Milwaukee is the 24th stop on the nationally-televised BFTS─ it’s getting down to the wire, folks. AND STILL NO JUSTIN MCKEE!
Day 1: I AM SO GLAD LEAH’S WORKING THIS EVENT! And it’s good to see Valdiron back, even if he’s just sitting it out.
I tuned in halfway through the Saturday night broadcast because I got hijacked by the movie “Piñero,” with Benjamin Bratt playing award-winning playwright/poet/hustler/thief/drug addict Miguel Piñero. I had to watch; Piñero was a founder of the Nuyorican Poets Café on NY’s Lower East Side, where I acted in the first play at its present location. Who knew I was right in the middle of theatre history? It was amazing to see that era from this perspective.
So here’s the confusing setup for Milwaukee:
All 40 riders competed on Friday and Saturday. After Saturday’s Round 1, riders with the 10 highest scores got another bull. After Saturday’s Round 3, riders with the 10 highest cumulative scores went to the Championship Round and got another bull. The rider with the highest combined score from all four rounds wins the event. The event offers 1,100 points; event winner gets 300, each round winner gets 100 plus his score. Got that?
And how thrilled are we that Friday night’s event was televised at 11:30 p.m. Saturday?
THE CONTINUING MISADVENTURES OF BEN JONES
Ben made the ride on Norris (scored 86.25), rolled away unconscious, knocked his head on the ground and on the fence. He’s had a lot of knockouts in the past few months. No dancing. He was taken out of competition after collecting a concussion on Day 1, sat out the next round, and then felt nauseated after his Round 3 ride. He might not ride in Springfield. I hope that Happy Dance doesn’t get rusty.
I’M JUST SAYIN’…
- What’s up with that incredibly insulting line accompanying the cover photo of Valdiron on the latest issue of ProBullRider Magazine: “It’s His Title to Lose”? I suppose the boys think this is a compliment, meaning Valdiron’s got the World Champion title locked up (but the implication is, he might lose).
- To add to the insult, the article keeps referring to him as “Oliveira.” Hire a fact checker, you bozos! His last name is DE OLIVEIRA. “De” is not a middle name. When you talk about Ryan McConnel, do you call him “Connel”? How lazy can you be, to not know this? Well, I guess if it took Craig Hummer a year and a half to find out he was pronouncing “Silvano” wrong, maybe you won’t get Valdiron’s last name right until after he wins a title. Or two.
- I think it’s just hilarious that now Hummer is pronouncing “Silvano” correctly, after two years.
- The hyperbole of that “Heroes and Legends” ad is downright embarrassing. Buy tickets for the event and “be a part of history”? You’re not storming the beach at Normandy, boys.
- The top 3 in the event happened to be Brazilians, Shane Proctor came in at #4, and he’s the one who was interviewed. This happened last weekend, too, didn’t it?
- Debut bull King Merl got the best of J.B. Mauney. “These bulls don’t seem to be suiting J.B.,” was Justin McBride’s spin. Um, do you maybe mean J.B. hasn’t been riding the bulls he gets or picks? I’m pretty sure if it were any other rider, McBride’s comment would’ve been more like, “This guy’s on a streak that’s colder than…” I can’t finish this sentence, but if Justin McKee were here, he could.
- Lincoln Electric’s Bring It, a very athletic, fluid bull, has been ridden only twice in his 3-year career, and gave Marchi 92 points in Pueblo. Fabiano Vieira had him this time, but was called for a touch.
- Red Hot took Alves on a kooky trip; Silvano had to make continual adjustments, doing a lot of amazing hip-shifting to stay in position, and at the end of the 8 seconds, he was left clinging to the fence. A lot of work, for a measly 81 points, and that’s definitely the bull’s fault.
- Chick’n Fried was Robson Palermo’s re-ride bull. This was the first time I’d seen Palermo ride since his last injury. He’s #4 in the world, and has the second best power ranking over the past 5 weeks. This time I think he rode for 15 seconds─ a strong ride, in his usual solid style. You’d never know he’s been injured several times. Can’t they add another couple of points to his 87, for those extra seconds?
