Smart move: starting June 3, every Sunday at 6 CBS Sports will run 15/15 broadcasts.
THE ELEPHANT IN THE LIVING ROOM
People have been talking on this blog about whether it’s a rule violation for a rider to leave the chute with his spurs hooked into the bull rope, since it gives them an advantage (assuming they don’t get hung up later).
Cody Nance “won” Round 1 on Heebie Jeebie (90.50) with his spurs hooked in the rope. “Interesting way to get there,” Craig Hummer commented. Ty Murray said according to the rules, a rider can’t leave the chute with his spurs anchored in the rope: “It’s obviously one he got away with… A rule’s a rule.” Bravo for talking about it and showing the replay. But why should anyone “get away with” it? A rider knows when his spurs are hooked in his rope. What does “The Lord” say about cheating, I wonder? If you don’t get caught, it’s okay? Was it karma that in the Championship Round, Shepherd Hills Trapper delivered some rough justice?
The rule violation was obvious, so why was Cody scored—big, too? Why wasn’t the call reversed? Why does Ty have no power? Shouldn’t his call, backed up with replay video, reverse the judges’ incorrect (that’s a euphemism, folks) call? If a rule is a rule, why does the PBR let this stuff happen? Is there a betting ring we’re unaware of?
BREATHALYZE THE JUDGES
Besides the spurs hooked in the rope issue: the judges reviewed Jordan Hupp’s ride on Big Stink to see if his hand popped out of the rope early—viewing the replay from the side where you couldn’t see his hand! From there, the ride looked good; he was scored 85.75, but who knows what really happened?
In Championship Round 2, 814 Copp had no jump or kick, just fast flat spinning, and Guilherme Marchi was given 81.50– why not a reride? This wasn’t a good enough bull performance. Is this a case of, Uh-oh, he might score bigger if he gets another bull? You know—the technique they use on Silvano.
NEED I SAY “UGH”?
“Silvano Alves continues to stalk his prey.” “I think we could refer to Silvano Alves as The Stalker.” Another dopey name Craig Hummer’s running up the flagpole. Hasn’t he noticed nobody’s saluting?
YA DON’T NEED A CRYSTAL BALL
After Boise, JB Mauney was limping from “multiple ailments” including a hip problem. Doc Freeman says he can come back 6 weeks after hand surgery. How much you wanna bet the kid starts sneaking out of the house to Touring Pro events before the 4th of July?
Frank Newsom’s bovine airlines flight is probably the longest, highest launch I‘ve seen. The hit he took was bad enough, but then there was that awful landing: crunch, rock, and roll, forward somersault. Yup– life hurts.
Clips of Asteroid and Bushwacker in action—astounding, creative, and smart! The thinking woman’s bulls. (Oh yeah; and men’s, too.)
The “nightmare” part was obvious in the chute: Tracy’s Nightmare was jumping, rocking, bellowing, groaning, leaning on Nance’s leg. Love the wild back-and-forth, side-to-side bucking. (The bull’s.) Ironic: the clock stopped at 6.66—the Sign of the Beast.
The bull that hurt Marchi last week, Midnight Mood, was nicer to Emilio Resende. That regular rhythm helped him to an excellent 88-point ride.
“Vegas shimmering in the future, but the cold hard reality of Pueblo is now.”
“Ben Jones is looking to follow up his Billings brilliance with a prosperous performance here in Pueblo.” Shakespeare he’s not.
“No matter how big the bulls are, if they go into Austin’s hand, he’s gonna have ‘em for lunch.” And Meier did just that with Fortunate Son. Score one for Hummer, talking about Austin in the chute: “It’s almost as if he’s on a highchair in there.”
Rack City was Lachlan Richardson’s 7th straight buckoff since the boy wonder’s debut/win at Mohegan Sun; and in Round 3 on Bodee’s Jacket, his hand popped out of the rope, his feet didn’t stay down, he lost his seat—three “minor” things he’s struggling with. At least it was a different kind of buckoff: he wasn’t flopped forward, reaching around the bull’s neck. Ty’s right: his mind’s probably been on a rollercoaster since his win, with all that focus on him in the spotlight. “If he’d been just a kid that came along, instead of blowing the doors off…” Leah Garcia asked Lachlan about his plans for the break, and I couldn’t understand a word he said; I actually understand Guilherme more. They need to have Ben Jones translate.
