PBR sneaks in changes to new scoring system

Guest blogger Licoricewhip put his nose to the grindstone to figure out how the PBR’s new points system affects the standings now, and how it would’ve affected the 2013 and 2014 standings. Included below is the PBR’s longwinded explanation of the new points system (which I edited down), posted on their website.

Licoricewhip also discovered a change in the points system that the PBR snuck in under the radar earlier this year. That’s their standard m.o.: anything they think is a heckuva great idea is introduced with a load of fanfare and fireworks. (Remember Full Metal Jousting?) Anything that leaves them with egg on their faces magically vanishes. (Remember Full Metal Jousting?)

The problem is that the PBR doesn’t know the difference. The jousting was a sucky idea (A&E TV thought so, too; the show didn’t have a second season), but PBR can’t resist a chance to affiliate itself with the lowest common denominator: Ultimate Fighter stuff. (That’s actually a plan—they don’t do dumb shit by accident. Piggybacking on the UFC was a strategy. So how’s that working out for you, boys?)

Dumping Justin McKee as a commentator was a mammoth mistake equal to the new points system, but they ignored all communication from distressed bullriding aficionados. They even resorted to censoring comments on their website. They acted like McKee and the horse he rode in on didn’t exist. Talk about infuriating the fans! They just waited until the storm went away, though it took almost two years.

The new points system is destined to become congealed egg, when people finally catch on to what it does to riders in the middle of the pack. Most of us already know it was designed to fuck over Silvano Alves, in case he was on his way to a 4th (some of us say 5th) world title. I’m thinking this minor adjustment is a whispered “Whoops!” to lessen the sting for certain riders, but it ain’t cutting it, not by half.

Licoricewhip also found a Jan. 5, 2015 article about the changes—but not on the PBR website. They shuffled it off to the side, on the Wrangler Network, to make it less visible. Uhh, but when you use the same PBR writer, you kinda give away the game.

Here’s Licoricewhip’s exploration, step by step, our email conversations, his spreadsheets, and the aggravating discovery after all that slogging, that PBR had pulled the rug out by making an unannounced change.

Licoricewhip: 4-8-15
Once the new points system for 2015 went up, I wanted to figure out how 2014 would’ve played out under it. Specifically, I wondered if J.B. Mauney would’ve actually beaten Silvano Alves. So I made a big spreadsheet, and guess what? J.B. beat him. Big surprise, eh? Look at Sheet 1 of the attached Excel file. I had to figure out the points system based on what I found on the PBR website.

Alves vs Mauney 2014 – spreadsheet

BullRidingMarketing: 4-10-15
I looked through the 1st sheet, and unless I’m reading it wrong, a lot of aggregates are missing: 11 from Silvano’s side, and 5 from J.B.’s side: Missing Aggregates:

Oakland                           Anaheim
Tulsa                                 Sacramento
Des Moines                     Chicago
Fresno                              Denver
Tacoma                            Duluth

Asheville                           Colorado Springs
Arlington                          Anaheim
Duluth                               Chicago
Oklahoma City

Even if a rider has only one score, shouldn’t that be considered his aggregate from that event? I decided to add up just the aggregates, and Silvano beats J.B. by 1,000 points. (I couldn’t even deal with the other Excel sheets.)

Also, J.B.’s scores in the 2014 Finals were ridiculous: 94, 88, 93.25, 90.25, 88. The judges were desperately trying to push him up in the rankings, and when they knew there was no hope for a win, they figured they’d give him the High Score of the Event award.

And get this: J.B. rides Rango, gets 91.75; Alves rides Rango, gets 89.50. So did Rango have “a bad day”? I doubt it! And this: a few years ago, Fabiano rode Asteroid, was scored 87. Last year Silvano rode him, scored 87.25. But when J.B. rode him, he got 93.50. Are we supposed to believe Asteroid also had a couple of bad days, that just coincidentally were not when a “fan favorite” American rode him?

Licoricewhip: 4-17-15
For each rider, I didn’t enter the aggregate on my spreadsheet if it wasn’t in the Top 10 for the week, as the new rules give aggregate points only for Top 10 finishes. Slade Long [PBR statistician] lists the Top 10 aggregates in a given week, so if I didn’t see Silvano or J.B. in the Top 10, I wouldn’t bother to list their total score for the week.

In my points determination, the one thing that I didn’t feel confident about is The American, listed on rows 101-103. Since J.B. would’ve grabbed 600 (!) points that weekend, it makes all the difference. Since this year’s American has already taken place, maybe we can now see how the PBR scores it.

Funny how Slade defends the points system – at least he used to, on his message board [ProBullStats] before he shut it down – but he doesn’t list the points on the site. Scores? Sure, but no points. That’s up to us to calculate.

To be certain that my scoring is accurate, what I’ll do is pick a rider from this year and see if I get the same number of points that the PBR has listed on their site.

Ah… I see now that in the PBR’s website article, Professional Bull Riders – Scoring and Judging, the “majors” are worth a little more. I didn’t take that into account for 2014, but how could I? They weren’t “majors” then. I’ll have to find those suddenly-more-important events and work those points into them.

Looks like they changed the scoring system since I made this spreadsheet. I know that before, they were going to give scores only to the Top 10 aggregates. Now suddenly it’s Top 15. Since Slade lists only Top 10 for each past event, it’ll be hard to determine when an extra 10 points will be given. Arrgh!

Man, I can’t stand the lack of oversight. There’s no quality control. The only journalists that cover the BFTS are on the PBR payroll. [BRM: Except me. I’m a free bird!]

To be honest, I stopped watching the events. We dropped cable tv, and even though we can see everything on CarbonTV, my wife and I have found better things to do, such as look after our young son and get much-needed rest.

I’m looking at Silvano’s 2015 scoring, and of course there are discrepancies. PBR.com claims that he has 65 Touring Pro Division points from a single event (Denver). The scoring guidelines say that only this aggregate earns points, but the only way Silvano would get 65 points is if he got 5 points for his 4th-place first round, 10 for his 3rd-place second round, and 50 for his 1st-place aggregate.

Putting on my conspiracy cap, I wonder if the real reason Slade took down the message board is that a few of us were digging up more than he wanted known. Nothing screams “bias” like the number of consecutive Top 5 scores that J.B. put up in 2013-2014. Under the new system, whenever he rides, he’s basically guaranteed points.

Anyway… I think my scoring and new winner from before is wrong. If The American really is treated and scored like a Touring Pro event, as it is in 2015, then the 600 points for J.B. drops to either 80 if only the aggregate is counted, or 120 if he gets 80 for the aggregate and a couple of 20s for round wins. Even with that higher score, Silvano wins, 3,575 to 3,490.

J.B. would’ve won the 2014 Finals with the new system, but that’s no surprise. [BRM: The PBR figured that out, that’s why we have a new system.)

Licoricewhip: 4-18-15
I looked only at J.B. vs. Silvano; perhaps João would’ve won it all under the new system. But still, even with The American points being a lot smaller, it would’ve been that close between the two of them.

A few months ago, I thought of making it a mission to expose the PBR/BFTS for the crap they’ve pulled. Now… eh. Whatever. Once I stopped watching the CBSSports feed and Leah being forced to interview J.B. every waking moment, I got less upset.

One year, Brazilians placed 1st through 5th. That must’ve ticked off the home office big-time. [BRM: 2011 Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series World Championship results:
1. Silvano Alves, 15,742 points, $1,456,964
2. Valdiron de Oliveira, 13,340.25 points, $396,171
3. Robson Palermo, 13,035.75 points, $618,875
4. Guilherme Marchi, 9,820 points, $233,174
5. Fabiano Vieira, 9,170 points, $249,045]

Are there any discrepancies between the numbers? I believe that the PBR changed the scoring system after the season began and made no noise about it. Well, I guess there’s the scoring for the one Touring Pro USA event that Silvano entered this year. He got 65 points from it, but it looks as though he should have gotten no more than 50.

When the season started, I had no concrete proof that the scoring was for only the Top 10 in the aggregate; I thought I was losing my mind a little. But I looked at what I guess is the official scoring system:


When I looked at the page info, it shows that this .pdf was last modified on February 15, 2015, a good month after the season started. Is it because of the creation of the “major” events? That was announced on February 3rd.

I think it’s tacky to change the rules mid-stream, even if it’s a minor change such as the 10 points for the 11th through 15th aggregate. But yep, they can do what they want. “Hey Cowboy, if you don’t like it, you can go ride bulls on the PRCA.” [BRM: which is what Kody Lostroh decided to do. He was already riding in PRCA rodeos in 2012, but the new points system was his defining moment. A tip of the Resistol to Kody!]

