Rosinette Does the Math: The Points System

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

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

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

% Ridden

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

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

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

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

Dollars Earned

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

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

 

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

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

 

Current Point System

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

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

 

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

Sioux Falls Fallout

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

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

LOWLIGHTS

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

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

HIGHLIGHTS

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

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

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

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

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

I’M JUST SAYIN’…

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

IRON COWBOY VI – João Redux    

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

BULLS

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

HIGHLIGHTS

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

I’M JUST SAYIN’…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 2

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

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

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

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

“THE BRAZILIAN” WINS THE AMERICAN

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

Okay, now to the action:

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

HIGHLIGHTS

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

NO CIGAR

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

SHORT GO

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE WINNER

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Cowboy Up? Guest Post by Rosinette

Cowboy Up?

by Rosinette

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SAGE STEELE KIMZEY, QUADRUPLE-THREAT

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

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

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

And he’s only 20 years old.

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

Kimzey Style

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

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

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

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

The How-To

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

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

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

Kimzey’s Hit Parade

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

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

Kimzey on Re-Rides

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

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

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

The Bulls

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

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

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

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

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

The Zone

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

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

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

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

How-To for the Newbies

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

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

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

Downtime?

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

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

Taking Care of Business

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

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

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

Sage & Saddle

The Future

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

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

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

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

PBR Merchandise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Pure” PBR?

Wanna see how the PBR started setting up the 2015 season? Go back to Chicago. It was only the 2nd event, but already Craig Hummer was talking about “storylines.” This does not bode well. Some of the hot issues to track this season:

1) COMPLAINTS ABOUT YOU-KNOW-WHO NOT TAKING RE-RIDES? HAH!
3 Americans did not take re-rides: Brady Sims kept a 74, Nathan Schaper kept 74.50, and Harve Stewart kept 78.75.
Brazilians did take rerides: Robson Palermo sacrificed his 80.25 (that’s why some guys don’t take re-rides!), Silvano, of all people (he asked for his original bull, Hy Test, as his re-ride), and Guilherme Marchi. For those who think Alves is “chicken,” he took that maniacal bull for an 86.25.

2) FOMENTING FALSE RIVALRY
Onscreen, national icons were alongside rider names. As Craig put it, “all the guys and the country they represent.” WRONG. There are no national teams! Statements like these whip up the morons in the peanut gallery who think the events ARE the U.S. versus Brazil. It’s not the Olympics, folks.

3) TEAMS??
Jared Allen put together a rider team AND a bull team. Speculation: is this an experiment to see how the concept goes down with the contractors and riders—after which the PBR either will set up a Beta test event, or encourage teams as a regular part of the tour? They might want to look at CBR’s bull teams, and the PRCA’s rider teams, each representing a sponsor. The idea of rider teams in the PBR hasn’t appealed to anyone I’ve heard from on the subject. Some people even see it as a death knell.

4) WHY A LOT OF AMERICAN RIDERS DON’T DO AS WELL AS BRAZILIAN RIDERS:
Riders talked about their physical preparation for bull riding. A lot Americans (for those with reading comprehension difficulty: I said “a lot,” not all) said that they don’t work out or don’t do much; J.B. Mauney thinks working on the ranch makes up for it. That’s out of their own mouths, folks.

5) THE DRAW ISN’T RANDOM:
Cody Lambert continues to pull stunts like matching little Lachlan Richardson with Big Enough.

6) THE BRAZILIANS-TAKING-TOO-LONG-IN-THE-CHUTE CHESTNUT:
Valdiron de Oliveira on Stanley Fatmax was “being very particular in the chute,” Hummer starts off. “Very particular, Craig,” Justin McBride piles on. They change this refrain when it’s a different rider, to “He wants to get everything just right.”

7) UNDERSCORING:
Marco Eguchi on American Gangster: 81.75
Guilherme Marchi on Let ‘er Rip: 84.50
Silvano Alves on Redbone: 85

8) PREJUDICE IN ACTION:
Valdiron de Oliveira was the Round 1 winner. The next words we heard were, “Let’s check in with Leah Garcia and J.B. Mauney.” Not with the winner.

