NOW THAT YA MENTION IT…
Craig Hummer commented on how nobody’d been put on the clock. Yeah, and wasn’t it nice? I don’t think I heard the chute bully yelling at anyone, either. Less tension for the cowboys, and less aggravation for those of us who care about fairness for all. I like it—and it didn’t seem to slow down the event at all. PRCA and CBR manage to keep their events on track (even too fast for me); they don’t seem intent on DQing people. I never scream at my TV when I’m watching those events. Those might be different in person, but for now, this is my take.
FRESH NAMES (some more so than others):
Some of the riders were invitees, some were guys we don’t see often, some came from other circuits, some I didn’t recognize:
- Guthrie Long (debut), Luis Blanco, Mason Lowe, Tyler Harr, Dakota Louis, Roscoe Jarboe, Dallee Mason, Michael Lane (BlueDef #6).
- Australia had an actual contingent: Cody Heffernan, Troy Wilkinson, Roy Dunn, and Justin Paton (first rookie in PBR Australia history to win the Rookie of the Year award and finish runner-up to the Australian title).
Gage Gay looked pretty perfect on speedy Recovery Time, for 88 points. Guess he took that name as a good omen. Leah Garcia asked Gage whether LCS being an outdoor event made a difference to his riding. Gay said it felt like he was in the practice pen, and that taking away the fireworks and all the rest made him more comfortable. “I made the whistle and I haven’t done that too much this year, so I’m happy.” Us too!
ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT APPLIES ONLY TO CERTAIN RIDERS OR WHEN THE MOON IS IN THE RIGHT (OR WRONG) PLACE FOR TY MURRAY’S BRAIN
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard Ty Murray talk about how shameful it is for a rider to dismount on his feet, and that he’d take flak from guys in the locker room. Does it mean the bull was too easy, or was the rider that good? (From what a lot of us can see, that depends on the rider’s country of origin.) Would a guy lose points for sticking the landing on a dismount? It didn’t look like it this time.
Shane Proctor, who landed on his feet after riding Paige Stout’s bull Camo for 86 points, made it look easy, “and that’s your job,” said Ty, who has been known to contradict himself (HOLLA!!). “He looks like he’s just stepping off the curb.” And it looks like the judges didn’t hold that neat dismount against him. Thank goodness, every once in a while Ty says he wouldn’t want to be a judge.
- Not my imagination: almost every bull did a hard cut to the right on the way out of the chute but then skidded a little or shortly after, in a sideways maneuver. It looked like they all took Shepherd Hills Trapper lessons, but there also may have been something about the dirt that wasn’t right. Or somehow Cody Lambert found every bull in the association who could waltz.
- Rough ‘Em Up Tuck has become the money bull. Look at the scores guys have gotten on him: Bonner Bolton, Stetson Lawrence, Rubens Barbosa, Silvano Alves, Kaique Pacheco, Mike Lee, Eduardo Aparecido, Luis Blanco, Kanin Asay all were north of 85. On the other hand, in this event Nathan Schaper didn’t score. Ty’s comment: “I’d pick one with smaller horns.”
- Breakdown was very impressive: blew up several times and had some hang time, too.
- Julio Moreno, in a neck collar since a horse flipped over backward on him, said he has some Bushwacker calves bucking. Look out, world: the next generation is here! The B-Man himself, though, spent the weekend at the pool. Must be nice.
- Not a good thing: Cracker rolled in the air as he kicked, and overshot the ground, landing upside down, then on his side—I wondered if he’d get up at all. It’s the first time I’ve seen a bull almost knock himself unconscious.
- Great big pat on the back to whoever named the bull Jake from State Farm! No matter what he does, he’s going to get a big laugh every time he steps into the chute. (If he shows up wearing khakis one day, I’m going to bust a gut.) This time he wasn’t so funny: he knocked out Roy Dunn (Troy’s nephew) as Roy was helping Cody Nance prep. One clonk of horn to head and Dunn went down.
