MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS–JUST A LITTLE LATE!

DID I MISS SOMETHING?
Craig Hummer keeps saying Pure PBR is “the show by the fans, for the fans.” I must’ve missed that casting call when the PBR handed the cameras, microphones, and scripts over to TV viewers and ticketholders and said, “Here— go behind the chutes and onto the dirt and into JB Mauney’s face and make a show!” If they did, I’m sure the fans wouldn’t rig the sound so that what’s happening in the arena drowns out interviews, they wouldn’t talk incessantly, and they certainly wouldn’t forget to tell all the other viewers who’s riding what and what the score is. Well whaddaya want from a guy who’s wearing what looks like a tight disco cruising shirt under his jacket?

UNMASKED:
The judges for this event were Shawn Ramirez, Ryan Byrne, Jeff Shear, Lane Foltyn. Nice to know who to blame. For example: Western Way pulled a most bizarre move: literally tilted sideways down onto a knee and dumped Fabiano Vieira off the side. The judges denied him a re-ride and got booed by the crowd. And me.
Another example of WTF: Who Dey dove down, his cheek scraping the dirt a few times, trying to remove Matt Triplett from his back. No re-ride granted. The crowd (and me) booing again. Well, at least the judges didn’t give Matt a re-ride and not Fabiano. They were even-handedly stupid.

STRONGEST BULL OF THE NIGHT
Gotta love the sense of humor: Sue was still in the chute when he clobbered a cowboy—and it wasn’t even the guy on his back. Chase Outlaw was helping another rider get set, when he suddenly was thumped in the chest by Sue’s horn and knocked five feet away onto his back. He had trouble sitting up. His mates just laughed. Leah asked him what he learned. “Situational awareness. Stay away from the horns.”

HIPPEST BULL OF THE NIGHT
Hobo’s Magic did a James Brown knee drop (actually a belly drop). Matt Triplett had on his own dancing shoes, though (do I sound like Craig Hummer yet?) and handled every move the bull tried. Very impressive. 86.50

BEST NAMED BULL
Wreck It Ralph. I remember nothing about what he did tonight. I just love the name. And I’m sure a lot of 7-year-olds do, too.

CERTIFIABLE
It probably was Shorty Gorham who said, “This bull has a personality disorder.” I’m A Panda, Too was violently bashing around in the chute, and after Valdiron de Oliveira rode him, took out after him in revenge and delivered several crunches. All that for 84.75.

CLIFFHANGER
“In the column usually reserved for JB Mauney,” Craig Hummer says, apparently surprised that someone else besides his man-crush can make 90-point rides. João Ricardo Vieira has made several. This time he took a pounding from Throbbin Robin on the ground: leg, arm, shoulder. No helmet! He made the ride, it looked like he slapped the bull, but good thing he challenged: the replay showed his hand was close, but Shear did the right thing. (Shock!) 84 wasn’t enough for the roughing up Vieira took.

HIGHLIGHTS
• Jory Markiss’s 85.50 ride on Happy Feet wasn’t exactly graceful, but it sure was exciting, especially that wild money chop at the end. I love that he gives it all he’s got. If he hadn’t been at 8 right then, he would’ve gone flying off into the ozone. PFF: he went straight to the dummy to practice.
• Loved seeing JW Hart dealing with the bulls behind the chute. One of them actually backed away in fear.
• How could João Ricardo Vieira have been stomped on so much last night, and still want to go to work tonight? He scored 87 on Electric Prune (because he needed 90+ to lead). McBride’s evaluation: “He never made a mistake.” Hummer’s ridiculous comment: “JR able to short circuit Electric Prune.”
• Mike Lee was lucky I’m A Gangster Too stumbled when he charged after him, having already stomped his leg. Lee waited for his score (88.75), then hobbled around the arena in his victory lap.
• João Ricardo Vieira’s 90.75 ride on Smackdown (who’s16 for 89) was thing of beauty, and he stuck the landing! It’s his 3rd 90-point ride on Smackdown out of four tries.

YET ANOTHER VERB TENSE I CAN’T FIGURE OUT
“Guilherme has rode for so long…” Justin McBride.