- McKennon Wimberley, Sean Willingham, and Mesa Pate’s visit to the Big Island of Hawaii, co-sponsored by the Paniolo Preservation Society. Dr. Billy Bergin, paniolo historian, and Neil “Dutch” Kuyper, CEO of Parker Ranch in Waimea, gave us a few tidbits of information, such as that paniolos (cowboys) have been working in Hawaii since at least the mid-1800s. But what I really wanted to see was Hawaiian Ivory, Black Ivory, and Speckled Ivory in their native habitat. I think they’re spectacular and will keep getting even better. Even though Mike Lee’s been taking yoga classes for flexibility, Speckled Ivory whipped him off his back─ then kept hustling long after Lee was gone, really strutting his stuff. I love these Hawaiian bulls!
- The Nyah Nyah Girl: “Still to CO-o-me, Shane PrOCterrrrr.” “Still to co-o-me: Luke Snyderrrr.” She even pronounces “Milwaukee, Wisconsin” in that weird, mannered delivery. Does she think that’s a style?
- The T&A photo that smacks you in the face a couple of pages into the PBR magazine. How crass and sexist! You jerks need to have a word with Rock Star Energy Drink and tell them to find another way to advertise. Remember: HALF OF BULL RIDING FANS ARE WOMEN, and the overwhelming majority of us HATE seeing women depicted this way. Just because some nitwit posed for the picture doesn’t mean it’s right to stick this crap in a magazine that all kinds of people read─ including young bull riding fans. If you guys don’t get what’s so insulting about it, try this on for size: would you like to see your daughter like this? (And if you do, you’re even sicker than I thought.)
OH, HERE WE GO AGAIN…NITWITTICISMS
- “Started out with a tornado in the gate, and ends with a Brazilian celebration.”—Hummer’s stupid explanation of Paolo Lima’s 88-point ride on Mesa Pate’s Cowboy Casanova, who started exploding vertically in the chute.
- Now Craig wants Alves to be called “Ice Man” because he’s so cool about his approach to riding. Well, at least it’s easier to pronounce than “The Valdironator.”
- Talking about Fabiano Vieira and Silvano Alves rodeoing in Brazil, Craig Cornball declaimed, “He and his best friend Silvano, traveling the world together, living the life…” Living the life?? Whaddaya think, they schlep around in a Lear Jet with Champers on tap and a suite at The Four Seasons everywhere they go? If you had to go one week without your spray tan and hair gel, you’d be a basketcase, Bummer.
- Talking about the upcoming BFT Ford Invasion, where Colby Yates and Luke Snyder take the truck to the Harley Davidson factory and meet the owner: “Two high-speed icons collide: Ford and Harley Davidson.”—Craig, could you have picked a more unfortunate metaphor??
- McBride’s commentary so far isn’t adding much; it’s usually just talking for the sake of talking. Hummer has rubbed off on him. Newsflash, boys: nonstop talking does not equal excitement. It means the broadcast becomes annoying and we tune you out.
- “Not necessarily the group of Brazilians we’re used to seeing at the top of the leaderboard”— Craig, echoed by Justin. Actually, that’s not even one of his witless attempts at wordplay; it’s just plain stupid.
- Big Tex is “at the tail end of his career”—Craig, you are so, um, what’s the word…OY!
- “We get a chance to” is now one of the most hated Hummerblathers. All I can say is, thank god they stopped miking the riders in the chute. Now there was a non-event.
- “[Insert name of bull or rider] is sending a message to [insert name of bull or rider]…” That’s another of my most hated pieces of Hummerblather.
- “Shane Proctor is never gonna lack for confidence, and that’s what you need in a champion, not just in bull riding, but in any sport.”—Hummerblather. Nooo; I’m sure I’ve seen plenty of championship athletes with no confidence. (Though actually, Mickey Mantle thought he wasn’t good enough. Can you imagine??)
- Somehow, someone forgot to blast music while Fabiano Vieira, whose bar graph was about the opposite of Sean Willingham’s, was on Get Western, a Mesa Pate bull. What a relief! We could actually focus on nothing but the ride.