Licoricewhip: 4-19-15
Yes! I found proof that they changed it:
Behind the Chutes: Refreshing on the New Points System

Those numbers look right to me. I had to find it outside of PBR.com, but notice how Justin Felisko (PBR scribe) wrote it.

[BRM: I edited the article below to give just the relevant information, but those bozos are still using the incorrect word “average” when they mean “aggregate.” Try not to let them confuse you with their confusion.
If you want to see what the new system does to certain cowboys, look at the Baltimore standings coming into the Championship Round: Sean Willingham is in 4th place, rides 2 for 2, earns NO event points. Kasey Hayes, in 5th place, rides 2 for 2, earns 60 event points, with a lower aggregate score than Sean.
And the beat goes on…]

PUEBLO, Colo. – The PBR announced in November a new points system for the 2015 season that changed how points are accrued throughout the regular season towards the PBR World Championship and how event winners on the Built Ford Tough Series are determined.

With one event officially in the books, here are how things shaped up for those still looking to learn more about how the points system played out during the Baltimore Invitational. Before taking a round-by-round look at the Baltimore Invitational, here is a refresher on the changes made for 2015.

  • Built Ford Tough Series Event Scoring

Riders earn points at BFTS events based on where they place in a round and the event average.
1st-place finisher at a BFTS round receives 100 event points.
Riders placing 2nd through 5th receive event points on a graduated scale (60, 50, 40, 30).
1st place finisher in the event average, which is based on a rider’s total combined ride score, will receive 400 points.
Riders placing 2nd through 10th receive points on a graduated scale (240, 180, 105, 65, 45, 20, 15, 10, 5).
The Top 15 riders with the highest-combined ride scores following Rounds 1 & 2 (or 3 during a three-day event) will advance to the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.

How did the new points system work in Baltimore?

  • Starting with Round 1:
    Mike Lee rode Pecos Bill for a Round 1-high of 87.75 points. Therefore, Lee was awarded 100 event points.
    Kasey Hayes finished 2nd in the round by riding Loco Lizard for 87.25 points, earning him 65 event points.
    J.W. Harris earned 50 event points with the 3rd-highest scored ride of Round 1 when he covered Alternator for 86.75 points.
    Nathan Schaper was awarded 40 event points for placing 4th in Round 1 with 86.25 points on Nefarious.
    Guilherme Marchi placed 5th in Round 1 with 85.75 points on RMEF Big Bull for 30 event points.

The remaining 15 riders that posted qualified rides earned no points toward the world standings or the event standings. However, they remained in the hunt for the event average title, which awards 400 points to the bull rider who accumulates the highest-combined ride score. Those 400 points are crucial when it comes to potentially winning a BFTS event.

  • Baltimore Round 2:
    In Round 2, there were a total of 18 qualified rides. Using the same approach as Round 1, here is how event points were awarded:
    Reese Cates earned the Round 2 victory and 100 event points with an 88.5-point ride on KISS Animalize.
    Cody Nance earned 60 event points courtesy of his 87.5 point-ride on Modified Clyde – the 2nd highest-scored ride of Round 2.
    3rd in the round was Matt Triplett with 87 points on Shoot Out The Lights, providing him with 50 event points.
    Renato Nunes was credited with 40 event points for a 4th-place finish on Slappy.
    Rounding out the Top 5 of Round 2 was Silvano Alves with his 86.25-point performance on Rough ‘em Up Tuck.

Once again, the other 13 riders that posted qualified rides in Round 2 did not earn any event points or points toward the world standings. However, some of these riders were a perfect 2-for-2 on the weekend and in prime position for making a run at the 400 event points that come with winning the event average.

  • Who qualified for the Built Ford Tough Championship Round?

Here are which riders qualified for the Built Ford Tough Championship Round based on the event average (total combined ride scores). Below in parentheses are the number of event points that each rider earned towards winning the Baltimore event following Round 1 and Round 2. Remember, these 15 riders were jockeying to earn the important 400 event points for placing first in the event average, as well as the additional points awarded to the remaining nine riders that round out the Top 10 in the event average.

1. Reese Cates 2-for-2 for 174 ride points (100 event points)
2. Matt Triplett 2-for-2 for 172 ride points (50 event points)
3. Renato Nunes 2-for-2 for 170.5 ride points (40 event points)
4. Sean Willingham 2-for-2 for 169.75 ride points (0 event points)
5. Kasey Hayes 2-for-2 for 169.25 ride points (60 event points)
6. Brady Sims 2-for-2 for 169 ride points (0 event points)
7. Ryan Dirteater 2-for-2 for 168 ride points (0 event points)
8. Silvano Alves 2-for-2 for 167.25 ride points (30 event points)
9. Shane Proctor 2-for-2 for 166.5 ride points (0 event points)
10. L.J. Jenkins 2-for-2 for 159.5 ride points (0 event points)
11. Eduardo Aparecido 2-for-2 for 151 ride points (0 event points)
12. Mike Lee 1-for-2 for 87.75 ride points (100 event points)
13. Cody Nance 1-for-2 for 87.5 ride points (60 event points)
14. J.W. Harris 1-for-2 for 86.75 ride points (50 event points)
15. Nathan Schaper 1-for-2 for 86.25 ride points (40 event points)

  • Championship Round Results

Kasey Hayes rode Fire & Smoke for 89.25 points to win the round and earn 100 points.
Silvano Alves placed 2nd in the round with 88 points on Yo Yo, earning 60 points.
Cody Nance finished 3rd with 87.5 points aboard I’m a Gangster Too for 50  points.
Reese Cates rode Percolator for 86.5 points and 40 event points.
Ryan Dirteater finished 5th with 84.5  on Cooper Tires Semper Fi and won 30 points.
Shane Proctor earned no event points, as he finished outside the Top 5 with 83.75 points on Freakster.

However, the majority of points available still remain within the event average, and Proctor finished 3-for-3 with a combined score of 250.25. Therefore, he finished 5th in the event average and earned 65 points, which carry over to the world standings.

  • Here is how the top event average finishers were awarded points in Baltimore:

1. Reese Cates, 260.5 ride points on three bulls (400 event points)
2. Kasey Hayes, 258.5 ride points on three bulls (240 event points)
3. Silvano Alves, 255.25 ride points on three bulls (180 event points)
4. Ryan Dirteater, 252.50 ride points on three bulls (105 event points)
5. Shane Proctor, 250.25 ride points on three bulls (65 event points)
6. Cody Nance, 165 ride points on two bulls (45 event points)
7. Matt Triplett, 172 event points on two bulls (20 event points)
8. Renato Nunes, 170.5 ride points on two bulls (15 event points)
9. Sean Willingham, 169.75 ride points on two bulls (10 event points)
10. Brady Sims, 169 ride points on two bulls (5 event points)

  • How were the final event results decided in Baltimore?

Based on the new scoring system, event finish at a BFTS event is determined based upon total event points earned and not total ride score. Consequently, here is how things finished in Baltimore.

1. Reese Cates (500 event points)
2. Kasey Hayes (400 event points)
3. Silvano Alves (270 event points)
4. Cody Nance (155 event points)
5. Ryan Dirteater (135 event points)
6. Mike Lee (100 event points)
7. Matt Triplett (70 event points)
8. Shane Proctor (65 event points)
9. Renato Nunes (55 event points)
10. J.W. Harris (50 event points)
11. Nathan Schaper (40 event points)
12. Guilherme Marchi (30 event points)
13. Sean Willingham (10 event points)
14. Brady Sims (5 event points)

These are the only points from a BFTS event that carry over into the world standings. Ride scores do not count toward the world standings. Riders may also earn points toward the world standings based on how they finish in the event average at BlueDEF Velocity Tour, Touring Pro Division and international PBR events. However, riders at those events do not earn any points for where they finish in a round.

© 2015 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.


(Licoricewhip, continued                  4-19-15)

Why would they change the points for the aggregate? Why wouldn’t they announce it? Why would they try to hide the old system? Seriously, what in the hell is with these people?

I wonder if J.B. actually won in 2013. Wouldn’t it be funny if they fudged the points to give it to him? I don’t mean the judges showing bias in giving him event wins down the stretch – there’s no doubt they did just that – I mean the stats guys messing with the points to put him farther ahead.

