First 15/15 Bucking Battle of the Year – NYC

NYC 15/15 Bucking Battle

For the first 15/15 “battle” of the year, there were no day sheets. Quelle surprise. So this is what I saw:
The top 15 riders of 2015 competed for 150 extra points to the winner. (As you know, the PBR once again changed the scoring system. Guess they heard it wasn’t fair to a lot of the guys. Gee, I wonder where they heard that.)

The action

    • Seven Dust, who was unridden, took on Reese Cates, and remained unridden. This bull is a dark horse, if I may use the expression. Hard to ride, and it’s surprising who he’s bucked off before.
    • Mike Lee had no better luck with Walk Off’s sideways jump, and then the horn hit his arm. So if a cowboy’s body is hit by a bull, does that disqualify the rider, for breaking the no-touch rule? The PBR sort of addressed that in its new rules; let’s see if they apply it fairly across the board.
    • Cody Nance took on Stanley’s Fatmax for the fifth time, and still didn’t ride him. The bull has the longest buckoff streak of any active bull in the PBR so far. Quote from either Clint Adkins or Matt West (I think): “If you add up the amount of time he has sat on the bull’s back, it comes to less than 8 seconds.”
    • Gage Gay’s matchup was BigDaddy.com. No contest.

Oy
If you weren’t there in person, you missed the class act of two “young ladies” from Monster Energy flanking what looked like a golf cart. Three people picked from the crowd were supposed to guess the number of cans in the back of the thing. I don’t even remember what they won, but if it was umpteen cans of the stuff, that’s enough to pollute the Colorado River.

Likin’ it
I liked that they were emphasizing the bulls as well as the riders. I guess the stock contractors are stronger “stakeholders” now—plus enough fans have been squawking that we want to hear more about the bulls.

Action

    • Valdiron’s bull was Fire Rock, and it was the same story as the last time; he was put on the clock. I mean Valdiron, not the bull. I’m thinking it might be a good idea to institute a bull clock so if the bull is screwing up in the chute and making it impossible for a rider to get out decently, he gets DQd. Why not? They already use two different clocks for the riders. Anyway, de Oliveira got out of shape and came off the side of the bull. Did it have anything to do with him being hustled out of the chute? I dunno.
    • Silvano was put on the clock automatically, probably before he even left the locker room. This was the horrible wreck you saw on TV ad nauseam. He hit the dirt, probably unconscious before he even got there, and Cochise stepped on his head so hard, the helmet went flying off; then for good measure, he trampled Alves. Nobody’s ever seen Silvano in a wreck like this. When he finally came out of it, taking forever to get to his feet, he was extremely unsteady as he slowly made his way out; it looked like he didn’t even know where he was. His chickens were not only scattered, they were on vacation in a different country.
      You could tell this wasn’t a crowd full of real bull riding fans: they weren’t quiet while the scary stuff was going down. Jerks. For those who still think hats are preferable to helmets, yeah, they look cool and old school, but if weren’t for that helmet, there would’ve been crushed pulp where Silvano’s head was. I’m sure some shitheads would welcome that outcome, but I want to see Alves around for a long, long time.

Surprise appearance
For once, there was a tolerable Bass Pro Shop segment. They seem to have upgraded their marketing; we saw a clip of Luke Snyder racing through the store in fast motion, picking up items to throw in a shopping cart, and the contestant was supposed to guess the final cost. The guy who won the guessing game didn’t even crack a smile. Come on, dude—how can you not smile at perky lil’ Luke with his twinkle and grin?

Back to the action

    • Eduardo Aparecido, on I’m A Gangster Too also was put on the clock. This was his third time on the bull, and it wasn’t the charm.
    • Slinger, Jr. slung Nathan Schaper pretty quickly. (I wonder how many times someone has used that riff). The bull’s claim to fame is that he bucked off J.B. Mauney last weekend. Heavens to Betsy, will wonders never cease? The Golden Child has feet of clay.

Arena entertainment

  • Flint Rasmussen pulled out an 8-track cassette, which probably nobody in the arena under 50 had ever heard of, and went off on a tangent about having bought it in the 80s (or the 70s? hard to remember). This bit was much appreciated by those of us in the audience who were smart enough not to buy an 8-track player—or worse yet, have one installed in the car.
  • Annoying: Billy Joel holds the record for the most performances in Madison Square Garden, which for the life of me I can’t understand, so Flint sang and play harp on “Piano Man.” He did a good job, considering how I hate the song.

More action

    • Stetson Lawrence came down off Sheep Creek. Bet he felt sheepish. (Ha! Somebody stop me.)
    • Big Red from Canada, that is, Tanner Byrne, was the first to ride, scoring 84.50 on Heat Seeker.

Please make it stop
There’s always a bit during half-time where someone (this time, Flint) shoots stressballs into the audience. This time, one has a picture of J.B. Mauney on it, and if you get it, you win something; I forgot what, since I was busy gagging on yet another attempt to shove the PBR’s fave rave down our throats.

Return to the action

    • JW Harris’s bull was acting up so much, they had to skip to the next rider while he dealt with it:
    • Fabiano, on Midnight Train, and of course Vieira was put on the clock—and then DQd. Do you see the pattern yet, folks?

SHUT UP
Meanwhile: I’m so pissed off at the music drowning out the announcers! Can’t somebody tell that fool at the controls that yes, this is Madison Square Garden, but no, you are not giving a concert to 20,000 screaming people. You are supposed to be providing accompaniment to an event, the focus of which is  bull riding, not YOU and your broken ears that can’t tell a tolerable decibel level from one that hurts ours and interferes with the event. One advantage to watching on TV is that you don’t have to suffer this fool gladly. (And this is coming from some who worked in the rock business for 12 years.)

Return to the action

    • Back to JW, who was spectacular on Like a Boss. Harris showed him who’s boss (I assume Hummer has used that one), scoring an 88.75, but then he went through an awful post-ride experience, getting flattened and trampled.

Interlude:
Then a bull was let out of the pen to amuse the crowd, but all he did was trot serenely once around the arena and meekly exit. Not exciting. Next time, pick a rip-snortin’ terror for the guest appearance, guys.Very clever marketing: A UPS guy delivered the Fan of the Night buckle to Flint in the arena. UPS is now advertising onscreen; smart move on the PBR’s part: a whole new audience.

More action:

    • Joao Ricardo Vieira got jiggled up and down by Loose Change, until he hit the ground. Not what you’d expect from the guy who held a long #1 spot last year.
    • Kaique Pacheco looked like he’d conquer Little Red Jacket, but something happened that I can’t figure out, and the bull ended up with 45. I guess you deserve it if you buck off that kid.
    • And now comes God/Superman—you wouldn’t believe the buildup of hype while Mauney got ready. The arena announcer flat-out lied, saying that JB has won $8 million, and that he won NYC 3 times. No, he has not won $8 million, unless you count the million that they’re planning to fix for him at this year’s Finals. And no, he has not won NYC three times. He tied with Fabiano Vieira in recent memory. The PBR conveniently forgets “the Brazilian” every time they mention that event. This time JB was the goat, not the hero, Charlie Brown—he got Shaft-ed.

