FRIDAY JAN. 4
The PBR season opener: It’s hard to believe that Madison Square Garden is home to thousands of concerts, yet on Friday night, the sound was pathetic. The music volume was way down, maybe even too low (I know, right?), and so were Brandon Bates, Clint Adkins, and Flint Rasmussen. We all had to strain our ears to hear what was happening, except for me, because I know half of Flint’s New York material by heart.
▪ Chase Outlaw has ditched the buffalo helmet, presumably hoping to score more, and the hat trick worked: in Round 2 he made a Mike Lee-style ride on Moses for 86.25.
▪ Apparently Larry The Cable Guy is now Flint’s go-to fashionista (or would that be “fashionistuh?”). The Painted One’s costume change after Round 3: sleeveless red plaid shirt and a tattoo that wasn’t legible from where I was sitting.
▪ The sponsor merry-go-round has splattered riders with different colors, which probably will confuse a lot of people for a while. Austin Meier’s red and blue ensemble and distinctive red and blue helmet have been replaced with a black and green uniform, and there’s no sign of Blue Emu, so JB Mauney’s wearing black— which looks great under his old black hat with the feather parked on it.
- The talented Russian Roulette caused a cowboy-Caleb-bullfighter pileup, which inspired Flint to get all stroppy and hurl his hat after the departing bull. Without even a backward glance, RR gave it a nonchalant kick.
- Once again, Mud Wasp was flipping out in the chute; this time under Billy Robinson, who managed to escape the sting with an 87, giving him the #2 slot for the day.
- Bull Arrow seemed to want more to do than dump Harve Stewart, who now resembles a full-fledged mountain man. He went to check out Flint, who was perched on the Shark Cage, and stared him down, then took on one of the bullfighters. He must’ve been testing Frank, because he gave up and split. Nice-looking bull: gray with black polka dots. The Fearless One ain’t bad, either: pretty blue eyes (my posse was unanimous on that).
▪ Ty Pozzobon’s Round 1 Ben Jones-style landing on the back of his neck— in the chute, no less.
▪ Edevaldo Ferreira’s attempt on Fire Water put him (come on; while Craig Hummer’s on leave, you know I have to say it) deep under water.
▪ Renato Nunes took a bitch-slapping from Brother Love (or would that be a bro-slapping?) right in the chute. The bull went berserk; half a dozen people scrambled to rescue Renato as the bull escaped, stumbling out of the gate.
LET A WOMAN OPERATE THAT STUD-FINDER!
The Stanley Tools Stud Finder is always off-base (the worst dancer, usually with a huge middle, always wins), but this time was painful: it zeroed in on goofball candidate #2, and just missed a dark-haired hunk sitting to his left. If a woman was operating that gadget, it woulda beeped its ass off.
- In Round 2, Jory Markiss was ticked off that Come Back wasn’t interested in the pleasure of his company, so clearly the thing to do was to chuck his mouthpiece at the bull. From a safe distance, of course.
- I don’t know how much, if any, of the “Kiss Cam” filler segment makes it onto the broadcasts, but there are so many ways it can go wrong. Friday night’s big “Oops!”: the camera zeroed in on a woman and man sitting together, and the panic-stricken woman gestured frantically, “No! He’s my brother!”
THIS IS WHY THE RE-RIDE RULES DRIVE PEOPLE CRAZY
Dakota Beck didn’t get a re-ride when Tapout’s entire front end went down.
Linda’s Pet had no kick, so Robson Palermo was offered 68.50 or a re-ride. (Fortunately he “converted” his re-ride on Slim’s Ghost, to an 85.) Chavito was equally lazy, but LJ Jenkins was offered 80.50 or a re-ride. Things that make me go Hmmm…
- Watching Brendon Clark’s bizarre Round 4 attempt on the excellent Colored by Arctic, all I could think of was the Tin Man’s immortal: “Oil can!” I’ve never seen a guy try to ride a bull without bending anything.
- Guilherme Marchi’s third time with High Steaks was not the charm. It was a wild trip; several times I thought Marchi was a goner, especially when his hat flew off, but he kept muscling back into place. Eventually the bull got him up against the chute, but by then Guilherme had slapped him, so the score was a hard-earned zero.
BIG FAT GYP
You didn’t have to ask the Garden crowd what they thought of the 85.50 Silvano Alves got for his manic flight on the outrageous Showoff. I’m sure the TV audience could hear that big ol “Boooo!” The bull’s owners really hit the mark when they named him.
FIRST BACK FLIP OF THE SEASON!
Renato scored 86 for his re-ride on clone Another One. He flipped hatless; was this to show off his Marine haircut?
The win went to Stormy Wing for his 88.25 on Slippery Devil, but he didn’t rake in the extra dough on bonus bull South Paw, who faked left while Stormy was going right.
THE NEW GIMMICK
“Clash of the Cowboys” is the Next Cute Thing: two teams of riders and bull fighters, the Outlaws and the Bandits, go up against each other in a variety of messy stunts. So as not to be accused of anti-Brazilian feeling, the PBR has roped Robson into this. The poor guy’s probably wondering why bull riding in the States involves such bizarre extracurricular activities, and how maybe he can hurt the other shoulder so he can get out of this.