FINALS – SUNDAY

Columbus Oct. 13 will have to wait. I’m too excited about the part of the World Finals I was able to see on Sunday. (The rest of the Finals will wait, too.)

  • Silvano Alves, 1st back-to-back World Champion– in spite of all the harassment and punitive scores! That’s how good he is!
  • Robson Palermo, 1st man to win 3 event titles– in a row, no less– in spite of multiple injuries!
  • Emilio Resende, Rookie of the Year—in spite of the favoritism shown toward Chase Outlaw– his first buckle in the U.S.!

Did anyone besides me tear up during the awards ceremony?

I’d love to be able to talk about the Chris Shivers retirement ceremony, but I didn’t see it! So anyone who wants to tell the readers about the Shivers moments during the Finals, please comment here!

NBC pre-empted the ENTIRE event yesterday to natter on about the approaching storm. (I kept thinking, this’ll be over soon, any minute now they’ll switch to the Finals.) Sandy had better be big; if it’s another Comet Kohoutek, I’m gonna be even more pissed off. To everyone who missed it: how about sending messages to the NBC execs about how stupid they are to spend hours repeating that people should stay inside, if you live near water you should leave, trains and buses won’t be running, and have food, water, flashlights, and batteries on hand. Mike Bloomberg does not need that much airtime!

Bad enough NBC didn’t broadcast anything, but it was also tricky to locate on the PBR website’s Live Event Center. Wouldn’t you think the red button in the lower left corner that says “Live” would be the thing you press to see the event? But noooo… You somehow magically have to know to click on “Leaderboard” (in the middle of the left side of the page), which defies logic. Where are the instructions for that?

Then you get a drop-down menu, where you click on “Live Video.” How smart of the (obviously drunk) webmaster to hide it there. This site was supposedly redesigned to make it less of a nightmare than the previous one. Anyone wanna vote on the result? Until someone on the Chat Line explained, I was missing important moments– like the Shivers tribute!!

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING??

Featuring Chris Shivers in the Wreck of the Night?? On his last day of competition ever? What is wrong with the PBR? What fool made this stupid, callous decision?

HIGHLIGHTS (besides the obvious)

Palm Springs stays unridden. (Sorry about that, Mike Lee.)

Emilio Resende’s ride on David’s Dream was fantastic– but was put under review. The video replay has to be conclusive, right? I was holding my breath—would they dare ding him at the Finals? Thank the Universe they decided he made 8, and gave him 89.75, at that! It’s still one of those “shoulda been 90″s, and I would’ve been mad, but he won Rookie of the Year, so it’s okay.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR RACE

I was truly surprised that Chase Outlaw flamed out in spite of the help he got from the judges, and Chad Besplug choked. Remember the joking when Emilio Resende first arrived, that he was so good, the rest of the Brazilians were going to send him back? So glad it was just joking! I wish we’d had subtitles for his victory speech; he was blabbing away, and very little of it was translated.

BUT THAT SHOULDN’T BE!! (to quote my Grandma) JULIO MORENO AND RICHARD OLIVEIRA WERE ROBBED

What a waste of Bushwacker! Nothing against Agnaldo Cardozo, but there’s no way he could match the firepower of this bull. And that’s what caused Bushwacker to come in second behind Asteroid, with a quarter-point difference in scores? Not really. The real reason? The tug-at-the-heartstrings storyline: Asteroid’s owner Howard Talley died of cancer this year, so we MUST crown his bull.

They coulda waited ’til next year to vote Asteroid #1, and let Bushwacker have his due this year: he’s been ridden ONCE since 2009, and I’d love to know how many outs he had. For some incredibly dumb “reason,” the number of outs a bull has is not included in the bull stats on the PBR website– unless it’s hidden where only secret initiates can find it.