Just sayin’…

  • In case the PBR is too dumb to have figured this out: the more hype and pressure they put on JB, when he gets bucked off he’s more ashamed and angry than ever. This is not going to help his riding. There’s no reason for him to feel humiliated; no human being is perfect, but the PBR expects him to hold their banner high and ride every time (and when he does, they’re all too happy to award him often unreasonable 90+ scores). So JB feels he has to be perfect, and when he’s not, he puts on a false bravado that’s so see-though, it’s sad. Great—now he has to live up to his Dad’s opinion and insane PBR hype.
  • Regardless of how much the PBR touts JB, people were fleeing the Garden during the 15/15, and by the time the buckle was awarded, the crowd was almost sparse. Leah interviewed winner JW Harris, but for some reason he was almost inaudible. Either it was because Like a Boss kicked the crap out of him, or he doesn’t care about interviews. (Considering some of the funny things he’s said, and his cool attitude, I’d guess it’s the latter–with a touch of the former.) Then he had to stand there between two floozies and be embarrassed while he was awarded his buckle (and the 150 additional points).
  • In case this escaped your attention: 4 of the Brazilian riders were put on the clock, and nobody else was. Isn’t there supposed to be a certain amount of time a rider is automatically allowed in the chute, after which it’s up to the judge whether to put him on the clock? It seemed to me, being able to see the entire procedure on giant screens rather than edited visuals on a broadcast, that some riders were given less time in the chute than others before being put on the clock. And those others were never Brazilian.
  • The good thing is, Tanner Byrne, in second place, took home 90 points!

 

 

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NYC Report – in person

NYC Report – in person

This will be stream of consciousness, play-by-play, day by day, because anything else is too much work.

Friday night:

It’s official. The spectacle has now overwhelmed the bull riding. Plus the security procedure for entrance was so thorough, you’d think we were flying from Palestine to Israel. I even had to open my makeup bag. The whole shebang took so long, I missed half the rider introductions.

Tyler Harr gets a re-ride because of his bull Wild Party, who was not so wild. Shane Proctor’s trip on Barracuda, who had no bite, was in my eyes, a borderline re-ride (the Round 1 pen was not impressive), but at least they gave him an 80.25. Certain other riders would be given a score in the ‘70s, pressuring them to take a re-ride.

Joao Ricardo Vieira gave a solid performance on Flip Out, for 86.25

Emilio Resende is back. His bull Fire Kat popped up and down, had no spin, good air, but no spark. Emilio got a bit out of position, so 81.75 was his score.

Spiderman got to show off his great dance moves (“for the ladies,” as the stupid announcer said) for his 85 on Little Joe. So much for Ty Murray’s griping last season that Aragao “is the least talented.”  BTW, Aragao was put on the clock.

Brady Sims was the first to ride Hurricane Harry, earning 82.75.

Why is Flint wearing white Bermuda shorts? Because the weather in NYC was better than last year’s snow/sleet/ice/rain storm? (This weekend it only rained a couple of times.)

Ben Jones nearly gritted his new teeth down to the nub, he was so pissed off at not riding Lieutenant Dan.

Arrgghh—arena announcers keep forgetting to tell us the bulls’ names, and when they do, the blasting music drowns them out.

Rubens Barbosa also is back, and his bull Throwin’ Salt, scored a measly 32. Why no re-ride? Ummm…

Ryan Dirteater made Magic, for 85.

I notice rows of empty seats in the expensive section.

An Ariat boots drawing is conducted by parachute: little ones drop from the ceiling with baseball-style caps attached. One of them indicates the winner. All weekend I sat in different sections where no parachute landed. Even in the expensive seats. Just sayin’.

Gage Gay got bucked off and chased by Savage Jacket.

Eduardo Aparecido, who wasn’t at the Chicago event, rode Walkin’ Through White for 81.75.

Wallace Vieira de Oliveira, who won in Chicago, took care of Tex-lo, a spinner with no other string to his bow, for 84.75.

Tanner Byrne scored 84.50 (which it took the announcers forever to tell us) on Four Runner, who took a victory lap and needing roping to get him out of the arena.

Cody Nance showed up with a large red neckerchief. He was put on the clock (probably because of the neckerchief; unfortunate fashion choice), looked like he was making the ride on Bone Head, then got bucked off—apparently with the tippy tippy tip of the rope on the tippy tippy tip of a finger, for 78.25.

Valdiron de Oliveira bobbled on Mr. U, for what reason I have no clue.

Michael Lane was showered with re-ride flags: Tom Horn bucked in the chute. Then when the gate opened, faced off—still in the chute—with one of the bullfighters.

Nathan Schaper’s bull Striker barely left the chute as he bucked. I guess some of these bulls like to stay close to home.

Tyler Harr’s re-ride went only to 7.23.

Reese Cates had no luck on Buckle Up.

It’s SO annoying to be in the cheap seats tonight. There’s a constant flow of people more interested in drinking than watching bull riding. Cheap thrills. And then they have to pee. Buy beer, excuse me while I cross in front of you as someone is riding, sit down, drink beer, excuse me while I cross in front of you to go pee and buy more beer, excuse me while I block your view crossing in front of you, sit down, drink beer, excuse me while I step on your foot and go pee and buy more beer…again and again and again. I must’ve got up and down 20 times. I hate these people.

Kasey Hayes got hung up on Louisville Slugger at 7.6 seconds.

Sexist shit: A Hooters ad came on the big screens and the announcers urged people to go to the joint, which is across the street. Yeah, and bull riding’s supposed to be family entertainment? Let’s stare at breasts, children.

The only tee shirts available for purchase that have a rider on them are J.B. Mauney shirts. Now that he’s “The Face of the PBR,” all other riders are invisible, even the guy who won three (some say four) world championships.

Robson Palermo, who won New York in 2013, rode Alligator Arms for 87, and made it look easy. That’s my man, the Scorpio!

Paolo Ferreira Lima, who has won 4 Blue Def events, went out on Playgun, and was given 76 or a re-ride, which he decided to take.

Cody Heffernan from Australia had no luck on Gotta Go Joe.

Lachlan Richardson kept his feet in place, hallelujah, and scored 85.75 on Come On Baby.

Aaron Roy had problems in the chute with Pure Bull; later he got bucked off and almost landed on his head– terrifying when you think about his previous injury.

In the meantime, Stetson Lawrence had a fairly quick buckoff courtesy of Mustard Seed, after which the bull went after each bullfighter in turn, exited, then took a curtain call to take another crack at Jesse Byrne, who of course successfully dodged him. How much do we luv Jesse?

It’s so nice when the relentless hammering music stops for a bit.

Ugh—they replayed J.W. Harris’s bad bull collision and hangup in Chicago. He had a rotten go this time on Off the Grid. Every time he was ready to get out, the bull would buck; he nodded, and the bull bucked, so they didn’t open the gate. He nodded again, the bull bucked again, then came out backwards, hipped himself, and J.W. hit the chute when he came down. That was a mess that definitely deserved the re-ride he got.

Mike Lee has a new shirt: red, and a turquoise face cage. Nice Southwestern color combo. Maybe it helped him get locked in at the spin, for 84.25 on Texicali.

J.B. Mauney (here I have a flash of Bruce Springsteen when he used to introduce Clarence “The Big Man” Clemons: “Do I have to say his name?! Do I have to say his name?!”) was in good form on Blue Hurricane, and I expected a ridiculous score, but he was given an 85; I don’t know why. This time the announcers didn’t make a big fuss over him, because it was just a human score, not a godly one like their idol should always have.

Michael Lane’s re-ride, Alright Alright Alright, gave him a measly 75.50.

Douglas Duncan on Crazy Horse was looking fine, then came down; I don’t know how/why he slid off. DD did look pretty disgusted with himself.

Fabiano Vieira rode one of those pop-up bulls, The Colonel, for 82.75.

Mason Lowe made his ride on Whistlin’ Dixie, for 85.50, then the bull took a trip around the arena before politely exiting.

Stormy Wing, well, let’s put it this way: there was no home run hitting, Craig. Sasquatch bucked him off.