I’M JUST SAYIN’…
• Wow, the scores for the Brazilian riders (82, 83.25, 85.75, 80.25, 84, 84.75) sure don’t match the praise they’re getting from the PBR on Twitter: “Awesome, amazing, super, terrific, fantastic”…yeah, yeah, yeah. Never mind the adjectives—put your points where your mouths are. Keeping them in the mid-80s range is the strategy that shaved down Silvano’s lead last year. Tonight it looks like the strategy’s been extended to most of the Killer Bees.
Yet Justin McBride said good things about Eduardo Aparecido’s 85.75 ride on Nashville, reminded us of what Silvano Alves has accomplished in two years, commented positively on “The consistencies that he’s rode with;” said that Claudio Crisostomo’s very strong, always keeps his head down, keeps the bull in sight, that’s why he makes as many great rides as he does; and talked about “how much fear these Brazilian riders strike into the contractors—Jeff Robinson has 8 bulls here, and 6 Brazilians are on them.” I’m thinking, Justin must’ve taken some Nice Guy pills tonight. Keep it up!
• Somehow even when Guilherme’s on the bull, the subject of the conversation is still JB Mauney—who’s not even here this weekend! And any time Mauney has been on a bull, Hummer or McBride mentioned it.
• What the hell is going on with Silvano?? It’s like he forgot how to ride bulls. Maybe all that flak the PBR gave him last year took its toll, and this is a delayed reaction.

YIKES!
• Cody Nance’s crazy hangup on White Velvet. He was getting bucked off when the bull fell on its side, scrambling on the dirt with Cody still attached. “Boy, it sure makes your job easier when the bull just lies down for you,” Jesse Byrne joked. It took all three bullfighters busting their butts to put an end to that situation, even though, as Justin said: “I guarantee that bull is not afraid of three bullfighters.”
• Eduardo Aparecido was the first to ride Total Com Dirt Peddler, for 85.25, but his spur got hooked in the flank rope on his way off, and he was dragged under the bull just in time for the hind hoofs to stomp him twice full-force; at the rail, he sank halfway down and Sports Medicine came to the rescue.
• RFD-HD was fidgeting in the chute, while Marco Eguchi was yelled at to get out. He got popped in the face by the bull (again), hung up, dragged, and stomped something awful.

QUOTABLE
• Shorty: “This ride is not over until you get in the locker room.”
• Percolator took Claudio Crisostomo on a trip all the way to the Shark Cage.
“Someone forgot to tell Percolator that he was supposed to buck in St. Louis, not Kansas City,” said Craig, of all people. Score 1 for Craig. I think that’s 2 so far this year.

WTF R U TRYING 2 SAY??
“Alves himself not too shabby; two World Championships as well.” As well?? How many other people have two, Craig??

BEFORE AND AFTER
In the draft, Valdiron chose Crack the Whip because one of his friends told him which bull to pick: “I believe Ben Jones. I don’t think he lie to me.”
The ride was messy—and he took 2 shots in the face. (No helmet.) He told Leah afterward, “Ben Jones is lying to me!”

THE MATH
Clever idea, to put Who Dey and Mississippi Hippy in adjacent pens so we could see the difference in size: the Mini Me effect. The mistake was in letting Justin McBride do the comparison—he can’t do math. Neither can Craig. They both paid no attention to the numbers on the screen. If one bull is 1300 lbs. and the other is 2400 or 2500, he’s not twice the size. If one is 4’ tall and the other is 6’, he’s not twice the size. Looks like the guys’ll have to repeat fifth grade.

TA-DAA!
João Ricardo Vieira wins his 1st event of season, 4th of his BFTS career. (He’s now #2 in the world standings.) Claudio Crisostomo was 2nd, Mike Lee 3rd, Markus Mariluch 4th.

I guess missing Downton Abbey wasn’t so bad.

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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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13 Responses to MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS–JUST A LITTLE LATE!