9) THE NEW POINTS SYSTEM:
That interview was a set-up to have J.B. comment on the new points system. PBR thinking: if one of the top bull riders in the world (“fan favorite”) gives it his seal of approval, then the sheep will follow. J.B. said it was “a little confusing, but I like the way they’re doing it.” If one of the top bull riders in the world diplomatically says the system is “a little confusing” (the look on his face spoke volumes), you know it’s a LOT confusing. He has to say he likes the way the PBR is doing it, because he’s their Golden Boy. They would expect nothing less.

10) SEXISM STILL IN PLACE
Very cool that Silvano brought his kids with him up onto the Shark Cage for the ceremony. (Family values.) Very uncool that they all had to walk though the Bimbo Bookends to get there. (Not family values.)

11) HYPOCRISY #101
Alves won the Championship Round and the event—his first event win in 2 years. Craig: “He didn’t win anything last year except the World Finals.” Sigh. How do we wrap our heads around that idiocy? “It seems the Universe is lining up for him.”
McBride: “He’s making it line up for him. When you do things right, good things are going to happen.” Didn’t he spend all of 2014, except for the last day of Finals, talking about how Silvano was wrong about everything?
He mentions the new points system: “Silvano Alves isn’t worried about that.” Um, has this bright bulb figured out yet that one huge reason the new system showed up was that Silvano knew how to play the old system?
So now are they all on the Silvano bandwagon? The haters from last season are now kissing some Brazilian butt?

JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT–

MALAPROPISM OF THE MONTH:
“You can’t even hold a candlestick to how tough he is.”—Chase Outlaw re Ben Jones.
Runner up:
“The cream of the crop rises to the top.” Courtesy of Craig’s Mixed Metaphors Department.

I COULDN’T RESIST:
“No one has rode more bulls,” said Craig Hummer, who’s obviously been taking cowboy lessons in a vain attempt not to stick out like a sore thumb.

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

NEW YORK CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY – EYE WITNESS

4 Recognizable even from the backI fell off the map for a while dealing with family stuff. A hint, folks: When you’re 89 years old, don’t go out in your slippers on the black ice to get the newspaper!

Here’s what I saw at Madison Square Garden, from the good seats (photos follow at end):

Observations:

#1. The secret to unearthing daysheets (Madison Square Garden personnel will always tell you they’ve run out of them): go to the Guest Services Deck on the Concourse and ask for them. The daysheets are free; the program is about $20, as far as I remember. I don’t buy them.

#2. At several vendor booths I visited, there was not one piece of merchandise featuring a Brazilian rider. Not even a Three-Time World Champion Silvano Alves tee shirt.

#3. Some of the nastiest men in the world worked behind the scenes at this event: big white guys with ID cards hung around their necks. Suit or denim, that don’t make no never mind. I was about 8 rows up from the chutes, and walked down to the first row to get photos of the riders sitting around behind the chutes. I also wanted to give a letter to one of the Brazilian riders. I called down to Beefy Guy in Denim, who pretended not to hear or see me—and believe me, I can be loud—no matter how many times I called and waved to get his attention. Rude dude. The expression on his face was the proverbial “the lights are on but nobody’s home.”
A pot-bellied Suit was standing closer to where I was, scowling hellaciously at who knows what. He saw me taking pictures with my phone, and yelled at me to get back to my seat. Excuse me, but if I’m standing at the first row just above chute level, do you think I’m an intruder from the balcony? There’s no way to get there other than buying an expensive seat, which my friend had done. (Now that I think of it, I shoulda said, “Make me!”)
I waved the piece of paper and asked if he could give it to one of the Brazilian riders, who were hanging out near him, shooting the breeze— not prepping for a ride. I used “Please” and all the polite words normal people use; he was literally within tapping distance of the guys— if he reached out his arm, the letter would’ve gone right to them. He just kept shouting angrily at me, as if I were a barnyard animal that got out of the yard. I mean, real gangster material. He was so venomous, if he had a gun he would’ve shot me. I was grateful for the railing between us.
I can’t say for sure whether these were PBR crew or Madison Square Garden crew, but I’m guessing from their cowboy boots that these guys weren’t from the home team.