Unfortunately, Markus Mariluch also got bucked off, by Legal Tender.

Kaique Pacheco impresses everybody; he scored 84.50 on Gentleman Jim, and the announcer duo predicted that he’ll win a World Championship and be a million-dollar cowboy. It wasn’t the score that was impressive (the judges were kinda stingy Friday), it was his riding style.

Silvano’s bull Rusty wasn’t enough to give him a good score; he had to settle for 82.75.

Paolo Lima did better with his re-ride bull; he had no trouble with the direction change, scoring 84.50.

I was wondering if the judges were saving the higher scores for tomorrow night.

J.W. Harris, who was wearing a mighty big hat, kicked ass on his re-ride, whose name nobody announced. Make it look like a piece o’ cake, for 87, tying him for the lead with Palermo. Could I be any happier?? Well, only if Renato was there doing a backflip.

Miscellaneous fun:

The “Behind the Ride” videoclip showing a fast-motion set-up of Madison Square Garden. It’s way more complicated than you think. And that little caterpillar thing can go in reverse as fast as it can move forward.

Somebody please ‘splain:

One row of seats had computer or TV screens in front, like on an airplane. Wonder what those seats cost? And yet, some fool was watching a football game. Sigh.

To be continued, with the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

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“Danger on the Dirt” sooo late

Let’s parse “Danger on the Dirt,” the latest broadside (that’s right: broadside) in the PBR campaign to equate JB Mauney with God, or at least, “The Face of the PBR.” The PBR is making an all-out push to convince newcomers to the sport that there is One God, and his name is JB Mauney. He can do no wrong, and his rides are almost always scored in the 90s—not that they all deserved those scores, mind you—so he is now automatically guaranteed to win as much as possible. Jared Allen spells it out for us: “Hands down, he’s the absolute face of the PBR.” PBR has achieved its goal.

They flat out ignored three-time World Champion (some say four) Silvano Alves, and deliberately chose to minimize the contributions Brazilian riders have made to the sport—all  in the service of whitewashing bullriding.

Let’s call it “whitewashing,” because that’s it, really: put a white face on it and ignore those annoying people of all different shades and accents, because they can’t possibly represent the sport. They’re great riders, polite to all, family men, with a strong belief in God, and gratitude for being able to compete in the U.S. arena—but let’s disrespect them and their American dream, shove them into the background, and instead worship the guy who cheated on his fiancée, fathered a child, took the child away from its mother, married the fiancée (who was gracious enough to take the child along with the guy), then cheated on the wife, who seems to have vanished into thin air, instead of supposedly being the reason he succeeds. This is the first time I’ve ever commented on JB’s private life, that’s how mad I am, and it will be the last. Even y’all who worship the guy can’t say I’m lying, ‘cause I’m just stating the facts that you know as well as I do. He’s still a great rider, but as for that “all-American” shit: well, you can just hang it up, ‘cause even your own rule book, the Bible, doesn’t accommodate that kinda behavior, does it? So stop canonizing the guy.

Program notes:
The opening montage of high-adrenaline moments featured almost exclusively bad moments. And then there were the guys cataloguing their injuries. I still think people come to see rides more than wrecks. Maybe being put together so many times with metal and plastic and tape gave rise to Shane Proctor’s opening remark that “They want to see you get wrecked out.” Otherwise he’d have to think, Am I being a masochist?

How much air time did any Brazilian rider get (no pun intended)? About 20 seconds: A clip of Air Time’s first out when he scored a 47 and Renato Nunes came down on him head to head, a clip of Renato riding him for 92.50 in Phoenix, March 2014, and a quickie interview clip of Renato saying, “There’s no way to correct,” and a few more words, plus the scene of Robson Palermo spraining his neck—which at the time looked like a broken neck.

QUOTABLE:
“There’s no referees.” – J.W. Harris. I love this guy.
“They can kill you on accident.” –Ty Murray, who still hasn’t got the hang of prepositions.
Bolton talking to himself before he gets ready to strap on: “You got to take it to this sucker.”
“I can always lay behind the bucking chutes, I don’t have to do it in the arena.”—JB Mauney
“They’re like the Secret Service.” –JB re bullfighters (which, you realize, makes him not only God and Superman, but also the President.)

 THE USUAL CRAP

  • “When the lights are shining the brightest” horseshit we’ve heard forever about JB.
  • That phony bass voice that’s supposed to make us think He-Man. Who invented that shtick, anyway?
  • Why on earth did they spend so much time on Reese Cates and Bonner Bolton? Oh, right: let’s talk about the young white guys instead of the young Brazilian guys who kick their asses. No offense Reese and Bonner, but I think you know what I mean. The record speaks for itself.
  • Same clips we’ve seen before, trotted out for the network audience.
  • Guts, toughness, try, wanting to slay dragons, etc. – Ty blabbing on about J.B. Of course none of the other riders in the history of the world in the PBR or anywhere else ever have any of those traits.
  • “You play the game, you take the pain.” Making a BFD about JB taking a reride 5 minutes after rough treatment by a bull. Marchi and Palermo have both done it.

GREAT MOMENTS

  • A great shot of other riders standing along the chute rail screaming as JB rides. Douglas Duncan was particularly thrilled.
  • Nathan Schaper riding air Time.
  • Renato’s 92.50 ride on Air time—and the backflip that I’ll miss.
  • Cute vignette of JB & JW heading down the corridor together after JB’s painful buckoff.

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE

  • Jared Allen’s segments. He knows what he’s talking about, and his enthusiasm is contagious. I’ll betcha he gets his boots dirty.
  • Finally! Someone needs to get credit for saying guys climb on an 1800-pound bull instead of a 2,000-pound bull. It sounds so great to say 2,000, impresses the new viewers, but the fact is that when the PBR doesn’t know what a bull weighs, it puts 1500 on the website listing. I would assume that’s the average weight, wouldn’t you? I don’t think it’s random. There are some bulls who obviously do weigh more than 1800, and Mississippi Hippy is the giant of ‘em all, at 2300 lbs. (or at least that’s the most frequently cited number).
  • Tandy in action, talking to the guys like a Dad, “helping them manage that decision-making process.”
  • The Byrne Family segment. Jesse did one of his classic saves, climbing halfway onto the bull’s back. Shorty’s comment: “You coulda rode him.” “When you can look out and see that the person who’s gonna protect you is your brother, it doesn’t get much better than that.”–Tanner. “Once he climbs into the chute, that’s his space. Once the gate cracks I just cheer as loud as I can.”– Papa Ryan. “There’s no whistles to stop the play; there’s no timeouts.” –also from Ryan B. “One day you can be on top, and one day you can be face first in the dirt.” – Tanner. That clip always makes me tear up.

 

LMAO MOMENTS

 

  • The Ariat ad that was straight out of the 1950s, down to the visible seam running down the tape. What were they thinking? Or drinking? Hilarious copy, too – will the boots help the guy win the Finals?
  • That stupid trapeze descent of JB from the heavens. He has no shame.
  • Did they have John Williams write the music to accompany JB walking in slow motion? (Look him up, kids.)

 

 LOWLIGHTS

 

  • Neil Holmes’s horrible injury; bloody around the head, struggling to get up when they’re telling him to stay down.
  • “A 2nd gold buckle could put him among bull riding’s best ever,” says The Bummer about JB. And what are we saying about Silvano’s 3rd gold buckle? Nothing. “Winning a 2nd world title can place your name alongside the legends of the sport.” And not one mention of Alves.

 

INTERESTIN’
Air Time handler Matt Scharping’s segments.