  1. Gary says:

    Man, you really hate the PBR org lol! They didnt invent the chute clock. Mauney gets out of the chute fast – I dont know how you dont see that. I happen to like the PBR. Sure they have shortcomings, everyone does. It wasnt their decision to limit televised events. When OLN was sold they got what they could. They make much more money with television than with their online product. You wont see me quoting anonymous sources that used to work for….. The stats speak for themselves. The Brazilians are cleaning the USA riders clocks week in and week out. If the complaints were coming from Brazilians I would pay more attention. The fact is that the riders in Brazil are begging to come to the USA to ride. JR Vieira came here last year and wasnt exactly a spring chicken – look how much money he has earned already. If you ever go to PBR events you would see that most of the fans are woman and many are not “rodeo” people. You can believe that is no accident and they do love the Brazilians. To understand the tremendous growth at PBR compared to other groups just look at their products side by side and see the differences. Then compare their growth in the last 10 years. It is easy to see who is doing it right. As an old Rodeo fan I think it is remarkable that they have been able to expand their audience and appeal to totally new demographics. If not the only way to see Bull riding would be to go to a rodeo every now and then or move to Texas. So for that I can put up with Hummer. Do you think Ty Murray is better than Hummer? He thinks he is running a clinic for riders and no one is listening!

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    • Looks like we’re going to have quite a conversation.
      Hey, I give the PBR props for the good things, like the Rider Relief Fund, Pure PBR, slo-mo replays, Athlete Profiles, letting some Touring Pro riders into an event, getting rid of Erin Coscarelli (not soon enough!), having JW Hart as a commentator, acquainting us with stock contractors of both genders, and some fair judging calls. (I said some. There are plenty of the other kind.) I know they didn’t invent the chute clock—they just don’t always abide by it. Cody Nance and Stormy Wing could make a sandwich in there and not be put on the clock.

      Why do you assume I don’t see something? JB doesn’t always get out fast; it’s just that Craig Hummer keeps telling us he does. (Just like he keeps saying Stormy Wing is a “home run hitter” who “swings for the fences,” when Stormy’s riding percentage for the past year is about 36%.) I’ve seen JB get at least one re-ride while he was still on the bull in the chute. I’m sure if Silvano were in there, he’d be DQ’d, not given a re-ride, no matter what his bull was doing or not doing. The “JB clock” also applies to situations where it’s not clear whether he made the whistle, and times when he almost made the whistle. I’m trying to remember any instances of him not being given the benefit of the doubt, and right now I can’t.

      I know the PBR makes a lot more money on TV events, that’s why it’s so ridiculous that they didn’t do a better job negotiating for airtime. I mean, when college sports takes up the first 10 minutes (or more) of their CBSSports air time, does the PBR get a refund? You’d think their sponsors would be roaring about this. The PBR also got greedy and tried a PPV event—big flop. Viewers aren’t that stupid; people paid $30 and had viewing parties so 10 more people didn’t have to pay. That’s not to say the PBR won’t try it again.

      OLN? You mean Outdoor Life Network? I didn’t know they had a relationship. They certainly made enough when they sold themselves to Spire Capital—which is when the corporate mentality overrode (pardon the pun) everything.

      As a journalist—and I’m not talking about blogging; I’m talking about a couple of decades writing for newspapers and magazines—I will guarantee a source anonymity if s/he wants it. This person doesn’t care about anonymity, but I’d rather keep the name out of it for now. I can get a lot more information that way, without either one of us being harassed by the PBR—which has happened to me a couple of times so far. No lie. Since you said you won’t quote anonymous sources, who have you quoted, or did I miss that?

      Of course Brazilian riders aren’t going to complain—they know which side their bread’s buttered, and what Cody Lambert can do to them if they squawk. Of course they want to ride here; they’re not about to jeopardize that. The majority of them come from such poor backgrounds, they’ll do whatever it takes to improve their families’ lives (which may have something to do with why they’re kicking American asses, ya think?).

      If I ever go to PBR events?? I’ve been to every one in the Northeast, several times, BFTS or Touring Pro (except when a blizzard shut down the roads). There aren’t enough. If I had deep pockets I’d fly to others.