THIS IS WHY THEY WIN—WHETHER SOME PEOPLE LIKE IT OR NOT
Renato Nunes hasn’t seen his family in 5 months.
Some of what de Oliveira said in an interview: “I work more hard because this my dream…I need to complete my dream…this my year…I here for the win.”
HEY THERE! HI THERE! HO THERE! (name that tune)
Carney Man’s stumble down on front and back legs stopped his motion, and it took too damn long for reride flags to show up. Why? Because the judges were debating whether to sting Silvano Alves with a 70-something, or offer him a re-ride? This time Silvano got and took the reride. Mickey Mouse treated him to a huge, explosive jump, giant roll, and simultaneous sideways kick. Goodbye, Silvano. His face was hilarious: first stunned, then disbelieving, then grinning; he had to admit the bull totally floored him (literally). Whoever named Mickey is quite the clown.
FLINT: HE’S STEALING YOUR ACT!
Gets Tricky, the bull Chase Outlaw scored 87 on, gave Jesse Byrne a horn to the chin when he went in to protect Outlaw. Chase’s scrambling-on-the-dirt escape was an exact impersonation of Flint’s Mohegan Sun imitation of a rider crawling desperately away from a bull. I’m glad I was home so I could laugh without people hating me.
I’M JUST SAYIN’…
Kinda slow wrapping, Nance. Lucky thing you’re not Brazilian.
The Booth Boys were spouting ridiculous clichés about Stormy Wing: a home run hitter, swings for the fences, a 90 or nothing type of guy. The word is inconsistent. He’s talented and capable of excellent rides, but confetti doesn’t fly every time he rides. That’s not a slam at Stormy; that’s just how it is. Russian Roulette had a messy out; I think Stormy got fouled in the chute and should’ve had a reride. Besides the bull getting screwed up in there, near the end of the ride Stormy was winging it (ha ha) sideways around him for a couple of seconds before landing.
SOME HEADS ARE HARDER THAN OTHERS
“Anothercanadianaaronroy” (that’s what you get called when you’re next up after Dusty Ephrom) got a concussion a month ago, needs knee surgery, but isn’t planning to get operated. One knee he tapes, for the other he uses a brace. He decided to ride all summer in Canada instead of taking a break. Genius, ya might be sorry.
In the Cooper Tires Athlete Profile, Valdiron said he used a helmet for 6 months, and couldn’t get used to it, but “If there was a rule, I’d use it.” The doc made him use it to prevent further damage after the Mohegan Sun disaster. Leah Garcia said Valdiron bought a helmet, but…is it still sitting in the hat box? He won’t compete in the Pueblo 15/15 bucking battle, because of a left shoulder separation, broken right foot, injured arm, broken eye-socket—yeah, I think it might be a good idea to lay off. Sitting in Sports Medicine, without hat or helmet, he looked very solemn about skipping the 15/15 and those double points. Open the freakin’ hat box, will ya?!
Leah asked how hard it was to decide not to ride in the 15/15. Clearly he was bluffing when he said his shoulder was “100% better.” He talked a lot, but I got just a few phrases out of it: “For me is very hard because never never leave the bulls… but my shoulder is bad not to ride today…I look the long ride…” Why does the PBR not use the translator at moments like this??
Okay, he wore a helmet in the Championship Round, on Red Man for 84, but the bull didn’t have his usual feisty trip. Probably was thinking, “Oh no, not this guy again!!”
ARE YA DAFT??
Valdiron has a 67% riding rate. “He doesn’t want to be a bridesmaid anymore,” said Ty. Then he and Hummer said his rides used to look all the same; there wasn’t anything noticeable about them. (But with other riders, that’s called “consistent” or “his style.”) Are you kidding?? The first time I saw VDO manhandle a bull I said, WHO IS THIS GUY?? He knocks me out. He’s masterful. Example: Twice, Altercation tried to climb out of the chute, got two front legs over the rail, and kept bucking, yet Valdiron stuck on his back for 10 seconds at least, being very focused, making constant adjustments, for 87.75. This is what a World Champion looks like.