I’M JUST SAYIN’

 

  • This heartthrob stuff about Bonner Bolton is embarrassing.
  • The narrative trying to make it sound as if JB is the only one who rides with injuries was cleverly juxtaposed against Bolton deciding to take time out to protect his knee rather than be out of action for months. When certain other riders make that decision, there are a lot of snotty comments to the effect of, They’re not tough.
  • Anyone who didn’t know the sport would believe everything the scriptwriters belched out.

 

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HO HO HO! HAVE A BIG GLASS OF KOOL-AID, KIDS!

I am boiling! If you haven’t seen the self-serving, Sean Gleason-dictated “article” posted on his Facebook page, “written” by Joe Favorito (could the name be any more revealing?) under the banner of, “Sports Marketing & PR Roundup,” treat yourself to a big ol’ glass of Kool-Aid, kids, and get ready for a huge laugh. Or a rise in blood pressure.

I’m including a link to the press release, because I refuse to waste space posting the “article”: http://joefavorito.com/2015/12/23/no-bull-pbr-looks-to-get-brand-back-on-track/

I call it a press release because it is by no means an actual story any self-respecting journalist would write: it’s pure b.s. from the font of b.s. that is the PBR top brass, and the “writer” swallowed it whole. I wonder how much he was paid for this reprint?

Translation of this press release, for those who can’t read between the lines:

CBS is going to air “a brutally honest one-hour documentary taking an unvarnished look at the PBR…” Wow. A “documentary”? You mean, a carefully curated look at. (And yes, I know you’re not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition. Or start one with a conjunction, for that matter.)  When has the PBR EVER been brutally honest about ANYTHING? The only brutally honest moments I’ve seen are when Ben Jones issues a heartfelt “fuck!” after being bucked off–oops, the mic was on.

“Unvarnished look”?? It’s hard to see through the sparkly glaze they smear all over the lens when they talk about themselves, especially when that lens is focused on their favorite subject, J.B. Mauney. The PBR’s motto might as well be, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain…I am the great and powerful Oz!!”

First of all: Cowboys don’t try to “tame” bulls. They try to hold on for 8 seconds in good style, period.

“Getting back on track”?? The PBR is heading as far away from its roots as possible, with huge ticket prices, a complicated new scoring system introduced to keep one rider in particular from winning (and it’s not J.B. Mauney), “storylines,” over-the-top production values, bimbo models, celebrity worship, and crooked judges favoring one rider in particular. Guess who?

  1. “New audience” = They’ve been aiming at anyone they think enjoys violent “sports.” Fighting is not a sport; it’s fighting. Football is a bunch of guys trying to hurt the other bunch of guys fighting over a ball. I’m sure they’re aiming at the monster truck audience even as I write this. Meanwhile, they’re losing their old audience, whose money is just as green as anyone else’s.
  1. Digital/social = The PBR floods Twitter and Facebook with advance hype, trying to invent cowboy rivalries, and then as soon as an event is over, we’re flooded with “Remember when.” They pretend to read Twitter comments over the air during broadcasts, but only worshipful comments are allowed, especially if they’re about J.B. Mauney. (Notice how many times his name turns up in anything to do with the PBR?) They do the same on their website: anyone with an opinion other than the party line is censored and will never see their comment appear. And if the PBR doesn’t like something said in a tweet or on a blog, they will attack, by email, phone, Twitter, or blog comments. THAT I can verify from personal experience; I’ve got the email and Twitter strings to prove it. Plus there was that tongue-lashing from a previous PR honcho…
  1. “More storytelling” = more hype about J.B. Mauney. “Rode through pain”—as if a half dozen other guys weren’t doing the same thing, with worse injuries!

NOT ONE MENTION of the majority of the toughest riders in the world: Brazilians, several of whom have been World Champions in the past few years, including two triple-World Champions, the most recent of whom, many people feel, was robbed of a fourth Championship and another million dollars! Absolutely blatant racism.

Bonner Bolton?? How about a Rookie of the Year winner instead of an inconsistent newbie? Clearly the “heartthrob” monicker is aimed at young female fans, because of course they must all be Buckle Bunnies who spend their money just to ogle. You can bet that every year they will foist a new “heartthrob” on us, regardless of how he rides.

  1. “Expanded content plan” = fancy name for even more hype about J.B. Mauney—plus more nonstop yapping by anyone who thinks he’s a commentator, before, during, and after the show. (These events are now a “show,” not a competition, since the judges have lost all integrity through their efforts to rig outcomes.)
  1. A “young, engaged thrill-seeking audience” = people who don’t really know or care about the exact skills involved on either the part of the cowboys or the bulls; who come to events just to get drunk and see wrecks. (I’ve had plenty of beer sprayed on me by what the British call “lager louts.”) And the PBR is not above playing back wrecks over and over and over again to satisfy this sick bloodlust of the minority.

And BTW, the PBR’s approach completely ignores the huge numbers of bull riding enthusiasts who are middle aged and older—and who have most of the money to spend on it. I guess all of us may as well drop dead.

Even farther away from their tiny little minds is the fact that nearly HALF their audience is female. Feeble attempts at attracting women have included Tyson Chicken ads for Mom to make for the family, perfume to remind women about being the PBR’s idea of women, a “Sexiest Cowboy” competition, and a well-hidden Dallas newspaper poll along the same lines. The ads, perfume, and poll were miserable flops; the poll had four responses that I saw. The “Sexiest Cowboy” competition got some traction because of two factors: the winner would be on the cover of a romance novel, and one of the young guys staged an all-out campaign. He made the cover, and since has disappeared from the scene, because of bad behavior. Again, NOT ONE BRAZILIAN RIDER was put into the competition, even though Guilherme Marchi is Hollywood-handsome and made for movies. (I’m sure some men think so, too.)

The PBR is far from “understanding the consumer.” They don’t even understand their own audience. They just hand out a lot of Kool-Aid. And plenty of fools will drink up. I’m not thirsty.

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ROUND 3 OF THE BIGGEST FARCE ON EARTH–MY LAST ROUND

FINALS DAY 3

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF—WELL, I DON’T KNOW
“One thing’s for sure—nothing’s for sure.”—Justin McBride, contradicting the entire PBR marketing strategy.

THE GOLDEN BOY
They just can’t switch from the JB channel. There was even MORE blather:

“I like what you’ve already done, which is touch on JB’s toughness… often we see the guy who’s near legendary status…” Craig blabbering on. I hope someday he looks back on this period of his life and is mortally embarrassed to see himself salivating after a 20-something-year-old cowboy who rides bulls. Ty Murray just flat out called Mauney a “legendary” bullrider.

ABOUT THIS “LEGEND” STUFF

  • Let me clear up something for the chuckleheads out there. Here is the dictionary definition of “legend”:

a: a story coming down from the past; especially: one popularly regarded as historical although not verifiable

b:  a body of such stories <”a place in the legend of the frontier”>

c:  a popular myth of recent origin

d:  a person or thing that inspires legends*

e:  the subject of a legend <”its violence was legend even in its own time”>

*See a, b, c, and e, in case you think d is where JB fits in.

Okay, have we got that straight?

But wait, there’s more!