      I had to laugh when you said if I ever go to PBR events, I’d see that most of the fans are women. I am very aware of us! If you read back through my posts you’ll see how many times I’ve said, Hey, PBR, pay attention: half the ticketholders are women, and women are usually “the decider” when it comes to choosing entertainment for a family. I’ve sent them marketing stats on women, proposals on how to attract/appeal to more female fans, suggested that maybe they should look at who’s in the audiences—TV and live—maybe (OMG!) even walk around in those audiences and oh, I dunno, talk to them.

      I was asked to participate in an early PBR marketing focus group in which 10 out of 12 people were women, and we all hammered on the fact that a lot of women are fans of bullriding, and explained (repeatedly, because the guy just couldn’t understand why we liked it) that it’s not about how cowboys look in jeans! Three of the most popular blogs about bull riding are written by women, and there’s even a loose unofficial “network” of women who love the sport, called BullSisters. Yet so far, the PBR’s ideas about appealing to women have been to get Tyson Chicken as a sponsor, sell a perfume on their website, and run a series called “Women of the PBR,” consisting of riders’ wives talking about how wonderful the PBR is. (I’ve seen only two other women featured: one bull owner and a young stock contractor.) How insulting is that?

      I sure know that not everyone who likes the sport is a rodeo person. At events I’ve met a real estate agent, a professional nanny, a retired teacher, a medical student, foreign tourists, and families from Brazil, among others; two of my closest college friends also love the sport: a NY real estate attorney and an IT hotshot from DC; their wives are the ones who got them interested (a children’s book author and a nurse, respectively).

      It’s not a case of either/or with how bullriding organizations operate. That’s what the PBR thought. They couldn’t figure out how to keep old fans and acquire new ones; they alienated people and priced out
      a lot of fans who were their original supporters. Everyone I know or have heard from—including people who used to fly to Las Vegas and buy chuteside tickets for the entire event—has cut back on ticket buying because of skyrocketing prices. It’s especially true for families; most of them can’t spend $1,000 for a night’s entertainment, let alone a three-day weekend event. So is the PBR heading for the day when corporate boxes will take over half the seating, and only high rollers on expense accounts will be able to attend events? The rest of us will have to settle for TV, attend local rodeos (if any), or, as you said, move to Texas.

      Looking at bull riding as a “product” is precisely what’s wrong with the PBR management’s approach. Other associations may not have the visibility or the glamor of the PBR, but that doesn’t mean the PBR is doing things “right.” The one thing the other organizations have is control of their activities. They haven’t offered themselves to a venture capital company that effectively owns the riders’ lives and dictates what they must do outside their riding: e.g., the Yankees don’t fine their players for not doing autograph sessions. And can you imagine LeBron James giving Martha Stewart a dribbling lesson, the way JB Mauney had to demonstrate for her on the bucking machine? How humiliating is that?

      Other organizations aren’t staying stuck in the past, either. Both the PRCA and CBR are making changes to expand their reach, add new sponsors, increase prize money, buck better bulls, become more visible in the media—the difference is, they’re not doing it by throwing out the baby with the bath. They’re making gradual changes so they’ll retain their original fan base as they attract new fans. The CBR in particular has a more personal approach; they haven’t lost sight of their original mission statement.

      I don’t mind Ty Murray giving a clinic; I like to learn more about the sport, and I actually like the Telestrator, until he keeps repeating the same things every week. I have been known to tell my TV screen, “All right Ty, shut up!” But Hummer aggravates the beejesus out of me (and I don’t even know what a beejesus is). The combination of his reality show look, labored wordplay, incoherent blathering, hysteria (“the greatest comeback in sports history!”), stock phrases (“my friend,” “his good friend”), phony heh-heh laugh every three seconds, insistence on referring to every rider whose name ends in a vowel as “The Brazilian,” and appalling schoolgirl crush on JB makes me scream other, less polite things at my TV—especially when he’s so busy babbling that he doesn’t bother to identify a rider, bull, or score. There are so many more qualified commentators who are a better fit for the sport. There is just no excuse for this fool having a contract with the PBR.

      I probably should use closed captioning TV.

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    • S. says:

      Just to butt in a sec:
      – A person can love something and still find problems with it and hope it can improve into something even better.