- Pate had 4 bulls in the event, and Yay! We got to hear Leah do a sensible interview with her. I shudder to think what Erin “The Moron” Coscarelli would’ve said to her. Probably ask her for makeup tips. (Which she sure could use.)
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM…
- McBride saying next year Paolo Lima could be a World Championship contender.
- Rubens Barbosa rode Grey Ghost in wild style, for 86.50 and took on King Lopez, who bounded out of the gate in long leaps, for 89.25. “Anything you can do, I can at least match that,” is the dumb thing Hummer claims Barbosa is saying to Proctor, followed by, “Both are Brazilians” at the top. Never mind the blather─ maybe we should watch Barbosa.
- Robson Palermo’s re-ride on Bad Moon was a sight to behold: the bull is so big, he look like he’s packed into the chute. And fast on the turns, too. Robson scored 89.25, prompting The Bummer to hyperbolate (I just invented that, and I think it beats “Valdironator”), “It would be a story for the ages” if Robson passed Alves in the standings. Palermo’s #3 in the world and has had 10 round wins this season. And I’m wondering just exactly how much Hummer drinks before each broadcast.
- El Wappo: New bulls usually go into the long round first, but he went into the short round first. Cody Lambert must’ve seen something in him. Robson Palermo, who understands and speaks a lot more English every week, said he’d talked to L.J. Jenkins about El Wappo. Unfortunately, the bull showed he was kind of green, boinging across the arena. Palermo got a reride.
- Clamdigger helped Mike Lee to an 86.25 ride, keeping up the energy through the whole ride.
- Plummer Butt put on a real strange performance for Luke Snyder, twisting and bumping his butt along on the ground. Whoever named this bull gets a gold star. All I could think of is when your dog suddenly gets an itchy ass and starts dragging it over the carpet… though with a bull, your carpet would be in a lot worse shape.
I DID NOT KNOW THAT…
Silvano Alves has a motorcycle collection.
Tony Mendes tried Riggin’ Slinger, and he got slung. Good thing he wore a helmet; he landed on his head with a crooked neck.
I LIKE IT!
- Mike Lee’s hair is growing back.
- Shane Proctor’s rodeo practice is showing. As predicted by Shorty, he stayed on Cowtown, for 86 points. He also made Titanium Tough look not so tough to ride, for 89.25.
- In spite of Paycheck banging against the chute on his way out, then taking big jumps and spins, Paolo Lima hung in there for 88.75.
- I love how much yelling the Brazilians do when someone’s riding.
- Seeing Paolo Lima on top of the Shark Cage─ which sadly has fallen out of use.
“When I grow up I want to be like Chris Shivers.”—a little cowboy kid’s sign in the audience.
Dude, your opening monologues are begging for a writer. “Breweries, brewskis, bulls…”? This alliteration is a flop. You wish Milwaukee was known for bulls. Worse: calling Asteroid a “top dog,” while what we see onscreen looks suspiciously like─ correct me if I’m wrong─ a bull.
- Shane Proctor is 7 for 7 this tour, and rode Mr. Slim. Amen, Justin: all the clones are so good, I don’t know which is my favorite. (Aw, they all look alike anyway.) it’s so cool that Shane rode one. Fabiano Vieira also conquered a clone: 88.50 on Slim’s Ghost.
- Pistol Robinson fulfilled some of that “Unfulfilled Potential” (a 2 for 20 streak) the booth boys needled him about last weekend. And may I just say, Ha! He was real sticky on Stinger! 87.75, on a bull ridden only 25% of the time.
- Woo hoo! Douglas Duncan’s 91.75 on Cooper Tire’s Wild & Out was well-deserved; that is one energetic bull.
- McLovin shot out of the chute like a bullet, and was moving every muscle to the max. L.J. Jenkins was great; I can’t for the life of me understand why he got only an 81.
- Hallelujah! J.B. Mauney rode Who Dat, a good bull, almost with his old graceful form; his free arm is starting to get back a slightly more fluid motion. (Of course the judges were overjoyed to overscore him with 89.)
