GRASSROOTS BULLRIDING: THE DUTCHESS COUNTY FAIR

“After all the flash and thunder” (to quote John Fogerty’s song, “Mystic Highway”) of the PBR, it’s easy to forget how bull riders start. It’s not glamorous, and sometimes the bulls don’t even have names, but it’s where you can see who’s not cut out for the sport and who’s going places.

The Painted Pony Rodeo of Luzerne, NY (yes, that’s right: NEW YORK) has been producing grassroots bullriding events all over the Northeast for the past—well, let’s put it this way: according to its website, it’s the oldest weekly rodeo in the U.S.  Shawn Graham is the boss, and he’s been working it since 2001. Painted Pony has sent bulls and broncs to the PRCA Wrangler National Finals, and has won several Stock Contractor of the Year titles from the American Professional Rodeo Association.

The Dutchess County Fair event was SEBRA-sanctioned (Southern Extreme Bull Riding Association), and attracted riders from New York and Pennsylvania—as well as transplants from Mexico and Cuba. For a $60 entry fee, riders had a crack at $1,000. This year’s SEBRA rankings include Gage Gay at #51, who’s obviously been busy elsewhere!

On Sunday, the final day of the fair, bullriding was scheduled for noon and 6pm. I always go to the final day of an event, so I made the 6:00.

They wet down the dirt, then raked it, and minutes later it poured like hell. Somebody didn’t listen to the weather report. They could’ve saved themselves all that trouble. It rained so hard, I thought they might cancel because of the dangerous footing, but Painted Pony’s policy is “rain or shine.” The emcee/DJ was on the ball: instantly we started hearing songs with the word “rain” in them.

Note: I heard the most appalling sound I’ve ever heard from a loudspeaker: country disco. I couldn’t imagine a more abominable crossbreed. Thank god the emcee washed the taste out of my ears with a hiphop song done from a bullrider’s point of view. Now that’s interesting.

BTW, Flint Rasmussen needs to look over his shoulder. With a bit more material (he borrowed some of Flint’s!) and polish, “Danger” Dave Whitmore could take his place. His version of “Cotton-Eyed Joe” was a better/different dance routine. He’s the only person I’ve seen perform a backwards Worm. He does a spot-on imitation of Dwight Yoakum (in skinny jeans, with fake silver guitar). Plus he made an embarrassed quartet of State Troopers sing that stupid Journey song—the one famous line, anyway.

First bit of entertainment was that all the bulls—most without names, just numbers (bummer) were let into the ring so we could ogle them. Then they all were lured back to the pen, but the gate shut—on purpose—leaving behind the last guy, a one-horned spotted wonder named Jack and Coke (a crossbred Braemer, I think the emcee said, in his preacher cadence). The poor thing hung around the gate looking like a kid whose friends all suddenly deserted him. On the other hand, he might’ve been a troublemaker who can’t be penned with a roomie. Eventually he was allowed backstage.

Here are the 20 riders as listed, but there were some changes, so what you see here is not exactly correct.
Yorny Burgos (Cuba)
Allan Mansilla
Chris Tejero (Mexico)
Travis Finley
Kurt Engelhart
Melvin Velleda
Benjamin Havill
John Jazwinski (Marlborough, NY)
Nate Brown (Red Hook, NY)
Evaldo Silva
Jose Muralles
Toby Stover
Rusty Butler
Billy Love (Allentown, PA), first SEBRA member to ride both bulls and broncs, who last year broke his jaw and sternum riding at the Hartford County Farm Fair in Maryland.

Cowboys

Cowboys

Bull singing

Bull

Bullride

Jack and Coke

Ride

rider lineup

Riders

Nate

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[NASHVILLE] get it?

AD NAUSEUM

  • First tweet about the Nashville event: a photo of J.B.
  • “Speaking of winning, J.B. Mauney has been doing a lot of that lately.”—Craig Hummer
  • “J.B. Mauney, nobody’s been hotter right now.” – Justin McBride
  • “Nobody’s hotter than J. B. Mauney right now.” – Chad Berger
  • “It seems to be the theme that not only is everybody harping on but also emphasizing.” –Hummer. I laughed out loud. Does he even know what “harping on” means?
  • Showing a videoclip of a previous ride: J.B., who is 10 for 12, on Percolator. “He also has rode the bull before. You couldn’t have blew him out of there with a cannon.”—Cody Lambert. Forget Where’s Waldo; how many Krazy Kowboy verbs can you spot?
  • “He’s got a little bit of ego.” – McBride re J.B.
  • “J.B. Mauney just seems to want it more!”—Hummer, who seems to want it more.
  • “A dangerous J.B. Mauney has returned to the scene, and he’s red hot.”—Voiceover.
  • “There’s a real possibility we could see J.B. Mauney leapfrog João Ricardo Vieira this weekend.”—Craig, rubbing his magic lamp.
  • “Let’s show you how J.B. Mauney got here.”—Craig. As if we don’t know.
  • “He doesn’t quite make the whistle on this one, but…” Even when J.B. gets bucked off, one of his Fan Boys, this time Ty Murray, makes it sound like an exceptional ride.
  • We also were treated to the usual unfavorable comparison, this time by Justin McBride, between João Ricardo Vieira and J.B. According to Cody Lambert, “J.B. don’t care, he can ride bulls in any direction”—which he didn’t. More: “He has a mental block” about riding bulls away from his hand. Cody conveniently ignored the ride João made last week away from his hand.
  • “But now he goes up against a rival that’s a little bit different.”—Craig, blowing more hot air about his hero J.B., and in the process insulting Douglas Duncan, who at some previous event didn’t score on the bull J.B.’s about to face. “Listen to the music!” Hummer exclaims rapturously as J.B. wraps. Apparently Elvis is in the building.
  • B.’s even in one of the commercials: he’s the first face we see in the Mule Pro-Fx ad.

REALLY PISSING ME OFF

  • “Who will walk away as the #1 ranked rider in the world?” babbles The Bummer, completely misleading the CBS national audience with his overheated blathering about J.B.—as if a Mauney win and the 2015 World Championship are in the bag. Newsflash, child: this isn’t Las Vegas, it’s Nashville. It doesn’t determine the #1 rider.
  • Get this: Fabiano Vieira still can’t use his free arm properly, reinjured it a week ago, and had to sit out a round. He said he’s 100% now, and had perfect positioning on Rusty, for 87 points. And what does Ty Murray say? “When J.B. Mauney’s in the groove, that’s what it looks like.” Could we please have one fucking sentence without J.B. in it??
  • “I call him [Aparecido] Fast Eddie because Brazilians traditionally take more time in the chutes.”—Cody Lambert, confirming that all Brazilians are the same, all Americans are fast in the chute and should be scored higher than Brazilians, and Brazilians should be put on the clock as much as possible. Three times, in this event. Craig, on the other hand, prefers to call him “Sly Eddie.” No explanation given. It’s probably just as well.
  • Kaique Pacheco took on Loco Freak, a Jerome Davis bull. “He lets his rider do his talking,” babbles Hummer. Who knows what the hell he meant, but what a ride! Hummer again: “Loco Freak got a little freaky on the dirt, but it’s the Brazilian who will have the final say.” I’m starting to think that half the time he says “the Brazilian” because he can’t remember a guy’s name. 80.25 was a cheap score. The bull was a smartass; kept fast-faking in each direction. Ty nailed it: “That bull changed direction nine times, but he was going in only one direction.”

AND THEN IT HAPPENED…

Cash Ya Out came down on his side right out of the gate, squash-landing on J.B.’s left knee, the one with a previously torn ACL, and the injured ankle. J.B. went hobbling down the corridor to Sports Medicine. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him walk normal in his whole career,” said Ty. He’s not far off. The left ankle put J.B. out of competition. Craig, talking about bulls: “The other thing they can’t read is Hollywood scripts, and that’s what J.B. was writing for himself.” Dude, they can’t read, period, and it’s not J.B. that’s writing the script.

Quick as a wink, J.B.’s back on crutches, left leg in a cast. Craig was probably in tears. J.B. already missed 6 events because of his left knee.

AS FOR THE REST OF THE EVENT…

In Round 1, the top 4 in the world made rides.

  • “Let’s do our part to try to shift the attention to some of the other guys for a minute,” says Hummer, the main offender when it comes to obsessive focus. A minute is all he could handle.
  • “Any time there’s more money, you have to try harder,” says one of the top 5. What kinda attitude is that to carry into combat? If there’s less money at stake, you slack off?
  • Silvano Alves got slammed against the fence. He’s definitely not back to his riding standard. Aaron Roy had a bad buckoff into the chute, right against his hip.
  • Nathan Schaper right now has a 42.19% riding percentage, and apparently can ride in either direction. Father Shadow had an awkward out, and Nathan didn’t look great, either, but 83.50 counts. And besides, who doesn’t like to see that Schaper smile?
  • Leah Garcia’s a true pro: she fell, racing to the other side of the arena to interview Nathan, and was smooth even with messy hair. The interview was the goal. Can you imagine Erin Coscarelli in that situation? “Back to you, Craig.”
  • Hummer characterized J.W. Harris as “cool as a big block of ice.” J.W. and Stuntin’ Like My Daddy should’ve been a great combo, but J.W. got bucked off quickly, and boy, was he mad. I was a little mad at him myself. The bull scored 44, and J.W. didn’t get squat. Craig reveals the shocking secret of bull riding: “This is a sport where we always say, 50% is the bull underneath you.” Master of the Obvious.
  • At the end of Fabiano Vieira’s Round 4 ride on Hot & Juicy, the arena clock showed 8, and—shocker!—the replay clock did, too! But the judges still reviewed his ride twice before scoring him that good ol’ Silvano standby: 84.50. Comic moment: Vieira’s straw hat took such a beating, it looked like a 5-year-old made it at arts & crafts camp.
  • For a second or two, Robson Aragao was riding Smooth Operator backwards. Cool.
  • In Round 8, Fabiano Vieira rode Strong Heart for more than 8 seconds, and 85.50. Landing on the bull’s head was an impressive getoff. But in the final round, the terrible entrance on Sasquatch (who’s 2 for 17) screwed him.

