ANAHEIM Jan. 21-22, 2011
I thought the PBR was trying to distance itself from the image of bull riding as a cornpone sport─ then they hire a voiceover guy who sounds like a cartoon hillbilly. At the same time, they’re trying to be slick: the opening clip of the action and the cowboys’ names looked like a cheesy TV series’ opening credits. And then there’s the hyperbolic, melodramatic opening chatter…
After a 2 1/2 year absence because he broke his neck twice in five months, Paolo Crimber is back. “If it was me, I wouldn’t be coming back,” Ty admitted. Good point. And kudos to the Rider Relief Fund who helped Paolo through his non-earning period.
Ryan Dirteater’s riding is getting better and better; he’s scoring again: in Round 2, he tied for 2nd with Mike Lee, and tied with Lee for 10th place in the event average. But he sure runs like hell for the barriers after he’s off a bull. Can’t say I blame him.
SHOULDA BEEN A RE-RIDE:
• Colby Yates deserved a re-ride when Big Kahuna had trouble getting out of the gate.
• Shane Proctor seemed to undergo some screw-up in the gate and then got thunked across the back by the gate. Of course it affected his ride.
I’M JUST SAYIN’…
• Travis Briscoe took plenty of time in the chute, and everyone was patient, but when Valdiron does the same thing, everyone bitches about it and talks about penalizing him.
• Brazilian glass ceiling? For all the spinning Wild Eyes did, matched move for move by Guilherme Marchi, that score should’ve been higher than 82.25. Skeeter Kingsolver was awarded 88.25 for riding Hot Tamale, who covered a lot of real estate and did some awkward little maneuvers. Whuh? If that was a Brazilian rider, we’d be hearing about the real estate issue and the score would be 81. Everyone was fussing over Skeeter taking second place; Hummer emphasized him being second last year at the same event, then threw in, as an afterthought, “It also means Silvano Alves takes first place.”
• Sean Willingham isn’t the only rider switching to a Brazilian style bull rope, and it worked for him this weekend, but hey, the Killer B wrap ain’t magic, boys. Y’all got to bring it.
• Ty, please keep the hat on. Thanks.
• A clip of Austin Meier practicing on a mechanical bull looked promising─ only it wasn’t mechanical. It was a guy moving levers that looked like wheelbarrow handles. Embarrassing!
• Nobody cares about Hummer’s picks. Let him pick after he’s been on a couple of bulls.
• Wiring the riders seems like a good idea, but here’s the thing: they hardly talk in the chute. They’re concentrating on their wrap. They know they can’t swear on TV. The in-arena show is drowning them out. And the Brazilians speak Portuguese, but the PBR has yet to hire a translator or put up subtitles. So we constantly hear, “He’s wired, so let’s listen in,” and then─ nada. (Except for Douglas Duncan’s well-placed, “God-dayum!” as Sure Fire put on a performance in the chute.) Sure, during Austin Meier’s rides we get to hear him grunt like McEnroe on the tennis court, but once you hear it, you’ve got the gist.
The mic’s a great idea after the ride. That’s when we heard Stormy Wing complain about how fast Pit Boss tossed him: “Son of a bitch!” (I think they turned off his mic after that.) I also cherished hearing Ben Jones cuss, though I’d rather hear him whooping it up. On the other hand, the only time Craig Hummer shuts up (sort of) is when we’re “listening in.” Maybe it’s a tradeoff.
MORE REASONS TO DUMP ERIN COSCARELLI:
1) “Can you tell us the emotion that’s running through your mind right now?” Erin dear, emotions traditionally are associated with the heart, and thoughts with the mind. It’s not chemically correct, but so what? That’s a lame question: the kind someone asks when they don’t know what to do. When you’re outta ammunition, Toots, STFU!
2) Renato’s hand is visibly swollen, he didn’t climb the gate to backflip after the ride, and she asks if his hand hurts. He opts out of the Championship Round, explaining, “I don’t want to get on if I’m not going to do good,” and she says, “Right back to you, Craig,” which apparently she thinks is the essence of being a sports commentator.
3) Maybe the “Truth Booth” isn’t such a dumb idea; it proves that we don’t need Coscarelli. Let the riders speak for themselves so they don’t have to answer stupid questions like the ones above.
4) This is bitchy, but who the hell goes to work in a low-cut ruffled blouse, a blazer, and a gold crucifix? What is that? The professional madonna/whore look?