Asteroid’s been ridden THREE TIMES in two seasons–check the PBR website– and has many more seasons ahead of him. It doesn’t matter how impressive Asteroid was on the last four days of the season– Bushwacker was leading all the way into the Finals. Unless he flat outright refused to buck and lay down on the job every day of the Finals, Julio Moreno and Richard Oliveira were robbed. Once again, the storyline won out over sense.

TIMEKEEPING & SCORING

A fallible human being with a stopwatch is the backup plan for clock malfunction? At a world championship event? That is beyond amateur! Be professional, PBR. Use technology! How about a second buzzer setup that’s automatically triggered if the first one fails? Kinda like a rollover phone line: when the first line is busy, an incoming call automatically rolls over to another line. Kinda like a backup generator. Get it?

Here’s an idea for the scoring issues: technology again. Have each judge punch in scores the way people on game shows punch in answers, so no one else sees them. This would ensure fair, timely, objective judging; no ganging up on a rider, inflating another rider’s score, or waiting until three judges do the math and then the last judge tips the score one way or the other. (OMG, what am I saying?!?)

Are PBR execs really that far back in the dark ages that they can’t think of solutions? In that case, hire me. Or don’t they want solutions? (Gee, what would make me think that?) After Brazilian riders took the three 2012 buckles, I can just imagine what the scoring will be like next year. Remember all the jokes about “the JB clock”? Betcha a lot of riders are gonna have their own clocks. And Alves will be getting 60s all year.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a conference this week at PBR headquarters on the theme of “What are we gonna do about the Brazilians?” Everybody keep an eye out for sudden visa problems, fewer Brazilian riders competing, new rules, and other strange coinkydinks.

BRANDON BATES & CLINT ADKINS: READIN’ YOU THE RIOT ACT

Don’t know which of you emceed the Bass Pro Shop bit, but you referred to the contestants as “man and lady.” You know those children’s shows that sing at you, “”One of these things is not like the others?” and you’re supposed to pick which one doesn’t match? Well, if there’s “man” on one side, any child knows  “woman” should be on the other side, not “lady.” And then you “compounded” on it (as Ty Murray would say), by calling the winner a “girl,” and saying to the loser, “How does it feel to be beat by a girl?”

How insulting! Like it’s a foregone conclusion that a male contestant will always beat a female contestant, unless he’s a wuss? Like there isn’t a 50-50 chance of a female contestant beating a male? Like there should be shame in being beat by a female contestant? Would a male feel shame if he lost to a male?

And what the HELL is this pathological avoidance of the word “woman”?? Why do none of you people use it? Is there a law in the bull riding world that you never refer to an adult female as a woman? Why? Is it too threatening to all you wusses out there? A REAL MAN isn’t afraid of the word “woman.” And a REAL MAN doesn’t belittle them.

When Mesa Pate is 70 years old, are you still going to be calling her a “girl”? Oh, wait a minute, I forgot: when she hits 40, she is then referred to as a cougar, right? But maybe by then, y’all will have stopped calling her “a female contractor” and just call her a “contractor,” like you call Jeff Robinson, and like she has said she wants. Get over your dumb-ass shit, scared little boys! You don’t really like women all that much as people, do you? If you did, you wouldn’t be so damned condescending. You clearly think of us as dim, pretty little toys.

At the very least, if you’re gonna use “girl,” then you damn well better put “boy” in the other column!

AND YOU TOO, FLINT:

What’s with saying that next year people should bring American flags because “They bring their flags.” Why was it necessary to say that? Because you’re pissed that the Killer Bs took the three titles? Because you don’t like that “They” (Brazilian fans) cheer for Brazilian riders? They’re not doing this to be anti-American, you dolt! They’re showing appreciation for athletes from their country who are working in a foreign country and could use the moral support, considering how much hostility they encounter here.

