Wow— in the intro to the “Road to Vegas” TV special we saw almost the whole shoutin’ fool instead of just a closeup. Makes me kinda nervous that he might be a special guest star at the Finals.
BETTER SIT DOWN
You probably will never hear me say this again, but I liked the way Craig Hummer introduced the show: sounding like a real commentator instead of that jacked-up babbling fool we usually hear. If he behaved this way during the event broadcasts, we actually could take him seriously as a sportscaster. And he doesn’t look orange.
Another really great thing about this broadcast: no stupid theme song!
Justin McBride and J.W. Hart talked about what they considered the highlight of the season.
McBride: “… and JW is gonna disagree with me, ‘cause he always does: LJ Jenkins at #2, riding the rankest bulls.”
JW: Silvano, and JB Mauney riding after he broke his right hand. McBride was surprised, not that JB tried riding right-handed, but by the success he had. O ye of little faith!
JW: “There were a few other bulls, but it’s now a two-bull race: they are the best two bucking bulls on the planet right now.” (If you don’t know by now who he’s talking about, go home.)
They focused on LJ’s so-called “season of consistency.” He’s not splitting his time with other events, he said. “I feel a lot healthier…I’m not getting on as many bulls as I did last year.” “Those guys are gonna stay on ‘em. I’m gonna have to stay on ‘em and be a point or two better than those guys.” (“Those guys” meaning the Killer Bs, and if the judges have their way, he will be, by hook or by crook.)
Which is the best bull? “I think it’s on a week-to-week basis.” ”I wouldn’t mind having a go at Bushwacker.” (And how did that work out for you, LJ?)
“You have to recognize victories and losses.” “A cowboy has to be a fighter, and never give up on his dreams. You have to have faith in yourself; that way you can do anything you want in the world. It all depends on how much ambition you have.”
“Getting old, getting slow, kids getting big…when you leave your house, you never know what happens, you never know if you coming back…I just gonna continue to work hard.”
YOU MAY WANNA REVISE YOUR SCRIPT
Austin Meier: “Until I’m in that #1 spot, I’m not happy.”
THE BIG GUNS
•“On each event they have come together, they have risen their game to new levels.”—Craig. Sigh. I guess you either get the moderated volume, or the coherent dialogue, but you can’t have both. Is that even a cowboy verb tense?
•JW made a good point about forthcoming breeding programs that will use Bushwacker and Asteroid. “I’m excited to see in 20 years, how many Asteroids and Bushwackers we’re gonna see,” Shorty Gorham said. Yikes—can you imagine? A whole race of superbulls.
•Richard Olivera, co-owner of Bushwacker: “He was pretty much a lunatic as two-year-old.” Great film clip of Bushwacker as a youth, bucking a dummy.
•Ty Murray describing how Bushwacker rolls: “A lot of times the guy’s on the ground, and he hasn’t even started yet.”
•JB Mauney about trying to ride Bushwacker: “On the first jump, my head hit the back of his head, and the next thing, I’m flying in the air. The only reason he didn’t sling me out of the arena was my hand was stuck in the rope.”
“A lot of guys don’t wanna get on those bulls, but the way I look at it, who remembers 85-point bull rides?” That’s a classic.
•Asteroid weighs about 400 lbs. less than Bushwacker—in bovine department stores, that’s only one dress size.
•Gene Melton re Asteroid: “He’s just a little different from other bulls. He’s just a puppy dog, really. He’s a little shy around other people, but not around me… I can pick up a horse brush, and he sees it and comes over to me, ‘cause he likes brushing and scratching.”
Craig asked a good question of the bullfighters, about whether trust evolves, or you just have to make the decision that I’m gonna trust this guy.
“Why would we ever want to change jobs?”
“What makes our team so special, is that not one of us cares who gets the glory.”
“Nobody quits each other. We’re in it together ‘til the end, and we’re gonna go down together.”
“While I was flying through the air, Frank was controlling the situation on the ground,”
“Everybody says if you’re not scared, you’re crazy, but I don’t think that goes well with bull riding.”
Missing in action
Loved the clip of Frank Newsom and JB hugging. I’m guessin’ one of ‘em saved the other one’s life.
Great idea to have Leah Garcia interview Mesa Pate about what it’s like to be in a male-dominated industry. I’ll bet it could’ve been a really interesting conversation if it were a lot longer. Or we were all sitting around at a bar without a camera or mic.
From Mesa’s mouth:
“I always could understand the bulls. I understood what made a good bull, what made ‘em rank, what made ‘em the top bulls.”
Her first bull was Highway 12. ‘These bulls are my biggest teachers. Nobody can teach me what the bulls have taught me.”
“In the end, I’d rather be known as a stock contractor than a female stock contractor… I want a little girl to see what she can do.” CAN I GET AN AMEN??!
“I’ve got cowboy in my blood/I’ve got cowboy in my soul/Give me a horse to ride/and I’ll ride all over the range…” She wrote that when she was a little girl.
“This is something that she looked at doing the way a lot of us guys looked at riding bulls our whole lives.”—Ty Murray
Craig Hummer talked about Luke Snyder’s “million-dollar smile.” To me, Luke looks like a little elf in a giant 10-gallon hat. Says Luke: “When you’re the lowest of the low, you have to make the decision, Am I gonna hang it up or am I gonna do what it takes to get back up there?”
“There ain’t no need to show up anymore if I’m just gonna show up and put my name in the hat and buck off. There’s an 18-year-old out there sitting at home just craving it.”