GOT A NEW ATTITUDE
Ben Jones scored 83.25 on Walk It Out, and said now he actually can see and hear what’s going on around him while he’s riding, even people in the audience; he feels like everything happens in slow motion. Now that’s being “in the zone.” In Round 3, he couldn’t wait to get up on the Shark Cage and strut after his 87.50 ride on Tick. Leah asked what he had to do to get by that bull: “Have fun.” His new playmate helped: Ben said he heard Guilherme yelling behind him, cheering him on.
Last night was Bonner Bolton’s first BFTS ride, on Bad Moon. First he was DQ’d, he challenged, the decision was reversed; he scored 86.25. “You know you’re getting old when you see these guys ride, and you used to compete with their dads.”—Ty.
Justin Koon missed Pueblo; Leah asked if he saw it on TV. “No ma’am, I don’t watch when I’m not riding…but I got my teeth.” Koon used his winnings for new choppers. Wish he’d give Ben his dentist’s number.
LET’S HOPE WE’VE SEEN THE LAST OF IT
Mustaches were the subject of the Truth Booth: “They’re spreading like wildfires.” Harve Stewart said he didn’t want to toot his horn about his own mustache, compared to Aaron Roy, who in his opinion has a good one, but, “Toot toot!”
Hummer asked Shorty Gorham whether all Robson Palermo’s injuries (shoulder, back, sciatic nerve) make Shorty feel more nervous about what might happen in the arena after the ride. Shorty said it actually makes him feel better: “I feel beat up, but heck—look at him!” From his 87.25 ride on Super Moody West, you’d never know Robson’s hurt: it was just perfect, and he went for style points the whole time. As soon as he was off the bull, though, all the injuries became obvious, and he headed straight for Sports Medicine.
Country Bumpkin’s action was beautiful, but that head-to-helmet collision with Jared Farley almost broke the sound barrier. Later in the Championship Round it sounded like a gunshot when Jarrod Craig’s helmet collided with Red Hot’s head—and popped off. For extra oomph, the pissed-off bull kicked the helmet out of the way as he exited.
Harve’s scary getoff from Wilson: first a collision with a horn, then a spin around the bull’s back, then a hang up—but it all led to an 88 (conveniently tying him with Emilio Resende for the round). Just sayin’…
I KNOW THIS IS JUVENILE, BUT…
Said The Bummer, Red Neck’s “left loping jumps get the big Canadian off.” Aaron Roy must have a pretty big bedroom.
ROUND 2 CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND
Okay, now Valdiron’s smiling– with his hat on.
Talk about Hail Mary moves! In his 85-point ride on Highway to Hell, L.J. Jenkins was channeling Renato.
Brendon Clark cussin’ “God dammit!” after Seminole Wind bucked him off. That bull had a lovely spring to his step.
HATE IT: all the worst wreck clips featured as “Moments of the 2012 Season.” According to The Bummer: “You can not deny that danger draws many people to the sport…” That’s the PBR’s #1 error (well, #2 after dumping Justin McKee): they think people watch bull riding for the bad stuff, rather than the good stuff. “Dangerous Game” is their talk show, consisting of the same guys we hear every week saying the same things they say every week, with Craig lobbing them creampuffs: show-and-tell for the newbies.
I’M JUST SAYIN’…
Celebrity bull owners, jocks and their bulls– in their minds, this is the PBR’s crowning glory: linking bull riding with Famous Sports People, so one day Famous Sports People will want to be linked with bull riding, and bull riding will be a Famous Sport. Wonder how much the jocks paid for their shares of a bull? Or did the PBR pay? Or did the contractors give them fake little shares? Or were the jocks paid for the use of their names? Who are the co-owners of those bulls? Inquiring minds…
Mark 10:27 hooked and flipped Ty Pozzobon twice. Out of the arena, Ty was down on one knee, surrounded by sports medicine people. Leah’s recap: “He got sucker-punched.”
