Ariat Invitational, Oakland, CA. Sept. 7

• “Every bull here is on the borderline.” –Cody Lambert. Doesn’t give you much confidence in the pen, does it?
• “… the Clash of the Cowboys. Find out how to win one.” Do we get to pick which one?

With a still painful groin injury, after doing physical therapy all week, Fabiano Vieira came in at #3 last night with an 87.25 for riding Shameless—a good way to return to competition. But the injury kept him out of the Championship Round.

Mike Lee has ridden only 2 of his last 19 bulls.
Austin Meier has ridden 4 of his last 23. Yipes!

• Craig Hummer talking about Eduardo Aparecido, #7 in the world: “We transition to one of our many Brazilians on tour.” Would he ever say, “We transition to one of our many Americans on tour”? No.
• Craig Hummer talking about Fabiano Vieira: “It’s becoming a Brazilian block party at the top of the standings; Vieira has a chance to bring the chips and dip.” And what if he wants to bring the soda instead?
• Craig Hummer, being redundant and stupid about Valdiron de Oliveira, after Valdiron continually made adjustments to ride Party Man for 89.25: “The man who has always been a perennial contender for the world title.”
• Craig Hummer, babbling for the sake of babbling, again about Valdiron: “He has never given himself a chance to win.” WTF is he talking about? As long as a rider is competing, he’s giving himself a chance to win. And besides, I thought he “has always been a perennial contender”?

• Last night Stormy Wing scored 87.75 on L.J. (not Jenkins), taking the round win; tonight he had no such luck on Plummer Butt. He even challenged the time, but it was 7.47. He keeps making 7+ seconds rides more than he scores, but Hummer insists on calling him “one of our home-run hitters.” WHY???
• João Ricardo Vieira took The Situation lying down; I don’t think I’ve seen a Brazilian rider do that. (That sentence is full of funny, and I didn’t do it on purpose.) It was worth 88 points. Craig Hummer apparently has decided that it’s too much work to say Vieira’s whole name, so he’s decided to abbreviate it. Maybe we should start calling him CrHum.
• More heavy-handed “Look! Look! Other athletes like to watch bull riding, too!” stuff: this time, a welterweight boxer with a scary-looking ear, a friend of LJ Jenkins’s and co-owner of Molly Hatchett, was helping LJ behind the chutes. More testimony, totally unprompted, of course: the boxer talked about the toughness of the riders and bullfighters, especially Shorty Gorham: “When I see what these guys go through…getting kicked in the face by a bull—he makes me look like a sissy when I get touched by a 165-pound fighter.” I guess the scrambled sentence is a result of shots to the head.
• We also saw a film clip of the San Jose Earthquakes (who?) wearing shorts and Ariat boots, and riders in jeans kicking soccer balls. “This is like rodeo on steroids,” said player Shea Salinas. Hummer then interviewed two players
while we missed Jordan Hupp riding How We Roll for 85. So now we miss rides while soccer players and boxers get interviewed? What’s wrong with this picture?
• What is the point of miking the riders (except for Ben Jones)? Either they don’t speak or they speak Portuguese, they say “pull” a few times, and then they nod. Then we hear 8 seconds of grunts (if they ride). Stormy Wing said something as he prepped on Buck Off (who has bucked off four World Champs), but with his mouthpiece in, all we heard was “mhb, hb, mb.” Impressive bull, though.

More and more riders are keeping low scores rather than taking re-rides. Silvano Alves is constantly badmouthed for that strategy, but it’s catching on. Last night Nathan Schaper kept a 69 instead of taking a reride, and Sean Willingham accepted a 76.50. Back in Tulsa, Austin Meier settled for a 77.50. Marco Eguchi stuck with his 62.50 in Thackerville. Even JB Mauney didn’t squawk about his 79.75 tonight, on a bull that almost was taking a nap. So let’s stop griping about the Brazilians taking the easy way out.

From the comments I’ve seen on Twitter, Facebook, and a few websites, a lot of former riders hate this way of conducting business. That’s the issue, really: bullriding as a sport where guys just go at bulls with the goal of riding them, or bullriding as a business where guys strategize in the short run to achieve more in the long run—and extend their careers by not exposing themselves to extra injuries.
Ty Murray has said many times on PBR broadcasts that people should take re-rides; he wasn’t thrilled with the Silvano method, but the results speak for themselves.

Are results really what it’s about, though? People love JB Mauney because generally he throws himself at a challenge, and either he succeeds spectacularly, or he flunks big-time. A few years ago when his father convinced him to use strategy in picking bulls rather than going for the biggest challenge, it didn’t do him any good. When JB went back to his own style of picking bulls, he rode better. Like it or not, though, every other sport has become a business (okay, curling, maybe not so much), and every business has a strategy. Just hope it doesn’t ruin the game.

The “sexiest cowboy” campaign is getting really annoying. Now the contenders all have figured out the pose that emphasizes their biceps, and half of them are wearing black tee shirts. How Hollywood of them.
The PBR is about to start selling a photo calendar, and nope, not one Brazilian rider is in the mix. The excuse for excluding them from the contest was that it was for the cover photo of a book, portraying a specific character, and since the character was American, a Brazilian wouldn’t fit the bill. If the character is described as blonde and blue-eyed (I have no idea if he is), sure, none of the riders from Brazil we’ve seen so far would be cast in that role. But only one guy is going on the book cover. A calendar has room for 12 guys, and there’s no reason they all have to be American. This, folks, is prejudice, pure and simple, and I don’t want to hear crap from uneducated idiots who think there’s none at play here. Wake up and smell the “atmosphere,” dudes.
The only fun thing about this contest is Jory Markiss campaigning for the role with all his might, and Douglas Duncan claiming, “I’d much rather be a world champion bull rider than the sexiest cowboy.” (He hasn’t quit the contest, though.)

Shane Proctor’s shoulder popped out of place four times this week. Last night, Die Hard hurt his shoulder and arm again. Tonight, his hang-up on What Up? twisted his shoulder every which way. Now it’s strapped down, “It’s a good thing it goes back in easy,” was Shane’s take on it.

Jory Markiss is just too funny—even after an embarrassing buckoff, courtesy of Two Hearts, he raised his hat to the crowd. I’d say he’s now a member of the “Fan Favorite” club currently consisting of Ben Jones, Luke Snyder, and JB Mauney (and Fave Emeritus Justin McKee).

Clash of the Cowboys: riders kayaking on a lake. Hilarious: Shorty and Luke Snyder recapping the stunt. Luke: “Ross Coleman was going balls-to-the-wall like he always does.” If the TV censors had been able to decipher Snyder’s accent, that would’ve been a bleep.

• Ben Jones definitely was riding Love Doctor, then, just before 6 seconds, poof! His ride evaporated. Ben was pissed off: back to his old behavior of pounding against the fence and banging the wall on his way to the locker room. Too bad he wasn’t miked; we would’ve had a choice earful.
• Silvano Alves pulled himself back up into place on Buckey (Buck Off’s sire) when just about every other rider would’ve been tossed. His focus is scary: like an alien on a mission (ha ha). The score was only 79.75, but as the only one to ride all three of his bulls, Silvano wins the round. “The only man to win that Championship Round,” says Hummer. How much did he have to drink?

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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