Licoricewhip: 5-6-15
To me, it would be a lot easier to take PBR seriously if the judges weren’t all American. The only Brazilian I can think of is Paulo Crimber, but I only remember seeing him once all year. They had him on the chute, he didn’t put Brazilians on the clock right away, and suddenly he wasn’t there again. [BRM: yep.]

The judging is another thing. Do you know which judge is Judge 2 or Judge 4 on a given weekend? I don’t. On Slade’s site, he doesn’t break down what each judge gave each ride. Heck, he doesn’t even split them up. It’s “Judge A: Shearer / Randolph; Judge B: Doyal/Foltyn.” Certainly he could itemize them; why doesn’t he?
[BRM: Occasionally either on the website or on the broadcasts, I’ve seen “Judge 1, Judge 2,” etc., and once in a blue moon Craig Hummer identifies someone as “the back bench judge.” The bully at the chute is David Fournier.]
They sure make it awfully difficult to expose the bias of a certain judge, don’t they? [BRM: Yep. That’s how they roll.]

I’d be curious to see how Crimber’s scores line up with the others, and what weeks he worked, but I can’t yet figure out how to find it. [BRM: Calling “I hate PBR judges” – this is a job for you!]

There are leagues that offer openness, and there are leagues that pretend to offer it. PBR is neither.

Licoricewhip: 5-20-15
Dang, this ain’t easy. Slade’s site used to be organized so that it was easy to find this info. Now it’s near impossible. I had to search on google.com under a custom range of dates. But here it is: You can see the Top 10 about halfway down.

Professional Bull Riders – Alves wins World Championship, earns $1.4 million

But seriously, why was it so hard to find this info? I can’t imagine that the PBR would actually try to erase history. I just don’t see the benefit. [BRM: Ah, but they do try, cheri, as often as possible. The benefit is, a viewership with amnesia is easy to manipulate, and the PBR can shove their storylines down our throats. Then if someone like yours truly says, “Hey—the Emperor has no clothes!”, they’ve already distributed enough Kool-Aid among their followers so that the fans actually think they see the Suits in cowboy clothes. May I quote Butch Cassidy: “Boy, I got vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals.”

One fun thing about this search was that I found J.B.’s 2013 winning season had the lowest riding percentage amongst all PBR world champs, yet he won the second-most money ever, behind McBride’s 2007 season. Look under “World Champion” here: http://www.pbr.com/en/bfts/winners.aspx

Top 25 by Riding Percentage 3-23-15 – spreadsheet

Top 25 by Dollars Won 3-23-15 – spreadsheet

BullRidingMarketing: 5-22-15
And there you have it, folks: the long and winding road down the rabbit hole of insanity that is the PBR.

Thank you, Licoricewhip!

Posted in Built Ford Tough Series, Bull Riding, CBR, cowboys, PBR, PRCA | 2 Comments

Colorado 15-15 Bucking Battle

Without any Built Ford Tough Series action this weekend, I had a flashback to the Colorado “Rumble in the Rockies.”

BTW, this hourlong broadcast contained just 30 minutes of bullriding material.

I nearly hit the hardwood when the judges awarded the Fabiano Vieira/Diesel pairing 90.25, for an incredible ride. It’s so rare for those guys not to begrudge a Brazilian rider a 90! This time it was a positive .25 ding. Of course he wasn’t interviewed when he scored, or even when he won. Bah humbug, as one of my grandmothers used to say.
Second in the news: Ty Murray actually used the word “inertia” correctly. And he wasn’t talking about lying on the couch.

The broadcast opened with that laughable “I’m so macho” voice bragging about how grueling the season has been, and how a “dangerous” J.B. Mauney has made a return, reasserted himself, etc. Never mind all the other guys returning from injuries, such as ROBSON PALERMO! You know the drill: trying to drum up excitement by playing up the physical injuries, and sticking to the scripted storyline about PBR management’s favorite rider.
I finally figured it out: Craig Hummer gets paid according to the number of times he says “J.B. Mauney.” I thought I might note the number of times, but I lost track.
Then, naturally we see an interview with J.B., instead of João Ricardo Vieira (53.70% riding percentage), Matt Triplett, or Kaique Pacheco, who are #1, #2, and #3 in the world standings.  Are you reading me?

Magic Train came into this battle with 11 straight buckoffs, but because he was facing J.B., who has a 46.67% riding percentage, Craig declared that “the next pairing could go well past that [90.25].” We all know that as long as J.B. stays on a bull, 9 times out of 10 his score will be north of 86, and it’s nice to know that Hummer will tell us the score ahead of time.


  • Panda Trax is certifiable. I thought Cooper Davis had a lock on that ride, but at 7.95, he got bucked off. (I yelled.) The bull didn’t just turn and give him what-for, he literally attacked Cooper, then tried to sit on him, and butted him along in the dirt. Frank pulled the bull’s focus (once again, we see how crazy The Fearless One is), while one of the other guys pulled Davis out of the way. Cooper had the presence of mind to challenge the time; the replays showed it was close, but he actually did have the rope in his hand at 8, even as the rest of him was about to become Panda’s doormat. Amazing! A lot of guys would’ve let go earlier and just try to protect themselves from the monster. 87 for Davis, but only 43 for the bull. (Were the judges punishing him for bad behavior?)
  • Long John: steep coming up and steep coming down, to Nathan Schaper’s detriment. 46.75 was high score of the event.
  • ABBI Classic winners from the Colorado Springs event: Bruiser and Wired Child, tied at 89.25 each. King Pin was the Back Seat Buckers winner, with 92.

Ben had food poisoning, and of course thought he was fit to ride, but after Modified Clyde’s lousy start, the Dancing Ozzie was a lost cause. After the buckoff, the bull literally almost went ass over teacup, and landed in almost the same position Ben did.

J.W. Harris’s neck and back injury (herniated disk) was causing his right arm to go numb, but he didn’t want to “sound like a whiner,” so he got on Percolator, got bucked off, and the bull scored 46. Said Hummer, dyslexing, Percolator was “no match at all for J.W.” Um, then J.W. would’ve scored the 46.


  • Could they please stop labeling events with stupid Worldwide Wrestling titles? It makes bullriding seem even dumber than a lot of people already think it is. I obviously don’t, and I know plenty of intelligent people who don’t, but the PBR is working against us when they use what they think is a clever marketing tactic. It ain’t. People who watch bullriding will watch it no matter what you call it, and people who don’t  aren’t going to start because you call it “Rumble in the Rockies.” “Bucking Battle” is good enough, though even that kind of embarrasses me.
  • After we see (for the umpteenth time) the gruesome video clip of Kasey Hayes getting creamed by Panda Trax in Des Moines, then Hummer and Ty Murray have a “conversation” about how Cooper Davis has to put this visual out of his mind when he gets on the bull today. Well, maybe if you didn’t keep showing that disaster, Davis wouldn’t have to try.

Stone Sober came into this event with 23 straight buckoffs, and fell down on Reese Cates right out of the gate. Re-ride flags flew. Now, why is that? Cates got a clean out, it looked like he slapped the bull, and we’ve been told many times that a rider has to make the full 8 seconds to get a re-ride option. I’ve seen the same thing happen to other riders, and I squawked that they didn’t get a re-ride; the explanation for not being offered one was always that the rider wasn’t fouled in the gate. Well, neither was Reese. Kaique Pacheco got slammed and squashed by Walk Off (who racked up a 44), but no re-ride.

Of course I think a cowboy should get a re-ride if a bull squashes him, but that’s not the point. The re-ride rules continue to be inconsistently applied, and the PBR makes no effort to stop the judges from pulling this crap. They just keep screwing with our heads, trying to make us think we’re the crazy ones.

From the PBR website:
Re-ride: If the bull’s performance is sub-par (negatively affecting the ride score) or if a foul occurs during the ride (the rider is rubbed against the chute, the bull stumbles, the flank strap detaches, etc.) judges can offer the rider a chance to take a re-ride.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen bulls stumble, but no re-rides were offered. Plus, where’s the much-touted “the bull’s motion has to stop” criterion for a rider to be granted a re-ride?
And just to make things more confusing, Ty said something about “breaking the plane of the rope.” Please tell me he was just befuddled, and that isn’t a real thing!

Also from the website:
Chute Clock: The Built Ford Tough Series implemented a new addition to the Professional Bull Riders’ original chute clock rule during the 2014 BFTS event in Nampa, Idaho. Each rider will have 60 seconds from the time he begins to pull his rope until he nods his head to begin the ride. The chute clock will stop the countdown when the judge starts the 8-second ride clock.

