Can’t let the year end without talking about the PRCA Finals. Most of the riders won’t be familiar to those who are PBR fans only, but they’ll recognize Shane Proctor (2011 PRCA Champ) and Dustin Elliott (2004 PRCA Champ), who was called in to give opinions from the dirt, “since I didn’t do so good in the bull riding,” A few of the bulls are recognizable from the PBR circuit, among them Shepherd Hills tested and Mesa Pate’s Cowboy Casanova. Makes me wonder: how are Shane and Dustin allowed to work for two organizations? Special dispensation, or are they considered “demoted”? Enquiring minds want to know.
It’s a loooong Finals—Dec. 6-12— because this is rodeo, not just bull riding. There are 10 rounds, but to catch them on TV (GAC), you have to wait until the last 45 minutes or so of each broadcast— unless you have TiVo. I don’t, and I didn’t want to try staying up ‘til 1 a.m. 10 days in a row. There are only three ways I can do that: be on the road, out dancing, or… you figure it out.
I gotta say, the PRCA makes it easy to follow the action: you actually can use their website without tearing out your hair or emailing other viewers for help. Day sheets are easy to spot, and there are comprehensive bios on each cowboy. That’s right, you heard me: you don’t have to buy a special membership to see a rider’s webpage; the information is open for anyone to see. I just wish there were bull bios, too, and I’d be happy to write them.
One big plus: a rotating panel of announcers (Don Gay, Jeff Medders, Joe Beaver, Kadee Coffman, and Suzanne Alexander), none of whom are obnoxious (though Donnie Gay’s distinctive nasality takes getting used to). AND— ta-daa! we get to hear and see Justin McKee. Unfortunately, the down-on-the-dirt interviewers aren’t as crackerjack as Leah Garcia—the questions are always creampuffs, and get the prescribed answers (“I’m gonna ride ‘em jump for jump,” “one bull at a time,” “just have fun,” etc.). There doesn’t seem to be real rapport with the riders. Oh well. It takes time to get slick.
A major relief: it’s rare to have to wait long between rides, they turn ‘em out so fast. On the other hand, it’s hard to get enough information on the bulls; sometimes you don’t get the bull’s name unless you glance at the screen at the exact moment it’s shown, or follow along with the day sheet, but I want more information than that.
However, I’ll take less information over continuous idiotic babbling any day. The PRCA announcers give you plenty of color: “Bulls are spittin’ out cowboys right and left.” And that wasn’t even McKee.
Can’t complain about the Duluth Trading Company clothing commercials, either. The ad for their longtail tee shirt is tagged, “How to fix plumber’s butt,” and their workpants are “tougher than a beaver’s teeth.” The illustrations are PFF.
What’s very interesting is that Dr. Tandy Freeman worked this event. Guess the PBR doesn’t have his neck in a noose. I’m glad they’re sharing, but jeez, Tandy, do you ever sleep??
Just so you know: I missed a few rounds, and these notes may be in random order. Life does interfere.
MCKEEISMS (I think)
“They ain’t rode this bull since Moby Dick was a minnow.”
“He gets run out the back door like an ex-husband.”
“Man, a wreckin’ ball couldn’ta knocked him off.”
- “There’s something to be said about staying home and not gettin’ crippled, but if you stay home you get rusty.” –Donnie Gay
- “When you land on your feet, you’re just not that committed,” said someone who shall go unnamed because I couldn’t figure out which guy said it. Aw, come on, dude; that’s a bit harsh. A lot of guys make the ride, then make it look easy by stepping off on their feet. Most of them are from Brazil.
- About Bobby (the bovine), who was galloping all over, not spinning: “That bull was out there trick or treatin’; he was huntin’ some candy, he wasn’t out there bucking.”
- Donnie Gay, spectator: “I was so fired up, I bucked myself right off the chute!”
- “Without the bullfighters we wouldn’t be able to do our job. There’d be new guys every week. We need them like a smart owl needs a tree.” —Cody Whitney, channeling Justin McKee.
- “That proves white men can’t dance.”—Donnie Gay’s critique of Cody Whitney’s jig when Cody won Round 2 with an 89-point ride on The Grinch.
- “He did that to himself, just because he was trying so stinkin’ hard!” Donnie getting crotchety about Cody Teel making only 7.98 because his arm was flying too fast and got him leaned too far back.
NOTABLE BULLS (for better or for worse)
- Iron Horse was a little jack-in-the-box, jumping up and down but producing no spin until near the end; his under-performance shafted Cody Teel with a 74.50, which the crowd booed— why not a re-ride?
- Donnie Gay said Mission Accomplished was an “ugly bull… absolutely no timing.” But Trevor Kastner scored 80 on him.
- No wonder Cat Ballou was named Bull of the Year—you should see what he did to Cody Samora and Tag Elliott.
THE PROCTOR FACTOR
He lost one “gimme.” Announcer quote: “I coulda lost my car, if somebody wanted to gamble.” He won two rounds, scored in another two, and got bucked off in the other six. His trip on Glass Tiger looked like he just walked off the bull. What’s going on? Nothing to write your brother-in-law about, Shane.
Brett Stall’s turquoise chaps— stylin’!
I’M JUST SAYIN’…
- I’d like to see what JW Harris would do on the Built Ford Tough Series. I like his winner attitude. His 90.50 on Stink Eye took Round 1, then he placed 2nd to Cody Teel in Round 2, slipped lower in the standings, and got bucked off in every round but #5. That’s sure not his usual performance. I searched all over for an injury report, thinking he must’ve gotten hurt, or aggravated last year’s injuries, but I couldn’t find anything. Does that mean JW was just having one of those days?
- Re-rides were rare during the event; does the PRCA have a policy that’s different from the PBR’s Random Rules Application?
WHAT HE DID FOR LOVE…
PRCA Bullfighter of the Year (for the 4th time)Dusty Tuckness took a head-shovel shot in the shorts from Mission Accomplished that sent him flying, but kept Beau Schroeder safe. Same thing happened to him courtesy of Wild Child, after Cody Whitney’s 86.50 ride.
IT’S A FIRST?
Not sure if this is common, but 6’3” Seth Glause (coming in at #5 in the world; this is his 4th NFR) is also a bronc rider. In Round 2, he acquired a broken nose courtesy of Medicine Show, but rode in Round 3 wearing a borrowed helmet (smart guy). That is, he got a re-ride after Cowboy Coffee went from squatting to flopping down in the chute. (Bullspeak for “Take this job and shove it.”) He won Round 5 with an 87.50 on Canadian Tuxedo. Broken nose, two black eyes, banged-up shoulders, but came out of the Finals at #3 in the world. I think that’s called “cowboying up.”
In Round 9, only Trevor Kastner made the whistle— and won $18,000.
Rookie Cody Teel snatched the win from veteran JW Harris, by less than $2,000. Sufferin’ Seth Glause landed at #3. In his first WNFR, Beau Schroeder came in 4th. Rookie of the Year Trey Benton was in 10th place. I’m bummed about JW, but it’s exciting when a rookie swoops in and cleans up.