BUILT FORD TOUGH
Robson Palermo’s back after getting his nose broken last night on the first jump– and completing the ride. What really hurt: his young son rolled over on him in bed and hit the bad spot. “Raising children is a contact sport—who knew?”—Hummer.
“One last day for the riders to send a statement to the bulls, to the fans, and to each other.” Craig, once and for all, exactly what is that statement? “Nyah nyah” to the bulls? “I’m too sexy for my jeans” to the fans? And “You owe me a round” to the other riders?
I’M JUST SAYIN’…
“And don’t forget about LJ Jenkins—he’s been quietly overachieving…” says Craig. Not exactly; the judges have been doing that for him.
Austin Meier, Skeeter Kingsolver, and Ryan Dirteater said they like riding in Touring Pro events, there’s less intensity, it’s “more laid back.” No surprise; when riders can concentrate on work, instead of interviews, cute videos, and appearances, they feel better. Less stress. Too bad the Touring Pro money isn’t enough.
A RIDE BY ANY OTHER NAME…
In his 2nd BFTS appearance, Funeral Wagon took on Renato Nunes, who was wildly workin’ it with his outside leg; this ride could be the poster for the entire sport. Nunes threw his hat from the top rail, then backflipped. He said he was “supposed to ride like that two weeks ago.” No surprise: the judges (I’m beginning to think of ‘em more as executioners) begrudged him a 90; with 87.25, he stays behind Snyder and Jones. Ding!
Mike Lee’s hair was just about normal, and now it looks like someone tried to guillotine his skull.
IT TAKES A WOMAN
For months The Booth Boys have speculated about Silvano’s strategy; Leah Garcia went to the locker room and asked him about it. He said his goal in every event is to be in the top 3. If he thinks he won’t make the championship round or be in the top 3, he takes the re-ride. This isn’t “the moneyball approach.” It’s about points.
BLONDES DO HAVE MORE FUN. IF THEY’RE BULLS.
Love Blonde Bomber’s kicks and Snyder’s wild ride, rocking and rolling all over the bull’s back. He does ride better when Jen’s around: 88.75. If they get married before the Finals, who knows what could happen to the standings!
Maybe the biggest laugh of the season so far: Stanley FatMax’s turn. He was kicking up a storm under Chad Besplug, but at 6 seconds stopped on a dime, as in, “Take this job and shove it.” Maybe he got dizzy? Kind of the bovine way of reaching for the rope too soon. Or maybe he knew Chad was done, because of multiple touches. “You gotta keep that one arm free; you can’t ride with two hands,” was Ty’s remark. He sympathized with the bull’s side: “I can tell you, as a stock contractor, that’ll make you sick to your stomach.” We needed a zoom in on Jeff Robinson’s face at that moment. PFF (Pretty Fucking Funny)! Remember that for future reference, so I don’t have to swear so much in print.
From the TV viewers’ angle, Upgrade didn’t have much kick, but Ty says he has a hop, skip, and bounce before turning back: “That’s a mini-version of what Bushwacker does.”
“They both had their RPMs running and the bull wins the duel,” said the Bummer about Chase Outlaw and Open Season. So if Chase has a car or a turntable, and Open Season has a sword, the bull will take down Outlaw?
YOU SAY IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY…
Luke’s birthday greeting to Craig, who’s hit 47 (57, according to Luke): “We’ll have to see if we can get him a Geritol sponsor.” Ty’s best wishes: “Happy birthday, Grandpa.” Shorty’s turn: “We’re battered and bruised, but we don’t feel 47…Back to you, Grandpa.”
THEY SHOULD DO THE LETTERMAN SHOW
Ty complimenting Shorty on helping Justin Koon escape Cat Ballou. “Thanks, Ty; didn’t even stumble on that one.” “Nice to see you not falling down.”—Ty
TRUER WORDS WERE NEVER SPOKEN
“He’s the best bull rider in the world that doesn’t have a gold buckle hanging from his belt,” Ty said about Valdiron. But with impeccable PBR logic, instead of showing his spectacular rides, they show the Mohegan Sun wreck, and the second wreck, with his face planted in the ground again. What is wrong with these people?