Regarding disqualification the rule states, “In the event that the chute clock countdown time expires before the rider nods his head, the judge has to make a determination to disqualify either the rider or the bull at the end of the allotted time. If the bull is disqualified then the rider will receive the first available re-ride bull. If the rider is disqualified, his ride for that round is over and he will receive a no score.”

Yeah, right. There’s a J.B. clock, and he’s never been put on the other one. As long as the commentators keep chanting, “He’s one of the fastest to get out of the chute,” we’re supposed to believe he never takes more than the allotted 60 seconds. LOL.

“This guy is a true warrior.” – Ty Murray’s comment on Guilherme Marchi.
J.B.’s standard response to, What happened to your rope?:
“I shoulda put more rosin on it.”

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

Des Moines 15-15 Bucking Battle

You already know his favorite subject. The broadcast intro started with the standard “I’m so macho” voice touting “the return of fan favorite J! B! Mauney!” A few minutes later, Justin McBride talks about J.B. being “one of the greatest ever,” “only guy to ride Asteroid and Bushwacker,” riding “countless other bigtime bulls that other guys were scared of.” Craig calls Mauney, “Our LeBron James, our Michael Jordan.”

All that kinda guff inevitably jinxes a guy. Air Time made J.B. his 10th consecutive buckoff. I never get tired of seeing that first spectacular jump out of the gate. Granted, J.B.’s riding with his left knee braced because of his injury. (Hummer of course talks about J.B.’s injuries like they’re different from anyone else’s. Uh, dear, Matt Triplett is also sporting a knee brace.) Murphy’s Law: J.B. landed on his left knee. He hopped out of the arena.

This is some real PBR b.s.: Yo Yo launched Cody Nance pretty far, and Nance was offered a re-ride. Why? Nobody bothered to tell us viewers. Cody turned down the re-ride. So what’s the low score he keeps? Big mystery while judges confer. After Shane Proctor’s out, Craig announces that the score is 75.75. The website says 76.50. Well, guess what? “The score has been adjusted.” Nobody bothered to explain why. The PBR judges do pretty much whatever they want. “Cody Nance has escaped with a score, and maybe the win,” prophesied Hummer.

Nobody ragged on Cody for turning down a re-ride, either—no commentator, bullfighter, or livestock director had anything snotty to say. “Sometimes you just gotta take what God gives you,” was Cody’s reason for passing on the re-ride. (He also mentioned he was struggling with his self-confidence.)

Nance was the only one to ride his bull, so he won the event with the lousy score. YoYo’s was the worst of all the bull scores. It’s a world gone mad.

BITCHIN’ (as in, complaining)
I don’t know what the hell was wrong with all the other guys. Cowboys were sailing all over the arena. How could not one of them “convert,” to use Hummer’s stupid word instead of the much simpler and more accurate “ride”? The bulls sure did their job: Mississippi Hippy, Air Time, and Boot Jack were the stars of the show (45, 45.25, and 45.25 respectively). Not far behind were Spotted Demon, 44.75; Little Joe, 44.50; Who Dey, 44.25; Semper Fi, 44.25; and Diesel, 44.25.

Guilherme Marchi in particular made me despair. At #5 in the world, with 547 rides and 3 Bucking Battles under his belt, he really oughtta know better than to hold onto the gate so long. Pistol Pete, who’s unridden this season, was bumptious in the chute, and “the book on the bull,” as Ty Murray used to say, was that Pete was gonna swirl to the left. The bull backed out, started to head right—ye olde Marchi wheelhouse—and somehow Guilherme quickly was bucked off onto his feet, right back into the chute. Jeez, Guilherme!

I felt the same way about Valdiron de Oliveira’s almost-completed trip. He’s got a 53.33% riding percentage, looked like he was set to take Brown Sugar (whose official nickname is now “cute little bull”) to 8,  and then at 6.53—AAGGHH! I think the bull made Valdiron dizzy. He had to be half-carried out.

I’m not imagining it: Mike Lee delivers the loudest buckoffs and dismounts of any rider. This time we had the bonus of him being miked, so the usual PLOP off Mississippi Hippy’s back had extra oomph. For extra credit: what’s hilariously wrong with this sentence: “We move on to our next pairing, which includes 2004 World Champion Mike Lee”?

Kasey Hayes substituted for Ben Jones, and he kinda might’ve regretted it. Shorty gave his team the heads-up that Panda Trax “is a little bit mean.” Well, Panda didn’t do it on purpose, but his entire front end crashed down on top of Hayes and knocked him out. It was astounding that Kasey eventually came to and could stand up. Wobbly, but up. I don’t think he could even see where he was being taken by Sports Medicine. He stayed in the game the next day, which resulted in fractures of three lumbar vertebrae, and a 6-week vacation. The other stupid thing is, why on earth doesn’t Sports Medicine have a portable x-ray machine? It’s fairly good odds that at least one rider per day is going to need pictures taken; someone with cracked bones really doesn’t need to be rattling around in an ambulance for a trip to the hospital x-ray machine.

The ad for the upcoming Champions Challenge announces that participating in the event are J.B. Mauney, Guilherme Marchi, “and a host of others.” The visuals show 3-time World Champ Silvano Alves, 2004 World Champ Mike Lee, and other minor guys like that. Whoever produced this commercial needs to send it back to the Rewrite Department.

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Robson Palermo Deserves More Respect: Rosinette Speaks Out

Guest Post By Rosinette:

All I’m asking is for a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T (just a little bit).  Robson Palermo is a three-time World Finals event winner.  During his career, he has amassed 361 qualified rides out of 711 attempts, which amounts to an impressive 50.77% career riding percentage.

Beyond that, if you’ve ever had the opportunity to meet him at a PBR event, you can attest to the fact that he is the consummate professional, personable, gracious and humble.

His career has been marked with successes, challenges and, above all, perseverance. Despite all the injury setbacks he has endured in the past few years, he remained focused on returning to competition and worked his ass off.  Take a look at the video of the physical therapy and intense fitness training he endured after his last shoulder surgery, and you’ll see it hasn’t been easy.  In 2014, he tore a ligament in his ankle less than three weeks into his return, which brought his season to a premature end at the 2014 World Finals after he was stepped on in Round 1.  This season, he was cut from the Built Ford Tough Series, but true to form, he didn’t let it alter his focus.  He won a BlueDef Velocity Tour event and placed 3rd in a Touring Pro Division event.

Coming into last weekend’s event in Billings, Montana, Robson was ranked 45th in the world standings.  After going 2 for 4 and winning the championship round, he finished seventh in the event average, earning 120 points and leaping up to the 33rd spot.  It’s a compelling story.

The PBR must have featured this story on their website, right?  Nope.

But what about the comeback story posted on Monday?  Sorry, that was written about another rider.

Instead, they posted a fluff story about two other riders becoming friends (yes, really). They did post a story about the “movers and shakers,” examining the riders who “made the biggest moves in the standings following three days of action in Billings, Montana,” with barely a small mention of Robson.  One to be exact:  “Gay was the biggest mover among a group of alternates, including Robson Palermo and Aaron Roy, to make a move up the world standings in Billings.”  

The article talks in length how Gage Gay jumped from 36th to 26th after his performance in Billings.  If 2 + 2 still equals 4, then I’m pretty sure Robson moving up 12 spots is a larger jump than Gay moving up 10.

Is this snub the PBR’s retribution for Robson speaking out about all the criticism of the Brazilian-style rope (which some American riders also use)?  Or is this yet another example of the PBR’s unrelenting effort to glorify a few chosen riders while slighting the others from another country—and hoping that we won’t notice?

We can only wonder…

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So nice how the CBS voiceover intro sounds like an adult, professional announcer, not screaming at us like some illiterate moron.

Silvano Alves is out with an injured hip; it’s a weird sight, seeing him sitting in the stands. Now the Booth Boys can’t keep talking about how he’s never injured (the rotten subtext being, Alves doesn’t take chances like real cowboys do). In the meantime, João Ricardo Vieira has a 57.14% riding percentage. I’m impressed. That puts him only 5 points behind Matt Triplett.

The bull scores were great, the lowest being 42.75 (Chocolate Thunder), highest 46.50 (I’m A Gangster Too). Eduardo Aparecido, in because Ben Jones was out with an injury, took a beating from the Gangster: got jerked down over the bull’s head, took a horn to the face (without a helmet, of course), and was kneeling on the ground, stunned, until Sports Medicine took him away.