      – The riders are all beholden to the PBR– it’s the best show going with the biggest payout. They are not going to be complaining unless something really, really awful occurs. This goes doubly for the Brazilian riders, many of whom came out of poverty and are thrilled to be living the American Dream. That doesn’t mean they don’t encounter anything objectionable.

      – The Brazilian riders have generally done well because they are consistent, not because the judges reward their rides with awesome scores. Racking up more rides than the competition, even with relatively low scores, will generally pay off eventually. I don’t necessarily think there’s some massive anti-Brazilian conspiracy, but there have been some very questionable goings-on, whether due to unconscious bias or something else. Some of the scoring issues are due to this mysterious argument of “flash,” which seems awfully convenient since many of the Brazilian riders have a steady, clamped-down style that doesn’t apparently meet the “flash” criteria (Rentato Nunes being a notable exception).

      In many ways, I think that since the departure of Randy Bernard, the PBR has been successful despite itself. The infrastructure Hayworth, et al, inherited gave them the best cowboys and the best livestock, not to mention the brand recognition. But they’ve been stuck in this sinkhole of how to keep the old fans while appealing to new ones, and some of their attempts have been downright cringeworthy.

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  2. Gary says:

    When Hummer was in his accident last year there was a huge outpouring of support from PBR fans all over social media. Look, I agree that McKee is the best and I couldnt believe they fired him. But we cant knock the PBR decisions as they have really put bull riding on the map and raised the bar to heights the sport has never seen. For someone like me who has been a fan for years and used to go to State Fairs to see Bull Riding it is a pleasure to see their presentations on TV.

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    • Of course people would be sympathetic if someone got hurt. Even I said something nice! It doesn’t mean he has a fan base; it just means that people who follow the PBR heard that he got hurt. The riders also get support when they’re hurt (though the PBR tends to stop paying attention to them; e.g., Kody Lostroh).

      The PBR’s decisions have simultaneous good and bad effects. One the one hand, the sport has more visibility riders and stock contractors can earn a better living, and the bulls are treated better. On the other hand, the PBR gouges people on ticket prices, reduced the benefits of Fan Club memberships, tries to make people pay for what used to be free, and is turning bull riding almost into a WWE show. I’m glad their events are on TV, though they’ve reduced the number of broadcasts in an effort to get people to pay to watch events on their website (for a $150 membership). Their visibility has made it easier for the PRCA and CBR to get their events televised, too.
      But it wasn’t necessary for the PBR to “fix” what wasn’t broken. Remember that idiot Erin Coscarelli they hired as a broadcaster? And that pay-per-view event that cost $30 to watch? Also, a real sports organization doesn’t invent “story lines” that they push to the point of idolizing one rider, or suddenly “finding” a bunch of 90-point rides in the vaults so they could up the total for Chris Shivers before he retired. And a real sport has an overseeing body, like the baseball commission or the NBA, so there’s some accountability. There are a lot of improvements the PBR could make, and they won’t, unless they lose money.

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  3. Gary says:

    I just started reading your blog and don’t get this assumed truth that there is some sort of discrimination towards the Brazilians. I am pretty sure that there are at least twice as many American riders than Brazilians week in and week out – Yet Brazilians have won 6 of 10 events this year, half of the all-time money earners are Brazilian and since 2000 seven of 13 World champions were Brazilian. Since most of the Brazilians dont speak English from a marketing standpoint they naturally get less press. I go to plenty of events and watch all the time and never got that sense. The stats just dont prove any discrimination.