  • Interview with JB: “One day you can be on the top, the next day you’re underneath ‘em.” His stupid father said, “JB gets better when he gets sorer.” Shorty tells us something we already know: there’s no sympathy for pain in his family. That makes them cold, not heroic.
  • Craig babbling about poking the bear—the general idea being, when JB comes out of injury, watch out.
  • Now they’re making excuses for JB getting hurt because he had to get right onto a re-ride bull with no time in between. BFD—Robson Palermo’s done it, Guilherme Marchi’s done it, and I’m sure others have, too. But they’re not allowed to have excuses.
  • “Do not place the crown on JB Mauney’s head just yet.”—Hummer, trying to pretend that we don’t know what the plan is. This is how they think they’ll keep the viewers enthralled.
  • Hearing what really happened to JB last night was a revelation. This is one of the few times the “wired” feature was useful. We heard moans of pain, which perfectly normal for a human being. The PBR would have us believe that JB is Superman and never feels any pain, or he “compartmentalizes” it, he’s so tough, bla bla bla.
  • ANOTHER JB Mauney Athlete Profile??? How many do we need???

TALKING IN DRUNK?

  • Cody Lambert re Jared Allen: “Yeah, he’s on Spacebook, too.”
  • Air Time was “heads and shoulders above”—McBride seeing double.
  • “It’s kinda creepy seeing you guys agree.”—Justin re Lambert & J.W. Hart. Yep.
  • “It’s called bull riding, not bull sitting.”—Ty
  • Ty estimates he’s been on 6,000 bulls. Wow, there’s some brain damage for ya.

BULLS

  • Great to see the broadcast concentrate on the bulls for a while, but I don’t think Stone Sober should be eliminated because according to Cody, he “gave up” near the end. One less than perfect trip shouldn’t eliminate a bull as a title contender.
  • Close-up of Percolator looking very self-possessed and Buddha-like. Lambert said he was done with him. I’m sure the stock contractor was so pleased to hear this announced on the air.

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT GIVE THEM AWAY

  • Luke Snyder is the newest member of the PBR Ring of Honor, which got the Booth Boys talking about rookies—starting with Cooper Davis, because he’s leading the Finals event so far. The obvious Rookie of the Year—Kaique Pacheco—was mentioned second.
  • Ty and Craig are yammering on about something else while the riders are being introduced. What’s funny is watching the cowboys fidgeting on the stage behind them. The whole shlock shtick must be so
  • Another mic moment: Aaron Roy was settling on Hungry Eyes. Somebody at the chute was yelling while applying the wedge: “Well get your fuckin’ toes outta the way, I’m trying to get it in to help you!” The bull was a wash-out. Aaron was offered a re-ride or 76ish. Took the reride.
  • Craig’s new word of the week: “Numerology.” He doesn’t know what it means, but he’s using it.
  • JB has a 57.81% riding percentage. If he scores 87.75, he wins the title. His 86.50 got the audience booing. The judges were shrewd: they ensured viewers for Saturday; they knew they could give him a couple of 90s to clinch the title.

I KID YOU NOT
Bonner Bolton “cashed in his chips last night”—according to Craig, who clearly doesn’t know what it means. I regret to inform him that Bonner will show up tonight.

JUST SAYIN’

  • Derek Kolbaba is possibly the babiest-faced bull rider I’ve ever seen outside of mutton busting. Cute: Derek hanging next to JB in the locker room, trying to look casual, wearing a feather in his hat like JB, glancing over at his idol every once in a while. Just like a little brother.
  • Ty’s middle name should be “WhenIwas.”
  • I can’t even talk about Cody Nance anymore. The judges have chosen to ignore his spurs, and how he’s throwing his neckerchiefs into the crowd like he’s a rock star. Hey, buddy, dial it down—you’re not Steven Tyler.
  • Back in Black was the bull matched up with Neil Holmes– do you still think Lambert doesn’t control the random matchups? Like the Ryan Dirteater/Red Man pairing earlier this year was an accident.
  • All the tweets that get aired are praising JB. The rest of us and our “we want fairness” “there are other riders” tweets are ignored.
  • Judges called Bonner on having a spur hooked. He challenged; the replay was inconclusive. They gave him an 86, but he thought Percolator was better than that and that he rode better than that—which he said on the air, miffed. This attitude isn’t going to help him much as a newcomer to the BFTS.
  • Somebody please tell Ty that nobody is trying to touch their bulls on purpose.
  • Kody Lostroh was at the event, but nobody mentioned why he doesn’t ride in the PBR anymore.
  • Matt Triplett had an outstanding ride on Little Willie, for 88. If he were JB, it would’ve been a 90-point ride.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Silvano Alves came into the Finals 2/14, with a 48.28% riding percentage. Not sure I heard right, but he may have ridden 26 of his 32 bulls in Finals events. Some things never change: he was put on the clock. After his 89-point ride on spinning Rebel Yell, he was positively exuberant.
  • Tanner Byrne was set up with a Canadian bull (another non-random draw), Minion Stewart. His 86.75 was an excellent ride; he saved himself at the direction change when he could’ve easily have gone flying if he wasn’t so in the moment, reacting in the present. Loving this guy more every day!

WE STILL LOVE YA, BEN
Poor Ben has an even worse night; last night he was crying, tonight he was so upset about his buckoff, Frank Newsom came over and talked in his ear to make him feel better.

WHERE TO SEND YOUR POISON PEN LETTERS
Shawn Ramirez is the chute judge, who decides on DQing by putting people on the clock.

LOWLIGHTS

  • Robson Palermo had a terrible bad landing on the top of his head (no helmet), jamming his neck and shoulder. He stayed on the ground on his knees, doubled over, fist pounding the dirt. That’s Stayed there a very long time, surrounded by medical people, was strapped to a backboard with his head and neck stabilized. Crowd was so silent you wouldn’t even know they were there. Neck X-rays next.
  • Oscar P makes Guilherme Marchi’s 16th Marchi ended up grimacing between two medical crew members.
  • Spiderman’s failed trip on Lee’s Dream had him sitting in back of the chute & throwing his helmet in anger. For a moment I thought he was making the groaning sound which turned out to be Hot Iron complaining in the chute.
  • Fire House launched Alex Cardozo high, and Cardozo landed on his (helmeted) head, compressing his neck just like Robson did. More medical rescue, backboard, etc. He was still lying there after the commercial break. The crowd cheered as he was carried out, and he raised a hand to acknowledge them, but it was ambulance time. (I’m making believe I don’t know what happened to him, because this is the last night I watched the Finals farce.)
  • Ty’s snotty remark that Reese Cates is “having a mental breakdown, slapping everything.”
  • JB Mauney has more 90-point Finals rides than anyone. Gee what a surprise. Anyone who’s followed the PBR since 2012 knows why, and it ain’t about all of them being worth 90. The judges have been revving up the “Let’s see if we can get him to beat Chris Shivers’ record” campaign.
  • Valdiron de Oliveira has a 44.12% riding percentage and is #9 in world. He sure was miserable after his (third) buckoff.
  • Kaique Pacheco was put on the clock, and got bucked off by Pound the Alarm. Such a bummer. But hey, Craig found the silver lining: this “has simplified our plot twists.”
  • João Ricardo Vieira needed 86.75 to make the top 5. Instead—ding! 86 on Mr. Bull.

JUST ASKIN’

  • Renato Nunes on Redbone ticked me off, leaning so far back that he bucked himself off. Why are you doing this to me??
  • Why is J.W. Harris choking this week??
  • Why didn’t Leah Garcia interview Fabiano Vieira after his ride?

ALMOST AS GOOD AS BONNER BOLTON “CASHING IN HIS CHIPS”
“Scores have been coming at a premium, but you better be prepared to pay full price.”

THE WRITING ON THE WALL

  • Silvano wins the round, Matt = #2, Cooper = #3, Stetson Lawrence = #4, and Tanner Byrne = #5
  • Alves might as well not have been in the event. Instead of talking about the round winner, the Booth Boys talked about JB in the wrap-up. And again, they talked up Cooper Davis as a rookie, not Kaique.

