLES. I’m listening to in-depth conversations with Silvano Alves and Guilherme Marchi, in Portuguese, with no way to understand. It didn’t occur to the powers behind the series that an awful lot of Americans don’t speak Portuguese??
So I politely suggested to the middleman that, um, people might be disappointed. The word DUH comes to mind. In a while, the techies involved fixed up a couple of episodes with what’s called “forced English” — a.k.a. subtitles.
Oh goody, I thought, ready for some binge-watching.
The next day, only one episode remained online–with no “forced English.”
Not to mention: what genius thought it was a smart idea to start the series during the first PBR event after the break? Are we supposed to be flipping back and forth between Nashville and Netflix?
Meanwhile I’d like to know if anyone out there has seen any of the episodes, and whether they had subtitles.
P.S. Apparently we all have been pronouncing Guilherme’s last name wrong. Everyone in Brazil was calling him “Mar-kee.” I guess he’s been too polite to correct the PBR.

Later I’ll post some notes about what I saw.

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ICYMI: Sage Steele Kimzey 2015 interview

Sage Steele Kimzey just set a new standard on the Road to Cheyenne: he’s the first bullrider to take both the CBR Finals event title AND the World Championship– and this is his second CBR World Championship. I dug up the interview I did with him last year; I think it’s a good time to air it again. So here comes the re-run:

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock—or maybe too focused on the PBR—you’ve heard about the winningest rookie ever to come down the pike: Sage Steele Kimzey. (If you haven’t, you’ll see him compete in The American rodeo on RFD-TV tomorrow night, with the PBR’s Top 10 Riders and a handful of the Touring Pro’s best.)

He’s the 2014 PRCA and CBR World Champion, PRCA Rookie of the Year, and winner of the RAM Top Gun Award. And get this: he was competing during the daytime in the Frontier Days rodeo, and at night in the CBR Finals.

As for the numbers, he’s astounding:
• 4 of his CBR Finals rides were scored 90, 90, 90.50, and 91.
• He rode 8 of his 10 bulls during the PRCA/NFR Finals.
• He’s only the 2nd rookie to win the PRCA title; the last one was in 1963.
• He broke the PRCA record for rookie earnings by more than $100,000.
• He broke the record for most money won in a season, when he was a permit holder.
• His 2014 riding percentage was 63.77%.

And he’s only 20 years old.

CBR Cheyenne '14 0413 Sage Kimzey-Crimson King(MEL)

Kimzey Style

According to CBR founder Tuff Hedeman, Sage is “a rare talent who rides fundamentally flawless.” (The English major in me wants you to know that the correct word here would be “flawlessly.”) Kimzey’s technique is smooth, calm, and so sticky, you’d think he’s got rosin on his butt.

That made Sage laugh when I told him my first impression of seeing him ride. I asked how he keeps so focused and calm on a bull; I don’t see any panic moves.

“No, there’s not,” he says, just as calmly. “I would guess it’s just because I’ve been around rodeos so long; it’s a place I’m very comfortable. I’ve been around bulls all my life… I’ve had some situations that were at the time as big as the NFR to me, but I was comfortable on the back of the bull. I guess it’s just a personality thing; I don’t really get too wound up about anything.”

I mentioned how smooth his countermoves are; he’s in control and in tune with the bull. There’s even a touch of J.B. Mauney’s free arm glide. “Well, thank you,” Sage says. “That’s from a lot of practice, a lot of trial and error.”

The How-To

As far as he remembers, Sage probably got on his first animal at age 3. Does he remember when he first made 8 seconds? “Shoot; no. When I was four years old, probably.” What was the first event he won? “Shoot; I couldn’t tell you.” I’m thinking, If he keeps riding like he’s been doing, eventually he might not even remember the first World Championship he won.

“I’ve had a few hiccups here and there in my training, but I’ve been working at it since I was three years old, to where I got everything down right. There wasn’t anything that I really just had to focus on, like that was the only thing wrong with my ride. I just had to work out the kinks, and everything went good.” I’d say that’s a holistic approach to bullriding: not obsessing about where his feet are, or in which direction the bull spins.

Sage spent time training with Gary Leffew and his own father Ted, a former rider and experienced bullfighter. (I hate to call them “clowns;” there’s nothing funny about what they do.) I asked if they gave him any secrets to help his riding. “Not any specific secrets, I’d say; they’re not anything like that. Dad always tells me to stay square and in the box, which just means stay square with the bull, and don’t throw your free arm or move out of position, just stay in position and make the bull buck you off. A bunch of guys buck themselves off, with the wrong countermoves. I try to stay away from that, and it works out pretty good, usually.”

