NYC 15/15 Bucking Battle
For the first 15/15 “battle” of the year, there were no day sheets. Quelle surprise. So this is what I saw:
The top 15 riders of 2015 competed for 150 extra points to the winner. (As you know, the PBR once again changed the scoring system. Guess they heard it wasn’t fair to a lot of the guys. Gee, I wonder where they heard that.)
- Seven Dust, who was unridden, took on Reese Cates, and remained unridden. This bull is a dark horse, if I may use the expression. Hard to ride, and it’s surprising who he’s bucked off before.
- Mike Lee had no better luck with Walk Off’s sideways jump, and then the horn hit his arm. So if a cowboy’s body is hit by a bull, does that disqualify the rider, for breaking the no-touch rule? The PBR sort of addressed that in its new rules; let’s see if they apply it fairly across the board.
- Cody Nance took on Stanley’s Fatmax for the fifth time, and still didn’t ride him. The bull has the longest buckoff streak of any active bull in the PBR so far. Quote from either Clint Adkins or Matt West (I think): “If you add up the amount of time he has sat on the bull’s back, it comes to less than 8 seconds.”
- Gage Gay’s matchup was BigDaddy.com. No contest.
If you weren’t there in person, you missed the class act of two “young ladies” from Monster Energy flanking what looked like a golf cart. Three people picked from the crowd were supposed to guess the number of cans in the back of the thing. I don’t even remember what they won, but if it was umpteen cans of the stuff, that’s enough to pollute the Colorado River.
I liked that they were emphasizing the bulls as well as the riders. I guess the stock contractors are stronger “stakeholders” now—plus enough fans have been squawking that we want to hear more about the bulls.
- Valdiron’s bull was Fire Rock, and it was the same story as the last time; he was put on the clock. I mean Valdiron, not the bull. I’m thinking it might be a good idea to institute a bull clock so if the bull is screwing up in the chute and making it impossible for a rider to get out decently, he gets DQd. Why not? They already use two different clocks for the riders. Anyway, de Oliveira got out of shape and came off the side of the bull. Did it have anything to do with him being hustled out of the chute? I dunno.
- Silvano was put on the clock automatically, probably before he even left the locker room. This was the horrible wreck you saw on TV ad nauseam. He hit the dirt, probably unconscious before he even got there, and Cochise stepped on his head so hard, the helmet went flying off; then for good measure, he trampled Alves. Nobody’s ever seen Silvano in a wreck like this. When he finally came out of it, taking forever to get to his feet, he was extremely unsteady as he slowly made his way out; it looked like he didn’t even know where he was. His chickens were not only scattered, they were on vacation in a different country.
You could tell this wasn’t a crowd full of real bull riding fans: they weren’t quiet while the scary stuff was going down. Jerks. For those who still think hats are preferable to helmets, yeah, they look cool and old school, but if weren’t for that helmet, there would’ve been crushed pulp where Silvano’s head was. I’m sure some shitheads would welcome that outcome, but I want to see Alves around for a long, long time.
For once, there was a tolerable Bass Pro Shop segment. They seem to have upgraded their marketing; we saw a clip of Luke Snyder racing through the store in fast motion, picking up items to throw in a shopping cart, and the contestant was supposed to guess the final cost. The guy who won the guessing game didn’t even crack a smile. Come on, dude—how can you not smile at perky lil’ Luke with his twinkle and grin?
Back to the action
- Eduardo Aparecido, on I’m A Gangster Too also was put on the clock. This was his third time on the bull, and it wasn’t the charm.
- Slinger, Jr. slung Nathan Schaper pretty quickly. (I wonder how many times someone has used that riff). The bull’s claim to fame is that he bucked off J.B. Mauney last weekend. Heavens to Betsy, will wonders never cease? The Golden Child has feet of clay.
- Flint Rasmussen pulled out an 8-track cassette, which probably nobody in the arena under 50 had ever heard of, and went off on a tangent about having bought it in the 80s (or the 70s? hard to remember). This bit was much appreciated by those of us in the audience who were smart enough not to buy an 8-track player—or worse yet, have one installed in the car.
- Annoying: Billy Joel holds the record for the most performances in Madison Square Garden, which for the life of me I can’t understand, so Flint sang and play harp on “Piano Man.” He did a good job, considering how I hate the song.