SMACKING MY HEAD

  • McBride put his foot in his mouth (again), predicting that one of the top guys will win this event, and then probably the title, but you never know if there’s a dark horse… And then later, Whoops, there it is: “We’ve got us a little dark horse up here: Eduardo Aparecido.”
  • “Percolator is no match for J.W. Harris,” proclaims Craig I-grew-up-without-a-dictionary Hummer. He thinks this means the bull kicked J.W.’s ass. Somebody ‘splain it to him; I’m tired.

WTF—‘SPLAIN IT TO ME, SOMEBODY!

  • Comanche stumbled down, so a lot of people thought Shane Proctor should’ve had a re-ride—but the replay showed a touch between the bull’s horns at 7.99. Shane declined the re-ride. How was he offered a re-ride in the first place? We’re always told a rider has to make 8 to be offered the re-ride, unless he was fouled.
  • Sure looked like Cody Nance’s spur was hooked before he came out of the gate on Semper Fi. The clock stopped for a touch; the ride reviewed. They decided there was no touch, but was his hand still in the rope? Did he ride for 7.98 or 8? Here’s where the difference between the two clocks is unacceptable. They scored him 87.75 for a ride that was nearly a DQ!

BULLPOWER

  • Somebody please tell Cody Lambert the bull’s name is Per-ko-lay-ter, not Per-cue-later! It’s driving me crazy!
  • Chad Berger has every right to sing the praises of his bull Smooth Operator. Those were some impressive video clips of that fast whip while the bull’s spinning at 100mph.
  • And then there was that to-die-for clip of Air Time doing his wild thing…
  • Who Dey looked fast even in slow motion. If Robson Aragao had been wearing a rider cam, I’d have been dizzy enough to throw up.
  • OMG! Stop the presses! The “Great out of the Gate” moment spotlighted an entity other than J.B. Mauney: I’m A Gangster Too. I didn’t know bulls were eligible, but a lot of them deserve it.
  • Even better: the Athlete Profile was of the top bulls. The bovines are getting some play!

JUST SAYIN’…

  • Why all these switched deliveries? Why was Fire Rock’s changed to a right hand delivery? Does it have anything to do with João Ricardo Vieira being left-handed? “He’s rode him before,” Justin managed to get in while Ty was harping on that thing Vieira’s got to fix. That thing the #1 guy in the world’s not doing right. Yeah.
  • Matt Triplett was directing Say I Won’t Playboy’s positioning in the chute, and nobody was telling him to get out. He asked to rewrap and the judges allowed it. Even Ty proclaimed, “Triplett needs to hurry in there.” But was Matt put on the clock? Nooo…
  • Craig said putting people on the clock was a new addition in the past few years. I wonder why.
  • This is why you don’t interview “home state favorite” Cody Nance if you can help it: he starts spouting about The Lord right off the bat. That is not a sports interview, dude. Save it for Cowboy Church. There’s a time and a place.
  • Pound the Alarm, who’s 8 for 20, went speeding around and around under Eduardo Aparecido, whom Ty called “Perfect. You just can’t make a ride better than that.” Tell that to the judges: they gave him an 89.50—just couldn’t stretch to a 90 because…
  • Nice to have a little bit about Kaique included in the voiceover “coming right up” thing.

DEPARTMENT OF HUGE ERRORS

Matt Triplett faced Air Time in Round 6. Craig said the bull beat Renato. I thought Nunes was the only one to ride him. I was right: Renato scored 92.50 on Air Time in March 2014, in Phoenix; Air Time was 45.50. This time the bull scored 45.25.

STFU, MURRAY!   

I don’t know what Ty’s problem is, but his comments on Robson Aragao are just as inexcusable as the shit he spewed about Silvano when Alves was about to be World Champion again, despite the judges’ pro-Mauney maneuvering. Murray owes Spiderman an apology for calling him “the guy with least amount of experience and least amount of talent.” He said that talentwise, Robson’s in over his head, but is putting in the work. Condescending prat. Aragao was one of the Final 4, with Stetson Lawrence, Kaique Pacheco, and Fabiano Vieira.

GUFFAW WITH ME

Hummer trying to be a sportscaster, filling time while Triplett farts around in the chute: “Let’s see whether he goes on the offense or the defense side of the equation.” Are we talking football or math? Well, this clears it up: “That was a very offensive ride by Triplett.” Don’t know why Craig was so put out; the ride merited an 86.75.

THE WINNER

Percolator, who was 13/35, bolted down the arena, running, jumping, kicking, and forgetting to spin. Maybe he just didn’t know what to do with a guy he thought should’ve been bucked off much earlier. The bull’s score was a miserable 37.50, but Pacheco won the day. A pack of Brazilians flooded the field, hoisted him up on their shoulders, and carried and bounced him toward the Shark Cage. He looked ecstatic. Imagine being 20 and having a flock of World Champions parading you across an arena? Big shock was McBride hugging him. Well, after one look at Kaique’s cherubic face, how could he not?

THE RESULT:

Fabiano: 750 points, Pacheco: 550, for the win. That’s how the screwy new points system works. Kaique is now #3 in the world, Fabiano is #5.

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

No Surprises in Tulsa

TULSA            8-15-15

So I watched the last day of PBR’s Tulsa event, and when I heard these gems from The Bummer, I knew who was going to win, no matter which bull he rode or how he rode. I might as well have turned off the TV five minutes into the broadcast.

  • “J – B – Mauney just seems to want it more!”—Craig yelping about his superhero, and in the process, insulting the World #1.
  • “Is he on his way to a 2nd gold buckle” And I suppose Joâo Ricardo Vieira is not?
  • “Can do no wrong,” because apparently he’s a saint.
  • Craig asks Shorty about the Tulsa crowd, then immediately switches the topic to JB.
  • “His time in Tulsa could become an instant classic.” (There’s no such thing. It’s either instant or it’s a classic. You can’t tell if something’s a classic until it’s stood the test of time, you fool.)
  • Re Joâo Ricardo Vieira: “He’s starting to hear not only footsteps but The Mauney Freight Train charging up behind him.”
  • “It seems that JB Mauney has a heightened sense of…” I don’t remember if he said ambition or drama or what, but that was the gist—basically a variation of “when the lights shine the brightest…bla bla bla.
  • Aaaand of course, the “Great Out of the Gate” ride was JB’s 92 on Percolator in Biloxi.
  • “In 2013 fan favorite JB Mauney made history by staging one of the biggest comebacks in sports…” This guy is delirious. PBR has been staring at their navels for so long, they think bull riding is the entire history of sports.
  • “Viera can’t help but think he’s feeling the pressure from JB.” Hummer can’t help but think about anything else but JB—he sees the entire world through the lens of his hero. Not to mention that it’s utterly obnoxious to presume to know what Vieira is thinking or feeling.
  • “JB Mauney in 5th” (Never mind mentioning #1, 2, 3, 4.)
  • “JB Mauney after the summer break seems to put on the cape and becomes Superman.” (Oh my god, could it be any clearer that Craig wants to see him in his underwear?)
  • …”and then it will all be up to JB Mauney”
  • “…the meat of the lineup—including 2013 World Champion JB Mauney.” Never mind including 3-time—some say 4-time—World Champion Silvano Alves in the house. (And about the choice of the word “meat”…)
  • Back from commercial: “Last week J B Mauney won…yadda yadda yadda”
  • “Remember, JB Mauney has been a fast mover, and has held the hot hand since we came back from the summer break.” How could we forget, with you yapping about it every second? And I’m sure a certain person would love to hold that hot hand.
  • “He’s got the win in the books, but now everyone wants to see fireworks.”
  • “The Champion has already been decided, but JB wants more than the Tulsa win, he wants a second gold buckle.” (Usually it’s called “the winner,” but not if it’s JB.)
  • “The BOK Center salutes one of the greatest we’ve ever seen in this sport!” (accompanied by copious amounts of saliva)
  • “JB Mauney seems to find more ways to impress than we can even think of.” Oh, I don’t know; I’m sure that between the judges and the scriptwriters, they can come up with a few more tricks.
  • “No one seems to be more invincible…”
  • “But it’s not enough to supplant JB Mauney.”
  • “Our Super 8 Ride of the Day has to be the winning ride.”
  • “…heading towards what looks like a 2nd gold buckle.” Again, insulting the #1 guy

Add to that:

  • The Athlete Profile, as if we don’t get enough of him, is JB. Never mind the #1 guy.
  • The voiceover on return from a commercial: “A dangerous JB Mauney returned to the scene last week…”

Could it be any clearer who’s the PBR’s favorite and that they will do anything to make him #1 in peoples’ minds—not to mention on the leaderboard? Is there any other sport in which commentators and judges blatantly favor one athlete over everyone else?

For those of you who were able to detect that there actually were other riders in the event, here’s some of what happened:

Austin Meier has announced his retirement, so of course, what PBR shows are the brutal injuries he’s suffered, including the time he was groaning in pain in the chute. God forbid they show him coming in at #2 in the Finals. Austin looked a lot happier and healthier in his interview with Leah Garcia.

Ben Jones did not outhustle American Hustler (jeez, I’ve caught the Hummerblather disease), but at least he doesn’t have a broken bone in his foot, which would make it impossible to ride. Even a broken leg is preferable, according to J.W. Hart: “Just about everybody’s rode with a broke leg, a broke ankle.” (For those who care: ridden and broken)

Renato Nunes won the Tulsa event last year. Did they make a big fuss over him this year? Not on Sunday; I don’t know about Friday and Saturday, but even money says No. Unfortunately, on Shotgun Ride, it looked like he just gave up when the bull turned right.