As for Leah’s mysterious absence: maybe it’s AGEISM─ and it’s illegal. Would the PBR rather have a dumb “chick” who’s (unsuccessfully) trying to learn on the job, and pissing off millions of fans? Do they want the sport to look like Amateur Hour? Just because Erin worked for somebody in sports marketing does not make her a reporter. Leah knows what she’s doing and doesn’t get rattled. BRING HER BACK!!
I LIKE IT!
• “The Jones Zone”─ don’t remember who said it, but I think every show should have a clip of Ben’s Happy Dance. While we’re at it, I propose an “End Zone” video of each rider’s victory shticks: the back flip, surfing, boxing, arrow-shooting, chest-beating, and every other personal end zone dance, plus one-of-a-kind moments like Marchi doing a head-stand into his hat.
• The diagrams with the circles and arrows, showing a rider’s form, for better and for worse, and the illustrated comparison between an American and a Brazilian rope. They made Ty’s tips clear, and showed why a rider succeeds or not. It’s especially helpful for new fans who have no clue.
• Ty’s explanation of the technicalities that go into a rider’s score sorta clears up the murky standards and the vagaries of scoring: being forward on the jump, timing and counter moves, feel for the bull, balance and weight transfer, and effort. The only glitch is each judge’s interpretation.
• Brendon Clark’s “Buck him!” war cry instead of just a head nod.
• Shorty Gorham on the front page of the L.A. Times Sports Section!
• Ben Jones’s purple shirt.
• The clip of riders saying why they ride bulls: I loved seeing Austin’s regalia up close. Those chaps are spectacular!
NITWITTICISMS: All Hummer, all the time
• “It wasn’t pretty, but Gold Buckle 65 gets him off.” Blatant insinuations about Briscoe’s bestiality! (Just kidding, Travis. Hummer’s a moron.)
• “The bulls are having their way with the riders.” More bestiality innuendo.
• “It is a game of inches.” ─ He supposedly was talking about Valdiron’s, um, bull riding prowess.
• “You never know what it’s going to feel like until the moment it happens.”─ I think I don’t have to explain the implications of this one.
• “Air Wolf is ready and willing to send his adversaries packing.” ─ Uh, Craig, this is bull riding, not a football game.
• Re Mike Lee: “He didn’t win the World Championship in 2004 by not being able to ride rank bulls.” Wanna run that by us again, Hummer? Stop talking for the sake of talking.
• Bummer, attempting to foment fake rivalry. After Alves’s 91.25 Superman turn on Hawaiian Ivory: “Silvano just said to Skeeter Kingsolver, ‘You want it, you have to come out and take it from me!’” Does he have any idea how stupid he sounds?
• “To use a trite phrase…” Do ya know any other kind, Craig??
BUT SERIOUSLY, GUYS:
Get the friggin’ score on the board before the next rider, and penalize the judges if they don’t. MAKE the commentators announce each rider’s name, each bull’s name, AND THE SCORE. The little numbers in the box on screen for three seconds doesn’t cut it!! During the first night of the Anaheim event, the commentators neglected to tell viewers the scores for half a dozen rides.
If we can’t get two hours of material (rides, interviews, and relevant film clips), cut the broadcast to one hour. Viewers shouldn’t have to sit through this format: Commercial, commercial, commercial, commercial, commercial, pointless clip of Brendon Clark and McKennon Wimberly pretending to surf; ride, ride, ride; commercial, commercial, commercial, commercial, commercial; ride, ride, ride, ride; commercial, commercial, commercial, commercial, commercial, commercial… No kidding. I counted. And that was only part of Round 1.
This obnoxious idolizing of J.B. Mauney is out of control. Do all the PBR boys have a crush on him? They’re like a bunch of fawning teenyboppers, and they need to get a grip. They mention him at the top of each round; someone called him “the best of the best.” Uh, wouldn’t that be Renato Nunes, the World Champion? And Austin Meier, 2nd in the world? J.B. is ONE of the best. As disappointing as it was, he came in 3rd last year. Apparently he’s also the “superstar of the PBR,” and “the man with the fan base.” Like the Brazilians aren’t superstars, and the McCords don’t have a fan base? And why did we see only J.B. choose his bull? Of course he’ll pick the rankest one; what about what the other guys pick?
OH, NOT THIS AGAIN!!
A clock malfunction during Alves’s 86.25 ride on Zip Code. Buy a new friggin’ clock!!
THANK YOU GOD:
The cameras occasionally stayed on the bulls after the ride. We got to see Slim Jim dilly-dallying in the spotlight until he was roped and escorted out. Them clones got personality!