This is the point at which I stopped watching the Finals. As soon as JRV got hurt a while ago, it was a done deal; the judges saw to that. I didn’t need to see any “coronation” and hear more over-the-top declarations about “Superman.”

P.S.—Ty: change your shirt. It’s a re-run.

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ROUND 2 OF THE BIGGEST FARCE ON EARTH

PBR FINALS, DAY 2

“The Storyline” and all the Coronation crap was beyond repulsive. I would say this qualifies as idol worship, which as I recall Moses was really pissed off about.

Favoritism in action: JB touched the chute in the middle of his ride on Hou’s Back. That’s supposed to be a DQ. And he didn’t have the rope in his hand at 8; his hands were both free in the air. That should be a no score. But the judges didn’t DQ him or give him a zero. Instead they figured out a way to save their boy: re-ride flags for the bull spending time in/near the chute. Of course JB takes the reride. It serves those weasels right that No Regrets bucked him off.

OMG YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!!

JB descending on a trapeze while Hummer goes into his rap about how he doesn’t want to be Clark Kent, he wants to be Superman! Talk about making a mockery of the sport! How embarrassing! The fact that JB goes along with this crap means he has become the PBR’s lap dog. I’m sorry, JB, but this was way beneath you.

“Watching a legend in the making”—Ty Murray, slugging down the Kool-Aid. Making by the judges, you mean.

“JB Mauney is living on his own planet, it seems.”—Craig, delirious from his Kool-Aid IV drip.

GREAT RIDES

  • Cooper Davis was 5 for 7 and took on Panda Trax. Scored 88 for an excellent trip on a bull that wanted to punish him. “He’s got a bad attitude, but I’ll take him if I get a ride like that.” Cooper Davis’ mother is a breast cancer survivor, and this event was donating $750 per ride and $1,000 per 90-point ride for research.
  • Tanner Byrne’s excellent reactions on Who Dey earned him an 88.25.
  • Michael Lane’s excellent form and countermoves for 86.50 on Big Bunny.
  • Silvano Alves rode Swashbuckler for 87.25. Justin doesn’t think “he’s came back.” It’s just good to see him ride. His interview: “Happy with my ride, not happy with my score.”
  • Bonner Bolton’s 1st 90-point ride was his 90.50 on Walk Off. Hummer started ranting about “dragon slayers.”

BULL INFO

Well, these guys did their jobs. And at least the scores were better than in Round 1.

Chad Berger had 9 bulls in the rank pen, 17 in all. H.D. Paige had 3 bulls out of 7 in the rank pen. Does that make sense to you? Yet that’s what Craig Hummer told us.

I liked the thorough analysis of the bulls. “I think they’re a little bit psychotic”—Ty talking about bulls like Stone Sober and Air Time.

  • Stone Sober has 24 straight buckoffs and earned 44.25.
  • Air Time made it to 47.
  • Little Red Jacket after his 44.25 was still kicking ass on his way through the out gate and down to the pen.
  • Roy (you-know-who’s brother) is a fast, muscular headslinger; scored 44.75.
  • If I heard right, Stanley Fatmax is 4 for 69.
  • Seven Dust was rank—went after everyone in the arena, not just Stetson Lawrence. 44.25
  • Kill the Lights 44.75 J.W. Harris was the one doing the direction changes.
  • Bullfighter Rob Smith owns Jeremiah, who did him proud with a 45.

LOL

  • Adriano Moraes being funny about winning his 3rd World Championship title at age 36.
  • “Don’t mistake that for confidence,” said Justin McBride about people saying JB’s cocky. I love it—the guy’s clueless about what comes out of his mouth! I think he might be dyslexic—isn’t he the one who would say a bull was no match for so-and-so, when the rider actually got bucked off?
  • “All I can really hear is you talkin’, Craig”—Justin. You and millions of viewers, McBride!

UGH

  • Ty has rubbed off on McBride; now they’re both saying “Noonyez” instead of “Nunes.” Morons.
  • F***in’ S.O.B.s were saying Marchi was soaking Smooth Operator.
  • Robson Palermo was David’s Dream’s 14th straight buckoff, was tossed up onto a railing lengthwise— really hurt— escorted off, two guys hoisting him by his belt to try to hold him up. I think the bull hit the family jewels; he could barely walk.

TWICE?? YOU DID IT TWICE??

Gage Gay rode Sasquatch for 88.25, but I think the bull wasn’t all that. Leah’s interview: he said nothing’s changed since last year, he just got his confidence back. Her response: “Says last year’s rookie, Craig.” Oh, yes she did.

Results: Bonner Bolton, Gage Gay/Tanner Byrne, Cooper Davis, Silvano Alves

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Round 1 of The Biggest Farce on Earth

I had planned to write about the two PBR events prior to the Finals, when the outcome of the Finals could possibly have been different, but I decided not to waste the effort; I had that creepy feeling. Then I was too sickened by the PBR JB PR machine to even finish watching the Finals. I skipped the last two days of The Coronation. But I did keep some of my notes. I’m not bothering to put them in coherent form, because I still feel nauseated every time I think about what a clown show this year’s Finals were. For what it’s worth, here are the things I noticed—besides Craig Hummer’s heavy breathing.

ROUND 1

Craig said something about “the oddsmakers” again, like he did in 2013—are there people in a betting ring putting money on JB? Are the judges making a mint?

BTW, “notoriety” is not the same as “fame.” Notoriety is a negative thing. Bushwacker has fame. Charles Manson had notoriety.

The guys on the couch pre-show bit is pretty boring. Cody Lambert isn’t exactly scintillating. They might as well have been reciting press releases.

”Yet another piece in the puzzle will be decided at the 2015 world Finals.” What puzzle? WTF are you talking about, Hummer? There’s no puzzle here. We all know what has been decreed from on high.

“He’s the best bull rider going as far as I’m concerned.”—Lambert, in another flipflop from his previous evaluation of Silvano Alves.

& of course Cody launched into how he doesn’t expect much from João Ricardo Vieira, & they go harping on the “can’t ride bulls away from his hand again” shtick. He has done it, guys. Just not every time—nor has anyone else.

One of the fools said about Air Time: “He is not broke to ride.” Glad to see the clip of Renato Nunes riding him.

Justin McBride to JB: “We just watched that video of you winning your first World Championship.” That’s called subliminal advertising, folks.

All the gushing is unbearable.

McBride re Alves’s hip: “I don’t think he has came back with it.” Justin has some of the worst grammar in the PBR. Are they gonna fix it as the PBR gets slicker?

R they serious with that Kathleen Turner style voiceover crooning, “Men… Men who bla bla bla… Men…bla bla…” What a bunch of embarrassing crap!

“Is it going to be a competition, or is it going to be a coronation?” Hummer, already wetting his pants about his superhero.

Hype, hype, hype—all Hummer’s unglued moments glued together. Pass me the barf bag.

Paying attention to the bulls: These bills have been amazingly good, but the judges have been stingy with the scores.

  • Pearl Harbor is 0/5. JW Hart compared the jittery bull to a 5th grader with ADD. LOL. Holy crap! That bull was flying horizontally! He was in the air when he kicked out his back legs! Score too low.
  • Jump Street. Another jack-in-the-box bull. Caught serious air.
  • Gangster Bucks – sporting an odd skunk stripe; another bovine with a lot of bounce.
  • Bruiser’s grandpa is Little Yellow Jacket. Scored 44.75 with his high-flying rear end, kicking out the lights.
  • Brutus was brutal. After giving Kasey a shot, he massacred his hat.
  • Big Tex Wishes was fast coming out of the chute, and flew high every jump.
  • Rocco was very agile, took a hard corner.