Silvano Alves rode Corpus Red for—gee, big shocker! 84.50 points. I’m having flashbacks to 2013. We can expect a highly engineered couple of months.

Gage Gay, with a 21.43% riding percentage, has been having enough highs and lows to give anyone whiplash. This time Sambo bucked him off, and as Gage was leaving the dirt, the bull suddenly charged after him, sending him scrambling up the fence.

When Rubens Barbosa came to Colorado, he’d been off the BFTS for 2 years. Welcome back, Brasiliero: he got put on the clock. He made his ride on Thunder Head look easy, which is why he was scored just 83.50.

Aarrgghh! Robson Palermo said that after Round 1 he had butterflies in his stomach. He still has pain in his shoulder—well, who wouldn’t, with steel pieces in there. He made a clunky ride, but the clock said 8 when he touched the bull, and a tie goes to the rider. Then the ride was reviewed, and a different clock showed a different time (7.98), which meant no score.

Look, it’s one of two things: either one of the clocks is fucked up and judges can use that to the advantage of whoever they want, or there’s a human thumb on a stopwatch, which is completely unacceptable, and also a way to fudge the time. Clearly they don’t want the clocks in sync. If both clocks were synchronized, and there was no room for human error (or sluggishness), I wonder which riders would’ve made more scores, and which riders would’ve won certain events. There’s always something slimy going on with the PBR.

STICKY!

Robson Aragao, who rode Lane’s Magic Train for 87.50 in the Championship Round, does indeed have some moves, not just on the bull. The reason JDub doesn’t like them is probably because he doesn’t know how to move his hips like Spiderman. Judging from that little display, Aragao would be a lot of fun on the dance floor.

Ryan Dirteater’s riding percentage is 33.33%, and this is one example why: he hung onto Bad Moon Rising even sideways, and wouldn’t let go until he scored: 73.75, but better a score than none.

THE BULLS: BIFF, BAM, POW!

Slinger, Jr. sure did sling Stormy; Wing must’ve been 12 feet in the air, which is what you’d expect from someone with that name.

Emilio Resende tried every possible maneuver to stay on Legacy, a bull with a lot of tricks, with no luck.

Ripslinger launched Brady Sims after just a few turns.

Crazy Horse shoveled Reese Cates in the midsection and threw him up in the air after Cates scored 87.50. JDub’s quote about Reese: “It’s money or mud with him, damage or dust, the chicken or the feathers.”

Raven Flyer forced Fabiano Viera to dismount by grabbing onto the chute, for which Fabiano received a Silvano score of 83.

Semper Fi pulled Luis Blanco down and bounced him off his back. JW compared the bull to his dad, Little Yellow Jacket, and said the bull’s move reminded him of how Little Yellow Jacket bucked off Chris Shivers.

Air Time delivered an enormous roll as he left the chute, dumping Luis Blanco and nearly coming down himself. Score: 44.50. Reminder: only Renato Nunes has ever ridden him.

A rider’s average score on Shaft is 89.8. Again, this is one of the monsters that only Renato has tamed.

Boot Jack launched Michael Lane pretty high, scoring 44.75.

Long John has what JW calls dropkick. I call it deep moves. He also said Silvano made a great ride in the earlier round, but was given 84.50. You know how bad the situation is when a PBR stalwart says Alves was underscored. Bull score: 45.50

YOU DON’T SAY!

Apparently 20-year-old rookie Kaique Pacheco, Blue Def Velocity Tour leader, is even quieter than Silvano Alves. How is that even possible, unless he uses sign language?

GOTTA LOVE THIS GUY

JW Harris says he never learned how to tuck and roll after a dismount, and doesn’t want to; he said he’s so mad coming off the bull…“He’s got too much cowboy in him to let go,” JDub explained. That’s why Harris gets slammed when he gets off his bulls, in this case, Hy Test in Round 2.

YOU GO, BOY!

Mike Lee has been on a buckoff streak, bringing his riding percentage down to 29.09% As he was getting ready on Little Z (Pick of the Pen), he yelled something and pointed at a guy nearby. After he scored 86.25, he told Leah the guy must’ve been drinking; he had to tell him to be quiet, because he couldn’t focus. Don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen before. The bull proved to be a merry-go-round with Lee stuck on top. While Mike chugged through his victory lap, the bull came around from the other direction, and if it weren’t for Frank Newsom, there would’ve been a head-on collision.

IN YOUR FACE!

In spite of all the grousing the Booth Boys do about Joâo Ricardo Vieira not being able to ride bulls away from his hand, he did. Both JW and I thought he might get a re-ride, because Ranger was sluggish and unimaginative. Instead, the result was 80.25 and no re-ride option.

BUMMER

Fabiano Vieira was out of the final round because he aggravated his shoulder injury. Aarrgghh! After watching him painfully riding with his free arm held to his body, then gradually improving and making rides, to being almost normal, then kaflooey– I can’t stand it.

Robson Palermo’s shoulders have been reassembled with metal. On one hard landing, he bent the screw in his right arm. “That’s just a whole new meaning for bull riders to say they have a screw loose,” was JW’s crack, almost in real English. Meanwhile, the chute bully was telling Robson he has to go—on the clock, down to 10 seconds. Robson hung on through a tight spin, then was flipped up and out the back door by Vegas Outlaw.

I’M JUST SAYIN’

Eduardo Aparecido was completely in charge of Shoot Out the Lights; 84.75 was too low for that ride.

Cody Lambert speaketh the gospel truth: “J.B. Mauney got lucky to ride Bushwacker.”  Said JW Hart, “That’s strong words, coming from a guy who’s ridden a whole lotta rank bulls.” Can I get an Amen!?

Here’s the cockeyed way the PBR sees American riders, compared to Brazilian riders: talking about JB’s matchup with Gentleman Jim, JW Hart says, “The challenge isn’t big enough for him.” So that’s why JB was scored 86, not winning the round. If the challenge wasn’t big enough for Alves, they’d be saying he picked an easy bull, and he’d get an 84.

With this new points system, all the judges have to do is score JB higher right off the bat, and he’s guaranteed a round win, which racks him up those round points and pushes him up the ladder.

JW Hart said Smooth Operator’s the toughest bull in the draft, the one the guys are scared of the most, that’s why he was the last one left (lucky Emilio). This contradicts all their b.s. about how JB picks the toughest bulls, because he chose DaNutso instead—you know, a bull he knew he could ride. But when a Brazilian rider picks a bull he knows he can ride, all the talk is about how he didn’t “step up.”

“There are no easy bulls in this championship round,” declared JW, then said that Magic Train’s style doesn’t fit Robson Aragao. Yeah, the bull had a weird style, but it did fit Robson. Or rather, Aragao can handle tough bulls. That’s why he scored 87.50 The judges reviewed the ride for a touch, though. Sez genius Hummer, “Oddly enough in Round 2, Aragao had to go through the same thing.” Oddly enough? It’s simple: the judges don’t want him at the top of the leaderboard.

I don’t know what possessed Reese Cates to pick Mississippi Hippy in the Championship Round. As Craig put it, “Reese Cates just tried to ride a skyscraper.” Frank the Tank got smacked down, too.

I didn’t see Eduardo Aparecido touch Brown Sugar at 6.93; I saw it at 8. The ride was reviewed. Funny thing; only Brazilian riders were put on the clock, and only Brazilians had their rides reviewed.

After Shane Proctor got bucked off by Who Dey in the Championship Round, JB won the round without even having to ride, which of course Hummer couldn’t help crowing about. Gee, it was such a surprise that the judges didn’t score anyone over the 91.25 they gave JB in Round 1. And we’re supposed to think that every 90-point ride Mauney makes IS a 90-point ride.

The final (and very telling) word, from JDub: “Hollywood can’t script this better.” Yeah, the PBR sure is giving the Writers Guild a run for their money.

And now, Rosinette predicts Nashville:

My fellow bull riding fans, allow me to save you a few hours of your life this weekend. I can tell you, with almost certainty, what’s in store at the PBR Nashville event.

This is how it will all play out:

Leading up to the Nashville event, we will see fluff stories centered around J.B. Mauney with no apparent purpose other than to push the tired storyline on us yet again.

Exhibit A:  Mauney’s Free-Arm Movement A Major Benefit

They will try to brainwash us into thinking JB won the World Championship last year instead of acknowledging Silvano’s historic third World Championship title. Oh wait, that already happened last week. If you watched carbon TV coverage of the Tulsa event, you saw the rehash of the year JB “won” the world title.  They are trying very hard to make viewers forget about Silvano’s win last year and make you think that JB is the current champion.  Um, no.

This weekend, they’ll run endless promos with JB as the focus, the storyline being that he is the king of everything; a superhero who is “smart” when he doesn’t pick the toughest bull in the pen. At the same time, others (ahem, foreign-born riders) will be severely criticized and scrutinized if they don’t pick the rankest bull.

Craig Hummer, bless his little heart, will lose his shit on Twitter and on-air about how JB is going to “slay another dragon.” He will hashtag to the high heavens every possible complimentary thing he can muster in 140 characters. He will have no shame and make a complete fool of himself by putting his obsession on display for all to see.  Exhibits B & C:

(Is anyone else wondering if he’s getting paid to be the hype man for JB? I’m serious; is he on JB’s payroll or something?)

Despite being a commentator who should be held responsible for maintaining a professional, objective posture while conducting his job, Hummer will proudly show his bias and subjectivity and, because he cannot seem to tone it down, he will tell us what we already know: that the PBR has every intention of orchestrating a World Championship for JB this year via 90+ scores, change in the points system, and  slap/chute/clock rules that don’t seem to apply to him.

