While the Built Ford Tough Series is off duty, not every PBR cowboy is lounging by the pool guzzling margaritas. Some gluttons for punishment are working out in the Touring Pro Division and on the BlueDef Velocity Tour. Basically, they’re bait. It’s not like some of them need the points.
I mean, really, does Matt Triplett need to ride on the BlueDef Velocity Tour? He’s #2 in the world, the new scoring system has fixed it so a guy (we know which guy) can’t win the world title unless he wins a bunch of events, and since points from other circuits don’t count as much as BFTS points, now it’s just about the money (while he increases the likelihood of an injury).
I understand Marco Eguche, Fabiano Vieira, Robson Palermo, and Kaique Pacheco doing it: Marco, Fabiano, and Robson are trying to make up for lost time while they were out with injuries, and Kaique is young and hungry. I may be selfish about wanting to see him ace the Finals, but I’m the most disappointed person on earth (except his family) every time a Palermo shoulder pops out of place.
If “big names” draw people to BlueDef events, the audience will hear other names, too, so new riders will have some name recognition when they get to the BFTS—if they get to the BFTS. I don’t know why PBR thinks it needs a third touring entity to accomplish this, when they have plenty of Touring Pro riders who deserve attention, but—what on earth am I thinking?? It’s about the money. Three revenue streams are better than one. (I’m not counting sponsorship, merchandising, Pay Per View, Fan Club, and other ways PBR makes money.)
PBR has now hooked into the best pipeline ever: the PRCA and CBR. They’re starting to cherrypick riders that PBR fanatics weren’t aware of—until J.W. Harris finally jumped the fence. As I’ve said umpteen times, it’s about time the world got a load of J.W.! The only other person PBR doesn’t seem to mind bopping back and forth is Shane Proctor. Could it be because they don’t want to make waves with his brother-in-law?
Basically, PBR takes what it wants, but the PRCA has a different attitude. This story illustrates the difference: last year, young Brazilian Junior Nogueira came to the U.S. with a rope and a suitcase. Jake Barnes (7 world championships, ProRodeo Hall of Fame) took him in, helped him train, and got him into the PRCA—the first Brazilian roper to qualify. Jake paired up as his roping partner. In PBR Land, when great young bullriders come to the U.S. from Brazil hoping to succeed—it’s called “the American dream,” folks—they get slagged off by judges, commentators, and some fans. (Not all of them, mind you; some of us are decent human beings.)
More riders now are making the rounds of the different organizations: Kody Lostroh (you won’t see him back with PBR), Ben Jones, Jay Miller, Brady Sims, Neil Holmes, Luis Blanco, Robson Aragao, Bonner Bolton, Alexandre Cardozo, Cooper Davis, Gustavo Pedrero, Luis Blanco, Beau Hill, Markus Mariluch, Jory Markiss (although that may not be voluntary), Craig Jackson (hey, we want the braids back!), and more. I like that the bosses have decided to play nice—at least, until PBR hijacks the SS Kimzey, and then there’s gonna be a lot of gnashing of teeth. (Didja ever notice how there’s no gnashing of anything else?)
One funny example of this new organizational cross-pollination: in the middle of a televised PRCA event, CBSSports ran an ad for the PBR. The cable network sure is hedging its bets.
Who Are Those Guys?? (Props to anyone who recognizes that line.)
There are noteworthy riders that plenty of bull riding fans know about, but PBR fanatics don’t. You have to live in an area where PRCA and CBR events happen—or watch FoxSports at odd times, catch delayed broadcasts of CBR or PRCA events, check out the CBR website that has half the rider bios missing, the PRCA website’s list of hundreds of athletes not categorized by event, and put up with an hour and a half of other activities to get to the half-hour of bull riding at the end of PRCA events.
Maybe you’ve already seen these bull riders, maybe not; if you haven’t, may I quote Sage Steele Kimzey: “There’s a ton of great riders out there; it’s just a matter of who hits their stride when.” Sage, at 20 years old, won the CBR world title, PRCA world title, PRCA’s Rookie of the Year title, and its Top Gun Award. And did I mention he’s at the top of the Xtreme Bulls standings and leading the 2015 PRCA Standings? He’s quite the crossover king.
From CBR, keep an eye on:
Joe Frost!!, Josh Frost!, Aaron Pass (smart dude: “If I ever feel negative, I just stay home.”), Ardie Maier, Corey Maier, Rorey Maier (yep, they’re all related), Brennon Eldred, Chandler Bownds, Clayton Foltyn (yes, Dad is that Foltyn), Codrick Murphy, Cody Teel, Cole Echols, Cooper Kanngeisser, Corey Bailey, Eli Vastbinder, Cody Rostockyi (“Your reaction has to be right on time; if you’re thinking, you’re late.”), Elliot Jacoby, Francisco Morales, Jarrod Craig, Josh Barentine (“You can take a little hang-up if you make the whistle.”), Kanin Asay, Luke Kelley, Tanner Bothwell, Tim Bingham, Trey Benton III, Tyler Adrian, Venn Johns, Wesley Silcox, Wyatt Rogers, Zac Peterson, and may I repeat, Wyatt Rogers!!
A word about Wyatt: he won his first CBR event about a minute after he turned 18. About his debut: “I had a bunch of people try to make me nervous—try to make me puke and things… I just gotta keep proving myself.” Well, he did. (Proved himself, not puked.) He rode Little Moody for 89 points, because when he was 15, “He bucked me off then; I couldn’t let him buck me off again.” Wyatt’s now #7 in the CBR World Standings.
CBR and PRCA fans will have to excuse me if I’ve left out their favorites; these are just the guys I see taking care of business on the televised events. Plenty of CBR riders also work in the PRCA (or vice versa). I’d be giving you a list of PRCA people to watch, but their website archive of riders is huge and kinda outdated; they’ve even got J.B. Mauney listed, who rode in PRCA events in 2009.
If I were you, I’d make an effort to keep an eye on PRCA and CBR riders, especially since more of them are jumping the fence into televised events.