CBR FINALS – CHEYENNE
A few days of beach-brain, and I forgot to say something about the CBR finals in Cheyenne. Hey, wait a minute— what’s Denis Leary doing in a commercial during a CBR event? And Dr. Tandy Freeman tending to a CBR rider? But 4 out of the Top 5 riders are Brazilian. Some things never change.
DAY 1 was Bounty Bull night, no short round. The highest-scoring rider wins a tractor if he rides his BB.
Coming into the event, Luis Blanco was #1 in the standings, followed by Josh Barentine, Gustavo Pedrero, Robson Aragao, and Hector Cardona. Special invitations were issued to J.W. Harris, who had surgery a few weeks ago, and Wesley Silcox; they both hadn’t qualified for the Finals. Harris came back with a bang!
Luis Blanco, interviewed before his attempt on Super Hou: “My competition is with my bull, not with Josh or Hector or Spiderman.” “That is my dream – win championship. I never win championship. I think very happy.” “Tomorrow: just focus. Relax in the room. Do good.” The bull’s been ridden only once in two years, and he got away from Blanco.
Josh Barentine, who came in 400+ points behind Luis, was wearing a Ty Murray horror special: a wavy black and white striped shirt that makes you need Excedrin Extra Strength. His interview: “$100,000? That’d look good in my checking account. Maybe buy a new home or something.”
On his first ride, I heard the buzzer after he hit the ground, but he scored 90.50 on Buffalo Hump. Maybe the sound lag in the arena made me think that—or is the fact that he lost everything in a hurricane and was out of competition while he rebuilt, driving the scoring?
It’s pretty hard to get a low score at a CBR event— and the Finals seemed to be a case of high score or no score. For example, Bradley Harris’s bull Red Man was a fast, flat spinner; I’m surprised he didn’t make himself dizzy— but the score was 89.
I guess guys don’t care if they show up in the same outfit another guy wears, but did Aaron Pass borrow Jory Markiss’s chaps for his 88-point ride on Blue Duck?
OMG Craig Jackson didn’t just cut off his braids, he shaved his head! “He used to have an issue: helmets, hats, nothing fit him anymore,” the announcers were saying—and now his hat’s not going to stay on his head.
• Mellow Yellow: a big, strong boy with a tricky hop and skip to his front feet.
• Muddy Chicken has good drop; Cody Teel, who’s been on the PRCA circuit, really had to work for his 91.
• Bugle is in the running for Bull of the Year (based on money won on his back); Cole Echols rode him for 88.
• Big Money’s been ridden only 3 times in 2 years; Big Cat’s unridden in 3.
• I really liked Soul Gravy’s big, high jumps; he bounced off the ground like he was pogoing.
• Cooper Davis, straight from not winning a high school finals rodeo, got dealt Mission Top, who knocked himself on the head coming away from the chute and backed up while he was bucking— yet scored 91.
• Cooper Kanngeisser got a solid seat in exactly the right spot and stuck there as Broadway went round and round, for 90 points.
• Robson Aragao “had a leg-lock on that bull,” according to a commentator. “If you look at his riding arm, it looks like one of his legs.” That’s how he scored 87 on Small Problem.
• Jungle Juice was really rank, kicking out hard; Wesley Silcox made a masterful ride, really dug in, for 92.50.
• J.W. Harris recovered twice and made a strong ride on Itch ‘n Scratch: 92.50.
Convict chased Kevin Ventura as one of the booth boys reminisced, “That’s a bad feeling when you look behind you and there’s not a bullfighter there, and the bull is zeroed in.”
Black Betty was an easy ride for Tate Harris, who went skipping out of the arena! 89.50 was a bit much for the ride, but the skipping deserved it.
THIS BEATS MUSTACHE MAY!
Once a year Trent Cormier grows his hair and donates it to Locks of Love. I wish all the guys would do that! (The ones who still can, anyway.) Nothing look better than longhaired cowboys (IMHO).
RESULTS: A new Mahindra tractor for J.W. Harris
The back judge had to break a tie; he gave it to J.W. over Wesley. A rotten way to come in second; I think both guys should’ve gotten a bounty bull. On the other hand, J.W. made a great ride on Ropin’ Dreams, Danny Reagan’s bull that’s been ridden once in two years (by Craig Jackson), for 93. Early on he looked like he was throwing a Hail Mary, but he stayed in place and took over.
CHEYENNE – FINAL DAY
The CBR says next season it’s introducing a progressive event. 1st round: 10 riders from the Cinch Tour, 10 from the Horizon Tour; 2nd round: 18? (not sure I heard this right) riders return, 3rd round, how many return? They’re saying, “It will change the face of bull riding.”
I like the idea of mixing riders from the two tours; it gives the newbies a taste of the big league, allows them to get on higher-caliber bulls, AND have a shot at bigger money. The drilling-down concept is like the PBR Bucking Battle, but kudos to the CBR for letting the second tier riders participate. I always thought it was unfair that any Built Ford Tough rider is allowed to do Touring Pro events, taking away money from those riders, but Touring Pros can’t do BFTS events unless they earn enough or get invited. If the CBR televises the events that mix Cinch Tour and Horizon Series riders, they’ll be giving much-needed publicity to any new Horizon guys. I think it’s great. It’s my not-so-secret ambition to get the word out about new riders, especially guys that don’t have a big marketing machine behind them.