Mason Lowe in his 1st Finals–  & of course because he rode, he reminds Craig of JB. (Who doesn’t?)

Hummer reminds us that the World Cup was when countries competed against each other. Gee, you’d never know it’s any different now.

“A heavenly performance from Divinity gets Aragao off…” aagghh! Make him stop.

LMAO: Hummer talking about Robson Palermo: “He shared a lot of thoughts with me this year that he spent a lot of time thinking about.” KMN

Cowbanger slammed Palermo against the fence. How was that not a re-ride, when other riders have gotten one for similar situations?

Ben Jones told Ty Murray he had a breakdown in the hotel suite & had to have a cry & get it out of his system. Wow. Guess next time he’ll know not to share anything big with Murray.

“The strongest guy in the world is not gonna be able to strength his way through this.”—Ty talking about Brutus. He still thinks “strength” is a verb.

“Kasey Hayes has been known as one of the dragonslayers.” Since when, Hummer??

Australian Rookie of the Year Justin Paton competed in only 3 BFTS events before landing at the Finals. Does this make any sense?

In case you forgot: Alves has ridden 25 of 30 bulls in various Finals.

Craig blathering about how JB is showing everybody how it’s done and is comfortably going to win his 2nd gold buckle. Never mind who cushioned the ride for him.

How do they not see Cody Nance’s spur hooked into the rope from the get-go?

“These superheroes wear chaps, not capes,” says Hummer, contradicting his previous stance on JB wearing a cape.

Marchi has racked up 547 rides – but he’s kind of hobbling on his way out.

Nathan Schaper is having a baaaad slump: 2/19.

“JB Mauney had gotten into the heads of his competitors.”—No, Craig, he’s gotten into YOUR head and is leaking from your every orifice.

Fabiano Vieira made it look easy on Crazy Days, especially with that snazzy getoff, for 86.75.

And yet another clip of JB talking. He gets so much air time, it’s ridiculous. & then we have to hear AGAIN about “that run he put together in 2013” and “he’s writing the same script this year.” You mean, that run the judges put together in 2013, and the same script they’re writing.

Kaique Pacheco 47.22% riding percentage. I can NOT believe they didn’t give him a score—he did that ride exactly right. Chocolate Shake’s head came up & a horn touched his hand (not the other way round), so it’s his fault? Bullshit.

“Let’s highlight what JBM has done since his 2013 win”—as if we don’t know the script by heart. More shots of him riding.

Lambert predicted an 88 for him on Wicked Stick. Never underestimate those judges, Cody. They threw JB a 91. Clearly the next script is about whether he’ll break Chris Shivers’s record for 90-point rides. Wonder if they’ll stoop to digging out of the prehistoric vaults some rides that somehow went uncounted. Yeah, they’ll stoop to anything when it comes to their Golden Boy.

JB is Round 1 winner. What a surprise.

“It seems it’s his story to write himself,” says #1 Fan. He doesn’t need to, fool. The PBR is writing it for him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Sprinkle of Allentown, a Dusting of Tucson

Before I say anything about the farce that was the Finals, here’s just a sprinkling of Allentown…

Eduardo Aparecido conquered King Buck. The bull didn’t get his butt in the air that much, which affected the score, but 86 ain’t shabby. Neither is Eduardo: he rode Mississippi Hippy in the 15/15 Bucking Battle, also for an 86. I just love when somebody rides that truck!

J.W. Harris didn’t even know what his bull Big Dan looked like. “I find it best if I don’t know what they’re going to do,” he says casually. And that’s how you score an 85.25.

Douglas Duncan’s bull was The Kraken, and I just can’t believe the arena announcers didn’t take the opportunity to yell, “Release the Kraken!” The monster lost: DD scored 87.

Earlier this year Kasey Hayes had a compression fracture of a couple of ribs, and after riding Circle City, had a really terrible dismount: “Landed right there on my back like a turtle.” A turtle who scored 86.

According to Craig Hummer, who’s been taking cowboy grammar lessons: Mason Lowe “got tossed, turned, spinned, and shuttled” by Double Agent, who tried to trample him, then went after him for real.

Nifty: Valdiron, who’s 36 years old, has a 50-year-old brother who’s still riding bulls. Not so nifty: he was put on the clock.

I’m just sayin’: Justin McBride, who ought to know, says “What a great ride” after João Ricardo Vieira’s ride on All Jacked Up, but the judges gave him an 82.50.

Brazilians were injured en masse: Renato Nunes was as close to gored as you can get, Luis Blanco has two broken ribs on his free arm side, Rubens Barbosa got his face smacked against the chute, Spiderman’s previously dislocated shoulder was hurting and made him lose his grip, Silvano’s got that patched-up hip… dropping like flies.

…and a light dusting of Tucson:

Ryan Dirteater scored 88 on I’m A Gangster Too, who was kicking out the lights. And that’s the guy with no ACL and no PCL. The arena was LOUD after this ride.

Shocker: Lachlan Richardson finally ended his 19-buckoff streak by riding spunky speckled Chocolate Thunder for 86.25.

Kaique Pacheco scored his 4th 90-point ride.

STICK YOUR FINGER DOWN MY THROAT:

“a battle is brewing between these two go-for-broke gunslingers…”

“The storm is here and the thunder you hear is JB Mauney and JW Harris doing battle.”

“JW Harris & JB Mauney are basically carbon copies of each other.” (SO NOT!)

Or maybe I should say, stick your finger down The Bummer’s throat.

Score one more for J.W.: Because he’s 1600 points behind JB, suddenly there is no JR Vieira (#2) or Kaique (#3). The competition, as envisioned by the PBR, is between only the two white guys. Leah Garcia asked J.W. when he knew it was going to be a two-man competition in Las Vegas. His laconic reply:  “Whenever you guys told me.” He sure didn’t drink any Kool-Aid.

Kasey Hayes: “If I ride bad, I’m hoping to ride the next time, if I ride good, I expect to ride.”

I knew Douglas Duncan didn’t have the tail of the rope in his hand at 8; he was already on the ground—the replay showed he didn’t make it past 7.85 on Easy Money, but the judges scored him 83 and didn’t look at it, though Hummer and Ty Murray stated what we all saw on the air. If that were a Brazilian rider, the ride would’ve been scrutinized, not scored.

Ty Murray: “It feels like I talk about it over and over and over again…” That’s because YOU DO, Ty!

Stetson Lawrence delivered the Comedy Routine of the Year on Micro Man: falling and sliding and hanging and bouncing all over the bull from one side to the other.

Spiderman was DQ’d in Round 1 for catching knots, but nobody saw Cody Nance do it a couple of times. Or they saw it and pretended they didn’t.

This is the event where both João and Robson Palermo got messed up. Palermo had to bow out with a concussion, and Vieira separated his knee.

Wow, there were almost two seconds of silence when Reese Cates came out of the chute on Orange Crush. Hummer must’ve been on a bathroom break.

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Before Finals, there was BlueDef Velocity Finals

The PBR BlueDef Velocity Tour Finals in Louisville Kentucky was guest blogger Courtney Massey’s first ever bull riding event. It’s not easy finding bull riding in her home state of Vermont! Here’s Courtney’s experience, edited for space:

Pre-show
When I arrived at the KFC Yum Center, I was excited to say the least. I walked in early with the VIP crowd. I had heard about a tour and I was hoping I would be accepted into the group with my Fan Club card. That’s what it’s for right? Well, I was wrong. The PBR had nothing for the Fan Club at this event. I talked to the woman inside multiple times. I bought the Fan Club card for that reason, so if there is a tour, I should be on it. Luckily, the tour numbers were light so they caved and let me through. I met many Fan Club members who weren’t so lucky the next night.