And let’s see if you can grasp this, too: bull riding is an individual sport. There are no teams. There are just riders, some of whom speak another language. Some Americans cheer for American riders and Brazilian riders (and Canadians and Australians—who doesn’t love Ben Jones?). And some Brazilians may cheer for American riders. But you’ll never know– because you never talk to them. Unless I’m very much mistaken, not once has a Brazilian fan been chosen Fan of the Night, Best Dressed, Stanley Stud, or any other title. None of those titles is preceded by the word “American,” so why not?

If American fans bring American flags because they’re showing support for American riders, that’s nice. If they’re bringing American flags as a middle-finger gesture to the Brazilian fans and riders, that’s called being sore losers.

YIKES!

This truly scared me: “Everybody got your calculator out? We are going to put them to good use!”… “And now it becomes a math problem.” I imagined all kinds of devious maneuvering to somehow jigger the standings. Thank god there was no mathematical way that could happen.

I’M JUST SAYIN’…

  • Valdiron de Oliveira needed the Sports Med team after his buckoff from King of Hearts. Renato Nunes took a horn in the face. What happened?? Tell the people!!
  • Why did they present the awards in the most ass-backward order? Pay attention to the Academy Awards, guys: They don’t give out the Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Picture Oscars first and then give out Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. They save the top banana(s) for last–that way, the audience stays, and people don’t turn off the TV. The order should be: contractor, bull, rookie, event winner, Champ. You build up to the climax.

CLASS ACT

“I come here crippled and now I go leave like a young man.” —Robson Palermo

But talk about putting him on the spot! Brandon Bates asked him how much he loves living in the U.S. Obviously he had to throw this in so American fans won’t hate the Brazilians even more than a lot of them already do; Bates may even have been told to say that. Palermo was as diplomatic as he could be: said he misses Brazil, but Tyler, Texas is his home, his kids were born here, he wants them to go to school here, he thanks the Brazilians and his sponsors and his American friends. (How many friends has he really got? if you recognize that reference, you’re as big a Townshend fan as I am.)

You know where Robson’s heart is, but his head keeps him here. He once said he didn’t want his son to grow up to be a bull rider, he wanted him to maybe be a doctor. Isn’t that the way most voluntary immigrants to America feel? My grandfather’s family left Italy to make a better life for themselves, and that’s exactly what they did. Instead of struggling and scraping over there, they struggled and scraped over here, and now we have four generations of doctors in the family. Isn’t that supposed to be the “American Dream”? Why do some people begrudge the Brazilians that dream? They sure bust their asses to achieve it.

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About Bull Riding Marketing

Creative services, marketing and public relations professional from entertainment industry background. Published in magazines and newspapers worldwide. I believe bull riders are the new rock stars.
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12 Responses to FINALS – SUNDAY

  1. Becky Thompson says:

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20121028/INDYCAR/121029848
    What do you think of this? PBR could use him bace here again.

    Like

  2. Esther says:

    Here is my two cents worth. Instead of feeling the Brazilians were underscored this year, I think they were fairly scored. I do feel they were over scored all of 2011, there were many time in 2011 I just shook my head at their scores, wondering if the judges were being influenced by all the praise the booth guys were heaping on them. There was all this talk last year about the Brazilians’ PHD – poor, hungry, determined. Well, most of them are neither poor nor hungry anymore, just the new ones coming up maybe. As for the flag issue, I’m sure if an American rider won and held the American flag he would get all kinds of flack. I think the Canadians and Australians could get away with it, just as the Brazilians do, but not an American. As for Brazilian fans, at the event I went to there was a group of Brazilian fans in the row in front of us. Every time a Brazilian rode they stood up and held up a big Brazil flag, blocking the view of those for two or three behind them, forcing us to only see the ride on the big screen. Ok, I can accept this, if they don’t want me to see a Brazilian rider – fine. However, when a non-Brazilian rode they just sat there, didn’t clap or yell no matter how good the ride was. If American fans are expected to appreciate a good ride no matter where the rider is from, the same should be expected from fans of other nations. Now, for one thing you haven’t mentioned – if the PBR wants to attract new & younger fans they need to go further into the stands and find young fans to show on TV. When the camera follows a rider to the rails what you see is mostly older people, probably the only ones who can afford those tickets. The three finalist for the Ford Invasion were all older. I don’t know what can be done regarding the contest, except break it down by age group: 30 & below, 30-50, 50+, but that would probably be too difficult. But really, no young fans entered this contest? I’m saying this as a 66 year old: ‘PBR – show more young fans’.

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    • Here’s my $2:
      I think the scores reflected the astonishing level of riding from Brazil that we were seeing for the first time on a regular basis, not just once in a generation. We all got so used to seeing the 2011 crop of Brazilians ride, that the first time Silvano and Valdiron got bucked off, there was a collective gasp. And I’ll take Ty Murray’s word on what he thinks is spectacular riding. He’s made no secret of his admiration for Robson Palermo, and I second that emotion! You wanna see overscoring, watch some CBR events!

      The Brazilians are not rich. Winning $1 million doesn’t make up for the years of not winning, the cost of having an international career, paying taxes in two countries (at least), supporting a family, moving from one country to another (I’ve done it— even without furniture it’s brutally expensive), paying medical expenses for you and your entire family, buying a house, land, and livestock, traveling internationally, traveling domestically every week… You don’t just pocket the million— the governments take out their chunks first. And winning a truck doesn’t make you rich; it just means you didn’t have to buy it. You’re still going to pay for insurance, capital gains tax, and an ocean of gas, because those things are thirsty. How much do you think the Marchis had to spend out of pocket on medical care when Patricia was injured and unable to work, and he wasn’t winning events? How long do you think it took the Palermos to get their heads above water, once he got out of the little Amazon town where he lived? And the guys all still have to find a way to create income for their families for the future, when they can’t ride— which for some of them isn’t too far off.
      By your lights, if none of the Brazilians except the newbies are poor, then all of the American riders are rich, except for the rookies. That’s not true, right?

      The flag “issue”: Why? What makes you think that? And what do you mean by “getting away with it,” like it’s some kind of crime? Have you not noticed the gigantic American flag hanging at every event, and the singing of the American national anthem, and the introduction of military personnel (as if that’s part of the sport)? The Brazilian riders stand there respectfully with their hats off and their heads bowed, and when they win, they always thank American audiences. (I wonder if American riders thank Brazilian fans when they ride in Brazil.) The riders didn’t bring their flag with them to hold up; it was handed to them. It’s for the Brazilian fans watching on TV— millions of them. The PBR is well aware of where their bread is buttered.

      Okay, so you went to an event and people stood in front of you and blocked your view. Do you think they deliberately wanted to prevent you from seeing? If they were Canadian or Australian, would you have a big problem with it? Did you politely ask if they could lower the flag so you could see the ride, because you’re excited about it, and you appreciate the rider? Most of the time people who share a passion will be able to communicate and cooperate; a smile with a ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ usually works. My experience in the stands: big loud American guys spilled beer on me, Brazilian families next to me tried to have a conversation, and they took photos for me with some Brazilian riders, and vice versa. And BTW, have you never been to a rock concert?? Should I be pissed at everyone in New Jersey because they stand up and yell “Bruuuuuce” and I can’t see over their heads? Generalizing about a whole group of people from the behavior of a few people you see at one place at one time is just ridiculous. And you know what? Even if they were truly assholes, so what?? Are people at football games universally polite?

      And if those particular people you’re talking about don’t care about other riders, so what? They’re not obligated, just like you’re not obligated to cheer for any riders but the ones you like. Besides, you’d be mad at them if they stood up to cheer and blocked your view of an American rider, right? Who says American fans are “expected” to appreciate a good ride no matter where the rider’s from? It would be nice if everyone from every country appreciated a good ride no matter who made it, but that’s not reality. Some of us do, some of us don’t.