• I was sure Robson Palermo was going to make 8 on The Deacon, but that broken right ankle did him in. Renato bobbled off 25 to Life as soon as he was out of the gate. Flight 107 bucked off Austin Meier. That sprained right shoulder is affecting Austin─ and there’s no shame in that, ya big lug! Physical injuries have an effect. It’s doesn’t mean you’re less macho, okay?
• Ben Jones lost another tooth, courtesy of Tighty Whitey─ and he can’t spare it!!
• Shepherd Hills Trapper’s bizarre, berserk trip─ backing up, head scooping down and up─ handed Valdiron his first buckoff of the year, really throwing him, which is a huge accomplishment, considering de Oliveira’s core strength.
• Air Wolf had a lot of lift-off, and handed Ben Jones his third straight buckoff. Uh-oh. We could hear Ben in a state of high pissed-off-ness at himself, yelling, “God! God!”
• I reeeeally reeeeally wanted J.B. to ride Bushwacker, but that bull is friggin’ impossible to ride, as his 47.75 score showed! Fortunately, we all know J.B. will try again.
• Best Ever, who was jumpy in the chute, threw Beau Hill, then trampled him. You could hear Beau moaning; his leg took a horrible shot. He was carried out on a stretcher and offered a re-ride. With a torn knee ligament and separated ribs? Oh yeah, that’ll work.
• McKennon’s hideous MoeBandy.com wreck: he bounced twice in the air, landed face down on the bull’s head, his helmet flew off, and a second skull collision knocked him out and sent him to the hospital. It was touching to see Renato doff his hat in respect.
• Sad, sad sad: the absolutely shabby treatment of Silvano Alves after he won the Championship Round. He looked like he wasn’t sure he won, since nobody was crowding around him making a fuss. No one was with him to translate, and there was a shot of him all alone, holding his buckle, then walking back to the chute with almost no one responding to him. Absolutely heartbreaking. Anyone who wins a buckle deserves serious on-camera limelight!
KOOL KOWBOY VERB TENSES:
“You just gotta keep gettin’ ‘em rode.” ─Ty Murray.
“He was rode today.” ─Austin Meier
Renato skipped the meeting with the hand specialist about that broken bone. He scored 90 on Sue, but was hurting too much for a back flip. He may take off a couple of weeks for surgery.
Paolo Lima dislocated his shoulder when he hit the ground on the first day.
Bandolero got rid of Valdiron at 7-something seconds. Something is definitely wrong with The Big Man.
• Silvano’s proud smile after his beautiful ride on Monkey Wrench…in spite of an 86 that should’ve been an 88.
• Mike Lee’s 88.25 ride on Little Mr. T. It lasted 10 seconds, and Ty was right: “That’s pretty much a clinic. It’s simple: set down.”
• One of the most hilarious bull non-riding moments I’ve seen: Moonshine literally lay down under Ned Cross and took a rest. The PBR really needs to make a Bull Bloopers reel. And for perhaps the second time in his career, Craig Hummer came up with a good crack: “A flat spinner became a flat sitter.” However, the PBR web site didn’t mention Moonshine, just the re-ride bull, Too Tall.
• Shorty “having too much fun,” laughing and giggling while he’s running from bulls.
• Marchi on Moon looked a little wonky at the beginning, but then Guilherme took over, for an 88.75, capped off with a backwards somersault. Put that in the End Zone reel!
• The unridden Yes Man was positively yelling in the chute, and gave Austin a hellish ride; he scored only 78.25, but as he said, “Can’t do it with style, so I went to Plan B: just stay on.”
MOST SHOCKING MOMENT:
Craig Hummer actually said something funny: “Let’s see who takes flight in this round.”
• By Round 3, the bulls had bucked off 2/3 of the riders. Impressive!
• Silver Bullett actually knew the different between the rider (Pistol Robinson) and the bullfighter (Shorty) when both were on the dirt, and went after Pistol, nicking him on the back. Like Ty said, “If you’re not knocked down or dead, get outta there, ‘cause the bulls don’t always know when the play’s over.” That’s an exciting bull: swings his rear end around like a─ gee, if Justin McKee were here, he could fill in the blank.
• Ryan McDonald’s bull, Pit Boss, lived up to his name: first he flung the Jack Daniels sign off the gate and into the ring, and then did the same to Ryan.
• Does Hot Stuff slobber more than other bulls, or was I just imagining it?
• Curveball’s a touch O.C.: the whole time he was under Colby in the chute, he was tapping his nose against the gate, like someone compulsively drumming his fingers on a table.
• OMFG!! There’s a bull called “Little Hummer.” Craig has a Mini-Me?? Stop the insanity!!