Stone Sober telestrator photos: WOW. On his first blast out of the chute, his hooves are higher than the chute gate, and the rider is about 12 feet in the air. What may be the photo of the year is the shot of the bull leaping over Renato Nunes (the top of whose head is stuck on the dirt, butt in the air), with all four legs gathered up under him, clearing Renato by at least three feet. “This bull is a freak,” Ty Murray announced, and yeah, he ain’t kidding. Emilio Resende is only person to ride that bull (for 88, in Oklahoma City, 2013). Is it too early to smell a World Championship?

Are you sure?? Nathan Schaper’s bull, Wicked, did one of those stumble things, so the ride was reviewed for time and a slap that looked to me like it was at the 8-second mark; the judges said it happened at 7.99. Aww, maaaaan!

The bullfighters closed in to save Schaper during his less-than-ideal dismount from Wicked, with Jesse Byrne as the flying quarterback: he jumped smack in front of the bull’s face and took a big hit. That boy must be covered with purple bruises.

• I am SO sick of “The Longest Ride” commercials. The female character is beyond dumb. She knows her boyfriend’s a bull rider, yet she’s shocked when the doctor says he’s lucky to be alive. Then there’s the utterly stupid, puzzled look on her face as the doctor tells her that in bull riding, “It’s not if you’re going to get hurt, it’s when.” Bad acting choice. Or bad direction; who knows. I’m not going to see it.

• This “Ring of Honor: Unfinished Business” Pay Per View thing could be a hoot. According to Ty Murray, the three decades of “legends” who are participating “includes champions who are 50 years old.” It’d be nice to see a geezer make 8; the judges would probably throw a 98 at him. I’m still not paying for it, though.

• Hickory dickery dock, Brazilians on the clock:
Fabiano Vieira, Eduardo Aparecido, Valdiron de Oliveira, and Kaique Pacheco (who had to exit before he was ready), and don’t tell me all of them were taking too long in the chute. J.W. Harris took his sweet time in there, and wasn’t put on the clock.

• Here’s how you set up a game:
Mike Lee goes out on Percolator. The bull wasn’t as much of a handful as he has been; he was kinda predictable: slow turns, high leaps, as rhythmic as a rocking chair. Shorty Gorham called the ride “flawless,” but I’m thinking, did Mike make it look easy, or was it in fact an easier trip? Scoring him 92 right off the bat guaranteed him the win; who were they gonna score higher than 92? Not a Brazilian. (And J.B. wasn’t around for them to throw a 94 at.) Mike’s take on it: “Percolator’s an old man like me. 10 years old. So if he can do it, I can do it…”

• “Ride, rewrap, repeat,” was how Craig Hummer described Guilherme Marchi’s prep for his rematch on Calypso. Despite his Grand Old Man status, the judges handed him an 89: not good enough to win, but not insulting, either. In his post-ride interview, Marchi, who has a 48.84% riding percentage, said he thought the bull bucked harder than the first time he was on his back. This was ride # 543.

In spite of his bad shoulder issue, Fabiano Vieira has a 47.50% riding percentage, and scored 88.25 on American Sniper; he’s been able to keep his free arm higher lately.

The word on J.W. is that he likes to play jokes on people. Of course Craig then compared him to J.B., for being a “presence” in the locker room. Oh come on, dude—can’t ANYBODY be as good as (or better than) your idol in anything? J.W. needs to pull a prank on Hummer. A custard pie would be a start.

Reese Cates, after scoring 87.75 on Chocolate Thunder, spoke for many a bull rider when he said, “I was so mad about being bucked off before, he could’ve gone out there and done backflips; I would’ve stayed on him.”

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Albuquerque notes

Had some thoughts hanging around for a while, so I figured I’d put them here.

Round 2 is where it looked like Matt Triplett’s injury (possibly a torn ACL or MCL) would keep him out indefinitely. (Coyote kicked his left knee during the dismount.) But since I can see the future (Seattle), it’s not a PCL injury, and Matt thinks maybe he can ride by taping his knee.

It  also looked like J.B. Mauney would be out until May, but again, my retroactive crystal ball told me he’s getting a brace, and wants to return to riding in late April or early May. 


  • Nutso’s awkward sideways bobble took Nathan Schaper out of position and the bull almost fell down, but did NOT stop its motion. The judges offered Nathan a re-ride. J.W. Harris also was awarded a re-ride, because Leslie’s Pet crashed into the fence—but the bull’s motion didn’t stop, it just slowed. Is this a new re-ride rule, and will it be selectively applied? I remember a few scraping-the-dirt moves by other bulls that nearly took Fabiano Vieira, Silvano Alves, and Guilherme Marchi down with them, but those guys weren’t offered re-rides. However—see Highlights below for what happened with Renato Nunes.


  • 17 qualified rides in Round 1; pretty surprising. The wunderkind from Brazil, Kaique Pacheco, won Round 1. Not so surprising. I’m still puzzling about Ty Murray’s semi-coherent remark: “Wonder with these young guys if when they get an egg broke in ‘em if something happens to them.” I think the translation was that he thought maybe Pacheco’s wreck injury took him off track. Yeah, that’s why Kaique scored 89.75 on Joe the Grinder in Round 1, for his 5th round win of the season.
  • W. Harris won Round 2. Not so surprising, either.
  • Ben Jones took on Beaver Creek Beau, who was on a 21 buckoffs streak—and broke it. “He’ll get on anything,” Ty gushed. “This guy would get on a mountain lion!” Great score: 90.25, and as Craig put it, “Albuquerque was treated to the Ben Jones extended dance mix!”
  • Stone Sober “hates having people on his back,” says Ty. “He goes spastic and will do anything he can to get ‘em off.” The bull sure proved that: leaped up hard in the chute, then exploded, chucked Renato Nunes off, and literally hurdled him, all four legs churning in mid-air like Michael Jordan. Reminded me of Wile E. Coyote running off a cliff into the air (before he comes down with a huge thump). Renato threw some wild stuff at the bull; 99 ½% of all riders would’ve let go after the first big bomb, but he is one feisty lil’ cowboy! The bull stumbled, and his back end went down far enough to earn Nunes a re-ride—once Renato challenged for it. The situation was enough like Schaper’s trip that the judges had to grant it, or their attitude toward the Brazilians would’ve been REALLY obvious (for the thousandth time).

MARCHI KEEPS MARCHING ON (Has Hummer used that one yet?)
Guilherme Marchi came into this event with 538 rides under his belt and left with 541.

Ty Murray complained about Ryan Dirteater getting too picky about how Oscar P. was standing in the chute. Dirteater ended up on the clock, and started to argue with the judge—not something you see every day! The cranky pill at the chute DQd Ryan for chute time—and Ryan kept arguing. Did anybody ever explain what was happening?

Craig Hummer referred to Ivan Sells, the 2014 Indian National Finals Rodeo champ, as a “full-blown Navajo Indian.” Moron. Did he mean full-blooded? Why is that relevant? Is Aaron Roy a “full-blown Canadian”? Can’t you just say, “Ivan Sells is the Navajo rider who won the INFR?” (Note: Navajo is a nation, therefore its citizens are Navajos. “Navajo Indian” is redundant. It’s like saying “an Irish Irishman.”)

Add Ty Murray’s condescending, “Look at this, there are some abilities… This is the ultimate underdog right here,” and I want to slap both of them.

Ivan Sells decided to become a bull rider after seeing “8 Seconds,” but he didn’t know which hand to use, so he just followed what Lane Frost did. Good way to start.

According to Ty Murray, Gage Gay’s “confidence has been shook.”


  • Joe the Grinder gave Shane Proctor a hard time; after Shane’s 86.50 smooth ride, Joe went after Shane to hook him, but slid on the dirt and missed (Ty thinks he was dizzy from spinning so much). Proctor slid down a notch in my book when he said something about Kaique, calling him “Pacheco—whatever his name is.” It’s not that hard to pronounce, dude.
  • Mortifying: since Sonic is now the official PBR drive-in (I mean, how many drive-ins are there?), some of the bull riders had to put on roller skates and serve some customers. How embarrassing! PBR Marketing has them by the you-know-whats.
  • Silvano Alves came into this event with a 60% riding percentage, so naturally he was given one of those predictable Get Silvano scores: 84.75 on Western Nights. He was some kind of hurt after the ride, helped out by medical staff, but naturally, because it’s Silvano, the commentators barely noticed.
  • When João Ricardo Vieira broke Walk Off’s 24-buckoff streak, Craig lost his marbles. “JRV just sent a statement to the world… That’s going to be the ride heard round the world!” What, did you forget to take your medication today, Craig? Vieira had a very solid seat, “He couldn’ta rode that bull any better,” said Ty, but the score still wasn’t a 90, because that wasn’t J.B. Mauney on Walk Off’s back. JRV’s score was 88.