And “props” to Exclusive Genetics for the idea of letting people who love the sport get into the sport via the futurity.
GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES
Luis Blanco, asked to comment on the pressure of the last night at Cheyenne: “I have one hand on the trophy and the buckle, and Josh has one hand, too.”
IMPRESSIVE ACTION, FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE:
Cooper Kanngeisser got hung up, thrown over Back Draft’s head, and under his hooves; the bullfighters were working to get in the bull’s way, but Cooper still got danced on; finally one of them flung him out of the way. He had this to say about his 89-point ride: “I was pissed! That was a stupid getoff.”
In contrast, Josh Barentine was in total control of his ride: 91 points. So Zen: “I just ride my bulls; it’ll all work out for the best.”
J.W. Harris put on another show, with Greenhorn, away from his hand, for 90.50. A replay of his turn on Itch ‘n’ Scratch, previously unridden, who went into his hand, showed why he’s a great rider: he could explain every move the bull made and every move he made in response. And later, he took Cinch Red Label for a 90.50 ride. Harris was firing on all pistons (or is it cylinders? I’m no auto mechanic) through the whole event. Apparently surgery didn’t make a damned bit of difference.
Ardie Maier was good control of Jungle Juice, even while the bull trashed the sign on the exit gate. 89.50.
Yikes– Hugo Pedrero got into a long hang-up on Rising Sun, but stayed on his feet, while Brandon Loden practically climbed onto the bull to help get the rope loose; it looked like he was trying to wrestle the big hunka beef. (No wonder he’s Bullfighter of the Year.) It took all three bullfighters to free Hugo. This sport couldn’t exist without them.
Cooper Davis, straight from not winning the high school national finals, scored 91.50 on Bugle– how impressive is THAT!
• Sandy Bob put on a nice variety show, and helped Cody Teel to an 87, but as soon as the cowboy was off his back, Bob clocked out for the day. It always makes me laugh when bulls do that; maybe they’re the most intelligent ones? “I got the friggin’ dope off my back, I don’t give a rat’s ass about the flank rope; let somebody else undress me—I’m done. I’m gonna mosey on back to the pen, take a dump, scratch a few things…”
• Above Par was not an easy bull: flying out sideways and bouncing repeatedly on all four feet.
• Mission Top: a speedy liftoff and lots of head fakes.
• Wipe Out did exactly that to Tate Stratton; big bull, big air, powerful kick.
BULLS THAT MAKE ME GO WHOO-HOO!!
Vortex Madness! Huge leaps and bounds and lots of hang time, plus those mid-air wiggles that I love. THAT is a rank bull!
ARE WE ALMOST THERE? ARE WE ALMOST THERE?
Bugle (Bull of the Year) kept popping up to see over the edge of the chute, then got both front legs over the fence, and was just hanging out, checking out the action. Somebody bopping him on the back of the head to make him get down had no effect. When he had seen the sights and was good and ready, the bull stepped down.
GOTTA LOVE IT:
Canadian Cadillac had a cute little sidestep trick, but it didn’t fool Wesley Silcox, who scored 91.50. Best advice he says he got from Don Gay: “Think straight.” One of the reasons he picked Rotten Apple as his final round bull: “He has no horns.”
But the Apple’s not called Rotten for nothing. Wesley took some shots, one to the jaw. He needed 90.5 to win the average, and got exactly that. (The judges get sentimental by the end of the season.)
PLAY NICE, DUDE!
Blanco’s bull definitely hipped himself on the way out of the chute, and hallelujah–this back judge has better eyesight than the PBR judges, so Luis got a re-ride, otherwise his chance at the championship would’ve ended right there. His re-ride, Broadway, had helped Kanngeisser to a 90 in the 1st round, so maybe he was tired; he spun, but didn’t buck hard enough to give Luis more than 86.50. That kept him out of the short go.
Barentine put in his 2 cents (“personal opinion,” he called it), saying he thought Luis had enough of a chance to ride the first bull, but the judge decided the re-ride. Not nice, pal. I’ll bet if it was your bull that hipped himself, you’d sure as hell want a re-ride, so you wouldn’t get shut out of the short go. And I’ll bet if the judge didn’t give it to you, you’d have been real pissed about it. Unless you have the guts to challenge a call, like Renato Nunes did, zip the lip.
Josh went at Lumberjack with a vengeance, and the bull returned the favor: during the getoff, his horn bashed Josh in the ribs and threw him to the dirt, where he stayed for a while. The 92.50 brought in the $100,000. One of the booth buys joked as people crowded around Barentine: “You can shake my hand, but don’t hug me!”
PS—For those of us who care, Spiderman (Robson Aragao) is now #3 in the CBR standings.