- Bravo to Ryan McConnel for staying loose on that bull (whose name I can’t spend a half hour searching for─ fix that stupid website, IT guys)! This 86-point ride looked like how he used to do it. He hasn’t been surfing in a while!
- Austin Meier making a good ride: Lincoln Electric’s Ace in the Hole, 87.25. I was beginning to worry about Austin.
NITWITTICISMS: HUMMER’S ON A HOT STREAK, FOLKS
- “6 men were perfect last night…led by a trio of Brazilians.” How about, “6 men were perfect last night,” period?
- “The first rider always sets the tone for the evening. That responsibility now sits on Douglas Duncan’s shoulders.” Craig, WTF are you babbling about? Riders aren’t in lockstep. The first guy can ride, the next guy not, and vice versa. In this case, Paycheck checked him one jump out of the gate. So the rest of the night was a failure? Not.
- The Bummer was hyping the upcoming Heroes and Legends event, using the phrase “the hallowed…” and my poor ears couldn’t bear it anymore; they shut down the rest.
- “The toughest cowboys collide with the rankest bulls.” Next thing you know, he’ll say they go head-to-head. Yeah, and guess who’s gonna come outta that without a skull fracture?
- Declaiming that Paolo Lima is “trying to be a double winner.” Uh, Craig, you may not know this, but that’s what you call someone who’s a member of both AA and AlAnon.
- Hilarious─ telling us that previously Kasey Hayes was “dispensed” by Wild & Out. That’s what a pharmacy or gumball machine does, Craig. The bull either dispensed with or dispatched (as in, sent him off). Got it?
THE CONTINUING MISADVENTURES OF BEN JONES
In an interview with Leah, Ben politely disagreed with Freeman telling him he couldn’t ride tonight: “If it doesn’t kill ya it only makes ya stronger.” Uh, Ben, this CAN kill ya. Take off the Superman cape and save your life. We want to see the dance for a few more years. Shorty’s message to Ben: “If you’re gonna be stubborn, you better be tough!” Therein lies Ben’s dilemma. He must think that if he listens to his body and to the doc, he’s a wimp.
Jones has ridden Rowdy L.J. 3 of 4 times. Ben seemed uptight in the chute, not in a relaxed riding head, but that 87.75 ride was a miracle—what a workout for both of them! Then Ben gave it a few more seconds. He sure earned that dance on the Shark Cage. But after that, his nausea made Freeman pull him out of competition tonight and probably next week, until they establish that he has no head injuries. Our Aussie did look pretty awful.
PS. You know, I think I understand the Portuguese accents better than I understand what Ben’s.
- Another Silvano Alves miracle, this time on Double Millennium. Palermo says Alves studies the bulls but doesn’t care what they do, as long as they give him points. This one stumbled, scraping his butt along the dirt, then lurched about in no discernible pattern. Alves made outrageous adjustments staying on this wacky trip; most riders would’ve given up fast, expecting a reride. Again (like last night), Alves’s efforts got an unsatisfactory 83.
- 83 was a stingy score for Luke Snyder’s ride on Navajo Rug. The bull made a trio of enormous leaps─ Shane not only stayed on, but forward and in position.
I’M JUST SAYIN’…
- This has always bummed me out: a bull’s lackluster trip cancels out a rider’s amazing performance. Here’s a better way (talk about pissing into the wind): Separate scores. A rider is scored strictly on his own merits, a bull has a genuine score of his own. By Finals time, we see what each really did all year. A great bull’s off-night won’t wreck his chance for Bucking Bull of the Year, and a shoulda-been-World-Champ isn’t tanked by a bull’s off-night.
- How stupid, having riders comment on 9-11! Whose dumb idea was that? What else are they gonna say but “It’ll never be forgotten”? Ryan McConnel was still in school 10 years ago—his class saw a video of it! Then Austin Meier got into the military rap. Does the NFL ask players to give opinions on anything but the game? Keep politics out of the PBR! Disaster is ahead if you bring up emotionally laden subjects like terrorism and war.
