Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Built Ford Tough Invitational Presented by Cooper Tires in Glendale, Arizona, Part Deux

The Stockyard proudly presents the second half of Jean Hamman's report on the Glendale event. I am so glad to finally be able to post this. I most warmly thank Jean for going to the trouble to write this up in such entertaining style. Enjoy!

After Party Fun, sort of:

An applicable quote from William’s blog: “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” ~Albert Einstein

After the event, we had a long walk to our parking place and 10 to 20 minutes to kill before traffic cleared enough to make leaving possible. During that time, we tossed around the idea of going to the After Party. We’re not party people. We’re wallflower, homebody types. We told ourselves it might be fun to step out of our normal lives for an hour, if only to have new stories to tell. We knew the name of the party venue and had a vague idea where it was, but no address or even cross streets to direct us. I called the eldest child, 27 years old, a fact which will become important later, who gave us directions with assistance from Google Maps. The Wigwam Resort was a mere hop, skip, and long jump from the event. We thought it odd that a PBR After Party would be held at the Wigwam, but we decided to go check it out, since it was closer than home. We could always leave quickly if it was too uncomfortable. It was 100 degrees in that parking lot even at 10:30 p.m. Perhaps our brains baked in the 20 minutes it took us to come to this decision.

As a member in good standing of Team PBR, I would like to volunteer right now to handle the planning for the After Party of next year’s Glendale PBR event. I don’t know whether to blame sponsor politics or just really poor planning for the particularly uncomfortable and non-festive atmosphere of this year’s meet and greet, but someone needs to be tied across the saddle of his horse and run out of town for that travesty.

As I pictured what a PBR After Party would be like over the past eight months, I envisioned crowded cowboy bars. Nice venues, not hole-in-the-wall dives, but definitely having a comfortable cowboy flavor. I did not expect the Wigwam Resort and Spa. This is a swanky spot. This is not a good ol’ boy hangout. This is a Lexus only/all others will be towed kind of place. The “Valet Parking Available” parking lot would have spit Reese Cates’ $2,000 van back onto the street and given it a hearty shove down the road.

Not only was the venue a poor choice, but the chosen venue seemed completely unprepared. Did someone spend all of five minutes planning this “party”? There were only three sit-down tables and two tall tables. The only chairs in evidence were around the three sit-down tables. This meant that my wheelchair would put me right at the rather personal level of belt buckle or butt with anyone we might meet unless they were at one of the sit-down tables, a fact which will become important later. There were three tiny makeshift bars set against three walls serving vastly overpriced drinks. I could have bought a small bottle of JD for what we paid for one small JD and mostly coke. On the fourth wall was a sound system of sorts and someone would run over to it periodically to change the music. At least there was a big screen TV in one corner showing some past PBR event. Please let me do this next year. I could have 10 times the party, snacks included, lined up in an hour.

What was fun about this party? Sitting in the back of the room, amusing ourselves with our own wit was big fun. William: “I wonder if those Copenhagen Girls fit between cheek and gum?” Me: “Well, now we know why Cord McCoy smiles so much. He only has to ride enough bulls to stay on tour so he can go to the After Parties.” Cord is one of the few U.S. riders we root for on weekends. We don’t care that his riding is inconsistent. We care that his good attitude is consistent. He falls off, he laughs, he rides, he laughs. He looks like someone we would enjoy knowing whether we agreed with him on issues or not. He makes us smile. I’m here to tell you that the boy is the same smiling, twinkling-eyed person we see on TV. Cord seems to be all about enjoying himself and he spreads that enjoyment around. He especially spreads that enjoyment to cute young ladies, who flock to that smile like tacks to a magnet. Every curvaceous young woman in attendance hit the tiny dance floor for a twirl with Cord. That’d be enough to make any young man smile.

We were amazed at the behavior of the other bull riders in attendance. Would you believe those boys are wallflowers? Four of our favorite riders were in attendance and only Cord behaved as if his boots were not super-glued to the carpet. Mike White stood in the same spot for an hour. Renato Nunez disappeared almost as soon as he arrived, probably hiding in a dark corner and trying to remain unnoticed. Guilherme glued himself to a wall at the very back of the room, next to one of the dinky makeshift bars, and as William noted, he had to buy his own drink. We couldn’t make ourselves believe that this was Guilherme Marchi. There were no bevies of breathless beauties surrounding him. He was not being accosted by every fan in the room. He was alone, against a wall, having to shell out money earned by bruised bones for overpriced drinks. Ya’d think either the PBR or the sponsors at Wigwam could have covered the man’s drinks, for heaven’s sake. Not hard to imagine why we didn’t see riders like Reese Cates there. Aside from the facts his van wouldn’t be allowed, and that he's underage, he and three other guys would have to share a JD and coke to afford one.

Nevertheless, the wallflower at the back of the room was indeed Guilherme. I knew it the second I saw him pass through the shadows toward the back of the room. “Honey, it’s Guilherme, I’d recognize that jaw anywhere!” I whispered urgently. We tried to convince ourselves it couldn’t possibly be him. William finally decided he’d go on a reconnaissance mission and slipped casually across the room (not easy for a 6'4" man in a room sparsely filled with short buckle bunnies, short old folks, and short bull riders), as if just stepping out to the men’s room. When he came back, he grabbed the handles of my wheelchair and said with a bit too much determination, “C’mon, you are going to meet Guilherme Marchi.” It was at that point, on those words, that everything I’d planned to say began pouring out of both ears and soaking into the plush carpeting. In William’s determined (determined not to chicken out) march toward Marchi, we steamed right past Mike White, who looked at me and smiled brightly. I about got whiplash turning my head to meet him but we whizzed passed before I could say anything. He looked amused. I suppose I should be glad we amused him at our own expense, because he and his fellow bull riders certainly entertain the heck out of us, at their own expense, on weekends.

