2010 WORCESTER PBR INVITATIONAL Sun., May 2
The bulls won. I’ve never seen anything like it. Six riders made the 8 seconds Saturday night, but nobody made 8 seconds on Sunday afternoon, though Connecticut cowboy Dan Welsh got close. One commentator joked that they’d have to give the money to the bulls. Velcro was mentioned. There shouldn’t have been a Championship Round, but the powers that be decided that whoever had lasted close to 8 seconds would be in it. Then, a handful of guys stuck.
I drove three hours and braved a scattering of animal cruelty protestors outside the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass. to see the second of four PBR events in the Northeast. (I never tire of bragging that at the first one, in January, I saw JB hang onto Code Blue in Madison Square Garden.)
BTW, There’s one aspect of bull riding the PBR should address: the public perception that bulls are tortured or hurt. I called out my car window to someone with a picket sign, “They don’t hurt the bulls, believe me! That’s expensive breeding stock!” — not exactly the most comprehensive PR effort.
I was horrified at the attendance—the lack thereof. The arena was only half full; maybe less. Now that’s a marketing challenge I could sink my teeth into…and don’t think I won’t pester the PBR about it. Meanwhile, the Frontier Rodeo web site proclaims that they “delivered another sold out event.” Seeing double? What’n hell were they drankin’??
The event had all the BFTS trappings—big screen, dramatic silhouetted entrance march, T-shirt shooters, joking commentators, and Rockin’ Robbie–the Touring Pro version of Flint.
At the risk of pissing off some people: the opening speechifying on religion and politics tainted what should’ve been just an acknowledgment of what any veterans present may have suffered in war. (And what about the ones who didn’t come back?) It also disrespected the many Brazilian riders, who might think their country, not ours, is the greatest country in the world. Tone it down, folks. This is a sporting event, not a revival meeting.
Might as well turn out one more gripe. Use the big screen to show rides, not wrecks! Most people don’t watch bull riding to see cowboys get maimed—they come to see them ride bulls. There’s plenty of footage of good rides—show it!
There were just two names on Sunday’s program you’d recognize: Cody Nance and Blueberry Wine’s son, Fine Wine. Kasey Hayes won Saturday night, but Sunday afternoon, the thrill was gone. Not for the bulls, though–they were hamming it up.
After he dumped Ueberson Duarte, Tear Jerker didn’t want to scram; he charged the wrangler’s horse—first time I’ve seen that. Black Walnut so seriously balked at the exit chute that the wrangler roped him, then charged ahead of him to pull him into the chute after him. Broken Promises refused to leave center stage until a bullfighter ran into the chute and gave him a target he couldn’t resist chasing. Blue Collar flipped a bullfighter sky-high up over his back end (the bull’s back end, that is).
Cowboys got air-mailed every which way, and a lot of them didn’t get out of the way fast enough after they came down. On Blue Collar, local Jean Da Silva hung up by his foot, traveling upside down. After two buckoffs, Cody Nance came back for his re-ride ready for business: chapless, jeans tucked into his boots. Not the best look, but in the so-called Championship Round, he rode Motel Melvin for 87.5. Corey Atwell, Matt Werries, Tom Winikus, and Lance Roberts scored: 90, 87.5, 91.6, and 86.5, respectively. Wallace de Oliveira, 10th in Nampa, didn’t stay on Barnstormer, but rode Vindictive in the Championship Round for 87.5.
Bulls were provided by Teague Bucking Bulls, Mark Reed, Frontier Rodeo Company, and Frontier Rodeo Company & Ray. Some to watch: Wee Willy, for a good workout. Night Hawk has some good fakes. Loco is intense—not easy to ride. Alex is a big guy. And from the ruckus Austin Nights raised in the chute, it was pretty clear he wanted to get out and move..
The fact that I took notes about the Flint sub shows how dismal the first four rounds were. Rockin’ Robbie’s patter was sometimes a cut above the usual cheesy stuff. The announcer’s best lines: “The bull riding fell apart like a cheap tuxedo” (McKee must be throwing his voice), and “Brazilian cowboy Darth Vader is gonna get the re-ride!”
Trying to rev up each generation in the audience, Robbie hollered at the under-20s, “Pull your pants up!!” He also informed us, “I’m 6’2” on e-Harmony!” (Buyer beware.) And trying to be optimistic after the 40th buckoff, he proclaimed, “Somebody’s gonna ride somethin’ now–I know I’m right—I got ESPN!” After being told he had WBRDS (White Boy Rhythm Deficiency Syndrome), he finally went wildly out of control dancing, spun into the well of a cartwheel, and hit the dirt, at which point the announcer yelled, “Robbie! No more Red Bull, okay!?”
What surprised me was how many Northeastern riders were in the event: 18 from Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Five riders were from the South, four from the Midwest, and ten from Brazil.
But it didn’t matter. It was the bulls’ day. A fake Championship Round is just depressing. Why the guys couldn’t do the 8 seconds in the other four rounds is beyond me. Maybe they just needed more of an audience.