Seriously—have you seen the new Ariat ad? It’s a photo of JB Mauney in the air, looking like he’s about to stick a landing off a bull. A very balletic move, right hand countering the nonexistent bull’s moves, hat and fringes flying, left foot contacting the dirt.
Only, he’s really on platform in a photo studio in New York City, and has just been pushed off a box. In the brief video clip on the Ariat website, he landed on his knee, but the final ad photo shows him in flight, one foot touching down. The fake dirt he raises seems to have been airbrushed into the photo.
This shoot was a few weeks before the Finals. The PBR was so confident he’d be the World Champion that they sent him, out of a dozen riders sponsored by Ariat—including Silvano Alves, reigning World Champion.
They really had their ducks in a row for the Finals, didn’t they? If the outcome of the Finals wasn’t a foregone conclusion, they’d have hedged their bets and sent both guys, then used the photos of the one who won.