Finally, the PBR will drum up some drama and fake competition between JB and Silvano to push their storyline, with the goal of making us think that 1) Silvano is done and 2) JB is a god.

Exhibit D:  They’ve purposely put Silvano and JB on the same side of the bracket for Nashville’s Music City Knockout so they can pit them “head-to-head.”

It’s the same old song and dance, so save yourself the headache.  You’re welcome.

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

Wyatt Rogers: Youngest rookie ever to ride in the Championship Bull Riding Finals

Wyatt Rogers is the youngest rookie ever to ride in the Championship Bull Riding Finals. He turned 18 last October, and a week later had his card, his first CBR event title, his first professional 90-point score, and the CBR’s richest purse—all before he graduated high school. Right now, he has a 52.38% riding percentage.

The 90-Point Club

In his first Championship Bull Riding appearance in Mercedes, Texas, the Cherokee boy from Locust Grove, Oklahoma, scored 92 points on Boomer, won almost $43K, and beat out 5 world champions, the top 5 PRCA riders, and 6 other rookies. He followed up that feat with a pair of 90s, on Firehouse and White Wolf, in El Paso and Las Vegas. When I told Wyatt that he was in the 90-Point Club listed on the CBR website, he didn’t seem impressed with himself. “My first 90-point ride was when I was 15 years old, on a PBR bull, for 92, at a local bullriding. Three times, is what you said, on the CBR tour? CBR marks everyone really high.”

He was impressed with the bulls, though. “Getting on Boomer—that was at my very first event. Sage [Steele Kimzey] told me to pick him. He was owned by Brett Barrett, who told me he’s gonna be right there at the latch to the right, he’s gonna be really fun for me, and I should be a lot of points on him… He’s a little bull, small and quick. I remember thinking I was about to buck off, then all of a sudden I found that sweet spot and I knew I had him. White Wolf, he’s a great, giant bull; he weighs probably 2200 pounds. He came back to the right and spun really fast. He was so big, he just carried me around, and he felt really good. Firehouse is a bull not many people ride. He was pretty hard to ride; I was just hustling and staying loose.”
Would he like to get on them again? He chuckles. “You do 90 on them once, you can be 90 on ‘em again.”

Wyatt also likes Ragin’ JT, which is weird, considering that the bull bucked him off. I asked why. Another chuckle. “He’s so consistent; he’s just a great bucker every time. And I really need some redemption; I need to draw him to get to ride him. Brett Barrett said he won’t let me down.”

I asked about an uncharacteristic 74 he scored in Okechobee, Florida; was that a re-ride situation? “They didn’t give me an option for a re-ride. My bull just wasn’t much; he turned right just back at the latch, he was a flat spinner, and I got him rode. They weren’t marking any of the rides really high, so it was fair. That’s what I should’ve been: I should’ve been 74 points that day.” He’s pretty philosophical about the scoring. “I just go to ride my bulls, and I let the judges make their decision on what they think they should score me. I have no control over that.”

Teacher, May I Be Excused?

Most guys who ride in the CBR start out in the Horizon Series, then work their way up to the main tour—but those guys didn’t get a call from Tuff Hedeman during Ed class. “I was actually settin’ in my Ed class in school, and I got a weird number [on my phone] and I asked my teacher if I could answer it. Sure enough, it was Tuff Hedeman. I just got up and walked out of my classroom and left to where I could hear him—and that’s how I got the invitation to go to the CBR. I was pretty happy, I was smilin’ from ear to ear, and everyone was trying to figure out why I was smilin’ so big.”

I asked how Tuff found out about him. “I think he just got word of ear, from a guy named Scott Burruss who hauls ‘em everywhere…  He actually is good friends with Tuff. I’ve been on Scott’s bulls a couple of times and made some really good rides. He gave Tuff a call and told him that I could really make it on tour, and to give me one shot. Riders usually start out at the Horizon Series events; I actually went to my first Horizon Series after I went to the CBR tour. I feel really special ‘cause I know hardly anyone gets to do that.”

When I asked what message he’d like to put out, Rogers said,  “Just tell the kids out there that wanna grow up and be rodeo stars to never quit believin,’ and keep chasin’ their dream.”

This Is How We Do It

Wyatt described his riding style in terms of two role models: “I really try to follow Justin McBride; that’s who I grew up watching. He never rode much getting a hold with his feet; he went for balance, and that’s the way I ride. I don’t ever get a hold with my feet much. I took gymnastics when I was little, so I have really good balance, and grew up riding a horse all the time. I try to copy my spurring from Chris Shivers. You just gotta always keep moving your feet, and not just clamp down, which is what I’m doing right now.” I asked if he had a preference about a bull’s direction: he’s right-handed, so he prefers bull that go to the right, “but I ride just as well going to the left.” Not a lot of cowboys can say that.

It’s Not “If,” It’s “When”

Rogers rode in four more CBR events before he acquired a groin injury and had to lay off for a while. He enumerates the places he got bucked off: “Bossier City, fell off; Magnolia, fell off; Mulvane, fell off; Del Rio, fell off.” I almost laughed at how nonchalant he was about it.

He couldn’t “get busy” until last month; he spent time at home recuperating, then after July 2 was on the road non-stop—including the CBR Finals, where he came in 9th on the first night, with an 86 on No Hands, a Benny Cude bull he’d watched on the CBR tour before he was old enough to ride in it. In Round 2, he was in 24th place, and he didn’t make it to the semi-finals.

Was his injury still affecting him? “I’m just making stupid mistakes right now that I shouldn’t be making: settin’ on my pockets, not gettin’ up, not gettin’ it with my feet; trying to stay tight and not loose, just not ridin’ my bulls right. My groin is fine; I’m not using that as an excuse, but I’ll just have to figure it out. I feel like I’m 100% but I’m just trying to get back in the groove and work it out.”  I tell him that I sometimes the body just wants to protect itself from what happened to it. “That’s what everyone’s tellin’ me,” he acknowledges. “Without doing it on purpose, I’m protecting my groin and being hesitant.”

I asked Wyatt about the relatively new safety requirements for young riders. “I grew up wearing everything I’m wearing now: a helmet, vest, chaps, mouthpiece. I’ve worn it all since I was about 4 or 5 years old. I ride with a hockey helmet, which is different from most people. I just go to the roller rink and buy a hockey helmet. I don’t feel like I need to go buy a bullriding-approved helmet. I guess I just got used to it; the bars don’t bother me anymore; I see right through. Since I’ve been wearing it since I was little, I got used to wearing a helmet. If you first didn’t start wearing it, I could see how it could bother you quite a bit.”

After his injury, Wyatt had a game plan: the week before he went to the International Youth Rodeo Finals, he got on three practice bulls and four steers. “I rode every one of them before I came back and got on any rodeo bulls. I just had to know if I could still ride bulls before I came back and started riding again on TV!”

The Energizer Bunny

It’s pretty hard for Wyatt to stay dormant. “I’ve just always been a busy kid; I‘ve never had much time off. While I was growing up I was always playing sports: baseball, basketball, some football, and recently I’ve been trying golf, which is just a bunch of walking.” I agree: a bunch of walking, in ugly pants.  He’s about to start at Southeastern Oklahoma State University this month, well-known for its rodeo team, and plans on not only riding bulls but also steer wrestling, calf roping, and team roping.

“How do you have time to do homework?” I asked.

“I’ve always been smart in school,” he said. “This whole year I didn’t take one book home, and I still have managed to maintain a 4.0 grade point average for my senior year. My mother griped at me plenty; I think she got tired of griping and realized I was never gonna read a book.”

Movin’ On Up

Wyatt also rides in the PRCA, won his first event with an 81, and will ride in more. “They don’t have a break; you go year-round. Shane Proctor goes to almost twice as many rodeos as other guys.” Wyatt will ride in amateur rodeos, too. “Rodeo isn’t like any other sport. It’s not like baseball or football where you can’t go back down the levels.”

Normally Wyatt travels to CBR events either by himself or with his mother; to PRCA events, he travels with fellow bullriders Tate Stratton and Guthrie Murray. “We just knee up and go to PRCA events together,” he says. “They’re really good guys.”

I asked if working in bigger and bigger events makes him feel differently or prepare differently. “I just look at every event the same, and I go into every one of them the same,” he said. “I do my same routine as I would do at a high school rodeo. I love to ride bulls, I don’t care at what level, and I don’t think about it when I’m at the event. I just love to be there and I love getting on bulls.”

Interesting note about competition at the high school level: Sage Steele Kimzey [2014 CBR & PRCA Champ and PRCA Rookie of the Year] is the only rider to beat Wyatt; in his freshman year, Rogers came in second. This year he missed 13 high school rodeos going to professional events…it’s a hard knock life.

What about the kind of hazing new riders get on the pro circuit, with guys trying to make them nervous to the point of throwing up? “Yeah, they tried to get me to, at my first event in Mercedes, Texas,” he admits. “David Todd over at Cowboy Outfitters USA, and Cody Teel [two-time CBR Champion], they was trying to make me nervous, trying to get me to throw up, but I just looked at it as another bullriding that had $70,000 added instead of $500 added. David just tries to pressure you up: ‘You know, you’re at an event with $70,000 added, right? You’re gonna go showcase yourself, you know,’ and stuff like that. He’s really fun; I enjoy being around him; he’s funny.” Wyatt didn’t throw up. He won.

