The only reasons to write about the first event of the Built Ford Tough Series 2015 season are to look at what the new points system did, and see what’s what with the re-ride situation. Some random facts:
Mike Lee rode one bull (which stopped on a dime at precisely 8 seconds), still rode in the Championship Round, and placed 6th, earning 100 points. Cody Nance rode 2 and placed 4th (155 points). Matt Triplett rode 2 and placed 7th (70 points). Shane Proctor rode 3 and placed 8th, earning a lousy 65 points. Renato Nunes rode 2 and placed 9th, for 55 points. J.B. Mauney rode 1 bull, did not place, and earned $925, just like Harve Stewart. They earned more than Brady Sims, who rode 2 bulls, earned 5 points, and came in 14th. The whole thing was disturbing.
What remained constant was that no matter what the Brazilian riders scored, American riders were scored higher. Renato Nunes started at the top, and was gradually worked down to #8. And oh look: the Ding Game again: Alves scores 86.25, Reese scores 86.50. Alves scores 88 (faint & die!), Reese scores 88.50, etc. The judges’ faves: Matt Triplett, Cody Nance (they no longer look at the spurs), and Kasey Hayes.
The Re-ride thing:
Eduardo Aparecido turned down a re-ride and kept 67.75, as “a business decision.” L.J. Jenkins kept a low score in Round 1 instead of taking a reride, and nobody called him names. Ty Murray did his usual harping on riders taking low scores: “It’s equivalent to a zero… it’s going to bite him in the butt later,” etc. The only riders who were scored below Brazilian riders were the ones whose first scores convinced them to take re-rides.
THE VERDICT ON CARBON TV—TWO THUMBS DOWN.
Because of contractual obligations with CBSSports, other cameras can’t shoot close-up footage during rides. What I don’t understand is why PBR couldn’t find a better alternative than hanging a camera from the rafters. (Or was it a Smartphone?) How is it possible that in the entire long-distance view, the one spot that pixilated like an X-rated body-part-obscuring square was the rides? As for the technical feed: Umpteen frozen screens, blackouts, the same promo repeating itself—and several missed rides.
YAY, ME! (for nagging about these things for years)
• Smart move, having Ty Murray talk about how bulls are treated. He spelled out the truth very clearly for any new viewers who still believe that rope-tied-around-the-bull’s-genitals b.s.
• One genius announcer said that J.W. Harris “wasn’t even on the radar before last year.” You mean the PBR’s radar. Plenty of us have known about him for years. It’s hard to ignore a 4-time PRCA champion. Uh-oh: we’re told that J.W.’s going to focus on PBR events this year, to “simplify” his schedule. Does that mean he’s ditching the PRCA? Or is that the deal the PBR made?
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THE BULLS?
• Maybe they were frisky because this was their debut, and they all wanted their 15 minutes of fame—or rather, 8 seconds—but most of the bovines did their best to avoid going home. Made Right refused to leave, faked an exit, then returned, apparently expecting an encore. Slappy chased Renato up onto the Shark Cage and took his sweet time traipsing around. Buckle Up rolled over on Eduardo Aparecido, refused to leave, and had to be roped, objecting all the way. went after Frank Newsom (of course), rolled a barrel, ran around the Shark Cage, lay down, and refused to go, madly shaking his head to try to escape the rope. I’m thinking, maybe he thought it was recess time, and wanted to play, and couldn’t understand why all these fools in cowboy hats were trying to harsh his buzz. I don’t know what it is, but early on Day 2, Fearless Frank already had two bulls gunning for him. It’s fascinating to me that a lot of bulls have a grudge against him in particular. Harold Weller was kept pretty busy escorting them off the field, by hook or by crook. Or actually, rope.
THE NAME GAME
Get these two matchups: Round 1, Lachlan and Little Gremlin; Round 2, Lachlan and Little Big Man. Obviously nobody draws names out of a hat.
• The video of sensational saves. Posting it on the PBR website would be a good idea.
• The video of Alves explaining his controversial strategy, making a very good point: fans want big rides and big scores, but he’s in a competition, and is doing his job the way that’s best for him. Silvano has earned $5.4M in 5 years.
• Guilherme Marchi has earned $4.7M in the last 10 years, and has never come in below #8 in the World Finals. “Hashtag stud,” says one of the announcers. LMAO! Usually it’s female fans who say things like that.
• One of the announcers actually called Eduardo Aparecido “one of those Brazilian superstars.” I wonder if the guy still has a job.
• After making a few statements about strategy, Ty says we haven’t seen Silvano put the pedal to the metal yet. I started to get riled, but then I thought, Ya know, he might be right. Maybe Alves isn’t turned up to 11 yet. Yikes.
I’M JUST SAYIN’…
• Fabiano needs to get his shoulder fixed. Period.
• There was so much J.B. hype, it was really irritating. Video, promos, interviews, verbiage (by guess who). “Will 2015 be the year he takes a second run at the World Title?” “He takes center stage as the PBR visits Baltimore.” Not only that, he was called “the defending champion.” Apparently that guy who took the 2014 title was a phantom.
• Ty needs to take a chill pill. He was complaining that “guys are just trying to get base hits, when everybody wants to see home runs.” Then he started ragging on Gage Gay, practically saying, Quit, because you’re a chicken. “It’s scary, but… if he doesn’t love it, he shouldn’t be doing it. You can’t just swing your leg over and step out, you have to sit there and take it,” etc. Cody Lambert piled on: “I’m talking about wanting to be in the chute and taking charge..” I feel for Gage. I think the Finals experience messed with his head. I can’t imagine what it must’ve felt like to be told you’re Rookie of the Year, then have it turn out not to be true. Kinda like how Douglas Duncan must’ve felt when he rode Bushwacker and then got no score because of a touch.