Talking about the slump after his rookie year: “…I was not liking the traveling. When you’re grumpy going there, you’re gonna show up grumpy…”
THE BUILT FORD TOUGH INVASION
“If you can’t have fun with these guys, you probably better check your pulse.”—Shorty talking about his BFT Invasion pals.
Silvano showed the PBR visitors his farm in Brazil that he bought with bull riding money. His father, uncle, and grandfather were all professional bull riders; his father rode with Adriano Moraes, won 25 motorcycles and 6 cars at rodeos in Brazil, and was the one who taught him. At first Silvano didn’t like bull riding, because it was dangerous.
He has a 4-year-old girl and 2-year-old boy. “No parent wants his children to ride bulls, because it’s dangerous.”
He didn’t expect to be world champion his first year on the BFTS. “The truth is that I feel a little embarrassed about the attention.”
“I love riding bulls. It is my passion. This is what I’ve chosen. There have been opportunities to work in other professions, but…” “I want the fans who attend these events to understand that we ride these bulls for them…so that they can see the cowboys being victorious over the bulls.”
VALDIRON DE OLIVEIRA
Valdiron talked about having to overcome physical and mental challenges. “I will fight until the very end. This is the year that I have to work the hardest, even harder than last year.”
J DUB ON THE KILLER Bs
“It seems that everybody’s who’s come from across the ocean, they’re good. These guys are hungry. Who is the hungriest and wants it the most wins.”
He says Alves is dead set on beating Adriano’s 3 world titles, and stated point blank that he doesn’t see anyone beating the Brazilians—I wish I remembered his exact words! He thinks Silvano will be the first back-to-back guy. “I’m a red-blooded American, but I think it’s gonna be the green and gold this year.”
SHORTY WEIGHS IN
“I really think it comes down to, who stays the healthiest, and that’s who I think has the best chance to win the world title.”
Craig so obviously has a crush on him. It’s kinda cute. Wish I had a transcript. You really found out what makes JB tick: challenge. He has to prove it to himself, not just other people.
Talking about his family: “A lot of PBR fans think that bloodlines is just for the bulls.”
“Anytime anybody tells me I can’t do something, I’m gonna try real hard to do it.”
“They haven’t seen the best; if they had, I’d have won the world #1.”
“My dad always told me I don’t ride the easy bulls very good, but the rank ones I do really good.” Not an exact quote, but close enough!
What’s it gonna take for you to win the world title? “Quit fallin’ off.”
THE NEW AUSSIE IN TOWN
“When they handed me the buckle, I just couldn’t stop smiling.” –Lachlan Richardson. He’d just arrived from Australia 2 weeks before he won at Mohegan Sun. (And I was there to see it!) Leah: “What’d you do right?” “I stayed on.”
We won’t talk about what’s been happening since then.
•It was fun hearing Chris Shivers talk about his perspective on the sport “from then ‘til now,” as JW put it. “I don’t really have anybody to impress any more.” JW: “They’re all trying to impress you.”
•JW asked about his out on Little Yellow Jacket. “How long did you ride him?” Chris: “I did a lot more PR work than I did riding.”
•Chris has never been on Chicken on a Chain. (How the heck did that happen??). “I don’t know if I regret it too much; he’s an awful big bull. I had an opportunity this year to get on him, but fortunately I got hurt. It’s lucky for him I didn’t.” Shorty: “I woulda liked to have seen it, ‘cause Chris woulda looked like a little tiny tick up on that big ol’ bull.”
•Chris now ropes bulls at TPD events—who knew??
WHEN IS “SOLD OUT” NOT “SOLD OUT”?
Near the end of the broadcast, PBR CEO Jim Haworth said that the Madison Square Garden event was a 3-night sellout. Well, I was there, and it was NOT. The PBR is constantly telling people an event is a sellout, when even the TV viewers can see empty seats—for example, at the Last Cowboy Standing pay-per-view event last year. A few years ago, the Frontier Rodeo website claimed that the Touring Pro event in Worcester was a sellout. I was there on the final afternoon, and the place wasn’t even half full.
The PBR needs to stop this b.s. It’s a transparent, cheesy attempt to convince people that everything the PBR does is spectacularly successful. It insults the audience’s intelligence, and it’s going to backfire. It makes it look like they’re desperately trying to cover up failure.
Look: having some seats unsold isn’t failure, it means the tickets are too damned expensive! Maybe someone should try doing the math: when a $50 ticket ends up being $72 because of extra charges, a lot of $50 customers aren’t going to be able to afford the ticket. Instead, they’ll buy a less expensive ticket. Result: not a sellout, and less profit.
Find venues that aren’t enslaved to Live Nation/Comcast, and won’t charge extra fees unless they’re mailing the tickets, and watch your profits rise, boys. At the 2010 Billboard Touring Conference, various segments of the music industry were mystified and bewailing the fact that 40% of their ticket inventory went unsold. Well, DUH, boys—you’re charging too much!
Get real with your numbers, and you won’t have to lie to your fans. And your events really will sell out.
Next year is the 20th anniversary of the PBR. They say that 115,000 Facebook followers joined this past year, and that makes more than 400,000 so far. Just for kicks, I looked at the PBR Facebook page today (Sept. 9). It says 362,430 Likes.
And I wouldn’t be surprised if the PBR comes up with some other numbers so Chris Shivers can retire with “100” 90-point rides under his belt. I’m just sayin’…