HIGHLIGHTS
• Seeing Ben Jones dance twice in one event! He wildly spurred his way to an 86.50 on Sun Dome (gee, do you think that matchup has anything to do with Jones being from sunny Australia?) and, even more impressive, an 89.25 on Pound the Alarm in the Championship Round. When Ben pointed out his biceps during the dance, I think the applause meter hit the same red zone as it does for J.B. Mauney. His best memory of New York: “I rode Voodoo Child here.” Yep— it was a 91-point ride, and I screamed my ass off watching him and one of my favorite bulls.
• Cody Nance losing his chaps after riding Marshall Law. The bull chased Cody and Flint simultaneously up onto the Shark Cage, then challenged each bullfighter, refused to leave the dirt, and had to be roped and dragged. Nance and Rasmussen executed their unison leap like well-rehearsed ballroom dancers, and ended up flat on top of the Cage, in each other’s arms. P.F.F.
• Ryan Dirteater kissing one of his vest logos after unsuccessfully challenging his time on Mr. Bojangles.
• BFTS newbie Kaique Pacheco (who, up close, looks about 12 years old) scoring 87.75 on Rough ‘em Up Tuck.
• Shane Proctor, rolling his shoulders, getting ready to ride Easy Does It, who gave everyone on the dirt a hard time, and Shane an 84.25. The shoulders are working!
• Everybody’s getting their end zone chops together: Joao Ricardo Vieira capped his 89.50 Fire Rock ride with a funny little circular dance move. Subtle, cute— a far cry from the showmanship of Ben Jones and Renato Nunes.
• Lite ‘em Up’s encounter with Flint: The Painted One set up his life-sized cardboard cut-out (largest Selfie ever) on the dirt to taunt the bull, who had just treated L.J. Jenkins to a hard landing. No reaction from Lite ‘em Up. Flint turned the cardboard to face the bull, who pawed the ground and lowered his head as a warning, but didn’t charge. (‘fraid of Flint?) Evidently trying to dispose of the real Flint, Frank Newsom snuck up behind him and moved the cut-out closer to the bull, scaring 3-D Flint, who nearly fled. The cardboard fell, the bull backed up in surprise, then ran after Frank— stepping over, not on, Flat Flint. Lite ‘em Up got big laughs for that move.
• Tanner Byrne rode the unridden (in 20 outs, since 2013) Raven Flyer (96.43% buckoff rate), for an impressive 87.25. I am so liking this guy, especially because he doesn’t have a big ol’ Attitude.
• Once again, J.B. Mauney impressed the New York crowd with his patented Fast Crawl. I know it’s not funny to him, but it’s mighty entertaining for the rest of us. This time he was escaping Johnny Walker Black Jr., whose name I guess is misspelled to avoid trademark infringement lawsuits. 86.75 was the score.

SHOUT OUTS
• To Cooper Tires for getting a jump on sponsoring Kaique Pacheco. They’ve already been smart enough to nab Renato Nunes, Fabiano Vieira, and Eduardo Aparecido. I guess they realize South Americans buy tires, too. Kudos to them for not exhibiting prejudice.
• To Gage Gay, because he’s feeling so bad. Right now he looks like he’s on autopilot, like he’s just not feeling it. He defeats himself before he even leaves the chute. That incident at the Finals made a big dent in his confidence. It’s a sophomore slump, kid; you’ll ride your way out of it. It happens to the best of them— ask J.B.