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    • It doesn’t matter how many riders from Brazil qualify to ride here, or how well they do, it’s about how they’re treated. Keep reading back a few years and you’ll see the pattern in how the judges score Brazilian riders, how they apply rules selectively, how much they harass Silvano Alves at the chute, how many times they put a Brazilian rider on the clock, compared to how many times they do that to a non-Brazilian rider, and more issues. One strategy the judges used for the past year was to “ding” Brazilian riders (usually Alves) by .25; it worked to pull down their rankings, and enable other riders to climb higher. They kept Alves’s scores hovering around 84, and habitually overscored JB Mauney. I like both riders, and I like a fair competition. Two of the events I attended were blatantly fixed; people were absolutely shocked. The PBR occasionally had a translator around, but there hasn’t been one in a long time; the Brazilian riders are fending for themselves. If the PBR really wanted to position bull riding as an international sport, they’d make it possible for foreign riders to participate fully by helping them over the language barrier. As for marketing, a lot of the time it doesn’t even require speaking, it’s just about an image. Put Guilherme Marchi’s face anywhere for any reason, and he’s going to get attention for the PBR. (Remember the old Diet Coke commercial with the hot guy drinking soda and a bunch of women drooling over him? He didn’t have any lines.) And hell, Bushwacker can’t speak any language, and he’s gotten more publicity than any animal I ever heard of.

      There are a lot more examples of discrimination. The very fact that the Brazilian riders are doing as well as they are in spite of all the b.s. shows how determined and disciplined they are. However, the more they win, the more some ignorant people resent them. If they stunk, the same ignorant people would resent them for being here and not being up to standard.

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      • Gary says:

        Do you have evidence to prove that? Alves got DQ tonight and he deserved it. There are rules, he is well aware of them and yet he continuously pushes the envelope. I have been going to Rodeos all of my life and have seen many riders get warned and DQ’ed at all levels of Bull Riding. And there are always certain riders that just have a hard time getting out of the chute. The judges know who they are and stay on them – so what? I have never seen any other Brazilian rider get picked on at PBR. But the facts are the facts. A higher percentage of Brazilians get higher scores, win more events and have won more World Titles. Bottom line is that they have fewer riders and they take a much higher percentage of the loot, by far. Good for them too.

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      • If I could hire Slade Long to do the math, I’d have nifty charts to show what I mean, but I can’t afford him. 🙂 And I don’t have time to go back through every one of my posts and the results posted on the PBR website and track scores for riders going back to 2012, which is when the attitude really started to show. I’ve recently spent a lot of time talking with a former PBR insider (more than 12 years) who has verified everything I said. It’s not just my opinion. I wasn’t happy to be proved right, but I’d rather tell the truth than sugarcoat and whitewash things the way the PBR does. It’s very disappointing to me that there are things going on behind the scenes that are just plain dishonest.

        I was there to see the judges throw a win to Cody Nance that should’ve gone to Valdiron. They just ignored the fact that Cody had hooked his spurs into the knots before he left the chute. I was there to see the judges “tie” JB Mauney with Fabiano Vieira, who clearly won the New York event this year. Rules are fine, if they’re applied equally across the board, not conveniently shifted at whim. There are many more incidents cited on this blog, and other people also have written about these things on blogs and Twitter.

        As for that chute time, someone on Twitter said, “It’s not speed dating.” I agree. Why does it matter how long a rider takes to set, as long as they don’t hold up the event? If, as Ty Murray says, the longer you stay in the chute, the more chance you have of being injured, then it’s the rider who’s putting himself at risk, and he’ll have to deal with the consequences. Also, they don’t have the same attitude about time in Brazilian bull riding; the riders can take the time they need. And then there’s the “JB Mauney clock”…

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  4. Bobby Clower says:

    Wonder whoo Craig Hummer paid to get that job ????,

    Like

    • Gary says:

      Like him or not he has a following from the “non cowboy” fans of PBR. Since they have to appeal to people other than “cowboy/western” people to grow it makes perfect sense to me that they have him on one mic and a rider on the other. I really miss Justin McKee too but in order for them to grow they need that type of person.

      Like

      • That’s the PBR management’s idea, but I have yet to hear anyone say they like Hummer. He’s completely out of place in this sport, and there are plenty of better choices. I’m neither a cowboy nor a Westerner, and he makes me cringe. (People have posted some pretty hilarious comments about Hummer on this blog.) If the PBR thought they really needed a slick blabbermouth, they could’ve at least balanced him out with McKee, who’s more knowledgeable and genuinely funny. People don’t watch bull riding to see the announcer, but the PBR sure pissed off a lot of fans when they ditched McKee.

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