I asked about how the different organizations treated him. “They’ve accepted me pretty well; they just treat me like the normal rookie, play pranks on me and stuff like that. They’ll mess the clock around on you when you’re driving: when you go to sleep, they’ll fast-forward the clock to where it looks like they’ve been driving 3 or 4 hours, and then you have to drive again. Me and Cody Rostockyi [also on the CBR tour], we mess around with each other and play little bitty pranks: I actually hid some of his stuff before the Las Vegas CBR event: his gear bag; his helmet, his rope—it was scattered throughout the rodeo arena. I gave it to him in plenty of time for him to get ready, but he was freaking out for a little bit. I’m waitin’ on him to get me back; he told me in March he was going to; he still hasn’t done it, so…” Cody, take note: his guard might be down now.

The Future

“I plan on finishing college and then going for the PBR,” Wyatt says. “I had a plan with my Dad; that’s the plan we had imagined, so I’m just going to carry it out, and when it’s my time to go to the PBR and I feel like I’m ready, I’ll be able to buy my card and try to make it on tour.”

I joke about what he’d do if he gets a call from Ty Murray saying, “Come on, hurry up!” Wyatt laughs. “If that happens, I’ll just have to make that decision when the time comes.”

P.S.
I asked a few silly questions, including what his favorite book was. “I haven’t read many books,” he says, “but To Kill A Mockingbird was pretty good.” His mom should be happy.

Posted in Built Ford Tough Series, Bull Riding, CBR, cowboys, PRCA, Tuff Hedeman, Tuff Hedemann | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bits and Pieces, Odds and Sods

(If you recognize the name of an album in the title above, and can name the band, you are an above-average human being.)

THE BULL RIDING HALL OF FAME IS RELOCATING

The BRHOF is starting work on building its new location in the Cowtown Coliseum, so now’s is the time to send in your dollars, folks. Contributions are tax-deductible, because The BRHOF is a 501c3 (nonprofit) organization. Here’s where you can donate or become a member: http://TheBullRidingHallofFame.com/
Email if you have questions: BullRidingHOF@yahoo.com.
Also, in September, members will be nominating bull riders for inclusion in The BRHOF, so if you want to vote, join up; there are different levels of membership.

PETE FARLEY

Wait till you see what Pete Farley’s been doing in Australia. He’s bought some land and started his own business, K3F Custom Leather. Keep track of Pete on Facebook and see some examples of his work, including a filigreed belt with metallic underlay, chocolate borders and initials, and some snazzy chaps.

MARKUS MARILUCH MAKES THE BELL— THE WEDDING BELL, THAT IS.

It happened back in May, but I like the photos so much I wanted to run them. Gottta love the expression on Aden, the furry one between Markus and barrel racer Megan Williams.

Markus will be riding in the PRCA for the rest of this year. Little known fact: under his beard, he has dimples. Shave, boy!

Markus and Megan Megan's amazing dress Bride and groom

 

 

 

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

Delay in our regularly scheduled programming…

There will be a delay in my (semi-)regularly scheduled programming while I recover from a car accident concussion. If you saw what this message looked like before I corrected my typing, you’d understand.

For anyone whose phone number I took down, if I didn’t call you back, it’s because I reversed some digits and have been bothering strangers. Another symptom.

Hope to get back on track in a couple of days.

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Watch This Space

Yikes! Been too busy to post anything, but I do have a few tidbits coming up this weekend, so watch this space!

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Drinking the Kool-Aid: How do you solve a problem like Rasmussen?

On May 20, a concerned PBR fan (not me) wrote the following to a PBR representative:

I am reaching out to you because I believe that you are a fair, level headed person. I have been gone since last Sunday. I was watching the event on May 2nd. People are rioting in Baltimore, Missouri and other places for racial issues. PBR is trying, I believe, to be a global sport. I was appalled when Flint commented on Ruben Barbosa and called him whiplash the cowboy monkey. Howard Cosell (long before your time) was fired for commenting and calling a black player a monkey.

Flint, in my opinion, crosses the line nightly. I am offended when he says things about the riders and calls them “girls”. Twerking? Looks like dry humping on the shark cage. They pick a kid dressed like Flint for the fan of the night, then he calls people degrading names?

Corporate PBR needs to take a step back and look how they are coming across to middle class America. They need to look how they come across to women who watch the sport. Do they want to sell sex (Monster girls half dressed, Flint tweaking etc.) or a sport that everyone can enjoy? I hope that you share this with others in PBR because I am not alone in my concerns.

Response from PBR rep:

I will try to address your concerns one at a time. I know that Flint’s comment about the comparison to Whiplash was not racially motivated at all. If you have ever seen his act, it would remind you of how Barbosa rode that bull. Flint would have said the same thing about any of the riders that rode that way. The Whiplash act is pretty funny.

Also, all of the riders all get along great with Flint and everyone knows that he does and says a lot of crazy stuff in the arena. As far as a lot of the other stuff, I don’t find some of his stuff funny, but I don’t think there is anyone that will find everything funny. In the Western World, he is undoubtedly the best and most popular entertainer there is. As you can guess, he is under pressure all of the time to keep the show going, but there will always be people that don’t like certain aspects of every show. He is under pressure to try to fill in every spare minute and that is a lot to ask. I don’t know of too many people that would be able to do what he does.

As you can also probably guess, he hears it from all sides and it is a tough line to walk. Everything from, He is not cutting edge enough to too cutting edge. He does not reach out to the younger fans enough to he does not reach out to the older fans enough. He doesn’t do enough to court the newer fans to he doesn’t do enough to keep the longtime fans happy.

It goes on and on, but everyone has to realize that it is a very tough job and there will be many people, including everyone at PBR, that will be sad and scared when he decides to retire. If you watch other bull riding or rodeo events, there aren’t many people that hold a candle to the entertainment he provides to such a large audience every single week. Most of the other acts I’ve seen, and I’ve see a lot, are pretty bad and I have seen many jokes that seriously cross and are embarrassing. Lastly, I do want to state that I’m not a fan of some of the stuff that he says and does sometimes, but I do like more stuff than I don’t, and that is good enough for me.

Fan:

Thank you for taking the time to address my concerns. I respect your views. You are probably the same age as my boys..,early 30s? I agree that I have seen much worse entertainment. Flint is a good entertainer. But if you are trying to reach a global market, he may have to dial it down. PBR is no longer a “local” good ole boy sport. PBR has chosen to take it to a higher level. They can’t afford offending a large group of fans (women, not girls, women) by their entertainer’s act. I know he has daughters (2) and a wife. This is his work, not personal.

Your last statement about “that is good enough for me” could be very gender-based. My husband of 42 years, after all of these years, sees gender issues very differently. What seems like something that’s not a big deal to a man may offend a woman. I am just a concerned fan of many years.

PBR rep:

I just know, that no matter what, he will not please everyone. I wish that he could. As you can probably guess, he has legions of fans. If you go to one of his autograph signings, it is primarily women and children. When I get requests to meet him, it is almost exclusively women who do so. I know that he does not appeal to everyone, but there are a lot of women that like him more than the riders.

Again, I don’t necessarily like everything he says or does, but I don’t think there is anyway that I could. He is an entertainer, and he tries to do and say entertaining things. I think that coming from someone else, many of the things he does could be taken the wrong way. I definitely can’t envision too many other people twerking, but he can get away with it because of the entertainment aspect and because people know why he is doing it. I would only ask, what would people think if we didn’t have an entertainer? The show wouldn’t be what it was without him.

Fan:

More thoughts. PBR should know who their target market is. It is very expensive to go to an event. I went for one day in Des Moines. Tickets cost me over $200. Many of your fans can’t afford this. Please keep our concerns (fans who can pay the big bucks) in mind. If I continue to be offended (as others my age and economic bracket may be) we could chose to spend our money someplace else. I just renewed my membership and got PBR US Bank credit card. I am not a casual fan.

Please take my concerns (and I speak for others) into consideration. Please pass our concerns on to the higher ups. I am not anti-Flint. But I continue to believe that his remarks are very anti-Brazilians, anti-“girls”….very “good ole boy” mentality…locker room stuff that we are trying to get away from in K-12 schools.

PBR Rep:

Oh, they know. We have weekly meetings, and I lead the portion about Fan Concerns. Everyone has to realize that there are many stakeholders and also many concerns. I try to pass on everything that I hear.

Fan:

Please pass my concerns on about calling a Brazilian a monkey. This really is what it was all about. Flint and the announcers are laughing about it. High school students in Des Moines are committing suicide over bullying and name-calling. What Flint says may be funny to some but could send another person over the edge. Words hurt.

PBR rep:

Well, Flint is closer to most of the Brazilians than many. He hangs out with them a lot. I do know that most of his fan letters and requests come from women and children, so again it’s trying to strike the balance and trying to keep a lot of people happy.

Fan:

I am just asking for some sensitivity. That is all. It is all about perception. You should know, being in the media.

PBR rep:

As we are starting to explore possible people to replace Flint, for when he retires, I would like to ask you and others, who would you suggest as a replacement?

Many have suggested Dave ‘Showtime’ Meyer. If you have seen his shows, we will definitely need to tone him down a lot.

Fan:

What about a male and a female? Not a female half-dressed bimbo. Retired barrel racer?
I do not know Dave Meyer. It needs to be someone professional if PBR wants to be a “professional” sport.

PBR rep:

The problem with Flint and trying to alter him too much, is that even though some do not like him, his overall popularity is off the charts.

Then, the problem with trying to find a replacement, and we have been, is that in the Western World, there just aren’t many polished entertainers that can carry a show for as long as he does.

Fan:

Does PBR want to be WWE or NFL? That is the question that needs to be addressed. WWE…Flint-like will be fine. NFL or NBA… different look. What do the new owners want? Like I said, I am not anti-Flint. Maybe the problem is that I listen/watch on the computer each week and hear the same stuff every week. Maybe if you only heard him once a year he is not offensive. We live in an era of the here-and-now. If you hear him every week, his act becomes offensive.
I hope you are not taking any of my thoughts personally.