LOWLIGHTS
• Silvano Alves’s bull The Rev was so weak that he was offered a re-ride. He turned it down (no surprise there) and accepted the lousy 59.50 points (which for other riders would be 80). It did come back to bite him, but Alves didn’t seem to mind; he thinks long-term. I don’t know if the broadcast showed this on camera, but you should’ve seen the reactions of the people behind the chutes when he came off the dirt. They avoided him like he had leprosy. It was so schoolyard, I was shocked. (I don’t know why I continue to be shocked by the bad behavior of so many PBR guys; I guess it’s because I expect adults to behave like adults.)
Delco, Silvano’s Championship Round bull, must’ve showed up for work drunk. He’s the sure thing for high scores, but this time he got fouled up in the chute, fell down just as the gate opened, banged his head into the fence, stumbled, bumped against the gate… Alves is not a cowboy to give up and jump off a bull’s back in a messy situation; he stuck with the bull and was offered a re-ride or 77.25. At this point, Alves has made 22 consecutive rides, so I’ll give you one guess about his decision. But I’m still asking myself, What the heck was wrong with Delco??
• Fabiano Vieira’s bad day ended with a buckoff courtesy of Western Way, and an awful aftermath: smacked his head against the fence, then the bull stamped on him. Frank the Tank finally was able to throw Fabiano out of the bull’s way. Next stop: Sports Medicine.
• The unmentionable injury J.B. sustained may affect future generations of Mauneys, but I don’t think that’s how it was listed on any injury report.

BEST FASHION ALERT EVER (except for those photos posted to my Facebook page, you naughty BullSisters!)
Shane Proctor was workin’ those rainbow colored chaps and fringes. My phone photos just couldn’t do justice to them in motion. It’s amazing how fast a bull zips by.

I’M JUST SAYIN’…
• All the riders need to cowboy up and get some theme music going. Eventually some of them might get the same Pavlov’s dog reaction as J.B. gets when the crowd hears the first bar of “Bad to the Bone.”
• Once again, the Championship Round started with Brazilian riders in the top 3 or 4 slots, who gradually were pushed down the ladder.
• The crowd booed the 89.75 given to J.B. for his ride on “the flashy Percolator,” as Hummer described the bull. I’m as surprised as you are that the judges didn’t squeak out that extra .25. I guess everyone’s so used to automatic confetti every time J.B. rides, that this was a rude shock, but when I saw the replay, at one point he was out of position. Even more shocking was the fact that the judges didn’t ignore it.

THE WINNAH
It was a tense moment when Guilherme Marchi’s ride on Kiss Animalize was scrutinized, but he came through with an 86.75, winning the event by 1 point. (Could they spare it??) His stats: 527 rides, 20 event wins, and never before in New York. His interview on the Shark Cage was hilarious. Leah Garcia asked him if he thought he could win the World Championship again. Trying to hold back some giggles, he politely said something about that being the dream for all the riders. How did he feel about winning NYC? “I still have more room for more sponsors on my vest!” She asked if he could beat Silvano. Marchi broke down laughing. “Of course!”

THE BROADCAST VERSION

On the CBSSports Broadcast of the Bucking Battle, there was a hilarious intro: they’ve added sound effects to the videoclip of the bulls: “Rroarr!” Most of the time when I’ve heard bulls bellowing in the chute, they sound more like “Muhh!” Where are those flame-snorting bull heads when we need them?

WILL ROLLETH OVER IN HIS GRAVE
Quoth Craig The Bummer: “J.B. Mauney loves this atmosphere; he hopes to be making a curtain call… but Valdiron de Oliveira is nobody’s understudy… If all the world’s a stage, Silvano Alves is…” Unfortunately that’s the part I couldn’t remember, but I’m sure it was a doozy. The Shakespeare potpourri disintegrated into, “…lets his riding do the talking for him.”

ROCKET SCIENTIST
Interview with Chase Outlaw: “You stay on every bull, you’re gonna win the event, 90% of the time.” Um, did they not explain the new point system to him?

SERIOUS LOWLIGHT
Possibly the worst bull score I’ve ever seen was Pitch Perfect’s 31.50. Note to those with reading comprehension problems, lest I be flooded with comments about being wrong because XYZ’s score was even lower, I said “score I’ve ever seen.” I am curious as to what’s the lowest bull score ever given in the PBR, though— does anybody know?

THE WORD FROM ON HIGH
It’s official: Ty Murray measured Nathan Schaper and Tanner Byrne, and the results are: Nathan is 6’2”, Tanner is 6’4”. I’m sure Ty did that just so he could make his joke again that seeing bullriders this tall is like seeing a six-foot gymnast.