      On the issue of younger fans, I’m with you, big-time. When I started this blog I also started communicating to the PBR my ideas about extending their reach and making an effort to attract women and young fans, especially teenagers and college kids. They seem to be stuck in the past: little kids win Best Dressed Fan a lot of the time, and older people win everything else. And yep, usually only older people can afford the best seats. If the PBR aimed some marketing directly at younger people, using their favorite media, and priced tickets so younger people could afford to go to events, and introduced student fan club memberships, for example, they’d have a bigger audience now and for the future. But what do I know about attracting young people? I only spent years doing entertainment PR and working in the rock & roll business. Tell the PBR directly what you think about how they ignore younger fans; write to their marketing people in Colorado.

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      • diane0409 says:

        I happen to agree that Robson Palermo is an astonishing rider and that, along with his personality, has made him one of my favorites. Renato is also a favorite because of his personality and unorthodox riding style. However, last year I was beginning to feel I was being hit over the head with the greatness of the Brazilian riders.
        I never said the Brazilians were rich, I just said they were no longer poor and hungry. I doubt even they would say they are. A lot of the expenses you listed they have are also expenses American riders have, but nobody says they are poor. Has it really come down to this – in this country you are either rich or poor?

        The flag. By “getting away with it” I mean doing something that others wouldn’t be able to do without getting negative comments. As for American riders in Brazil, I remember after the 2009 World Cup in Brazil a few American riders said the Brazilian riders and people in general were very friendly and helpful and they would love to go back. However, at the event, whenever a non-Brazilian rode there was almost dead silence in the arena. The Brazilian riders explained this was just the custom and culture, but still it was a little unsettling.

        I guess I should have remembered this at the event I went to and the Brazilian fans in front of us. I had, at the time, just finished reading Ty Murray’s column in the Pro Bull Riders magazine issue that came out just after the 2011 finals. The column was all about how upset and saddened he was about the negative comments he heard at the finals regarding the Brazilian riders and how fans should ‘appreciate a great ride no matter where the rider was from’. He also made this comments a few times on TV. Just seems it should work both ways. Although, as you say, a fan has a right to cheer who they want and not cheer who they want. Maybe I’m just a rare person who can be turned off of an athlete(s) by fan behavior. I was not a JB fan for a long time because of the Minions, but now that they have become almost non-existent, at least on comment boards, I have started to like him better. I doubt I will ever be a blanket “I love the Brazilians” type of fan. There are two or three that are among my favorite riders, the rest are like the other riders, I hope they make the 8 seconds and groan when they don’t, but that’s it.

        Glad we agree on ‘younger’ fans.

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      • Esther says:

        Oops, diane0409 and Esther are one in the same – used the wrong user name.

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  3. Lauryn says:

    The reason they didn’t air the Chris Shivers tribute is because there wasn’t one! Unbelieveable!! My husband and I were at the event and stayed through the entire awards ceremony, thinking they were saving it for last, but Chris was never honored! He was given a bull statue/trophy of sorts on the third night and said a few words to the crowd, however some of those words were “I’ll have more to say to you guys on Sunday”. It was actually quite appaulling and anti-climactic to have one of the best riders in the PBR (ever!) to have his last moment in the spotlight in “The Wreck of the Night” after a buckoff. The only thing I can think of is because he was so emotional earlier in the evening (during the introductions), he requested not to have a spectacle later on in the evening. Otherwise, I have no idea how that could have been left out.

    Love your blog!!!!!

    Like

    • It’s just pathetic, after all the praise heaped on Shivers, that there wasn’t a special televised tribute for his retirement. I hope they make up for it by putting together a documentary. I agree; I commented in a post about the terrible idea of featuring him in a Wreck of the Night at his last Finals appearance. Just when you think the PBR can’t commit one more act of gross stupidity, they top themselves. I’d like to know what cretin made that decision, and why he still has a job.

      I’m jealous– you saw the Finals in person! And thanks for the compliment.