The tours were given by announcer Matt West and arena entertainer Matt Merritt. The tour started backstage. As we made our way through the halls, we passed Joao Ricardo Vieira and Rubens Barbosa. After a stop on the dirt, we all climbed up on the back of the chutes and to take photos of everyone, the bulls, and the chutes themselves. Matt West talked to us about everything from the bulls to the stage setups, and passed around a flank strap for us to feel.

Looking around I saw Robson Aragao getting prepped and Matt Triplett listening to music through his ear buds. While West showed us the back of Chad Berger’s truck, we were joined by Tyler Harr, Stormy Wing and Douglas Duncan. I went straight for Douglas Duncan. After snapping a photo, I told him it was my first time at a live show. He told me I was going to have a blast. He was right!

The tour ended with all of us ushered into a room where they passed out PBR program books with Kaique Pacheco, Nathan Schaper, and Matt Triplett on the cover.

Showtime 
I sat approximately 4 rows up from the dirt near the chutes. The view was amazing! I enjoyed not only getting a great shot of the rides themselves, but also watching the riders up on the chutes. I could see them chatting to each other, stretching, and dancing (Spider-Man). Unfortunately, the KFC Yum Center told me I should not bring my camera. Although it’s not professional, it’s also not considered “small” and could prevent entry.  What frustrated me was that the KFC Yum Center didn’t bother checking bags. No one would have known if I brought my better camera. I was able to take a few pictures, but they are not close to the quality I am used to.

Something that struck me about watching PBR Live was the wrecks. The wrecks look more violent in person and I was even more amazed at how tough the cowboys are! An example of this: youngster Derek Kolbaba getting stepped on and run over by Cowtown Slinger.  It doesn’t look good on video, but in person, I was shocked he was able to get up so quickly.

Mike Lee was another rider who took a nasty hit. While the cameras were showing the replay, Mike Lee got up on the fence in front of my section and cheered with us. I love any time a rider shows appreciation to the fans and acknowledges them after a ride. Robson Palermo, good ride or bad ride, seems to always give the crowd a little wave and clap. He’s such a class act!

The biggest fan participation came anytime JB Mauney got up on a bull. The crowd exploded with cheers. Anytime I stood up, it was celebrating after a good ride, but I didn’t block anyone from seeing the ride itself—unlike some Mauney fans. I’m all for supporting your favorite riders, but we have to think of those around us. I hope everyone who wanted to see JB’s ride was able to! JB was bucked off quickly the first night, but redeemed himself on night two. He was the first bull rider I became a fan of, so it was great watching him ride.

My favorite rider is Kaique Pacheco, so I was thrilled to see him in person. He has beautiful presence on his bulls and is a lot of fun to watch! The first night was a close call, but alas, no score. Along with fans around me, I yelled “Challenge! Challenge!” However, it seems you can’t challenge on that tour. I’ve watched the Velocity Tour a few times, but I’m not familiar with the rule differences. The second night was a successful ride on Big John for 83.5 points. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to get him into the Championship Round, so Kaique’s weekend was over. He’s the number one rider on the Velocity tour. Couldn’t they have fitted him in somewhere?! Later on that night I saw Kaique sitting up on the chutes. While talking to another rider he made a pout expression and did a dramatic thumbs down. I can only imagine that was about the ride.

Gage Gay ended up winning the event.

Meeting the Riders 
Blue Def Velocity Tour Finals

Fan Photo with Kaique

Fan Photo with Nunes and Valdiron

JB Mauney and Alexandre Cardozo

Joao RV

Jorge, Kaique and Wallace

Matt Triplett

Signed SpiderMan Comic

The ChutesEach night I made my way down to the fence to meet with the riders. The riders seem to handle fan requests well, but a couple stood out from the crowd.

  • I’m a huge nerd so I had to bring a comic book for Robson Aragao to sign. It was The Amazing Spider-Man issue, “Chaos in Calgary”. Spider Man is riding a bull on the cover. Robson laughed when he saw the comic and showed it to Joao before signing.
  • The first night I asked Rubens Barbosa for a photo. On the second night, I wanted him to sign his profile in the PBR Program. As I was taking a photo with another rider, Rubens had skipped over me. I called out after him, and he turned around and rushed back over to me laughing, “Oh, Sorry! Sorry!” He was very sweet!
  • I think Mike Lee is one of the best riders to interact with fans. He is the only rider who jumps up on the fence so you get up close and personal. I hate taking photos with a gate between me and the riders, so I appreciate the gesture from Mike. When Mike jumped up on the gate, we were closer than I expected and his cowboy hat smacked against my head. If I wasn’t in “shy girl” mode, I would have made a joke about him taking me out like a bull.
  • Neil Holmes provided one of the cutest moments of the weekend. I had him sign his profile page in the PBR Program. He started, then paused to take in what I was giving him. He looked up at me in shock, “I’m in this?!” I laughed and said, “Yes!” He looked up again and exclaimed, “Wow! I have to get myself one of these!” He was so excited to see himself in the official PBR Program. I don’t think he could believe it! You’ve made the big time, Neil! [Note from BRM: come on, PBR, give all the guys a copy of the program! They earned it!]
  • On the first night I asked Kaique Pacheco for a photo and he nodded politely. On the second night, it was his turn to sign his profile page in the PBR program book. I asked if I could take another picture. “Sure!” He said with a smile. This time I took a selfie. I am awful at taking selfies, and the gate between us wasn’t making it any easier. As I waved my arm around trying to get us both into frame I warned him I was bad at this. He still managed to have a big smile in the photo. Maybe he was amused at my bad selfie skills. I wished him luck in Las Vegas and he thanked me. He seems genuinely happy to handle fan requests.
  • I wasn’t familiar with Shay Marks until that weekend. He was another rider I found really fan-friendly. A friend I had met at the arena had a cowboy hat for the riders to sign. He complimented her hat and took a photo with her after. He left a laid back and sweet impression.
  • Jorge Valdiviezo had to limp around the arena. I saw him take some time to talk about the injury with a fan. It was nice to see him put in the effort with the fans when he clearly wasn’t 100%.
  • Shout out to riders like Renato Nunes and Valdiron de Oliveira who I took nice photos with. I like a lot of the riders, but my heart does lean towards the Brazilians.

I loved the opportunity to see the riders, go backstage, and watch the bulls do their thing! I hope this is the start of many PBR events to come!

For more photos you can follow Courtney on Instagram @CourtMania and talk to her on Twitter @CourtneyMania.

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Renato Speaks Truth to Power

Oh, yes he did! And boy, am I glad. In Round 2 of the Tucson event, Renato Nunes was put on the clock as he prepared to go out on Kufus—while the bull was lunging forward in the chute. Renato waited out the clock and left the chute at 5 seconds—and he was mad. You don’t wanna make Nunes mad; it just makes him dig in and ride hard. The 81.75 score was the judges’ revenge.

The big payoff for me was Renato’s post-ride interview with Leah Garcia. Whatever she asked him was irrelevant. His response: “They treat you like crap here.” At first I thought, Oh no, he didn’t! Did he really say that? Don’t the riders all have a gag order on them?  Pasted-on smiles? Repeating the PBR Pledge of Allegiance? But I can hear grass grow, so I believed my ears. It got even better, as he explained to Leah:  “He put me on the clock; they give me 30 seconds, I can do what I want, so I wait.”

I like his style. He tells the truth. And that’s “the cowboy way.”

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