For all the guff about how cool “The Pit” in Albuquerque is, the fact is, the arena has been named “Wise Pies.” Sorry, too goofy to be cool. I also don’t get what’s supposed to be so cool about those horrendous stairs. I can just imagine what an ordeal it is to find the ladies’ room before you pee your pants.
“One man will cast his spell over the Land of Enchantment,” burbles Craig Hummer, and we’re off and running.
OUT, OUT BRIEF CANDLE
Shane Proctor is no longer #1 in the world. He’s had no qualified rides since winning Iron Cowboy. This was an 0 for 3 weekend.
QUOTABLE (FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE)
• “When you’re gonna get on those mean bulls, the safest place to be is on his back.” —Ty Murray
• “It’s almost like they’re freaks of nature,” says Ty, talking about the handful of guys who have been riding for years: Guilherme Marchi, Mike Lee, Valdiron de Oliveira. “They’re the veterans of the veterans.” Are you calling them old farts?
• Red Bone worked New Zealander Fraser Babbington off to the right side, and “Red Bone should be called Red Barn—that bull is huge.” This time Hummer was right.
• “I still think he has great mental control of his brain.”—Ty. Seriously. Talking about Silvano Alves.
• Cooper Davis had head-to-head contact with Slow Boogie. He challenged the “no score” call. It was amazing seeing him keep his hand in the rope even as he was flying upside down near the bull, but it just wasn’t in there long enough.
• Reese Cates, 2008 Rookie of the Year, went missing from the BFTS for a bit, then earned his way back from the BlueDEF tour. It didn’t look to me like he made 8 on Hammer It Again, but the ride was reviewed for time twice, and he did just make it, for a nice fat score of 88.75.
• J.B. Mauney almost got bucked off in the chute by Told Ya So in Round 3. And now all the hymns of adoration start, because he won the previous two rounds and became #1. And BTW, god forbid they should put him on the clock. 44 for the bull.
• Alexandre Cardozo is back from having a broken neck. He got bucked off Handsome Jeff, and his legs banged against the fence; he was on his knees for a while. Meanwhile, on his way down, his spur hit Frank Newsom in, um, an unprotected area.
• Aaron Roy (oh dear, I forgot to say Canadian) was slammed flat on the ground by Wicked Stick, and stumbled away dazed. Any time Roy gets bucked off now, or even if he rides and hits the dirt, I gulp, hoping he doesn’t break his back again.
• EEK. Tanner Byrne made noisy head contact with Catfish John, and then the bull swung him around and hard into the ground. Cornball comment from the peanut gallery (and I think you can tell which nut this is): “It’s Catfish John who sets the hook.”
• Eduardo Aparecido’s countermoves and balance on Grandpa Joe made for a pretty perfect ride, in Ty’s opinion. And yet 86.50 was all that perfection got him. Classic case of the brown skin deduction.
• Pearl Harbor was lurching forward hard in chute, and out on the dirt, Silvano bounced several times on the bull’s front end. 45.50 for PH.
• Tanner Byrne was swinging around Stuntin’ Like my Daddy’s side, still holding on. The judges reviewed it for time, but there was no way he made it, much as I would’ve liked to see 8.
• Crossfire has dished out 21 straight buckoffs, but helped earn Cooper Davis a 91.50. Now that was a ride.
• “Cue the music,” gushes Hummer, and we know we’re about to get an overdose of JB. The two times Mauney scored on Long John, in Thackerville last fall and Springfield this spring, JB’s takeaway was 92.25 and 90.25 respectively. It looked like he was glued on and headed for another 90, but—shock, horror!—he got bucked off, and the bull’s takeaway was 46.75, high-marked ride of the night. J.B. slunk away.
• What was that?? Don Gay’s head popped into an ad for the Touring Pro Division’s Lafayette, LA gig. Is he now shilling for the PBR?? Or is this the PBR’s attempt to get the CBR into their pipeline? I wonder how Tuff Hedeman feels about it.
• Asteroid is not bucking in this event. Wonder why? Is everyone soured on him now because he wasn’t sensationally outrageous in his last out?
• “Stetson Lawrence is Native American and he feels the crowd better than anyone,” says Ty. “The Navajo Nation is here.” Yeah, but is Stetson a Navajo? He’s from North Dakota. I did like his powwow dance move after his 83.25 ride on Red Dirt Traditions.
• Seeing the video of J.W. Harris riding Long John. Can’t wait to see J.W. back in action after he finishes recovering from surgery.
• Silvano Alves rode Rebel Yell, which he’d also done at last year’s Finals. He made it look like a piece of cake, and was awarded an 86, while the bull scored 44. He flashed a rare Silvano smile.
• An Athlete’s Profile on the bullfighters. Great idea.
• This time the “Hitch’d” supposed comedy segment wasn’t abominable. It was cute seeing Ben Jones “guessing” which rider Shane Proctor’s flash cards are talking about. Of course JB has to be one of them, but at least the hint wasn’t “Fan Favorite.”
• The Mini Bull Riders are adorable. Those little boys are brave and crazy. And where are the girls? I’m sure there are some brave and crazy girls out there—if their parents don’t squash it out of them.
