Championship Bull Riding (“The REAL Cowboy Sport”) at Cheyenne Frontier Rodeo Days, on GAC (Great American Country) cable TV. You can also see CBR on demand: CBR TV is on YouTube.
On 9-13-11 GAC aired Night #1 of this year’s event, which took place the last week of July. Night #2 was aired 9-20-11.
For the first time the CBR was at Cheyenne Frontier Days, and that’s a smart move on everyone’s part. Another smart move by whoever’s in charge of such things: advertising Foreigner’s new 3-CD set during the broadcast─ aiming at the rock and roll baby boomer generation, not just country music fans, like I was telling the PBR it should do. But the latter apparently interpreted this idea as playing loud music during rides and making riders drink that Rock Star Energy crap.
What a pleasure to watch this event; compare and contrast:
1) No nonstop blabbering by an announcer who makes no sense half the time
2) No stupid attempts at humor
3) No shouting voiceover
4) No screaming music; they kept it at a reasonable volume.
5) No two different announcer teams and an entertainer working at the same time, with slapback echo from the arena. You could hear them in the background, that’s all.
6) Viewers were told the name of every rider and bull, which stayed onscreen long enough for even the slowest reader to catch. I didn’t have to look up anything to find out what I just saw.
7) The bulls and riders were queued up in different chutes and turned out one after the other; we didn’t have to wait five minutes between every ride.
8) Tuff Hedeman was a broadcaster, and you bet I’m gonna listen to a guy who rode Bodacious. Butch Knowles gave recaps on the green screen, explaining like Ty Murray does.
9) No bumbling incompetent “sportscaster” (translation: Erin Coscarelli) asking lame, embarrassing questions. Suzanne Alexander, the on-the-dirt interviewer, managed to catch just about every rider for a comment, had a friendly attitude, and didn’t bobble anything. (She also held onto them so they couldn’t get away!)
10) The “Outlaws” fan club giveaway was a motorcycle anyone would want, not some big honkin’ gas-guzzling truck.
11) Crown Royal and Evan Williams Bourbon were sponsors, but I didn’t see any half-dressed “Crown Royal Girls” or “Evan Williams Girls” skanking around.
12) A real cowboy did a commercial: “Some people do their work in an 8-hour day. I do mine in 8 seconds.” No shouting. No fake dramatic voice. Just a real statement.
13) However, $10,000 for the winning rider and $75,000 for the stock contractor is pretty out of balance.
14) And the judges were too generous with the scores.
PBR watchers may recognize a few of the participants:
J.W. Harris, who had a surprisingly quick buckoff from Devil’s Clown.
Jarrod Craig, whose bull Thunder Down Under, a good one, dumped him quickly in the championship round. In frustration, Craig banged his head against the fence– shades of Ben Jones. “Good thing he had a helmet on,” said one of the booth boys.
- Penguin was fierce—chased and hit his rider, catapulting him headfirst against the gate, then went after and trampled some bullfighters. Comment from one of them: “He got me down and danced on me a little bit.”
- Kenny Westrope’s bull Crisis Management traveled into the arena, and we were told that gives more points: 88.50, to be exact. Why is this different from the PBR, where “covering real estate” merits a re-reride?
- Several bulls lost their kick when they go into the spin.
- Dragon’s Breath, an unridden bull, hopped, skipped, jerked, and walked with his front feet. Ergo, unridden.
- If you’ve wondered where Carrillo Cartel has been, here he is, in his 5th year on tour, with a 76.92% buckoff rate, and a career average score of 44.54. Will he be back on the Built Ford Tough tour, or has he been cut permanently? He swung that rear around and made short work of Reid Barker.
- I’ve never seen a chubby bucking bull before, but Double Scoop is─ a big chunky black and white bull. Baby got back, but he’s Bucking Bull of the Year 2010.
- Sam T. Straight, a big bull from Rocky Mountain Rodeo, has been on tour 5 years and hasn’t been ridden in the last 2; Cody Whitney failed, and Sam took a victory lap.
- Friday Wright tried Black Gold, who’s been ridden twice in the last 4 years. That bull felt his rider shift slightly in one direction, and immediately moved in the other direction to unseat him. Smart!
- Dakota Magic (sponsor) Stock Contractor Profile was Owen Washburn, whose fightin’ bulls Penguin, Heaven’s Gate, Chocolate Joey and Smilin’ Bob were on the job tonight. Reed Barker on Heaven’s Gate and Tate Harris on Smilin’ Bob both scored 87.