- Stetson Lawrence came down off Sheep Creek. Bet he felt sheepish. (Ha! Somebody stop me.)
- Big Red from Canada, that is, Tanner Byrne, was the first to ride, scoring 84.50 on Heat Seeker.
Please make it stop
There’s always a bit during half-time where someone (this time, Flint) shoots stressballs into the audience. This time, one has a picture of J.B. Mauney on it, and if you get it, you win something; I forgot what, since I was busy gagging on yet another attempt to shove the PBR’s fave rave down our throats.
Return to the action
- JW Harris’s bull was acting up so much, they had to skip to the next rider while he dealt with it:
- Fabiano, on Midnight Train, and of course Vieira was put on the clock—and then DQd. Do you see the pattern yet, folks?
Meanwhile: I’m so pissed off at the music drowning out the announcers! Can’t somebody tell that fool at the controls that yes, this is Madison Square Garden, but no, you are not giving a concert to 20,000 screaming people. You are supposed to be providing accompaniment to an event, the focus of which is bull riding, not YOU and your broken ears that can’t tell a tolerable decibel level from one that hurts ours and interferes with the event. One advantage to watching on TV is that you don’t have to suffer this fool gladly. (And this is coming from some who worked in the rock business for 12 years.)
Return to the action
- Back to JW, who was spectacular on Like a Boss. Harris showed him who’s boss (I assume Hummer has used that one), scoring an 88.75, but then he went through an awful post-ride experience, getting flattened and trampled.
Then a bull was let out of the pen to amuse the crowd, but all he did was trot serenely once around the arena and meekly exit. Not exciting. Next time, pick a rip-snortin’ terror for the guest appearance, guys.Very clever marketing: A UPS guy delivered the Fan of the Night buckle to Flint in the arena. UPS is now advertising onscreen; smart move on the PBR’s part: a whole new audience.
- Joao Ricardo Vieira got jiggled up and down by Loose Change, until he hit the ground. Not what you’d expect from the guy who held a long #1 spot last year.
- Kaique Pacheco looked like he’d conquer Little Red Jacket, but something happened that I can’t figure out, and the bull ended up with 45. I guess you deserve it if you buck off that kid.
- And now comes God/Superman—you wouldn’t believe the buildup of hype while Mauney got ready. The arena announcer flat-out lied, saying that JB has won $8 million, and that he won NYC 3 times. No, he has not won $8 million, unless you count the million that they’re planning to fix for him at this year’s Finals. And no, he has not won NYC three times. He tied with Fabiano Vieira in recent memory. The PBR conveniently forgets “the Brazilian” every time they mention that event. This time JB was the goat, not the hero, Charlie Brown—he got Shaft-ed.
- In case the PBR is too dumb to have figured this out: the more hype and pressure they put on JB, when he gets bucked off he’s more ashamed and angry than ever. This is not going to help his riding. There’s no reason for him to feel humiliated; no human being is perfect, but the PBR expects him to hold their banner high and ride every time (and when he does, they’re all too happy to award him often unreasonable 90+ scores). So JB feels he has to be perfect, and when he’s not, he puts on a false bravado that’s so see-though, it’s sad. Great—now he has to live up to his Dad’s opinion and insane PBR hype.
- Regardless of how much the PBR touts JB, people were fleeing the Garden during the 15/15, and by the time the buckle was awarded, the crowd was almost sparse. Leah interviewed winner JW Harris, but for some reason he was almost inaudible. Either it was because Like a Boss kicked the crap out of him, or he doesn’t care about interviews. (Considering some of the funny things he’s said, and his cool attitude, I’d guess it’s the latter–with a touch of the former.) Then he had to stand there between two floozies and be embarrassed while he was awarded his buckle (and the 150 additional points).
- In case this escaped your attention: 4 of the Brazilian riders were put on the clock, and nobody else was. Isn’t there supposed to be a certain amount of time a rider is automatically allowed in the chute, after which it’s up to the judge whether to put him on the clock? It seemed to me, being able to see the entire procedure on giant screens rather than edited visuals on a broadcast, that some riders were given less time in the chute than others before being put on the clock. And those others were never Brazilian.
- The good thing is, Tanner Byrne, in second place, took home 90 points!