      Like

  4. Will Hodge says:

    I enjoy your blog and appreciate your unbridled joy of bullriding, but I cannot believe someone who invests so much time in watching the sport can’t see that many (not all!) of the Brazilians take shortcuts that, for want of a better word, cheat the bull. I do not think that they are deliberately setting out to swindle anyone, they’re just unwilling (despite the rules and our sense of fair play) to change how they’ve ridden since their beginnings in Brazil. Down there it’s not considered foul play to have multiple assistants yank the rope to the point that the bull can’t breathe and then just sit there and wait for him to nearly choke before calling for the gate. Silvano Alves is the absolute worst about it. He is constantly complaining that he can’t get his foot down to grip the bull despite resting his foot on the gate. During the finals one of the judges even came and put his ARM down there to show Silvano how much room he had. Many of the Brazilians grew up riding that way and are used to taking lesser bulls once weakened. Many of them are just not ready to ride PBR caliber bulls without an “edge”. Palermo, de Oliveira, Nunes, and especially Marchi are fantastic riders and are more than enough for the best bulls in the world. I applaud them and their amazing abilities. Alves, however, is not at their level. While you feel the judges go out of their way to cut scores on the Brazilians I and many others feel that, quite the opposite, they look the other way at their behavior in the chutes simply to keep Brazilians “in the hunt” so that South American TV ratings stay sky-high. Not claiming a racial inability in their riding up here, but a cultural one. Please feel free to disagree, and keep up the fine blogging.

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    • S. says:

      I’m not the original blogger, but I am interested in hearing your viewpoint, since there are many people who, out of sour grapes, kneejerk about the Brazilians soaking bulls, as if that’s the only way any Brazilian has ever won anything, but you don’t seem to be one of those.

      I would be interested to know if the PBR BFTS has any sort of introduction for new riders? I’m guessing they don’t, and newbies are just thrown into the chutes, so to speak. If there is a substantive difference between how guys can behave in the chutes in the PBR Brazil and how they will be allowed to do so in the BFTS, it would behoove the PBR to make that incredibly clear so there can be no misunderstanding. (And to have a translator around to do more than just creampuff “thanks to my sponsors” interviews). And if the PBR is serious about expanding to other countries, if they haven’t already done so, they had better get on it immediately, and not just assume that their unspoken “American cowboy way” will transmit by magic to all in the BFTS.

      If the PBR were consistent about their DQs and hurrying guys in the chutes across the board, I would be perfectly happy with that, because it should be the cowboys performing their best against the bulls performing at their best. I can’t imagine the chute judge cares what the ratings are in South America, and the PBR has to know that there’s a big portion of the U.S. fanbase that isn’t so fond of a Brazilian sweep.

      Unfortunately, the chute judge often seems to yell at everyone from Brazil, sometimes before the guy has even gotten his butt on the back of the bull (Renato usually gets out quickly, and will take bulls lying down and in less favorable positions, but the chute judge was hustling him during the finals — what was that about?). Meanwhile, certain American riders can apparently screw around in the chute for an incredible amount of time and it’s all “he wants to get it just right” or “the bull is leaning on his leg.”

      While Silvano does stay in the chute longer than many, I’ve seen some amazing moves he’s made to stay on the back of bulls. He just seems to be a naturally conservative guy, both in personality and his riding style. He’s figured out how to win twice and, although lower this year, still has a pretty incredible ride average. And hey, at least he’s not catching his spurs in the rope, like a few other guys not from Brazil seem to favor. 😉

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      • Ditto!

        I kinda doubt the PBR up here holds Portuguese Q&A sessions, so riders from other countries probably have to rely on informal rope-showing from their compatriots who’ve been here longer. If anyone knows otherwise, please enlighten us! Of course it would make sense to have a full-time translator assigned to competition duty, but apparently that’s asking for the moon.