Lucas Dick, a good rider, scored 88 with Curly Bob, but got bucked off by Directory Assistance in the championship round. In fact, a lot of the riders were losing their feet in the final round. Cowboy Coffee had a quick kickoff and Bradley Harris felt it. King Pin made short work of Chon Miranda and kept kicking well after he’d worked 8 seconds. Game Face, unridden this year, got rid of Corey Maier with several high kicks.
More dings: Ardie Maier didn’t try hard enough to hold onto his Pocket Change. One-Eyed Jack didn’t see eye-to-eye with Ryan Shanklin. Cinch Up was what Wesley Silcox shoulda done on that Cody Ohl bull. A Double Scoop was too much for Kenny Westrope, who somersaulted off the bull at the last moment. (So sue me; I caught the Hummer disease; just wanted to see if I could do it.)
Steve Woolsey adjusted the hell out of his tricky ride on Fat Lip, which included the bull hitting the chute. He was the only guy to make a qualified ride, was scored 81.5, and offered a re-ride. Bad move. Re-ride bull Playin’ Hooky moved forward and Woolsey slid back off his rope. Otherwise he would’ve won Round 1.
Kenny Westrope won $10,000.
Stock contractor Owen Washburn wins $75,000 (Do the bulls split it 5 ways with Owen?)
But there were no riders from South America; or at least they weren’t announced that way. Does that strike anyone as weird?
STOCK CONTRACTOR PROFILE: Cody Ohl, whose bulls Cinch Up, Cinch White Label, and Cinch Red Label were all workin’ the dirt. After Craig Jackson’s dismount, Cinch White Label gave him a hoof in the back. Just lettin’ him know who’s boss, apparently.
KOOLEST KOWBOY NAMES:
Chase Outlaw Stetson Lewis
Friday Wright Stevo Keighly
- Kick Eye has been ridden only once in the last 3 years. This time, Cody White hung up, rolled under, and withstood some stomping before he got away.
- Devil’s Clown bucked off J.W. Harris on Night #1. Great looking bull, all shades of burnt toast.
- Black Ice is unridden. Aw c’mon guys, he’s a lil’ bitty thang.
- The Mexican: unridden in 2011; the little red bull practically tossed Bradley Harris’s bull rope out of the arena.
- Rango was profiled by Shorty Gorham recently. Definitely a bull to watch out for, if for no other reason than that he’s gorgeous: white spine, brown body, black around the edges, white underneath. Like a black and white sundae with caramel sauce.
- Hypocrite is one aggressive bull. Tuff’s comment on Ryan Shanklin’s attempt: “When you’re on the end of your arm, and you start checking the stars, looking for the Big Dipper, you know you’re in trouble!”
- Fat Jimmy: a big bucker with lots of drop.
- Penguin, who attacked Travis Atkinson last night, threw off Nate Perry, then made sure he cleared the arena of those pesky bullfighters. A thought bubble over his head would’ve said, “Every one o’ you f***ers– outta my way!”
- Dakota Magic’s Double Scoop is still the #1 bull.
I DID NOT KNOW THAT
- Scores are tripled for this event. Nobody told us why.
- Tuff’s team roping partner Cole Echols rode this weekend.
- The CBR has its own version of a “Canadianaaron Roy.” It’s “GoodlookingArdie Meier.” No, really. It’s his official name. He is cute, though; got those Mel Gibson-kinda blue peepers.
- Arena Director Ray Clary said normally it takes his crew 2 days to set up. But on Night #2, because of all the other rodeo activities, they were squeezed for time─ and set up in an hour and a half! So, are we talking union rates here?
- Great purple shirt on Tyler Thomson, who made the 1st qualified ride: 84 points on rider-friendly Sum Buck.
- Wesley Silcox in a hot pink shirt, contrasting with his dark hair and mutton chop sideburns. Nobody told me the ‘70s are back. Now I hafta practice balancing on my platforms.
FASHION HIGH ALERT!
You heard it here first, folks: the new helmet/mask combo on Stetson Lewis, who scored 88.50 on Dark Alley despite the bull’s stumble, is indeed “gonna scare small children,” as one of the booth boys said. His partly translucent headwear looked like a NASA-issue bubble and had a freaky demonic-looking face painted on it. Why? “I got a baby on the way, so I decided to wear a helmet.” This fashion statement does double-duty: “He can wear that to ride bulls and he can wear it on Halloween.” Cody Nance, you is dethroned.