PBR rep:

Not at all. I enjoy hearing all opinions. It is the only way we are going to get better.

Fan:

Thank you for listening to my concerns. I hope you will share them with your team.

PBR rep:

We don’t want to be like the WWE and we will never be like the NFL, as our sport is just too different. If anything, we look to what UFC has done.

Fan:

I will continue to address my concerns to you as I get raked over the coals by the drink-the Kool-Aid group.

PBR rep:

Of course we also worked very closely with everyone at ‘The American’ as we all are trying to change and evolve western sports.

The new rodeo association, the ERA, has stated publicly that they are modeling their business model after PBR.

Know that I take all concerns to our weekly meetings.

BullRidingMarketing’s response to Fan:

You expressed your thoughts very clearly, and they were heartfelt. You are 100% right on each issue. Flint’s act often denigrates women and girls, includes sexual innuendos and racist “jokes,” and even occasional smarmy pedophilic comments. People who say “but a lot of women aren’t offended” are taking about UNCONSCIOUS women who don’t want to see the reality of how women are perceived and treated. They can’t look at it because it would topple every belief they have, and they’d have to see the truth: women are often treated as a sub-human species– even by men they love.

People who defend sexist or racist or pedophilic comments always fall back on the excuses, “It was only a joke,” “He didn’t mean it,” and “He doesn’t hate women–he has a wife and daughters.” A sexist or racist comment is NEVER a joke, or accidental, or funny. The fact that a person makes such a comment and thinks it’s funny means s/he DID mean it, and IS racist or sexist, because if s/he weren’t, s/he wouldn’t make the comment! If some people don’t perceive the sexism or racism, that doesn’t mean it’s not there!

Having a wife or daughters means nothing in terms of sexism. Plenty of violently abusive men have female partners. Plenty of pedophiles have children of their own. Flint doesn’t beat his wife, but he obviously thinks nothing of including sexist slurs in his act; he’s clearly made a choice to include that material. That shows a disregard for any female in the audience, whether she understands that or not.

It doesn’t matter how much time Flint has to fill, there’s no reason to resort to, as you put it, “dry humping,” degrading females, or sexualizing children by inappropriate “jokes,” such as telling a little girl that when she grows up, she shouldn’t go over to the end of the arena where the cowboys are, or telling a high school girl that now that she’s 18, he can dance closer with her, or asking a little boy if he has a girlfriend, and “Is she hot?” What is a child going to learn from watching Flint twerking ? What is s/he going to think? Newsflash: a person can dance without imitating sex acts, and make jokes without being sexist, racist, or pedophilic.

“Crazy stuff” doesn’t have to be racist, sexist stuff. That cliché of “not everybody will think everything is funny” is another way to say that PBR doesn’t care who it offends; it’s like when men say feminists who object to sexism “have no sense of humor.” As for which fans Flint “reaches out to,” for years only boys were chosen for Fan of the Night or Best Dressed Fan. Women were ignored, except for the occasional Barbie doll, chosen so people could ogle her on TV. Older people were ignored except if they were willing to make fools of themselves dancing badly. That situation has only slightly improved, but the females Flint prefers to interact with are usually a batch of semi-drunk “girls.”

If PBR can’t find someone who can fill the time appropriately, they aren’t looking in the right places. They need to hold professional auditions, view professional videos, and contact the performer unions. That’s how you find professional entertainers. Flint is not the only person in America who can entertain a crowd, and it would serve PBR and its customers better to make an effort to find someone who can be funny without being insulting. “Cutting edge” does not mean sexist and racist. Those diseases are the opposite of “cutting edge;” they’re relics of the past and should stay there.

Any child watching these events is getting the message that males participate in the action and control all the communication, and females get to stand around with half their bodies exposed while they applaud the men; and that men can insult and make fun of women and girls and be applauded for it, while the women and girls should laugh and smile.

The old chestnut of, “We can’t please everybody, we have to balance out everyone’s needs” always amounts to, Women’s needs aren’t important. PBR really doesn’t want to acknowledge that it should make an effort to change its behavior (since financial reasons are PBR’s only motivation) in light of the fact that half its customers and audience members are women, and women control a lot of purse strings. God forbid they should make any changes out of plain human decency! PBR has made no attempt to alleviate the sexism we see on TV and at events. Their ideas of a nod to women include a perfume with an insulting tag line, and website “blogs” or “stories” by “Wives of the PBR,” which they sometimes title “Women of the PBR,” when it’s still the wives talking—most of whom have drunk gallons of the Kool-Aid— with only the occasional stock contractor.

As for the fact that Flint gets along great with the riders, SO WHAT? They’re male coworkers, end of story. So what if the ERA (ironic acronym!) models its business on PBR? That’s just about money. It’s not about good customer relations, or ethics, or humane behavior. And if UFC is the model PBR is shooting for, they could hardly aim any lower.

As for changing and evolving Western sports, the front line of action needs to be eliminating the sexism and racism! THAT’S how you broaden your audience. It’s such a DUH– but then, PBR has never been “cutting edge” when it comes to people. Their treatment of Brazilian riders has revealed every ugly aspect of their “good ole boy” mentality. They’ve got a long way to go before they arrive in even the 20th century, let alone the 21st.

On 5/14 PBR rep replied to the Fan again:

I will try to cover the top issues you mentioned, but please let me know if there is other information you need, as we cover a large number of subjects each week:

  • Whiplash – There was no racial connotation intended, but everyone realizes that there is a large part of the audience that probably have never seen or know about Whiplash, so it was definitely something that is not understood by the larger audience.
  • Brazilians – As I stated Flint is closer to many of them than many people at PBR. This is part of the reason, he can give them a hard time on certain subjects, as he is so close to them and they like being able to interact with him, as it helps to promote their relationship with the fans.
  • He states that he tries to be an equal opportunity offender and tries to throw a dig out to everyone that he can no matter who they are or where they come from.
  • Women – It goes a little bit back to the last statement. He is definitely not biased against women and tries to dole out jokes to everyone no matter what race, sex, size, look, or anything else.
  • He is definitely not going to start becoming completely PC or his act would grow very stale quickly.
  • He has to be able to improvise during each show.
  • Also, the complaints are monitored and if we receive too many complaints about anything, whether it is Flint or anything else about PBR, then they are addressed.

Currently, the complaints voiced about Flint are very few and the ones that we do hear are differing in subject matter. Flint’s popularity continues to grow, as a whole, but he recognizes that he needs to appeal to all ages, demographics, and sexes, so he continues to try to cater his show to everyone while not crossing any lines. This is something that he works on every week. He knows that he is not perfect and that some of his acts and jokes will not always appeal to everyone, but he tries to do different things to appeal to the differing audience.

I hope that I have helped. Know that we continually evaluate everything and adjustments will continue to be made as we hear from fans.

5-15-15

BullRidingMarketing’s reaction to PBR rep’s statement, “I will try to cover the top issues you mentioned, but please let me know if there is other information you need, as we cover a large number of subjects each week.”

Information??

Right there is the exact problem with PBR: condescension. Nobody asked for information. This fan understands the issues perfectly well, and is giving PBR information, not the other way around! This person wants acknowledgment, serious consideration, and action.

The PBR executive (not the rep’s) approach is always: “Let me explain to you why you’re wrong, and why we won’t do anything about the issues.” They don’t want a real conversation. They just want to present their “storyline.” Their style is one-way communication, which fans have complained about for years. They are a stone wall. As for the “large number of subjects each week,” I guess the treatment of human beings and what style of rope a rider uses are equally important; just get this first issue out of the way quickly, and get to the next one, which of course is of colossal importance.

About Whiplash the Cowboy:

Clearly PBR still doesn’t see that explaining Whiplash the Cowboy (a rodeo act, in which a monkey dressed like a cowboy is on the back of a dog) doesn’t justify Flint’s comment. It doesn’t matter if some people think the act is funny. Even if Flint didn’t deliberately set out to insult a Brazilian rider, his lack of consciousness about using the monkey analogy is appalling.

The usual excuse people use after they’ve insulted someone is that they didn’t do it deliberately. The fact is, if they made the offensive comment, they have the offensive attitude. There’s no way of describing an American rider in equally insulting terms. I saw J.B. Mauney hanging sideways, upside down, and every other way off Code Blue, and Flint didn’t come up with that analogy. So far, I’ve never heard Flint make insulting comments about American riders. And just exactly how does being offensive about Brazilian riders help to promote their relationship with the fans?

“Equal opportunity offender”

Since when is good comedy based on insulting half or more of your audience? (Jerry Seinfeld has a brilliant career, not based on insulting groups of people.) If Flint really considers himself an “equal opportunity offender,” he should also be taking shots at American cowboys, Jeff Robinson, the WME/IMG execs, Cowboy Church, Jeb Bush… You can bet Flint will NEVER make fun of religious people or the armed forces. That “equal opportunity offender” business is bullshit.

The statement is full of contradictions: “equal opportunity offender” means someone who has no regard for anyone, even children, yet we’re supposed to believe Flint is trying to appeal to everyone! That’s another classic PBR “Gaslight” technique: tell us the opposite of what’s real, and try to make us believe it. If Flint wants to appeal to women, stop the sexist comments. If he wants to appeal to people of other nationalities, ethnicities, or races, stop the biased comments. Does he make offensive comments about the stock contractors? No. The sponsors? No. The money people? No. Once I saw him make a joke about one of the Spire Capital people, and it wasn’t an insulting one.

PBR makes money through venture capitalists, riders, sponsors, stock contractors, and PEOPLE, half of whom are women who buy merchandise, memberships, tickets, and Pay Per View events. Of all these revenue-producing streams, the only group Flint makes insulting comments about is women. Obviously we and our dollars don’t matter as much as our male relatives, friends, and spouses and their money. There’s no way PBR can rationalize that fact—we see it in action at every one of Flint’s performances.