- Maverick is one mean bull, per Shorty Gorham, and beat up Frank in the past. Shorty’s warning to the bovine: “One thing you don’t wanna do is make Frank Newsom mad.”
- Neil Holmes scored 86 on Tahonta’s Magic for weathering quite a storm, then the bull went after him, hooked him, and for good measure, kicked Jesse Byrne in the head. That’ll show those damned two-leggeds! (Neil is so not into being interviewed, especially when Leah asks pointed questions, it’s almost funny. I think he may be too smart for this crowd.)
- Gentleman Jim stumbled to his knees and pulled some lowdown scrabbling-on-the-dirt moves. So many times the commentators think this means the bull is so smart he’s coming up with these things on purpose, but frankly, dudes, this time it means the bull stumbled and scrabbled because he wanted to get back on his feet. Meanwhile, Michael Lane raked in 88.
- Mississippi Hippy, at 1 for 32 (!!) has everybody so scared, he’s going to be bucking only about once a month; he’s a nervous diva. One or other of the resident cowboys always talks about the bull’s size, and this time proclaimed, “That’s like sittin’ on top of a house.” Yeah, a Hobbit house. And god, I would walk to the moon to never again hear Craig call the Hippy “a big mammajamma.”
I’M JUST SAYIN’…
- It’s just weird that a cowboy can get into a Championship Round without having made 8 in the previous round. Then Livin’-in-Egypt Craig declares, “This is a sport where close doesn’t count.” Uh, well, then nobody should’ve won the Iron Cowboy.
- Talking about Rough ‘Em Up Tuck, I saw that the Dallas Morning News (front page of the Sports section) and Yahoo! Sports both ran big photos of J.B. Mauney “riding Rough ‘Em Up Tuck out of the chute” in New York—and both neglected to say that he didn’t score. That in a nutshell is how PBR PR works: disinformation. Any decent reporter would ask what the score was. Were the writers told not to include that information? Anyone who didn’t watch or attend the NYC event would assume J.B. made the whistle (and scored high).
Heading into The American, which is when the Dallas Morning News ran their story, there was no reason to feature a photo of J.B. Mauney, let alone Mauney on a non-scoring out at an event he didn’t win. (Interview in the article too, of course). Was there a betting ring that decided in advance he was the winner of The American? Well, yeah, only they’re not allowed to call it that. Was there favoritism over all the other riders? You betcha.
Counterbalance this stuff with the fact that if you go to the PBR website (today, anyway) and look up J.B. under the “Athletes” tab, this is the message you get: SORRY, BUT THERE ARE NO RESULTS FOR “J.B. MAUNEY.”
Are you kidding me??
WISHING BEN THE BEST!
Ben I-have-nothing-left-in-my-body-that-ain’t-broke Jones will have a neck operation. I’m sure he’ll want to get up and ride before the bandage is off. He’ll probably take it off with his teeth. Somebody be ready to stop him! Oh, wait a minute. He’ll have to use his hands.
DOES THIS MAN HAVE THE FASTEST REFLEXES IN THE PBR?
When Stetson Lawrence finished with Knight Rider Six (81.75), he launched himself off the bull and started rolling away in the air, even before he hit the ground. Great self-preservation! Now that’s doing the bullfighters a solid. Take note, all you guys with the wonky dismounts.
I’M JUST ASKIN’…
- When Aaron Roy didn’t make 8 on Bad Touch, why did Ty have to rant about how you can’t come in with “I just have to make the whistle”? Roy is climbing back from what could’ve been a career-ending injury, or even paralysis. Even if he seemed a bit tentative, SO EFFIN’ WHAT? He suited up and showed up. Shut up, Ty.
- Why does Ty keep changing his mind about whether a rider or whoever’s in the vicinity should or shouldn’t push a bull over in the chute?
- Roy (The Dude’s bro) spun wildly as he faded and drifted all the way across the arena, still kicking, for a 46.25. I want to know when judges decide a bull has “covered too much real estate,” because I have yet to see any consistency on that score. (ha)
IT’S ALL COMIN’ UP COOPER
Cooper Davis is #2 in the Rookie standings, a new father in snazzy chaps, and now the guy who made a snazzy ride on Heavy Dose for 87.50. Not a bad week!
RE-RIDES: A CRAPSHOOT
- On exiting the chute, Dave Mason’s bull scraped Mason’s knee against the chute, and Dave ping!ed off the metal. Re-ride granted.
- Past Time messed up Mason Lowe’s out: practically slid into third right out of the gate, his head smacking the dirt; I think his motion stopped. As Mason headed over the bull’s skull, the bull got tangled up with him; it’s lucky Lowe got away relatively unscathed. No re-ride.
- Jake from State Farm went bonkers in the chute. It looked like Cody Nance got that right spur hooked in nicely, but because of Jake’s performance being inadequate, Nance was granted a re-ride, which he accepted. His re-ride was Gold Rush. How did they not see his right spur hooked in there right out of the gate? 83 is the answer.
MAKE HIM STOP, MY HEAD IS HURTING
- “That can be very hard if you let your brain understand that,” says Ty, trying to explain what goes on in a cowboy’s head—or at least in his head. Dangerous neighborhood.
- Dallee Mason made a good ride on King Buck, but did he touch the bull? Someone decided the ride needed reviewing; the replay was inconclusive, so Dallee got an 81. Ty then started to think Mason slapped the bull and got away with it: “I can change my mind.”
Nice shot, Craig: “You certainly can, and you often do.”
Sez Ty: “You’re never wrong that way.”
That explains it.
- Justin McBride, still grinding on about Vieira: “…haven’t seen any proof that J.R. can ride bulls going away from his hand.” Who cares, dude? He won, like it or not.
HEH HEH (and it’s not a Craig quote)
“This is such a game of inches,” said Ty Murray, talking about Lachlan Richardson’s latest buckoff. I don’t think Ty meant it either of the ways I took it.
NEED SOME OVERTIME HERE
Shorty’s take on the Unfinished Business players: “I’m gonna be workin’; those guys are old and slow now.”
TRUE DAT (if people even say that anymore)
Ty joked that with the size of the Unfinished Business arena, and Mike Lee’s age, if he rode, they’d have to bring out an oxygen tank halfway around. Mike: here’s where you challenge the lil’ dude to a foot race (after he’s ridden for 8 seconds).
OH YES, HE DID
“Rectify becomes a day of reckoning,” began Hummer with one of his laborious word plays. He also referred to newbie Guthrie Long as “another one of our debutantes.” I’m sure the dude from Pecos, Texas, would be thrilled to know that he reminds Craig of someone in a fluffy gown with a corsage pinned to his wrist. If I were Hummer (a nightmare of epic proportions) I’d be careful what epithets I toss around in the company of bull riders.
WEIRD BOOBOO LIST
Reese Cates may have appendicitis. Billy Robinson came in with pinkeye, and now has the flu.
LOUD BANG OF THE NIGHT
No, I don’t mean the explosion at the opening of PBR events that probably would still make me jump even if I were in the parking lot. I’m talking about what’s louder: the noise Billy Robinson made when he hit the ground off Wolverine Construction, or the hideous pop! of Stetson Lawrence’s head-to-head contact with Buck Dynasty. Thank god Lawrence’s face was in a mask and his head was in a helmet, or both would’ve been hamburger. Or should I say, beef burger? Mike Lee has been the consistently loudest plopper-off-er so far, but there may be some competition in the offing.
RIDE OF THE NIGHT
João Ricardo Vieira finally got his own back on Percolator, who had beaten him twice. Vieira stayed solidly in position, with that sitting-on-my-hand-stuck-to-the-bull seat that’s a Brazilian trademark, for 90.75. That positioning is why his score was higher than J.B.’s Round 2 88.25 on Cochise. That and the fact that I would fly out there with some plastic explosives and head right for the judges.
I hear Homeland Security knocking on my door. Gotta go.