  • They keep re-running the video of last week’s awful wreck, showing Kasey Hayes unconscious on the ground, getting his chest trampled. For extra awfulness, they keep displaying his split-open helmet.
  • “I’m talking about a different level here,” repeats Ty, about how the 4-time PRCA World Champ J.W. Harris has to “step up” because he’s riding in the PBR. I am fed up with his condescending attitude. Ty never won a PBR championship, so I guess that means he didn’t “step up”? In the Championship Round, J.W. picked Mick E Mouse, for their 3rd Suddenly Ty is admiring J.W.’s attitude: “Mick E Mouse is dreaded by everybody; nobody wants to get on him, he’s dangerous, there’s nothing attractive about him.” Mick E was on a 32-buckoff streak; Ty called him the rankest bull in the world. Even though it was J.W. going up against the Mouse, it was never a contest. The bull scored 45.75, and “All he can do is tap and tip his hat to one of the best bulls ever,” babbled Hummer, stumbling his way through yet another incoherent moment.

You can’t pay for this stuff: Hummer, trying to tell us what’s in store for us, got tangled up and ended up saying something about “a judge goes on the clock properly.”

OMG!! The guy Leah Garcia interviewed about event logistics—Jay Daugherty, VP of Competition—is the nasty s.o.b. I encountered (at a distance, thank god) at the NY event!!

Ben Jones takes the win! “I’m a bit lost for words…not gonna feel like a man when you say this, but I feel like I’m about to cry” was what I could make out of his interview with Leah Garcia. Are you kidding? I’ll bet I wasn’t the only one who got misty-eyed. A bunch of riders, including João, hoisted Ben on their shoulders and whooped their way to the winner’s circle. Unfortunately the last thing we saw onscreen was two female butts in our faces, obscuring the view of Ben holding up a trophy.

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UPDATE, MARCH 29: Rosinette Does the Math: The Points System

This is a guest post by Rosinette. She ran some spreadsheets, and the results are verrry interesting. Take it away, Rosinette!

It doesn’t take a mathematician to realize that the new points system does not add up.

Now that we’re nearly four months into the 2015 season, let’s take a look at where things stand as of March 23, 2015, by examining the rankings in two different ways and comparing to the current PBR rankings.

% Ridden

Many fans have suggested that this is the best measure of success. It rewards consistency and therefore the talent and work it takes to consistently ride bulls weekend after weekend. Ultimately, it rewards the very thing that the sport of bull riding is based on – staying on for 8 seconds. It’s a simple, cut and dried method. Either you make the buzzer or you don’t. That is the premise of bull riding, after all. (Duh)

If the PBR were to rank riders using this method, here is how the standings would look:

% Ridden Rank PBR rank Rider % Ridden
1 3 Silvano Alves 66.67%
2 7 Valdiron de Oliveira 59.57%
3 22 Bonner Bolton 55.56%
4 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira 55.26%
5 5 Kaique Pacheco 54.17%
6 1 Matt Triplett 54%
7 8 Ben Jones 52%
8 21 Tanner Byrne 50%
9 9 Fabiano Vieira 47.50%
10 14 Cody Nance 46.15%
11 17 Shane Proctor 45.71%
12 13 Chase Outlaw 45.45%
13 10 Guilherme Marchi 45.24%
14 12 Nathan Schaper 45.24%
15 11 J.B. Mauney 43.33%
16 18 Eduardo Aparecido 41.67%
17 4 J.W. Harris 41.03%
18 24 L.J. Jenkins 40.91%
19 19 Ryan Dirteater 38.89%
20 20 Stormy Wing 37.14%
21 15 Stetson Lawrence 36.36%
22 6 Reese Cates 36.11%
23 25 Renato Nunes 34.21%
24 16 Mike Lee 33.33%
25 23 Kasey Hayes 31.25%

It’s no surprise that Silvano would land at the top of the rankings for % ridden. After all, he has been one of the most consistent rider for years. (The scores the judges give him is another issue, but I digress). And guess what? It’s not even that close. The difference between Silvano and the rider with the next closest riding percentage trails by seven percentage points. This might surprise folks but Matt Triplett – ranked #1 under PBR current system – ranks at #6, JB at #15, JW Harris at #17 and Mike Lee at #24 in riding percentage tabulations.

Dollars Earned

This is also simple math. Fans have also suggested that this would be an appropriate method for BFTS rankings and awarding points. Here is how the rankings would look under dollars earned:

Dollars Won Rank PBR rank Rider % Ridden Dollars Won
1 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira 55.26% $246,150.00
2 3 Silvano Alves 66.67% $209,921.22
3 1 Matt Triplett 54% $138,827.67
4 8 Ben Jones 52% $97,902.56
5 6 Reese Cates 36.11% $91,231.72
6 5 Kaique Pacheco 54.17% $87,571.40
7 4 J.W. Harris 41.03% $86,265.00
8 7 Valdiron de Oliveira 59.57% $82,658.82
9 9 Fabiano Vieira 47.50% $71,292.24
10 11 J.B. Mauney 43.33% $65,711.67
11 10 Guilherme Marchi 45.24% $63,831.19
12 13 Chase Outlaw 45.45% $50,136.07
13 16 Mike Lee 33.33% $49,203.33
14 12 Nathan Schaper 45.24% $47,586.19
15 14 Cody Nance 46.15% $46,563.38
16 15 Stetson Lawrence 36.36% $46,050.00
17 21 Tanner Byrne 50% $35,176.57
18 22 Bonner Bolton 55.56% $35,002.70
19 17 Shane Proctor 45.71% $33,536.67
20 18 Eduardo Aparecido 41.67% $33,051.67
21 19 Ryan Dirteater 38.89% $30,688.33
22 20 Stormy Wing 37.14% $29,018.33
23 24 L.J. Jenkins 40.91% $27,680.19
24 23 Kasey Hayes 31.25% $27,103.33
25 25 Renato Nunes 34.21% $25,451.13

It’s worth noting that under this method, it’s the same top three guys as current PBR BFTS rankings but in a different order; here, JR Vieira is first, Silvano Alves is second and Matt Triplett is third. Ben Jones jumps to fourth, whereas he currently sits in the eighth spot by PBR system.

Current Points System

As we’ve all seen, this is a “winner take all” approach that rewards those who are awarded the high scores. If the judges are particularly hard on certain riders because they don’t agree with a strategy or chute protocol, those riders are at an automatic disadvantage from the get-go. Furthermore, it punishes riders who have been consistently making the buzzer, but have not been ended up in the top five for the round or the top ten for the event.

A clear example of this lack of fluidity with the current point system is the rider currently ranked sixth on the BFTS. He has won $91,231 (which also puts him in fifth for dollars earned). However, his riding percentage is only 36.11%. That’s a whopping 30 percentage points below the guy with the highest riding percentage. Put another way, 22 other riders have higher riding percentages. Does that not seem counterintuitive to the whole premise of the sport?

UPDATE: As of March 29:
Of the current top 10 in PBR standings following this weekend’s results (Seattle), here’s how the top 5 would look using riding percentage:

1. Silvano (67.27%) – PBR rank = #4
2. Valdiron (60.78%) – PBR rank = #3
3. Joao (57.14%) – PBR rank = #1
4. Matt Triplett (54%) – PBR rank = #2
5. Kaique Pacheco (50.98%) – PBR rank = #6

Near total Brazilian domination!!! (Exactly what PBR doesn’t want)

Tanner Byrne is getting screwed. He has a 50% riding percentage but is buried way down at the #22 spot in PBR standings. Using the percentage system, he would be in the 9th spot.


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Sioux Falls Fallout

Clever ploy: PBR getting their marketing info by asking viewers to tweet where they came from, how long it took them, how did they get there, etc. It’s the PBR’s first time in Sioux Falls, so besides ticket sales, this is how they figure out whether to bother coming back. I wonder, do they factor in statistics like, Stetson Lawrence and Nathan Schaper drove 8 hours from North Dakota to get there?

Jesse Byrne talking about how nice everybody in South Dakota is: “Walking through the hotel lobby is like meeting a hundred of Nathan Schaper.”


  • Fabiano Vieira, who has a 50% riding percentage in spite of his half-mast free arm, was DQed in Round 1 for taking too long in the chute. He later said the bull didn’t give him a fair shot; it was leaning on the gate and he couldn’t get his leg down. People in the locker room—that would be, other riders–agreed. Bad weekend for him: Shaft bucked him off, and Vieira landed on his right arm (of course) and bounced.
  • Dave Mason (the one without the guitar) helped Ben Jones at the chute on Raven Flyer. (Silvano Alves won The American on RF). Poor Ben– he made 8, threw his hat and was ready to dance, but the clock had stopped for a touch. He challenged it (on behalf of us all), but no cigar. Arrgghh!

Canadianaaronroy is back. Gage Gay will be returning to the BFTS. Kaique Pacheco leads the Blue Def Velocity tour. Cooper Davis came up through the same tour—another CBR rider. (He won the 1st CBR season event in January.)  Watch out, Benny: you don’t want the CBR to become just a feeder for the PBR (unless they pay enough).


  • W. Harris won Round 1. I love saying that. J.W. HARRIS WON ROUND 1.
  • Oyster Creek cracked me up when he gave a couple of desperate bucks between his direction change in a frantic attempt to dislodge João Ricardo Vieira. I could see the bubble over the bull’s head: “Dammit! Why isn’t this working??” Vieira made the ride look easy; maybe that’s why the score wasn’t bigger than 85.25. P.S. I noted a while ago that the .25 dings of the last two seasons seem to have increased to .50 dings.
  • Another thing I like saying: Tanner Byrne’s riding percentage is 50%.
  • Love that clip of Nathan Schaper riding Long John– exciting ride, kicked up a lot of dust.
  • Old? I beg to differ. Valdiron de Oliveira’s riding percentage is 58.62%.
  • Then again, Silvano’s is 63.64%.

Does Hummer even hear himself?? “Tanner couldn’t wait to jump on Flint… Tanner and Flint, ready to get it on.”

Stetson Lawrence had no luck on Mr. Bojangles. Craig Hummer’s comment: “Bojangles leaves Lawrence singing the blues.” Um, dude—Bojangles was a dancer and actor, not a blues singer—and one of the most famous and well-paid African American entertainers in the first half of the 20th century. Another example of white stupidity, either Hummer’s or whoever scripted that line. There’s a song about Bojangles, he’s black, so he must be a blues singer? Do your friggin’ research, boys!! You’re embarrassing.

Renato Nunes has a nightmare 28.57% riding percentage–whaa?! He had a hell of a time of it on Gentleman Jim’s back: that tail kept whipping him in the face. Renato’s dismount was a grab at the fence that left him hanging while the bull kept running. Saved his bacon, but it’s in a slump.

That photo of stock contractor Matt Scharping sitting on Magic Train in the pen was like a cute class photo. “A lot of the great ones are pretty tame,” according to J.W. Hart. Yeaahh… I still wouldn’t put my butt down on some bovine with a 92.59% buckoff rate, no matter how chillaxed he looks.


  • Does this sound a little like a rah-rah apple pie storyline? Mike Lee rode Semper Fi (the Marines motto), son of Little Yellow Jacket, for 88.75 to lead the round and win the event.
  • Does Western culture really require women to be ridiculous sex objects? Re the “Hooter’s Girls” commercial: in this one, the message is that because she’s blonde, she’s too dumb to do anything but smile and take your order. Not to mention, what woman in her right mind would want a job that’s all about a body part? What’s next: ’gina Gals?
  • American Sniper crashed his head against the fence, and I think it changed his direction. I can’t believe J.W. Harris wasn’t offered a re-ride! Another example of PBR selective rule application.
  • Nobody rode in the Championship Round. Mike Lee didn’t even have to ride Pistol Pete; he’d already won because of that high score they gave him in the previous round. (Pete didn’t do too badly: 44.25.) Now we’ll have to watch how the judges set up the scoring in the round before the short-go. They know the bulls can pitch a shut-out, so if they can manage it, they’ll want to make sure their boy wins… whoever the boy of the moment is.
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IRON COWBOY VI – João Redux    

What a big snore the whole “Inside” opening segment is; total waste of air. It’s PBR’s attempt at an NFL pre-game show. Epic fail. A half hour of b.s., and all the chatter up front didn’t even mention João Ricardo Vieira as a possible winner. They covered Guilherme Marchi, Renato Nunes, Silvano Alves, J.B. Mauney, J.W. Harris. “I think all roads go through Silvano Alves,” was Ty Murray’s assessment. Yeah, but he also said, Asteroid’s trip with Silvano at the Finals was one of the bull’s weakest.


  • It’s Asteroid’s last out, and the boys stage-managed another draw: Mike Lee was the last cowboy on Bushwacker, and now he’s the last one on Asteroid. PBR just loves these storylines. Lee was Asteroid’s 49th buckoff—and went somersaulting over his head. Score: 46. Guilherme Marchi’s take on Asteroid: “He’s a kind of little bull, but has a big heart.” Sweet!
  • Shepherd Hills Trapper & Jack Daniel’s After Party are being retired. Waaah! Trapper is 10 for 65 right now; he made J.W. Harris his 17th straight buckoff.
  • Loved the shot of H.D. Page scratching Shepherd Hills Tested, who acted just like a doggie, not one of the toughest bulls in the PBR.
  • This was the first out for Just Push Play, from the Navajo Nation, who was invited when Cody Lambert showed a phone video to Justin McBride. Lachlan Richardson couldn’t ride him here, and João Ricardo Rivera couldn’t ride him in Fresno next week. (The one advantage of writing in retrospect is that you always predict the future correctly!)
  • David Neal’s people need to keep a camera on the bulls after they’re done with the riders; some of them are P.F.F. In fact, I think PBR should add a new category at the Finals: Best Post-Cowboy Performance by a Bovine. California Sports Coat stumbled around, Valdiron de Oliveira melted off his side, then the bull’s big ol’ head went sliding along in the dirt. CSC capped that act by fleeing everyone who was after him—even after he got roped, he was still scampering around the arena until it was the next bull’s turn.


  • Adriano Moraes’s guest appearance, talking about Kaique Pacheco: he’s got a 56+% riding percentage, and is quieter than Silvano?!
  • “You want to be a champion bullrider, watch this film,” said Ty, who finally got with the program. João Ricardo Vieira scored 90.50 on Bruiser by staying up front, making adjustments, allowing daylight between his seat and the bull’s back as Bruiser tried slinging him around.
  • J.W. Harris on Cowtown Slinger, for 86.75. I almost don’t care about the score; I just love watching him constantly adjusting while he keeps his eyes down on the bull’s shoulders. That’s how you’re supposed to ride, boys!


  • As usual, PBR (this time in the guise of J.W. Hart) claimed the arena was full, in spite of people saying all over Facebook and Twitter  they couldn’t get there because of the terrible weather.
  • Cody Lambert’s explanation of the re-ride “option” was completely contradictory and incoherent. The PBR is still trying to talk out of both sides of its mouth. Says Cody, citing Alves’s riding percentage, “This is about riding more bulls than anyone else here.” Uh, not really, dude.
  • Yet another interview with J.B. Mauney at the top of the show. The PBR clearly is unaware that there is any other cowboy on the planet. Cody Lambert and Justin McBride did the honors this time: “The stage never gets too big for this guy,” oozed Justin. Hummer’s contribution: “He wants to be not just bad to the bone, but badder than the rest of them.” Gag! Note: J.B.’s riding percentage: 43.48%. Nathan Schaper’s: 48%. I don’t see any Schaper worship going on. Guilherme Marchi has a 48.15% riding percentage and 533 rides on the BFTS. Need I say more?
  • PBR hired Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson as a trainer, and showed a video of him torturing Matt Triplett. As if the reason for this move is “to help the athletes battle the bulls”! It’s to help the American athletes battle the Brazilian athletes, because the Killer Bs have always trained, and gee, do ya think that might have something to do with what asskickers they are?
  • A 4-way tie for first place is kinda ridiculous; I don’t know what the judges thought they were doing with the scoring.

“St. Louis, I didn’t ride very good, so I needed to refresh my brain.”—J.B. Mauney.

L.J. Jenkins rode Winter Jack for 87.50. “Some signs of life from L.J.,” Craig snarked.