“They’re not just giant, fat bulls, they’re very muscular, they’re athletes.”—Ty, comparing them to wide receivers (and I do mean wide).
IT’S A MIRACLE
Somebody up there heard me. An interview with Guilherme Marchi (16 for 18), who looked great for a guy who was hit in the face by a horn and knocked out, actually had subtitles! His Athlete Profile of course included his recent two bad wrecks. He admitted, “I don’t remember nothing what happened last week, just maybe after arena—that’s my first experience; the bull hit me in the face and knock me out. You know, it’s scary, you never know when you’re on the back of that bull, 8 seconds look like fast, but when you’re on the back of the bull, 8 seconds slow. I have family, you know, and I ride bulls, that’s what I do, and I need to take care of myself.”
He did do that when Bono took a roll. Marchi’s weight was hanging off the bull’s right side, the bull made a countermove to the left, Marchi went flying to the ground, and the bull went down in the opposite direction– like when one side lets go of the rope in tug-o-war. But no reride– supposedly he let go of the rope a fraction early; he must’ve realized what was happening and decided he didn’t want to be pancaked. Wonder how many other riders would’ve had reride flags rain down on them before they left the bull?
And yet, for all his sensible talk, Marchi still isn’t wearing a helmet! I’m ready to clobber him on the head myself.
THE SKINNY ON SHIVERS
After not mentioning Chris since his injury, the broadcast aired “Moments of 2012,” featuring his mythical “93rd 90-point ride.” (Was he the only rider who had “moments?”) Chris plans to return after the break and ride the rest of the season before retiring; Ty said he wants to go out with a bang. Well, he did, back in Albuquerque, but that was the bull’s bang.
HOW TO MAKE A RIDER CLIMB IN THE STANDINGS: CHEAT!
It looked like L.J. Jenkins could’ve ridden Bad Blake for 8 minutes; I agreed with Ty: it was a slam-dunk that got away. The replay showed he lost his rope at 7.88 and the bull at 7.91. Cut to commercial; when we come back, the judges are re-reviewing the ride. Said Hummer, “We are about to see if the judges are feeling generous.” Excuse me, but rules shouldn’t be a matter of ANY feeling. The most basic is, you have to make 8. The judges reversed their decision, saying the clock didn’t start when the bull broke the plane of the gate. Assuming the digital “clock” in the lower left corner of the screen (not shown during the actual ride, only in the replay) was accurate, did anyone watch closely? Even if the clock didn’t start exactly as the bull broke the plane, the counter immediately skipped from .00 to .02, so it did NOT cost L.J. any time.
The judges reversed their decision on Jenkins; why didn’t they rescind Nance’s Round 1 score? Oh, I see: if a decision is favorable to certain riders, even an illegitimate decision, it’s reversible. They engineered an 86.25 to move L.J. to #2 in the world standings. If you add up all the anti-Alves moves so far (like scoring Snyder .25 above him to win Albuquerque, though Silvano’s ride was at least as good), you see how they gradually pushed him down in the standings, making it easier to vault someone over him, and harder for him to work his way back up. According to standings on the PBR website, Alves and Marchi have higher riding percentages; Alves, Mauney, and Eguche have more qualifying dollars; L.J.’s leading only in points—not all of them earned.
This has nothing to do with L.J.’s ability. This is despicable behavior by the judges, and should be reviewed by an independent committee of members from every bull riding organization. Baseball has a commission; bull riding needs one.
IF THE JUDGES EVER CHEATED ON BEHALF OF BRAZILIAN RIDERS
Robson Palermo’s ride on Comanche would’ve scored high. A perfect ride, totally masterful– but supposedly he reached for his rope too soon. When he wasn’t scored, he looked so bummed, Leah was careful how she asked him what happened. He said he felt dizzy and couldn’t see, and just reached for his rope. Of course the judges couldn’t let him “get away with one.” They pretended to carefully examine his ride so they could pretend to treat both riders equally, but the outcome would never be the same. Clever.
Only 3 rides, but a lot of cool buckoffs. (“The bulls have had their way with the riders in the last 12 outs.”—Hummer. Very busy bulls.)