AGAIN, I’M JUST SAYIN’…
• “He’s getting pretty picky, if you ask me,” said Ty Murray of Chase Outlaw’s prep time on JoJo. Ty and Shorty Gorham also griped about Sean Willingham taking too long in the chute: “Shorty comes from the same school as me. Preach it, brother!” Of course we all know how they feel about a Brazilian rider taking a while in the chute, but sometimes, another rider is “trying to get everything just right.” So which is it, fellas, and when? Or is it according to who’s doing it?
• Ty keeps talking about PBR being different because it has the rankest bulls in the world. News flash, dude: some of the same bulls buck in the PRCA and CBR. And then there are the ones that Mike White renames for different events. 

TV HIGHLIGHTS
There were very loud cheers at the announcement of Marchi’s name, and even more when he rode Imagine That for 86.25. Leah asked him, “Which direction did that bull spin?” His gleeful response: “Away from my hand, baby!” We’re all glad to hear that he’s removed that “mental block” Ty Murray keeps harping on.

SMALL PACKAGES (no, it’s not what you’re thinking!)
• Ty calls Clementine, “the little bull that could. No horns, the cute little face, and the big flappy eyelashes…and then he’s got a name like Clementine.” That little bull turfed Valdiron de Oliveira, who’s approximately the same size.
• Jesse Byrne was heroic, repeatedly throwing himself on the bull’s back to free Mike Lee’s hand from his long, scary hang-up on Oklahoma Bell.

The order of finishing was: Marchi, JB, Shane Proctor, Alves, Chase Outlaw. Kaique and Valdiron each earned 100 points. Silvano was still #1 in the world, followed by Reese Cates (how the hell did that happen?), Marchi, and Matt Triplett.

CODA
At the end of the event, I waited at the rail as riders signed autographs, and handed Marco Eguche a letter meant for all the Brazilian riders, telling them that they have millions of fans here who see how badly the judges are treating them, and that when the riders speak out, we’re on their side. Translation: We think you’re great— sorry about all the hostile morons here.

Leaving the Garden, audience members are herded like cattle— literally, through a labyrinth of gates— all that’s missing is the electric prod. I was shunted into a hallway that turned out to be the primo exit, and ended up in the middle of a pack of Brazilian World Champions (and tripped over Silvano’s wheelie bag). A photographer’s dream, right? My hands were so frozen, I couldn’t get my friggin’ phone out fast enough to catch everyone. (Seriously, you have no idea how bad the weather was that day: snow, rain, sleet, ice, highways closed, accidents galore— the South Americans must’ve felt like they were in Hell). I felt guilty about keeping Robson Palermo standing in the freezing rain, especially after his shut-out, but I did manage to get a couple of photos.

That’s what I call a nice guy.

(Unfortunately those photos turned out to be pseudo-videos that are stuck in the iCloud and I can’t get them down.)

Behind the chutes 1

Behind the chutes 1

Behind the chutes 3

Behind the chutes 3

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

PBR website ignores last year’s NYC “co-winner”: Fabiano Vieira

Go to the PBR website. Click on Schedule, then BFTS, then Monster Energy BuckOff, then Get Tickets. Whose face is on that page, listed as last year’s winner of the Madison Square Garden event? Guess. Do I have to say his name? (to quote Bruce Springsteen)

I was at that Championship Sunday, and the judges declared Fabiano Vieira and JB tied. The reality: they did one of their famous .25 anti-Brazilian dings to give J.B. a leg up. (Not JB’s fault.) In my book (and a lot of other peoples’, judging by the reaction in the Garden), Fabiano was the only winner of that event. The judges just couldn’t stand to have that happen.

So now the PBR has posted its revisionist history on its website. Despicable. All the people who don’t know any better will believe that J.B. was the 2014 winner in NYC. There were “two” winners: Fabiano Vieira was the first.

I wonder how they’ll fix things tomorrow.

Posted in Built Ford Tough Series, Bull Riding, cowboys, PBR | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments