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.

W-T-F?
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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THE BUILT FORD TOUGH BOYS AT BOISE 15-15

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

A FIRST
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 POWER
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?

JUST ASKIN’…
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!

STAR POWER
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’M JUST SAYIN’…
• 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.

THE GOOD NEWS
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.

MAKE A NOTE FOR NEXT APRIL 1st
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.

HIM AND A FEW OTHER GUYS
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.

THE OUT CROWD
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. 

ARE WE RELAXING THOSE RE-RIDE RULES?

  • 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.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 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.

SHOCKER
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?

RACISM ON THE HOOF
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.

NICE NOTE
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.

MORE CREATIVE COWBOY VERB TENSES
According to Ty Murray, Gage Gay’s “confidence has been shook.”

I’M JUST SAYIN’…

  • 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.

STOP IT ALREADY!

  • 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.

P.F.F.!
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.”

LOWLIGHTS
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!!

COULDN’T HAPPEN TO A BETTER GUY!
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)

Notable:
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?

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

LOWLIGHTS

  • 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!

IN OTHER NEWS
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).

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 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%.

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

NOT SO FUNNY
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.

MIXED BLESSING
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.

UH, I DON’T THINK SO
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.

I’M JUST SAYIN’…

  • 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.

BULLS

  • 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.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 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!

I’M JUST SAYIN’…

  • 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.

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

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

NOTHING NEW HERE
“Right now he’s riding great,” says Ty about Stormy Wing, as Stormy gets thrown off.
“Matt Triplett is the new J.B.”

LOL
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.

STOP THE PRESSES!
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?

WILL YOU PLEASE WEAR YOUR GODDAMNED HELMETS?!! DEPARTMENT
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!).

AND EVEN WITH A HELMET…
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.

WAS THIS CRACK REALLY NECESSARY?
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

YOU’RE JOKIN’, RIGHT?
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.

IRON COWBOY AGAIN
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.

Posted in Built Ford Tough Series, Bull Riding, cowboys, PBR | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“THE BRAZILIAN” WINS THE AMERICAN

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.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 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.

NO CIGAR

  • 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?

SHORT GO

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.

THE WINNER

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Built Ford Tough Series, Bull Riding, cowboys, PRCA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Cowboy Up? Guest Post by Rosinette

Cowboy Up?

by Rosinette

PBR’s announcement that J.B. Mauney had opted not to compete at the Kansas City Event stated, “J.B. will take the week off to rest a bruised left groin and pelvis sustained back in New York.”

A few days later, Leah Garcia asked J.B. Mauney on Twitter how he was feeling.  He tweeted, “feeling okay.  just wanna take this weekend off to heal up. No plans for next weekend just wanna get on bulls.”  Fan replies were entirely supportive and included advising him to stay healthy and heal up.

Leah also asked her Twitter followers to voice their opinions about J.B. not competing at the Kansas City event.  Again, the replies were supportive of his decision. For example, one Twitter user’s reply simply said, “Good idea,” and another said, “He knows what is best.”

I totally agree.  J.B. made an informed decision based on what he believed was best for himself and his long-term plan for this season and beyond.  In other words, he’s looking at the big picture. Why risk further injury when there were still 20 events left to the BFTS season?

So I ask, What’s the difference between J.B. choosing to take a week off and Silvano Alves choosing not to take a re-ride? Is there anything wrong with simply taking a week off while other riders dealing with injuries are still competing?  Shouldn’t J.B. “cowboy up” (to use a term many PBR fans use as justification for why Silvano should take re-rides)?

No.  Neither of these extremely talented riders should put himself in a position to jeopardize his health and, in turn, his career.  It’s no secret that Silvano’s stellar winnings correlate to his ability to stay healthy.  Being healthy is key to being able to win.  They both know it, and both are smart enough to see the big picture with their long-term health and careers in mind.

In fact, this type of decision-making exists across all professional sports.  So why is there such disdain and vitriol from fans and PBR commentators when Silvano declines a re-ride? (Looking at you, J.Dub, Ty, Shorty, and Cody Lambert.)

Riders are well within their rights to exercise these options. The only difference I see is nationality.

Posted in Built Ford Tough Series, Bull Riding, cowboys, PBR | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

SAGE STEELE KIMZEY, QUADRUPLE-THREAT

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.”

Downtime?

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.

Posted in Built Ford Tough Series, Bull Riding, CBR, cowboys, PBR, PRCA, Tuff Hedeman, Tuff Hedemann | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

PBR Merchandise

I’m just as shocked as you are, but PBR has put out the word through the Herdies Facebook page (rather than throw itself to the wolves in other less safe locations) that people can send in their ideas about what types of merchandise they’d like PBR to sell. Send to: SGold@pbr.com

I’ve already said that we need tee shirts with Brazilian riders on them. Put another way, tee shirts with the last few World Champions on them. (In all different sizes, not just shirts made for big guys with beer bellies. Half the bullriding fans are women, and some of us are small.)

Now I’ve got a further inspiration: “character” rider tee shirts:
1) A Ben Jones shirt, with a picture of him dancing, and the headline, “Dance, Ben, Dance!” or “Everybody Dance Now!”
2) A Mike Lee shirt with a photo of him on his victory lap, that says, “Run, Mike, Run!”
3) A Renato Nunes shirt that says, “Flip out!” Naturally the photo would be of him in mid-flip.
4) A Silvano Alves shirt that says, “Cool runnin’s” (although I don’t know how many people would get the allusion).
5) A J.B. Mauney shirt that says, “Aw, shucks.” The photo would have to be one of him looking all sweet and dimply. (On the back is where you put the picture of Bushwacker slinging him around like a rag doll.)
6) I know he’s retired, but a lot of people would wear a Luke Snyder tee shirt titled “Mr. Congeniality.”

It’d also be nice if they issued belt buckles with individual bulls or riders on them. Probably too expensive, though.

Now, if the PBR comes up with any of these, you heard it here first, folks. Yes, once again, I’m giving away my ideas.

P.S. The only thing you could put on a Guilherme Marchi tee shirt would be, “Hunk.”

Posted in Built Ford Tough Series, Bull Riding, cowboys, PBR | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments