Before I get around to posting about last weekend’s PBR event in Duluth, here’s something you really ought to see, about Round 1 of this weekend’s event in Sacramento. If there ever was any doubt about the PBR’s favoritism, here it is in their own words:
“Reigning World Champion J.B. Mauney received 74.75 points atop Dos Mas (Flying U/Cindy Rosser Bucking Bulls) and a re-ride, which he valiantly accepted. D&H Cattle Company’s High Tinsle was Mauney’s next opponent. Initially the ride was ruled a slap at 7.96 seconds, but was reviewed and eventually earned the champion 82.75 points in dramatic fashion.”
“Two-time World Champion Silvano Alves also received a re-ride after riding Sweet Gilly (Flying U/Cindy Rosser Bucking Bulls) for 76.75 points, but he respectfully declined.”
Let’s de-code that language, folks. Follow the professional journalist, who learned from a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and a Pulitzer Prize-winning critic (and was a critic herself for 20-odd years):
- Note that JB “valiantly” accepted the re-ride. He didn’t just accept it, or take it, like mere mortals do; he “valiantly” accepted it, like a knight in shining armor would. None-too-subtle subtext: Mauney is brave; riders who turn down re-rides are not.
- Next sentence: Silvano Alves “respectfully declined.” The qualifier “respectfully” is substituted for any word that might mean “fearfully,” because of course riders who turn down re-rides—especially this guy—are chicken.
- How does a ride DQ’d and then reviewed for a slap at 7.96—and you know it must’ve been an obvious one for the judges to review their favorite son—become an 82.75? Methinks the usual pattern is, someone thinks there was a slap, and the ride is reviewed. Occasionally a DQ turns into a score, but it’s not so common. If I looked back through all these posts to find examples and see who benefited from them, I’m sure I couldn’t be accused of paranoia. Some riders are more equal than others. Example: in Duluth, João Ricardo Vieira’s spur and boot heel were ripped off him in the chute, yet he received no re-ride offer, until he physically brought a judge to the chute to show him the spur sitting there.
- A DQ that morphs into an 82.75 isn’t a breathtaking score, yet somehow it happened “in dramatic fashion.” There’s more of that manufactured “storyline,” because heaven forbid it should ever sound like Mauney didn’t do something extraordinary. And none of this is his doing or his fault.
Of course, the past season has provided “only” circumstantial evidence of the Golden Child treatment: never being put on the clock, being given a re-ride or two without even leaving the chute, because of a restless bull—while other riders can get banged around in there while being shouted at to get out. I do recall one other rider getting that type of re-ride option, that’s how few times I’ve seen it happen.
And then there’s the unusual (I’m using a polite word) occurrence of more ties—in fact, two ties in one round: Ryan Dirteater and Robson Palermo, tied for 1st place at 87.75 each, and Mike Lee and Claudio Crisostomo at 85.75 for 5th place. If Ryan had ridden first, I could believe that these were perfectly legitimate scores. But since Robson rode first, isn’t there just the teensiest possibility that the judges gave Dirteater the score to tie him with Palermo? I know Ryan’s a great rider, but look at the videos: Houla Hoop is a washing machine with a slight fade, has been out 4 times, and has a 75% buckoff rate. Palermo’s bull, Right Cross, has been out 7 times and has an 85.71% buckoff rate. (Only the PRCA’s Corey Maier scored on him.) Look at the post-event interview with Robson: not a happy man, and he’s usually quite pleasant on camera. Instead, he’s deadpan, and has only one second of a half-smile. Isn’t there just the teensiest possibility that he knew he should’ve been the round winner? Like Fabiano should’ve won the New York event?
Is this the PBR’s new strategy, to add to the increasingly obvious “ding the Brazilian rider by .25” ploy—tie scores to keep American riders even with Brazilian riders?
No, I haven’t seen every single event and examined every ride through repeated slow motion replay—though seeing with my own eyes what happened to Vieira in NY was just disgusting—but I sure have seen enough over the years, especially during the past season, to recognize a campaign when I see one.
I’m just sayin’.