        The only non-bull-riding PBR class I’ve heard of was about cowboys learning to be businessmen. (PBR 101: “Don’t blow your prize money on booze and Buckle Bunnies.”) Even if there isn’t an official “orientation,” riders new to the PBR would get clued in somehow to the way things are done– probably the hard way. As we’ve seen, there often isn’t a relationship between the rules on paper (and on the PBR website) and reality. As many times as I’ve heard references to the rule book, no one I know has seen one. If riders come in through the Touring Pro Division, they’ll get their education along the way, and can get the inside track from the veterans they know.

        I do feel sorry for the teenagers who suddenly get thrown into the mix without mentors, though.

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    • I appreciate hearing an interesting viewpoint, in civilized terms! If the PBR would give me chute side seats (as if), then I could report what I see from that angle. But until that time…

      Frankly, I don’t think the judges and many American fans have a sense of fair play in this sport. (And now I’ll get emails full of cussing at me.) If the U.S. expects Brazilian riders to change their style when they compete here, then it should expect American riders to change their style when they compete in Brazil. If the U.S. expects foreign riders to learn English or suffer the consequences of misunderstanding, and provides a translator only for victory speeches, then Brazil has a right to expect American riders to learn Portuguese and use a translator only after a competition is over. If American judges consistently score Brazilian riders lower, then they might expect Brazilian judges to score American riders lower. If re-ride rules are applied consistently to all riders, then I’ll believe there’s a sense of fair play. If we see videos of American riders at least trying to speak Portuguese at events in Brazil, then I’ll believe there’s some attempt at good will. If the PBR wants to send me to Brazil to check this out, great! I’ll start taking Portuguese lessons now.

      Seems to me every rider has about the same number of guys at the chute pulling ropes. If a bull was choking, wouldn’t it–and its contractor– make a fuss? Some bulls try to fling themselves out of the chute, and we’re always told it’s because they’re green and not used to the noise and lights, and as they mature, they settle down more (apart from the few known to have a “hair trigger”). Again, everyone knows the bulls are very valuable, and stock contractors always talk about how well their animals are treated. If they saw anything harmful happening to their bulls, they’d be the first to stop it, wouldn’t they? (I would hope.)

      From the videos I’ve seen of bull riding in Brazil (since I haven’t been able to get there–yet), I don’t think the bulls are inferior; they may just be smaller or have a different bucking style. One video of Alves on a white bull sticks in my mind; the bull is absolutely wild, and he’s adjusting for every movement, staying on for an unbelievably tough 8 seconds. When Alves first came on the scene, the commentators were amazed at how he could ride any kind of bull, and always made it look easy. Now everyone has decided he must be cheating– he picks easy bulls, he stalls in the chute, he fakes being unable to get his leg down… without applying the same criteria to American riders.

      If anything, the judges look the other way when an American rider is farting around in the chutes. I need to get a stopwatch and time exactly how long Alves is in the chute before he’s put on the clock, compared to how long Cody Nance takes (without being put on the clock), for example. (See my newest post about the Columbus event.) It’s gotten to the point where the chute bosses automatically assume a Brazilian rider is going to take a long time, so they start the harassment very quickly. They make no such assumption about other riders. If I went through my posts, I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve heard an American rider harassed compared to how many times Brazilian riders are hassled.

      And not for nothing, but anyone who has ever dropped an item down a narrow space can tell you that getting an arm down there to retrieve it may be easy, but a foot in a cowboy boot with a spur attached is not going to fit in the same space.

      The proof is in the pudding. If a rider can’t ride PBR caliber bulls, he gets bucked off. Alves may not have a great-looking style, or a passionate expression, but the fact is, he stays on more than other people do; those stats can’t all be down to “soaking” bulls.

      Considering how many objectionable actions the PBR has taken since the venture capitalist coup, it’s plausible that they’ll do what they can to maintain TV ratings in South America, but I’m not convinced they’d get the contractors, Cody Lambert, and J.W. Hart in line to put up with animal abuse. I hope!

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