Kimzey’s Hit Parade

In terms of role models, Sage has plenty of the best: “I’m a huge fan of rodeo and the history of the sport, so I’d say, Donnie Gay, definitely; I loved Jim Sharp’s style; [Ring of Honor member] Clint Branger, Cody Custer, Tuff Hedeman—all of them; I can’t just name a couple of them. I appreciate everybody for their style and the way they do things. I’ve looked up to pretty much every good bull rider that’s ever come down the pike. I’ve watched films on everybody, even up to now.”

I asked him about riders competing now. “I’ve idolized J.W. [Harris] for six or seven years. J.B.’s [Mauney] phenomenal, just from the fact that some of the moves he makes, guys should just not be able to make. He makes stuff happen that shouldn’t work at all, but in the end it does come out. Silvano’s an absolute beast—I’m a huge Silvano Alves fan.” I cheer a little at the fact that an American rider doesn’t have a problem with a Brazilian rider. He laughs.

Kimzey on Re-Rides

I asked his take on the flak Alves gets for turning down re-rides. His answer is so mature, it’s hard to believe that two years ago, he was in high school: “There’s definitely a time and a place to take one, but there’s a time and a place not to; it doesn’t make you any less of a cowboy if you don’t take one. It’s all about your decision at the time and without any time to think about it.”

Did you hear that, all you folks who dislike Silvano because he doesn’t like to take re-rides? It doesn’t make you any less of a cowboy if you don’t take one. And I think this cowboy ought to know.

“Hindsight’s definitely 20/20. You have an instant to think about it and make a decision on the spot; you just gotta go with it and not have any regrets. There’s never been a time that I haven’t taken a re-ride that I regretted it, or when I did take a re-ride and got bucked off and regretted it. It’s just the kind of decision you just gotta learn to live with.” I recall Silvano saying something similar about having to make a decision on the spot, and trying to think about how it will affect him later. Apparently great bullriding minds think alike.

The Bulls

It might seem silly to ask someone just past the rookie stage which bulls and rides stand out for him, for better or for worse, but I did. Yep, one did stick out for him, with good reason. “When I was 18, I got on Magic Train, D&H Cattle owned him at the time, and I was 93 points on him; that was the first time I’d ever been 90. To be 93, being an 18-year-old kid—that’s definitely a ride that’ll stick out in my mind. For the worst rides that stick out in my mind…” He starts laughing, and I never get an answer.

As to whether there’s a specific bull he wants to try: “I like to get on anything that bucks, really. I’m not too picky. Anything that’s going to push me over the 90 mark—shoot, I’m happy with that.” No mention of what type of action he’d prefer, or whether the bull spins left or right—I think he’s got his head on straight.

He also has a “one that got away” story: 3rd ranked Crystal Deal (88.46% buckoff rate, according to ProBullStats), belonging to Don Kish. “I had him at the Redding [CA] Champions Challenge last year, and he actually got crippled in the bucking chute…much to my dismay. So Kish pulled him. I didn’t want that to happen to him; I really wanted to get on him. I was really looking forward to getting on him.” The result of the incident: no score for Kimzey, and a re-ride that didn’t pan out. “I’ll tell you, there’s one that I have a little personal vendetta against that I need to get back at him for.”

I asked him about buying any bulls. “Not bulls; I own just about 30 head of heifers this year. I probably won’t ever own one; honestly, they’re a lot of hassle. That’s one thing, the stock contractors never get enough praise for dealing with the animals and all that. It’s very definitely a task that takes a lot of time and a lot of effort… The connection between a stock contractor and one of his animal athletes is—you can just see the love and affection that Julio [Moreno] has for Bushwacker. It’s just like anybody raising a child, really. You see them from conception, birth, where they’re just starting out growing up. And the stock contractors love them as much, too.” I said it’s sad when they retire.

He agrees. “It’s the same thing as a kid moving out to college or anything like that. It’s the whole thought that—like I said, they’re with them from Day One til the day they retire, and usually til they pass away, too, so it’s a whole process. It’s special to see the connection like Julio has with Bushwacker, or any of the other contractors with their top athletes. You can tell the love that goes back and forth.”

The Zone

Back to his phenomenal results in Cheyenne: I recognize when someone’s in “the Zone.” It doesn’t happen just with athletes. I’ve seen it in great musicians (Jimi Hendrix, amen!) when they take off into an entirely inspired realm and can do no wrong; and I know I’m not the only actress on the planet who’s experienced the amazing feeling of being the character and watching from outside at the same time, never putting a foot wrong, and taking the audience along for the ride. Sage sure took people along for the ride last year. Other rookies might choke—even seasoned pros do—in a run for any World Championship. Instead, Sage was king of the Zone. I asked how he kept his concentration.

“It seems any time I go to a big event and the pressure’s high, the stakes are high, that’s when I really get into the zone. In the big moments where there’s a lot of money up, and a lot of pressure, the title, the prestige behind the event… that’s when I really step up my game. It seems to bring the best out in me.” No kidding!

He explains, “I handle it a lot different than most guys do. It really calms me down, being in a big moment like that. I’m revved up, and I’m kind of nervous in a way, but it’s more anxiety than it is being nervous or scared of the big moments at all. That’s just what I’ve been gunning for, the big moments. It slows down everything for me and it makes the ride really easy, honestly. I don’t know why it is that way for me, but everything’s just slow and everything seems to work really good whenever the stakes are high and the moments are big.” Most people get that slowed-down experience during a car wreck, but hey, this is a bull rider talking.

Does he have any kind of pre-ride ritual for luck? “I pray right before I get on, but other than that, I’m not really a superstitious guy at all,” he says, which isn’t what another writer reported. That guy mentioned a lucky hat, lucky boots, and not changing socks all during the Finals. I don’t ask. I just mention what I’ve seen Guilherme Marchi, Ryan McConnel, and Ben Jones do in the chute: does he ever slap his own face? He gives what may be the funniest answer possible coming from a bull rider: “Not me. I don’t want to inflict any pain on myself.”

How-To for the Newbies

What would he tell a young bull rider coming up? “Practice makes perfect. That’s what it comes down to, how bad do you want it, and how bad do you want to work for it. You hear it all the time, but that’s really what it comes down to: how many hours of sleep are you willing to lose. I get on practice bulls probably three days a week when I’ve gone home… spend hours on ‘em. Call it my art, that’s what brought me early success in my career. It’s all about how hard you wanna work.”

I commented on guys who go out partying the night before an event (not mentioning any names); those are the ones I see being airmailed all over the arena. His response is amazingly mature: “You can tell pretty quick who wants to be successful and who doesn’t. There’s a fine line between having fun and being a little excessive with it. I’ll go out and have a good time, but when it comes down to business, I make sure that I take care of it.”

Sage says he doesn’t have a motto. “Not really. I just live with no regrets; just take every day, day by day.”


Kimzey spends virtually 24/7 on the road with traveling partners Tanner Bothwell and Brennon Eldred; as we spoke, he and Eldred were sitting in an airport waiting to fly out to Denver for the Colorado vs. the World Invitational. “Then I need to take a little ski trip, then head over to Vegas,” he says. “We’re not going to do the Cowboy Downhill; we’re actually up in a rodeo that same day. Maybe next year.”

What does he do when gets home? “Just hang out with friends and family, and bull riders I know. I just like to hang out and live a normal life.” Again: sensible.

Taking Care of Business

Kimzey may seem like Superman, but there’s only so much a guy can do with 24 hours in the day. He completed two years toward his business degree at Southwestern Oklahoma State University (during which his high school declared a Sage Kimzey Day), but had to leave school: final exams took place during the PRCA Finals, and the CBR schedule conflicted with the college rodeo schedule.

Business degree? Yep—he knows bullriding isn’t just a sport, it’s a way to build a foundation for your future. “Since I don’t have very long to ride bulls—I figured a long career would be about 10, 15 years—I figured I’d go ahead and get it while the gettin’s good, and if I feel like it after I retire, I can always go back to school.” Kinda sensible for a guy who took the top prizes on two of the biggest circuits in the most dangerous sport on earth.

Seriously sensible: with his $100,000 in CBR bonus money, Sage bought a 25-foot motor home for himself and his traveling partners, and “a bunch of cows and stuff like that, so after I’ve finished riding I’ll have something to fall back on.” I ask if he’s tried out the fancy one-of-a-kind Juan Munoz Andrade trophy saddle he also won. He laughs. “No, I haven’t. It probably won’t ever hit a horse’s back. It’ll be one that I just keep inside. It’s something that every bull rider in the PRCA thinks about attaining. It was definitely fun.”

Sage & Saddle

The Future

Sage says he might visit the bullriding scene south of the equator. Fellow riders who attended the huge event in Barretos, Brazil absolutely loved it, he said. “I’d like to go down there just to see the difference in culture; not so much the difference in competition. That’s something I want to do, tour the world. My Dad had a chance to go whenever the bullfights were really big. He had a chance to tour Germany, just tour different cultures of the world, and see how the world’s different in so many other places. I think that’d be cool.” Sage definitely could give “cool” lessons to the xenophobics here. (Look it up, folks; it’s a fancy word for being scared of cooties.)

After he’s done being a star (he didn’t say that; I did), Sage intends to go back to the family ranch in the teeny weeny town of Strong, Oklahoma (there’s debate about whether the population is 30 or 49) and run it with his siblings. “For sure, ranching is a lot of work,” he says, “but there’s a lot of rewards, too; shoot. I love the Western way of life and the Western heritage. Being an American cowboy is near and dear to my heart, and that’s what I want to do: just be a cowboy, day in and day out.”

P.S. Sage Steele Kimzey is one of the few bullriders who doesn’t cite Lonesome Dove as his favorite movie. His is The Shawshank Redemption. An intelligent movie for an intelligent cowboy.
P.S.#2. But we both love Family Guy.

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