I noticed Ronnie Rooster: serious hang time, big jumps, and while he’s airborne he kicks out his hind legs to travel even farther and give his rider an extra jolt.
Marchi and Palermo dropped out because of injuries. “When you’re not feeling good, you shouldn’t be getting on the toughest bulls; it’s better to rest,” said Marchi, in one of his more mature moments. Robson said Guilherme told him it’s better to rest: “If you get on those short-round bulls, you gonna get really dizzy.”
As a result, Nance and Wing moved into the Championship Round– but poor Stormy already had left the arena, assuming he was done for the weekend. Previously, Leah had asked Stormy why he gets so angry when he’s bucked off. “Leah, I HATE losing.” (Talk about a sore loser!) Can ya just imagine how blue the air turned when he found out he shoulda stuck around?
PS—Could someone please tell me what that last line is that the people in the van commercial sing after their mouth music—“Turn up the what???”
THE LUCK OF THE IRISH? SCOTTISH? WELSH?
Josey Wales, unridden this season, provided Harve Stewart with an amazing 89.50-point ride, and 2nd place. Leah: “Is there any special message you’d like to send out to Stormy?” Harve: “Thank you!”
Shepherd Hills Trapper (1 for 10) continues to shock; this time the shockee was Cody Nance, who endured a horrible long hangup. The bullfighters earned their entire year’s salary working together to get his hand out of the rope. “Shepherd Hills Trapper doesn’t need to set a trap for his opponents…” said the chief nitwit.
Cody Nance has found a red, grey, white, and black patterned shirt that on camera does not make you nauseated. Please drag Ty and Craig shopping with you, Cody.
ZEN AND NOW
Grey Squirrel was real squirrelly in the chute; Ben almost got clocked right there, but a hand reached out to save his face from getting smashed. (Natch, he didn’t have a helmet on). His new cool started waning after the bull bucked him off, kicked him in the legs, he went flying, then landed hard. He was mad, but not spitting mad like he used to be.
NOW DID YOU MEAN TO SAY THAT?
The Built Ford Tough Invasion visited a prison that’s involved with their Backseat Buckers program:
“I’m going to prison, but I always knew my buddy Ross Colemen would beat me there,” Luke announced. The Backseat Buckers program was the focus: prison bull riders buck the bulls in competition; for the winning owner: $25,000. A prison workforce has built a facility for bulls; the trick here was getting 9600 lbs. of bull into the SuperDuty. “That’s the beauty of the prison being here; there’s lots of different talents in there.” No kidding. The program is “a turnkey operation,” so Luke concludes, “Maybe we can break some of those jailbirds out of prison, huh?” I wanna shake hands with whoever greenlighted that script and got away with it.
RENATO’S FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON!
How funny was Leah’s story about Renato in the locker room, bouncing off the other Brazilians and squealing, “I’m gonna win! I’m gonna win!”
Last week Renato and Bucking Machine scored 92. This time 90, but no back flip; he limped away with Dr. Freeman. “Renato’s no day off for the bull, either.”—Shorty
How obnoxious was this: the instant Renato won, somebody jabbed him on the shoulder and literally shoved a Rock Star can at him, clearly expecting him to immediately take a drink for the camera, like a trained monkey. To his great credit, with a slightly disgusted, annoyed look, Renato didn’t drink it or display it, holding the can below the frame so it wasn’t even on camera. Ho much do I love this guy!! Rock Star Energy Drink is always in our faces, one way or another. I will NEVER drink it. And BTW, would any sponsor in any other sport be so rude as to treat a world champion athlete like that? Hell, no—there would be some serious flak if the underwear people yanked on Air Jordan’s briefs.
Said the man of the hour, who won Pueblo last year: “He bucked me off a week ago and I feel bad…. I’m glad to win again, I’m glad to be here.”
Valdiron stays at #1 in the world standings, the judges shoehorned L.J. into #2, moving Alves down to #3. After that: Marchi, Mauney, Eguche, Nunes, Meier, Vieira, and Snyder. Ty thinks this is the “deepest” race they’ve ever seen in the history of the PBR, “and it just keeps getting deeper.” Or crookeder.