As for the “he’s not biased against women” nonsense: the bias is clear, because Flint’s most frequent target is women. Who else can you insult with sexist remarks? Only a few intelligent men in the audience will take offense on behalf of women, because there are a lot of unconscious men. And since when is insulting other races, overweight people, elderly people, etc. a joke?

“PC”

And what exactly do “good ole boys” mean by “PC”?? I’d love to hear one of them define it! They can’t, because it’s a meaningless phrase invented by prejudiced reactionaries. They use it as a dirty word. They think respecting people is a gag order that politicians invented. What do they mean, “politically correct”? Since when is it a “political” issue to treat everyone decently? It’s a HUMAN issue.

And yes, it’s “correct” to treat everyone respectfully. Prejudiced people think speaking humanely is a restriction imposed on them by a government. They use “PC” as a catch-all excuse for sexism, racism, ageism, and every other prejudiced behavior. They think it’s their “right” to insult or harm people who don’t fit their own profile.

In case these so-called Christians (which most of the PBR organization considers themselves) have decided there are only 9 Commandments, does this other one ring a bell? “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Making sexist and racist comments is putting across lies about women and other targets: that they’re inferior and deserve insults.

Does Flint’s behavior in any way align with the “Golden Rule”: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matt. 7:12)? It seems very convenient that when it comes to women, PBR has made an exception to the Golden Rule. And let me state here that I’m not a Christian, but I sure as hell know how I should treat others!

Newsflash, boys: sexist and racist comments are not free speech, they are “hate speech.” The First Amendment doesn’t cover hate speech, because hate speech encourages and often leads to violent actions. Hate speech helped terrorize and lynch black Americans, murder millions of Jews, and inflame white South Africans into murdering black South Africans. I’m using extreme examples so PBR can get the point.

Improv

Flint has to improvise—SO?? A talented performer should be able to improvise without making women or Brazilians the butt of “jokes” that aren’t funny. These aren’t jokes, they’re sexist and xenophobic remarks. (Xenophobia means “fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.”) If he can’t riff on what’s happening in the moment without being insulting to women and Brazilians (or making disgusting remarks to children), then he’s not as good as PBR thinks he is.

Do they think Flint’s popularity will wane if he stops making sexist, racist, ageist, and pedophilic comments? Then they don’t have confidence in his talent. They’re saying, We don’t care how we treat anyone except “good ole boys.” I can’t understand how anyone with a brain doesn’t see this.

Monitoring and addressing complaints?

PBR “monitors” and “addresses” complaints by censoring them. Ask anyone who’s tried to post a negative comment on their website. Don’t tell us that if they receive “too many” complaints, they address them! What do they consider “too many”? It must be a very high bar when it comes to complaints from women. Some examples of how PBR addresses complaints:

  • I once received a call from a prominent PBR flak who harangued me for complaining on my blog about how PBR does certain things. It was an angry, insulting tirade, not a conversation. I actually felt threatened about what he might do next.
  • Women have complained for years about sexism during events and broadcasts. PBR’s response: ignore them. Period.
  • People have complained for years about vindictive judging and selective application of rules. PBR’s response: a complicated new points system designed specifically to prevent Silvano Alves from winning another world title. They couched this desperately low move in language such as, “the new point system rewards bull riders who perform at the highest level both within individual events and throughout the season” and“This new point system does a significantly better job of rewarding those riders who consistently perform at the highest level and strive to win on every bull.” So I guess Silvano doesn’t “perform at the highest level” or “strive to win on every bull”? The fact is that he does, but the judges make it look as if he doesn’t, with lowball scores, constant harassment, and DQs.
  • People have complained for years about audiovisual problems with PBR Live, fewer Fan Club perks, and rising ticket prices. PBR’s response: periodic attempts to fix PBR Live, then offering the equally screwed-up Carbon TV as an alternative. They ignored comments on perks and ticket prices.

More contradictions:

First of all, what are some of the complaints? I’d love to hear what the “differing subject matter” is. Does anyone complain about Flint not being sexist and racist enough? If Flint needs to appeal to all ages without crossing any lines, he needs to learn where they are! He does cross them—for example, in remarks he’s made to children.

The issue is not that his material “will not always appeal to everyone.” The issue is SEXISM AND RACISM. Why should sexism and racism appeal to anyone? If he’s trying to appeal to an audience that enjoys sexism and racism, then PBR needs a company shrink—or why don’t they just arrange special seating that segregates women and Brazilians from the rest of the audience, and have the other men wear white hoods and Playboy Bunny logos? Half of the “differing audience” is female. Why can’t Flint appeal to the female half by eliminating sexist material??

Unhelpful response

There’s nothing helpful in that response, other than showing how someone can be forced to parrot the company line, and how entrenched sexism and racism are in the PBR organization. It’s just plain insulting to pretend to listen to fans, then do absolutely nothing but explain why PBR and Flint are right. Polite pacification doesn’t count as action.

Yet, in spite of all this interaction, nothing has changed so far, and the rep who had the courtesy to reply to the Fan is no longer with PBR. That’s just how they roll

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

What They Did On Their Summer Vacation

While the Built Ford Tough Series is off duty, not every PBR cowboy is lounging by the pool guzzling margaritas. Some gluttons for punishment are working out in the Touring Pro Division and on the BlueDef Velocity Tour. Basically, they’re bait. It’s not like some of them need the points.

I mean, really, does Matt Triplett need to ride on the BlueDef Velocity Tour? He’s #2 in the world, the new scoring system has fixed it so a guy (we know which guy) can’t win the world title unless he wins a bunch of events, and since points from other circuits don’t count as much as BFTS points, now it’s just about the money (while he increases the likelihood of an injury).

I understand Marco Eguche, Fabiano Vieira, Robson Palermo, and Kaique Pacheco doing it: Marco, Fabiano, and Robson are trying to make up for lost time while they were out with injuries, and Kaique is young and hungry. I may be selfish about wanting to see him ace the Finals, but I’m the most disappointed person on earth (except his family) every time a Palermo shoulder pops out of place.

If “big names” draw people to BlueDef events, the audience will hear other names, too, so new riders will have some name recognition when they get to the BFTS—if they get to the BFTS. I don’t know why PBR thinks it needs a third touring entity to accomplish this, when they have plenty of Touring Pro riders who deserve attention, but—what on earth am I thinking?? It’s about the money. Three revenue streams are better than one. (I’m not counting sponsorship, merchandising, Pay Per View, Fan Club, and other ways PBR makes money.)

PBR has now hooked into the best pipeline ever: the PRCA and CBR. They’re starting to cherrypick riders that PBR fanatics weren’t aware of—until J.W. Harris finally jumped the fence. As I’ve said umpteen times, it’s about time the world got a load of J.W.! The only other person PBR doesn’t seem to mind bopping back and forth is Shane Proctor. Could it be because they don’t want to make waves with his brother-in-law?

Basically, PBR takes what it wants, but the PRCA has a different attitude. This story  illustrates the difference: last year, young Brazilian Junior Nogueira came to the U.S. with a rope and a suitcase. Jake Barnes (7 world championships, ProRodeo Hall of Fame) took him in, helped him train, and got him into the PRCA—the first Brazilian roper to qualify. Jake paired up as his roping partner. In PBR Land, when great young bullriders come to the U.S. from Brazil hoping to succeed—it’s called “the American dream,” folks—they get slagged off by judges, commentators, and some fans. (Not all of them, mind you; some of us are decent human beings.)

More riders now are making the rounds of the different organizations: Kody Lostroh (you won’t see him back with PBR), Ben Jones, Jay Miller, Brady Sims, Neil Holmes, Luis Blanco, Robson Aragao, Bonner Bolton, Alexandre Cardozo, Cooper Davis, Gustavo Pedrero, Luis Blanco, Beau Hill, Markus Mariluch, Jory Markiss (although that may not be voluntary), Craig Jackson (hey, we want the braids back!), and more. I like that the bosses have decided to play nice—at least, until PBR hijacks the SS Kimzey, and then there’s gonna be a lot of gnashing of teeth. (Didja ever notice how there’s no gnashing of anything else?)

One funny example of this new organizational cross-pollination: in the middle of a televised PRCA event, CBSSports ran an ad for the PBR. The cable network sure is hedging its bets.

Who Are Those Guys?? (Props to anyone who recognizes that line.)

There are noteworthy riders that plenty of bull riding fans know about, but PBR fanatics don’t. You have to live in an area where PRCA and CBR events happen—or watch FoxSports at odd times, catch delayed broadcasts of CBR or PRCA events, check out the CBR website that has half the rider bios missing, the PRCA website’s list of hundreds of athletes not categorized by event, and put up with an hour and a half of other activities to get to the half-hour of bull riding at the end of PRCA events.

Maybe you’ve already seen these bull riders, maybe not; if you haven’t, may I quote Sage Steele Kimzey: “There’s a ton of great riders out there; it’s just a matter of who hits their stride when.” Sage, at 20 years old, won the CBR world title, PRCA world title, PRCA’s Rookie of the Year title, and its Top Gun Award. And did I mention he’s at the top of the Xtreme Bulls standings and leading the 2015 PRCA Standings? He’s quite the crossover king.