- I thought for sure Habanero was taking down Stormy Wing, I think I saw a touch, but Stormy scored 85—too much for that awkward ride…but some judges weighed in slower, with higher scores, and Stormy’s cute…
- Cowboy Casanova had Barbosa leaned all the way back, then ditched him. The booth boys pointed out Barbosa’s riding style: body straight, not breaking at the hips. Rubens, honey, if everyone else breaks at the hips, ya might wanna go along with the crowd on this one.
- I agree with McBride: Paolo Lima rides like Robson, staying tight, head down─ this time for 85.75 on Iron Horse.
- Bootlegger threw de Oliveira, who landed on the top of his head and involuntarily stayed there; the bull came after him and gave him “a little shot in the shorts on the way out,” as McBride said. Jesse Byrne to the rescue once again. The ride was reviewed; supposedly Valdiron grabbed his rope at 7.79. TV viewers saw that he was still on the bull at 8. Bad enough the clock and buzzer disagree half the time, but now their camera and ours don’t agree?
- Instead of “We get a chance to listen in on the riders in the chute,” a big Kohoutek, why not listen in after they’re done? They almost always say something to someone, whether or not they rode, and sometimes it’s pretty funny.
BAD BEHAVIOR─ AND I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT THE RIDERS OR THE BULLS
- Bring It was wild in the chute, poking his snout through the rail, turning his head back, squatting his butt against the back of the chute; there was lots of using the log on Shane Proctor’s leg, but not one “Hurry up!’ (And after all that, Shane lasted about 5 seconds.)
- In contrast, Barbosa was two seconds in the chute, his spur was caught in the rope, his leg was in trouble, and we hear, “Let’s go!” Still, he rode After Party for 87. Think the harassment had anything to do with the fact that a good score (which he got anyway) would move him to the lead?
- While Robson’s bull RMEF Gunpowder & Lead was ratcheting around in the chute, people were yelling “Let’s go!” Previously Palermo had three 90+ rides on him, the best being 93.25 in Pueblo. Make that four great rides now, the highest score yet on this bull─ 93.50─ and Robson takes the lead. Nyah nyah to the chute bullies.
- After Hummer’s blathering about Douglas Duncan “breaking up the Brazilian stranglehold on the top spots” and “Brazilian dominance” (4 of the top 5), who gets interviewed at the end of the event? Douglas Duncan, the only non-South American. Flashback to what happened last night and last weekend. That’s called a pattern, folks.
CAN I QUOTE YOU ON THAT?
- “A quarterback with happy feet” –McBride re Valdiron’s mistake last night, when his tootsies went off track.
- “It puts you in a bad mood when you’re gettin’ throwed off.”─J.B. Mauney.
- In his Athlete’s Profile, Dustin Elliott explained his new bull rope, which “ain’t broke in yet,” and the advantage and disadvantage of a “broke-in” rope (I may have to start listing Krazy Kowboy Adjectives) compared to a new one. Justin’s razzing: “You had two weeks, you knew you had a new bull rope, that’s no excuse!” On the ride, Elliott’s rope had to be cut when he hung up and dragged. It looked like he jumped off, from where I was at, said Shorty.
- McBride done lost his mind, talking about J.B.’s “new maturity” and how he doesn’t let his emotions get the best of him. Wasn’t it last week you said, “I’d hate to be a trash can in a locker room right now,” when J.B. got bucked off? Did somebody scold you in between?
- Ryan McConnel said one thing he was doing wrong before was that he wasn’t paying attention. Well, you really gotta do that on Smack Down, buddy. Or in bull riding as a whole
- “The bull’s mentality is the same as the rider’s: when you’re losing it’s hard to compete.” –Shorty. Makes sense if you think about it. On the other hand, it makes J.B. sound like a hunk of beef. Heh heh.
- Marchi says he thinks Alves isn’t thinking about the championship right now. Well, maybe by now, just a tad?
- Must Versus/the PBR open the broadcast with wrecks? Are they trying to turn off viewers? Lose the newbies before they’ve even nabbed them? To show excitement and drama, how about showing great rides?? In other sports ads, the emphasis is on the winning touchdown, the final backhand smash, the slam-dunk─ get my drift? That’s why people watch sports─ not to see athletes lose (except the other team, of course).