NOT LIKIN’ IT
• Robson Palermo is out with a sore left hand.
• Even though Kaique Pacheco has a 44.12% riding percentage, he’d had 7 buckoffs in a row, which turned into a complete flame-out this weekend. “To stay with the numerology,” said Craig Hummer, completely misinterpreting the word numerology, “his good friend Silvano Alves has bucked off 8 in a row.” Yeah, but then—see above.
• I am so fucking sick of hearing “PBR Fan Favorite” whenever J.B. Mauney is mentioned—and since he’s mentioned every five minutes, I am REALLY fucking sick of hearing it. That monicker makes it sound as if JB’s not only the PBR’s favorite (which he is, and which nobody is supposed to be), but that he’s also the favorite of all the fans (which he’s not). There are other favorites, you ignorant folks at the PBR, and you’re pissing off all of us.
• Bellybutton bimbos on parade, standing at attention at the chutes in case anyone want to grab a handful.
• Valdiron de Oliveira, riding at 30.30%, is in a slump. Flight Plan stumbled and ruined his ride. He challenged the “no score,” but in the video replay, you could see that he touched the bull. The crowd, however, hadn’t seen it, or didn’t believe it, and booed when it was announced.
• Guilherme Marchi (“the Jerry Rice of the PBR” as Ty insists on calling him), suffered a disgraceful instant buckoff by American Sniper. Seeing Marchi scream and grimace on the way out shows he knew it.
• Marchi re-pulled his rope because his hand was too far down the side. Didn’t help his ride. “It really was never a question that Shaft was going to win that battle,” that from Craig, who has been particularly snarky.
• Eduardo Aparecido handled Little Red Jacket’s fancy footwork for an 88.50. How was this ride not worth a 90?? Oh, right—that special math again.
• João Ricardo Viera is riding with a broken nose, courtesy of Wipeout in Round 1—looked brutal in the photo I saw—and had to take on Cochise, no less, who has allowed three people to ride him since July 2014. Paolo Lima this January in New York had the highest score: 90. The bull hipped himself on the chute, but the judges didn’t think that changed the bull’s direction. I don’t like this discretionary stuff. The bull’s score: 44.50.
• Stetson Lawrence the only rider who was 3 for 3 until the Championship Round, cowboyed up and chose Bruiser. If he rides, he wins, no matter what the score. Craig applying his wet blanket: “Did Lawrence over-pick?” Um, did J.B. overpick when he chose Long John and got bucked off?
BOVINES ON THE BLOCK
• Red Dirt Traditions is a debut bull with potential.
• Seven Dust is still unridden, and is finally on peoples’ radar. My radar, I am proud to say, is far ahead of the curve. I noticed this guy right away.
• Big Cat – serious power – 45 – bye-bye Nevada Newman.
• Beaver Creek Beau. Pretty damned big animal. 44.25 for tossing Juliano Antonio da Silva in the Championship Round. (Not liking the tossing, just the performance.)
• Bootjack came into the event with a 1/23 record, and bounced his head off Reese Cates’s face. EEK.
SHAKING MY HEAD
Hummer’s description of Stone Sober: “the bovine version of a Rubik’s cube.” I think it’d be easier decoding a Rubik’s cube than Hummer’s brain. His next descriptive attempt: after we see a video of the bull leaping over a rider (I think it was Renato Nunes, but don’t quote me on it), his hind legs hooked up under him and scrambling, he’s “looking like a snow leopard leaping from a tree.” So apparently Craig has spent some time in the Himalayas and seen one of these rare cats flying through the air.
• Notice how when J.B. gets bucked off, the announcers immediately pretend it didn’t happen and go on to talk about something else, instead of harping on the buckoff, as they would do if he were a Brazilian rider, who “can’t ride away from his hand,” or “is in a slump” or “is searching for a score” or “just can’t seem to convert,” etc.
• So Mason Lowe sneaks up and wins his first BFTS event. Note that he did not take a re-ride in Round 1, but kept a 79.25. He scored 86.75 in Round 2, got bucked off in Round 3, and scored 90 on Brutus in the Championship Round. That just doesn’t seem right to me.
• On the clock: Robson Aragao, Juliano Antonio da Silva, Valdiron de Oliveira, and Silvano Alves. Do we see a pattern? Oh, no; I must be paranoid. Conspiracy theory, you know…
A NEW LOW
After he ran through the names of which riders were out with injuries and who didn’t make the Championship Round, Craig Hummer actually said: “By the time we get down to the good ones…” Some of those not-so-good ones should kick his bony ass.
Robson Aragao suffered facial fractures not so long ago, but that didn’t faze Spiderman. “Besides, my face looks better now,” he told Ty.
#2 Stetson Lawrence, #3 Eduardo Aparecido, #4 J.B. Mauney (nobody made a fuss about this; what a surprise—just pretend it didn’t happen and he’s perfect and always wins), & #5 Cooper Davis.
I have no idea why they interviewed Cooper, instead of the #2, 3, or 4 guys, other than that they put him in The New York Times last month (you know: successor to the crown they so regularly bestow on JB), so the hell with the rest of the guys.
What I like about the interviews with Cooper & Mason: they’re succinct. No babbling.