From CBR, keep an eye on:

Joe Frost!!, Josh Frost!, Aaron Pass (smart dude: “If I ever feel negative, I just stay home.”), Ardie Maier, Corey Maier, Rorey Maier (yep, they’re all related), Brennon Eldred, Chandler Bownds, Clayton Foltyn (yes, Dad is that Foltyn), Codrick Murphy, Cody Teel, Cole Echols, Cooper Kanngeisser, Corey Bailey, Eli Vastbinder, Cody Rostockyi (“Your reaction has to be right on time; if you’re thinking, you’re late.”), Elliot Jacoby, Francisco Morales, Jarrod Craig, Josh Barentine (“You can take a little hang-up if you make the whistle.”), Kanin Asay, Luke Kelley, Tanner Bothwell, Tim Bingham, Trey Benton III, Tyler Adrian, Venn Johns, Wesley Silcox, Wyatt Rogers, Zac Peterson, and may I repeat, Wyatt Rogers!!

A word about Wyatt: he won his first CBR event about a minute after he turned 18. About his debut: “I had a bunch of people try to make me nervous—try to make me puke and things… I just gotta keep proving myself.”  Well, he did. (Proved himself, not puked.) He rode Little Moody for 89 points, because when he was 15, “He bucked me off then; I couldn’t let him buck me off again.” Wyatt’s now #7 in the CBR World Standings.
CBR and PRCA fans will have to excuse me if I’ve left out their favorites; these are just the guys I see taking care of business on the televised events.  Plenty of CBR riders also work in the PRCA (or vice versa). I’d be giving you a list of PRCA people to watch, but their website archive of riders is huge and kinda outdated; they’ve even got J.B. Mauney listed, who rode in PRCA events in 2009.

If I were you, I’d make an effort to keep an eye on PRCA and CBR riders, especially since more of them are jumping the fence into televised events.

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

Health Insurance for Bull Riders

We all know bull riders aren’t crybabies, and sprains and strains are nothing to them. They shake off injuries that would put defensive linebackers out for weeks or months—while those linebackers are still on salary. Fat salaries—with health insurance, and the best healthcare.

I can vouch for the healthcare: I had a knee repaired at Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC, and was in their recommended rehab center for what seemed like months—those are the two places pro football players go to get their booboos fixed. Same kind of booboo I had. It’s not cheap.

Some injuries bull riders can’t ignore. Pistol Robinson couldn’t ride with two broken legs, even though two broken legs means big hospital bills and no income. Some riders return to competition way before their bodies are ready, and some resist surgery even when it’s obvious they need it. (I’m talking to you, Fabiano Vieira! Scared of needles?! You get on a 2,000-lb. bucking bull, but you’re scared of needles?? Você está me matando!)

I’ll bet I could count on one hand the number of riders who have full insurance coverage. For a rider in the million-dollar-cowboy bracket, surgery and rehab costs aren’t going to cause bankruptcy; those people can even afford to stay out of action for months. Medical costs are devastating for other riders.

It’s not uncommon to see on Facebook and Twitter pleas from family and friends of riders for donations to pay for surgery and rehab. These riders literally have to ask strangers to contribute so they can have an operation, recover, and stay afloat financially while they recover. I’d guess that for most of them, that’s more humiliating than a buckoff.

One example: in 2012, California bull rider Colin McTaggart was injured at the Ross Coleman Invitational in Molalla, Oregon: he was bucked off and trampled; an artery in his abdomen was ruptured, he had injuries to his liver and intestines, and three ribs were broken. In a coma, he underwent multiple surgeries at Legacy Manual Hospital in Portland, and spent 10 days in the ICU. A McTaggart Donation Fund was set up at Bank of America in San Luis Obispo, CA. Friends and family kept people posted on Facebook about his progress, and continued to request donations.

The PRCA’s helping hand is the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. This is from their website (emphasis is mine):

”With no guaranteed salaries or injured reserve provisions in the sport of rodeo, these professional athletes are often left with no place to turn when faced with serious, sidelining injuries and the accompanying financial hardship. Recognizing that serious injuries can be traumatic enough without the additional burden of financial worries, the Justin Boot Company formed a partnership with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) to establish the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund (JCCF). The Fund incorporated in 1990 and was granted 501-C3 status as a non-profit charity organization in 1991.

JCCF had awarded in excess of $6.7 million in need-based financial assistance to more than 1,000 injured rodeo athletes and their families. For the 2013 Fiscal Year, JCCF received donations totaling $277,662 and distributed $251,250 to 43 injured rodeo athletes and their families. At the end of 2013 the organization has net assets of $1,133,544.”

Those numbers are slightly different from what’s on their 2013 tax form, but according to these figures, that’s roughly $5,800 to each athlete in 2013. That might be fine for a short time-out, but it doesn’t cover medical care. Also, the athlete has to meet certain qualifications. Many of the injured athletes are still in college, so the money helps them finish while they’re injured, but what about athletes supporting families?

As of right now, no impact statement is available to show the exact results of funding. And since the organization has no salaried grant writer, it depends largely on donations and fundraising events.  Further, “Because JCCF does not have an extensive endowment, historically the fund has not covered medical bills but has concentrated on assisting with basic monthly living expenses for those who qualify for assistance.”  

No endowment? Bad news. Investment income? $213 in 2013, half of what it was in 2012. What the hell is going on out there? You can see the need for a grant writer.

PBR’s equivalent safety net is the Rider Relief Fund (that’s one of many names it has). I’m glad they exist, but sad to say, according to their website, “Since 1998, the Rider Relief Fund has provided more than 450 athletes with assistance totaling over $1.4 million.”

That’s $3,111 per athlete—and it took them 17 years to get to that point! I’d say their illustrious sponsors aren’t pulling their weight. On the other hand, the support is available to PBR riders at any level of competition—if they meet certain criteria.

The organization’s financials aren’t impressive. The total of their contributions and grants is half the intake of the Justin fund—except that the RRF actually has some investment(s) that brought in more than $14,000 in 2013.

The net assets of each fund show that the PRCA and WPRA are better at raising and handling money than PBR is: $390,000 better (unless things have changed in the last year—but neither organization has filed its 2014 figures yet). Nobody is paid to work for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, but the RRF pays one part-time person a salary that jumped by almost $19,000 from 2012 to 2013. It’s not what they pay their accountant; that’s a separate number. I’ll be damned if I can find who this person is, because s/he’s not named on the form. I’ll just have to assume s/he worked additional hours.

Okay, the numbers are boring. The upshot of all this math is that the Rider Relief Fund needs to pull up its britches. The Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund is doing the work without anyone being paid (if we’re to believe the tax form).

Bottom line: those funds don’t subsidize medical expenses. So what do bull riders do?

PRCA members get comprehensive accident insurance coverage; it’s covered by their membership and annual permit fees. I’ve heard it covers $300,000 worth of medical expenses for disastrous injury. Regular health insurance coverage is something else, though, and those monthly premiums are the rider’s responsibility.

I know that a very good individual health insurance plan from a commercial carrier would cost me about $950 a month, not counting deductibles or co-pays. If you have dependents, you’re looking at a lot more.

PBR is murky about its insurance coverage; you have to get the information out of them privately. This is from their website: “All competing contestants will be insured for a limited amount against injury while competing at PBR events. The insurance coverage is subject to a deductible to be paid by rider, provides a percentage coverage requiring co-payment from the rider, and is subject to change anytime. Please check with the PBR office for more information about coverage amounts, terms and conditions.”

Pretty lousy, huh? So many loopholes, it looks like Swiss cheese.

Sure, safety equipment and concussion evaluation technology are becoming more common, but riders still get seriously injured, and half of them still don’t wear helmets.

Riders don’t have a union to offer them health insurance. They could group together and get a reasonable rate. Being their own union, their own source of health insurance, doesn’t give anyone else power, it increases their own power and gives them some bargaining ability, especially those who don’t have strong agents—or any agent at all.

If a union makes PBR nervous, all the better. Maybe they’ll ante up and provide sufficient accident insurance, and even health plans, without all those caveats.

The other alternative, the one that exists right now, requires no unionizing, comes in all sizes, and is available to all. It’s called the Affordable Care Act. Most people don’t know what it actually offers—except for the 8 million people who signed up last year, and people who set aside their attitudes toward the President to read what the Act provides. If you don’t want to read the reality, skip right to the video and let James tell you how it helped him. http://youtu.be/THIw2cfOIIg

Here’s what the Affordable Care Act does:

Affordable Care Act video

  • Provides a choice of several health insurance plans, depending on where you live and which companies and states have agreed to participate. This is called the Health Exchange Marketplace.
  • Some plans are sponsored by the federal government, some are state-sponsored. Each state has its own website where you can compare plans.
  • The cost of the plans is less than those offered commercially by all private insurance companies.
  • The Health Exchange Marketplace takes into consideration your income level and tax return as to which plans are available to you. Some people may qualify for extra help paying, with a government tax credit.
  • The insurance plans come in different price levels, Silver (the least expensive plan) Gold (the medium-priced plan), and Platinum (the most expensive plan).
  • The cheapest plans have higher deductibles, the more expensive plans have lower deductibles.
  • The cheaper plans have higher co-pays, the more expensive plans have lower co-pays.
  • The cheaper plans have smaller networks of doctors and hospitals.
  • The expensive plans have larger networks.
  • All plans offer an optional pharmacy plan. Medicine prices are determined according to a formulary that’s also available on the website.
  • You can buy a dental plan as an add-on under certain policies.
  • You can buy a vision plan as an add-on under certain policies.

You can check all this information and get the pricing and lists of benefits, on the Health Exchange Marketplace websites. You need patience, because sometimes a website has glitches, like half the other websites in the world. You also can call a number and talk to a person to get information. You may or may not get someone who knows how to help you—just like if you call Customer Service at any large organization. Don’t blame the President if this happens. That would be just plain idiotic.

Guys: take care of yourselves. Do yourselves a favor and set aside whatever you think of the President. This Affordable Care Act works. It will give you health insurance.

You’re welcome.

 

Posted in ABBI, Built Ford Tough Series, Bull Riding, CBR, cowboys, PBR, PRCA, Tuff Hedeman, WNFR | Tagged | 7 Comments