The After Party Horror

From William: I had the whole speech worked out in advance: “I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time, and I feel that this is your year and I wish you the best of luck.” But what came out? “Errr, haberdashers, you know, nine-iron woodsman poker handle! Crumpets!” And Guilherme, being a pleasant and affable sort, smiles and nods and says, “Thank you very much.” (You can read the rest of William’s After Party Saga by clicking the link.)

I too had many speeches planned out over the last eight months. If I met Guilherme, I’d tell him we cheered him on every weekend. I’d ask about that darling new July baby of his and how he’d feel if the lad grew up wanting to ride bulls. I’d tell him we thought he was consistently underscored. I’d tell him that we appreciated the excellent sportsmanship of every young man on Team Brazil and that it was their attitudes even more than their talent that made us their fans. I had so many things to ask and tell that I planned to force him to sit with us old farts for a while and share a beer and conversation. What did I manage to stammer out as I sat there, level with his belt buckle, craning my neck back and staring up at that jawline, brilliant smile, and thick eyelashes?

“Guilherme, it’s wonderful to meet you,” and “We are planning a trip to Dallas just so we can eat at your restaurant!” And then no further words could be forced up my throat.

My mouth opened and closed like a boated bass. I wanted to die right there on the designer carpet, in this swanky resort, in the dark, amidst the out-of-place cowboy boots. “Do you want to meet anyone else?” William asks. “No. I’m done.” I answered meekly, fighting the urge to pull my shirt up over my head. I’m hoping Guilherme’s English skills only extend to English which makes sense and not to the English of shy, blithering, star-struck idiots. Don’t correct that thought, please, it’s the only way I’m getting to sleep at night.

Getting old isn’t for sissies. Actually, the real problem with aging is that my thought processes have stayed pretty much the same except that paying bills became more important than going bar-hopping. The worst thing about getting old is that one day, and it will come to you, the big two by four of life smacks you in the head and says “GET A GRIP! YOU AREN’T 25 ANYMORE.”

Sunday morning, as I was between barn chores and trying not to think of those inch-long eyelashes, the perfect smile, and the jawline that makes the man instantly recognizable to bad eyes across a darkened room, I happened to look up his rider profile. To my abject horror, I found that the kid is only 26 years old. My youngest child is 26 years old. Guillherme is, in fact, one month and 12 days younger than my youngest child. A kid younger than my youngest child had, in three minutes time, turned me to gibbering mush. I was torn between the need to vomit and the desire to just go to bed for the rest of my life, which would end in about ten minutes, the way I felt at the time. Then I told myself to cowgirl up. Next time, I’ll be damned if I blither like a moron at a kid half my age. If I can’t conduct an intelligent interview stone sober, I’ll just have four or five more overpriced Jack and cokes and truly embarrass myself by saying something like, “Come shit on mammash knee, shweetie.”


shannon said...

bwahaha! Oh Jean, I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing with you--because I can relate. I did the same thing to both Adriano and Guilherme (such a recognizable chin! I couldn't believe it when I read he was 26!) in Anaheim this year. I had a speech prepared and it went to hell. Except in my case, instead of having nothing to say, I babbled on and on like an idiot. By the time Brian Canter plopped down on the couch right next to me, I was so embarrassed, I kept my nose stuck in my book and didn't say a word--I just keep sneaking peeks at him. However, since Kasey Hayes won the event the prior weekend with a 92 pt ride on Camo, I figured I'd give my mouth and brain one more shot when I saw him walk by. I should probably be grateful that he was in such a hurry that he didn't hear me call him--or perhaps I should be grateful that I had already been mortified enough with myself that I didn't bother calling his name a second time.

The 2 x 4 hit me last year when I went looking for info on JB Mauney. Now, I knew he was only 20 (and I'm pretty much old enough to be his mother), but I was interested in seeing what he was up to. I just didn't realize was 20 meant these days until I found his My Space page. It was my first trip into My Space and I haven't been back since. I spent the better part of a week wonder when the hell I grew up.

Thank you for the laugh. I needed this blog in more ways than one.

Jean said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the post Shannon. It's good to know that we're not the only ones that freeze up in those situations.

I told you that you had little to fear from this post ;-)

Stockyard Queen said...

I checked out Cord McCoy's MySpace page. He lists his favorite movies and then he says, "I'd add a love movie, but I'd need to find somebody to watch it with." What a flirt!

Jay said...

Jean: Me loved both of your dispatches tons. (Sir Williams's was also a delight.) Please know two things. 1. Your husband is a damn fine man to take you in to those deep waters. 2. When I had the opportunity to meet my beloved Emmylou Harris, I definitely resembled a "boated bass" in every way. So, uh...welcome to the club!

Jean said...

hehehe okay, making notes on who NOT to take to after-parties with me. I need to take someone who can carry on a conversation while I sit there and gasp for air.

Glad you enjoyed the reports Jay! Yes, he's a damned fine man. Even if he cowboyed up while straddling a urinal.

Emmylou Harris... now that's a name I haven't heard in a long.. long time. She's beautiful. Not hard to imagine a lot of guys flopping about like fish on dry land.

She's one of the few people that did a cover of a Beatles song that I actually liked.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who felt let down by the After Party. I went to the one in Dallas, and it was so dark in the nightclub they had it in, you couldn't see your hand in front of your face let alone recognize any of the bullriders in the crowd. We went too early and left too early to really see any of the guys and the ones I did see acted like they'd rather been someplace else. It certainly wasn't worth the six months of anticipation I'd put in.