- Nyah Nyah Girl: “Mil WAUK ee Wis CON sin.” Man, if she was one of my acting students, I’d kick her ass from here to kingdom come to drop that affected adenoidal delivery.
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO, “HMMM…”
- Squawk Box looked like he didn’t know what he should do, then settled into a rocking chair spin. Mike Lee scored 84.50. The bull’s now been ridden 2 out of 3 times. Did Lambert give Lee a creampuff? Are aging riders and ex-world champs being given lesser bulls, while Alves gets the wackjobs?
PROBABLY A HOPELESS CAUSE
The next English 101 campaign: It’s LAS Vegas, not LOS Vegas, Craig. How about I buy you a dictionary? On second thought, it took you two years to master “Silvano;” you may not get “LAS Vegas” down until you retire.
NOW, DIDJA REALLY THINK THAT WAS GONNA WORK?
Kasey Hayes was just being a showoff, picking Asteroid. He’s so overmatched. The handler says the bull’s really laid back, has a good personality: “He’s an easy keeper.” (Til he gets in the chute and goes into orbit.) Sure, this was about going for big points, but jeez, Kasey─ Bird Creek was a seesaw, and he dumped you in the dirt; what didja think Asteroid would do? I can’t believe how high those hind hooves reach. 47.50 for the bull.
- Yo Yo’s another bull with the wavy, sinuous motion that’s one of the best techniques for unseating riders, as Cody Nance discovered.
- Jeff Robinson says I’m A Gangster might be back.
- Justin Koons gave it a try on spunky clone Another One. “These bulls never have an off day,” McBride said. Yup─ and the bull was still cranking way after Koons was gone, in case we weren’t impressed enough already.
- Colby Yates’s ride on Slim to None was reviewed, and his hand was out of the rope at 7.99. This time I wish the judges had turned a blind eye. He was robbed.
- What!? One little jerky move from Space Chimp andPalermo was spun to the inside and off. My only comforting thought is the Chimp once dumped Chris Shivers, so this wasn’t a fluke.
- Cord McCoy, using Pistol Robinson’s rope, was making was a thrilling ride out of Major Infraction’s wild bucking─ til he got bucked off. Can’t think when Cord’s last 8-second ride was; good thing he has loyal fans.
- Marchi’s awful dismount from ? I’d give the name if I could find it. Leah asked how he felt about not riding the rest of the night because of injuries. Said a subdued looking Marchi, “I’m very mad, but that’s part of the sport…I’ll talk to Dr. Tandy Freeman…my plan is to go back to the finals and do well.” Poor guy looked so depressed.
- It’s awful to know that J.B. is the Bubble Boy now.
Jr. Powder blew off Ryan Dirteater, making him 0 for 2 this weekend, despite a #5 power ranking for 5 weeks. “As the band Dire Straits once sang, Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug,” chimed in Craig. Nice. I’m sure Ryan didn’t feel bad enough.
- Fabiano Vieira was underscored (85.50) on Motown Magic, a tough bull to get by, knocking Mauney out of the short round. Quick cut to J.B., who just shrugged and smiled. Now that’s the J.B. I remember.
- Justin Koons’s bull launched him belly-first onto the railing; Koons hung half over it, almost in the audience’s lap. I’ve seen baseball players hang up like that, but never a rider!
- Git ‘ir Done was bellowing and smashing Palermo’s ankle in the chute; for the first time ever, we heard Robson yell in pain and extract himself from the chute.
Why oh why in god’s name do they keep using that hideous shouting fake “cowboy” stabbing his finger at us?! Doesn’t anybody at the PBR or David Neal Productions realize what a huge mistake it was hiring him? Who cares what his acting credits are─ buy him out of his contract! He’s a horrible embarrassment to the sport; he should be shouting at wrestlers with fake names and costumes, not introducing PBR events. Bull riding doesn’t need that hokum to sound exciting—it already is!! Just the quickie clips of the riders tipping their hats sends the message. That useless mortifying waste of money and airtime is giving people a huge headache!