8/22/10 Memphis Invitational
Ryan McConnel has been on a buckoff streak: 8 straight. But this time, Mr. Clutch did some Raisin’ Cane, for an 87. Not only has he changed his hat, but he also changed his hair— no more bottle blond. Dang! It went so great with his surfer move. He says “getting out of his head” will help his riding, and that his neck is a non-issue. I beg to differ.
Shane Proctor turned in an aggressive ride on Maverick, who played right into his hand, for an 89. Marchi scored 84.25 on Updraft, handling a couple of huge fakes by the bull, but you can see his wrist is still bothering him. The judges didn’t spot Harve Stewart’s head slap, so he got an 85.75. Cody Campbell is heating up: 88 on Hot Rod, with outstanding corrections. Mike Lee rode Flashpoint away from his hand for 85.50.
Ned Cross rode Spot’s Corner for 83.75, then started reeling in an imaginary fishing line; across the arena, Flint flopped in the dirt like a hooked fish. This time my hat’s off to the guys in the booth who said: “If you catch Flint, do you throw him back? “ “There’s old-timers all over the world shaking their heads right now.”
Austin Meier has abandoned the all-black look for a Superhero red and blue helmet. He rode Stubby for 86.25, but had a difficult get-off because of his sticky rope. Joking about it afterward, he acknowledged that “if your rope is sticky, you’re gonna ride him.” He said Cody Lambert was teasing him; “We were givin’ each other heck.” Ain’t that gosh-darn cute?
Renato’s ride on Funky Music was just plain funky. The bull came out backwards-ugly, and Nunes was out of position, strung out, but still hung on. The clock seemed to be off-kilter, and the announcers didn’t sound too disturbed as they commented that sometimes the clock doesn’t start at exactly the right time. Are you kidding me?? That’s kinda important in a sport where the competition lasts just 8 seconds! Fix the damn thing! There was some flapdoodle about whether or not Renato made the bell— it turns out he rode for 8.5 seconds (score: 80.75).
JB made some very smart corrections on Very Smart Remedy, and scored 87.75. He also said he’s returned to his original approach to picking bulls. Thank god! This is what I’ve observed: He was riding spectacularly until his old man convinced him to take a more “strategic” approach, to pick “smart”—that is, bulls he could get a big score with, instead of the ones JB wanted to ride because he really wanted to ride those particular bulls, for the challenge. Then JB started the downhill slide; that buckoff streak was totally unnecessary, frustrating to watch, and really screwed with his head. You could see him being depressed, not understanding what was happening, but trying to maintain a good attitude.
Compare his rides before and after Dad put in his two cents: you can see the difference in the motion of his free hand. Before, he had a smooth, rhythmic, forward gliding motion with that hand, stroking the air. When he changed his strategy, his riding deteriorated, and that hand had no rhythm, flapped every which way— and he kept coming unglued from his bulls. His father was wrong. As soon as JB did things the JB way, he started scoring again. Big lesson: Father doesn’t always know best.
Gripe: I can’t believe they didn’t tell us how they got Sevi’s rope down off the rigging last night.
More flying Elvises: This time it was McKennon Wimberley impersonating The King.
Reese Cates is following up his sophomore slump with the junior jinx. After Aragao got Twisted Off, a bit of “atmosphere” got stuck to the camera lens. Ben Jones doctored out of this round, with good reason, but it was disappointing to miss a followup to last night’s happy win. It was disappointing to see Valdiron come off Spitfire so fast, after he’d ridden him 3 out of 4 times.
Aaron Roy didn’t ride Ground Pain— the bull who ran roughshod over Frank Newsom the night before─ and after Ground Pain bucked him off, the bull shoveled Roy along the ground with his horns. That has got to be one of the scariest things about being off the bull’s back.
Egregious sexism: The camera focused on Mesa Pate, an 18-year-old bull owner, the guys talked about her being the new generation of bull breeders and making good buys and trades…but god forbid they should leave it at that. Nooo…I wish I knew which jerk it was who said, “She will have a date to the prom.” Is that how they’d talk about an 18-year-old male bull owner? Not.
Sad but true but funny: Due to injuries to the Team Enterprise (Lostroh, Canter, etc.), Flint Rasmussen is the only one left in action. And he doesn’t even ride bulls.
Valdiron was back to his true self when he locked down Black Hawk, and the boys in the booth outdid themselves with the superlatives: references to a seat belt, superglue, “and a whole lot of power Brazilian strength.” Nothing like a little redunduncy. What was not funny was J.W.’s remark that “They should have a bull rider breeding program.” OY! I tried not to imagine what the program would consist of–forced sex with exactly who? Or selling straws marked “Valdiron,” “Guilherme,” “Renato, “Silvano”? Those booth guys need to turn on their brains before they open their mouths. FILTER, boys, filter! (Maybe it’s that disease where people can’t stop what’s in their cranium from flying out of their mouths–Tourette’s Syndrome.)
Speckled Ivory, the Hawaiian bull: bad for the cowboys, great for the bull fans. He’s got a lot of spring in his step and serious power; he just flings off the riders.
JB riding Code Blue for the second time, scoring 89.50. Normally, this would be at the top of my highlights reel, but I could see that the bull wasn’t up to his usual electrifying standard. And seeing him fall on his haunches just before he exited the arena was very disturbing. Something was definitely wrong, but Code Blue still tried to do his job. That is a bull with heart.
Craig Bummer in god knows what context referred to JDub as “Brainiac.” I almost fell off the couch laughing. All I could think was, Consider the source.
After predicting that Austin Meier would ride Unabomber, and being hugely wrong, The Bummer says, “Forget everything I just said.” Oh, that I only could–forever!