- Michael Earl tried tenaciously to stick on Lounge Lizard, but lost it at the last second.
- Trevor Kastner on Doc nearly made the whistle; as Tuff said, “I thought he was gonna get ‘im rode all night long.”
- John Doe was moving like a rocking chair; guess that lulled Wesley Silcox into a false sense of security. He got bucked off so close to 8 seconds, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
- Chandler Bownes was introduced this way: “Probably should be a freshman in college, but instead he’s #2 in our world standings.” But he got emailed─ his 2nd buckoff.
- Cinch Up’s been getting marked 23 out of 25. J.W. Harris looked perfect until 7-ish, then the bull jumped ahead, J.W. fell forward, slapped, and that was that. Big ol’ dang.
OH NO, NOT CRAZY EIGHTS HERE, TOO!
- Friday Wright’s 89-point trip on Rock Obama needed a replay; it didn’t look like he made it, but They said he did. I heard the buzzer after he hit the dirt. “I decided to get him rode today,” said Friday, who didn’t get it done last night.
- J.W. Harris opened up a little too much at the end on Air Patrick, and I swear he slid off just a tad ahead of the buzzer, but he was scored 91.5.
Do they ever review the rides or double check the time? There were a lot of “so close” rides, but they were scored. I was hoping it was just a sound delay from there to here, and not outright denial of reality.
I LIKE IT
Tuff Hedeman running the draft.
Demented Cycles donated a $50,000 custom bike for─ I didn’t pay attention to what they announced after that. A $50K custom bike!!
I’M JUST SAYIN’…
- Canadian champ Tyler Thomson’s good-looking ride on One-Eyed Jack deserved more than 88.50, but the bull didn’t…which is the problem with this scoring method.
- This is how you appeal to the rock’n’roll audience and get them into bull riding: book acts like the Cheyenne Frontier Rodeo Days people did: Kid Rock with Sheryl Crow, Darius Rucker, Motley Crue, Sick Puppies (okay, I hate the Crue and Sick Puppies really suck), and then all the country rock people. I’ve told The Other Bull Riding People about pulling in the Baby Boomers with rock & roll, but they apparently thought I said Rock Star Energy Drink.
MAKE HIM STOP. PLEASE.
The CBR’s Flint is chubby Cody Sosebee, who did the same bump and grind shiver me timbers shakin’ all over like Jell-o on a plate kinda dancing that Flint Rasmussen does. “I’m pretty sure that’s illegal in about a dozen states,” somebody said. And if it ain’t, it oughta be. Yikes!
TAKE A HINT, PBR!
J.W. Harris does the voiceover for the Cinch Jeans ad. Now that’s authentic cowboy.
- Ardie Meier barely made it through Pray for Mercy’s last-ditch change of direction, but he was pretty sticky up to that point, so he just hung on, for 86.
- Tap Out wowed me: switchbacks in every direction, then one big drop and flip that took care of Clayton Foltyn, who’s #1 in the Cinch tour standings right now.
- After Stevo Keighley was off Cowboy Coffee’s back, the bull cruised by the crowd to show off more of his bucking moves. Attaboy!
- Just when I thought the CBR had some class, Captain Morgan made an appearance, unfortunately accompanied by two Jack Morgan floozies in hot pants and boots. Why is degrading women an important part of bull riding??
Ardie Meier, stylin’ in a bright pink shirt, couldn’t get by Luca Brasi. The bull exploded vertically, Ardie hit the dirt on his stomach, the hind hooves came down on his lower back, his mouth guard went flying. Ardie tried to get up on one knee but couldn’t get any farther, his mouth open in a scream. They put him on the backboard in terrible pain and carried him out. I was afraid he broke his back. Three days later he got out of the hospital with two transverse process fractures in his lumbar spine area, broken ribs and a bruised lung. And he wants to get back on bulls this month. OY!
Tyler Thomson got a $10,000 check. It was amazing to hear a North American rider speak so clearly. Plus the guy’s got dimples and a toothpaste smile─ could ya stand it? That combo just begs for some agent to get him onscreen. But J.W. Harris is a scary guy to have in your rear-view mirror.