“Right now he’s riding great,” says Ty about Stormy Wing, as Stormy gets thrown off.
“Matt Triplett is the new J.B.”

Mike Lee was very solidly stuck on Kiss Animalize and nailed an 85.75. Slight problem: the arena’s the biggest one in the country; he would’ve passed out from exhaustion on his victory lap. He cut it in half by running onto the stage and up to the locker room.

J.B. Mauney was given a Silvano Score (81.75) for his ride on Earl. Craig Hummer of course looks at this as Mauney’s first step toward regaining his 2012 Iron Cowboy title. Um, and what step would this be for Vieira, last year’s winner?

A whole lotta people were clustered around Renato Nunes at the chute; it wasn’t clear what the problem was, but Redneck’s head was roped in place, so obviously he was no calm customer. “Redneck with all that power is going to have the Brazilian black and blue,” was Hummer’s nitwitticism. The buckoff slammed Nunes down against the chute, landing him on the back of his neck and head. He was one hair away from a broken neck (and head!).

Rubens Barbosa, back on the BFTS for the first time in 3 years, was roughed up by (unridden, with 11 straight buckoffs) Smooth Operator. (Oh, yes I did. I had to say it because Craig didn’t. Or at least I wasn’t paying attention.) Rubens took a shot to the facemask, then was slung around, briefly hung up and dragged. He looked a little shocked at the blood running down his face.

Robson “Spiderman” Aragao is on the tour (for now), and had to deal with Crystal Pistol acting up in the chute. The Booth Boys did a bitchy little high school burn, telling us (millions of us, presumably) that Aragao isn’t confident in the chute, but he sure is in the locker room. That sucks, guys. It’s really hitting below the belt.

Day 2

Once again, Craig claims that the cowboys aren’t in this for the money. We’re supposed to believe they’re coming from all over the world to risk their necks just for the glory. Ty, who kinda has a handle on these things, reminded him about the $180,000 waiting for the winner.

J.R. Vieira won, courtesy of Crack the Whip. They’ve each won one matchup, and Vieira broke the tie to become the back-to-back event winner, moving from 26th to 9th in the world standings by earning 900 points. “I am happy, I am Iron Cowboy” was his interview with Leah Garcia. That’s his improved English, she says. Where the hell has the translator gone??

“…and you can bet the celebration of the green and gold will continue long into the night in Texas,” says Craig Hummer, once again waving the red flag at the pinheads who don’t yet understand that bull riding events are not an us-against-them national rivalry.

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Of course I have a few things to say about The American rodeo (eventually I’ll get around to the Iron Cowboy). First off, what an annoying title! How about The $2,000,000 Rodeo, or Extreme Rodeo, or The Best Vs. the Beasts, or Ultimate Challenge–something a little less, um, jingoistic? So ironic that “The Brazilian” won it. Specifically, the most maligned Brazilian. If I were Silvano Alves, I’d have done my “Told you so!” dance all over the arena. But he’s too much of a gentleman and a very good sport.

Okay, now to the action:

For once, the draw looked like an honest draw, apart from the fact that obviously the powers-that-be wanted J.B. Mauney to take a crack at Mick E Mouse. They figured that if he rode, they could say The Dragon Slayer beat the three toughest bulls in the world. You know: The Storyline.


  • J.W. Harris nailed it! He kept fighting for position, even as Who Dey was stumbling down and forward, nose in the dirt. “This guy is on a roll like butter,” said someone who wishes he were Justin McKee. Oh, wait a minute—I think that was Justin McKee! Score was 90.5—smooth, J.W.!
  • Ben Jones’s buckoff (by David’s Dream), resulted in his customary, “Fuck!” I get a kick out of his dancing and his cursing.


  • Whenever the commentators go overboard singing Stormy Wing’s praises, they jinx him. This time it was Justin McBride: Stormy’s the only guy to ride 3 bulls at the semi-finals to qualify, and he’s possibly World Champion caliber. Wrong. There’s no such thing as an inconsistent World Champion. If they toned down the hype, he’d probably ride better! Almost every time they extravagantly build up their “home run hitter” who “swings for the fences,” he gets bucked off; this time Hou’s Back did it to him. Stormy let out a shout of frustration on his way off the dirt. I think he should take it out on the Booth Boys.
  • Mick E Mouse’s emphatic kick launched J.B. Mauney. It was a sad sight seeing J.B. so unhappy, dragging his rope back to the locker room. But I do like the look on Marlene Henry’s face when her boy takes down another one.
  • Jeremiah’s tricky gear change came when he was barely into the spin—it looked like he thought up that move on the spot, turning on a dime. Silvano Alves was pretty darned surprised, but then, this bull hasn’t been ridden in 16 outs.
  • João Ricardo Vieira has been trying to ride Buck Dynasty since 2013; this was his 4th try. It didn’t help thatas the bull lurched, people were yelling at him to get out of the chute before he finished wrapping. Out on the dirt, B.D. was slinging his head back and forth, making his body hesitate in mid-air. The question is, Was he doing it on purpose because he knew the effect it was having on Vieira, or was that just him doing his thang?


The short go was short and sweet: only one ride. It was the universe’s gift to Silvano: he advanced to the short round only because there were 3 riders to fill 4 slots.

  • Cody Nance climbed on Diesel with a cast on his free arm, got flipped up high and then flat down. His face collided with the bull’s skull; for some reason Cody wasn’t wearing his Hannibal Lecter mask and helmet combo. He seemed to be semi-conscious, and got up slowly, looking pretty woozy. Why on earth he decided to go bare-faced on this occasion is a mystery. A lot of things he does are a mystery to me.
  • Jason Malone on Percolator was looking good until 7.37–then everyone was disappointed, none more so than commentator on duty, Ty Murray: “I think I tore a groin pulling for him up in this chair!” P.S. for all you people who are driving me crazy: It’s pronounced Perk-O-later, not Perk-you-later!
  • I was holding my breath the whole time J.W. Harris was on Tennessee Honey, but he wasn’t on long enough: 7.82, and boy did I groan. I’m sure he was thrilled, too.

Naturally some commentators resented the fact that Alves made it into the short go without riding his first bull. (Like it was his fault!) McBride was the first to bellyache about chute procedure: “Silvano, getting pretty picky about how this bull is standing.” (Remember, that applies mostly to Brazilian riders. Other riders are “trying to get everything just right.”)

Yeah, Silvano was being “picky,” because first Raven Flyer was leaning against the back of the chute, then was wadded up, and then lay down. When the bull stood up, Silvano re-wrapped. Of course people started hurrying him while the bull was rattling around.

For extra drama, Silvano’s ride was reviewed to see if he made 8 seconds with the rope still in his hand. They took a real-time look with the clock. “Tie goes to the rider,” Ty reminded us. Yep, that’s the rule: if a review is inconclusive, the rider gets a score. This was one of the few times I’ve seen Silvano look anxious, as he waited for the verdict and his score: 88.25 (and his $100,000). It must’ve killed the judges to have to give him the win. There was no wiggle room here. However, I do have to say they weren’t vindictive–some other judges might throw an 80 at him out of spite.

This whole scenario was what people call the luck of the Irish.” We might need to revise that.


Silvano had to walk down a receiving line, shaking hands with all kinds of total strangers, some of whom didn’t look happy to see him. Obviously they thought an American should win The American. Last one on line is Taylor Price* (see below), who gives him an enthusiastic high five, and makes Alves smile. Silvano’s kids are with him, his little boy Eduardinho holding the shiny new buckle—unfortunately, that meant his Pop got stuck holding a rifle. After the brief obligatory interview with Leah Garcia (brief because once again, a translator has disappeared at a big occasion), he hugged his wife. Not a half-exposed RockStarMonsterEnergyJackDaniels “girl.” A real woman.

*This is what’s cool about that:
Taylor Price is the only other person in the event who could understand what Alves went through waiting for that review. Price is a 22-year-old bronc rider from Huntsville, Texas, a Sam Houston State University graduate with a major in criminal justice and a minor in Middle Eastern studies. In the short round, he didn’t think he’d made the whistle on Frontier’s Show Stomper; he lay face down in the dirt for a long time, looking defeated. Hearing the crowd making noise, he slowly got up on his knees looking puzzled. He heard that he did make 8, and jumped up—if his score was more than 87, he’d win. His score was 89.75, and he just about burst. Price beat the world’s top 10 bareback bronc riders, and was handed a big cardboard $100K check, plus a $500,000 bonus. Nice going, Taylor!









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