Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Bull Diaries, Episode Two

Friends and neighbors, this has been a dreadful week around the Stockyard, what with our devastating disappointment in the coverage of Tulsa and our consequent lackluster enthusiasm for the Edmonton event. Hard on the heels of all that came the news that cute little Brian Canter, whom the Stockyard Queen could probably rope, throw, and brand with one hand tied behind her back, was seriously injured during the first PBR Shootout in Paso Robles, California. Fortunately, it turned out that the wreck looked way worse than it was, but knowing that it's coming hardly makes me want to rush down to see the dreadful deed enacted this Sunday.

So just to top off the week in the style in which it began, I offer up Mr. SoCal Jay's description of the big PBR viewing at The Deer Lodge last Sunday. My dear colleagues, read it and weep.

Episode Two: Our hero walks into a terrible wilderness.

I guess I should’ve known it wasn’t gonna work out when I couldn’t attach my spurs to my flip-flops, no matter how hard I tried.

But other than that, I was ready, Freddy, to watch my first PBR event on the telly. (Montana Barn Cat had arranged the viewing at The Deer Lodge, here in Ojai, California.) Had my photographer/bodyguard, Wink, and my angel/wife, Pam, in tow. Had a printout of the draw/results from the “Express Classic” in Tulsa folded up in my back pocket. Within ten minutes, we’d secured a prime spot for viewing at the corner of the bar. The bartender had a crummy-looking goat roper hat on, and one of three TVs over the bar was Right There. Open pit BBQ outside. Things were coming together quite nicely. . . .

Ten minutes later, as visions of “Booger Butt” butt-busting a cowboy danced through my head, we still hadn’t been visited by the bartender. Turns out it was his very first shift as a barkeep, and he was having troubles. (Nice guy. But he needs more training, or another line of work.) We placed our food orders, then I asked, “Would it be possible to put on the ‘Versus’ channel? It’s bull riding.” He replied, “Any idea what channel number it is?” No, I didn’t. (Most bars, I thought, had satellite service. We don’t have that at our house.) “Well,” he said, “let’s see if we can find it.” He reached up, and started clicking from channel to channel. Watching the channel numbers go by, I noticed he had the same service we did. Which is to say, not much. Then, maybe halfway through his heroic search, he was interrupted by other bartenderly duties.

A while later, as a vision of “Woodpecker Lips” ripping the lips off some cowpoke played in my head, we asked him to resume his search. “If you can find the bulls,” I said, “there’s an easy five bucks for ya.” Wink thought that to be an absurd, reckless proposition, but I’ve spent more for less.

Going up and back through the channels, no bulls. He then checked with a waitress wearing a black Stetson at the end of the bar. I happen to know she’s worked at The Deer Lodge for a year or so. Coming back, he said, “Unless it’s on basic cable, we don’t have it. Sorry.”

So that was that, I figured, except for our meal. But midway through my pulled-pork sandwich, I thought: “What about ‘Que Time’? They advertise: “Make us your favorite sports bar!” It was only five o’clock. Still an hour left in the broadcast. And they were only a block from home!

So we went home to throw in another load of Wink’s laundry (long story), and I called “Que Time.” Did they get Versus? “What’s the channel number?” “I don’t know. Aren’t you guys satellite?” “No. We’re cable, and if it costs extra, we don’t get it.”

Well, I get it. Ojai has many attributes, but cutting-edge technology at beer bars and barbecue joints and my own barn ain’t one of 'em.

So it goes, I guess. If you get bucked off, you pick yourself up out of the dirt and try again, eh? And what’s that old saying? Something like: “All things come to he who waits.” I’ll wait. It’ll happen. I’ve got an iron or two in the fire.

Meanwhile, out back after yesterday’s wreck, I’m looking over the printout, sipping on a beer with Pam and Wink. It’s hot out there, but not too. “Ah,” I say. “'Scene of the Crash.’ You know who owns that bull?” They both look at me like I’m the stupidest person on earth to ask such a question. My mind ain’t all that sharp these days, so I say, “Who’s the guy with the Scotch in his hand, on the ‘Blue Collar Tour’?” Wink says, “Ron White!” I say, “Yeah. That’s him. And that’s HIS bull.” They both answer, essentially, “No way!”

“Way,” I say. “I don’t really know this stuff, yet, but I’ve seen clips of him online. To me, anyway, he’s one bad-ass bull.”

Then, over more beers and cheap wine and the last two inches of Jack Daniel’s and Pam and Wink trying to hit a ping-pong ball into the fountain from the porch with a golf club to win a nickel—first one in, wins--it got weird.

- Jay


shannon said...

Jaye, I was thinking about you this weekend wondering if the Tulsa event was the one you were supposed to see. I'm kind of torn right now: Sorry that you went through all that trouble for nothing and glad that Tulsa wasn't your first intro to bull riding because it was one of the dullest things I've seen on tv in a while. I can't even get behind the "any bull riding is better than none at all". Not for me really. If that were the case, I'd be satisfied with Extreme Bull Riding on ESPN every night.

My thought process basically went like this:

"Man, this is awful! Boring. I hope no one is watching this for the first time.....OMG! Jaye!".

However, it must have been quite frustrating to be all ready for it this weekend only to have it not pan out. I don't know how far you are from Anaheim, but I'm going to urge you and Pam to go even if SQ and Montana Barn Cat can't make it--I'll more than likely be there, so I'd love to meet you both for drinks either before or after one of the shows.

You will get to see a show some day.

As for Brian Canter--I can't even imagine what that was like, but I, too, have a morbid interest in seeing it when it's aired. He's a tough kid, though--I'm sure we'll see him back the second Tandy gives the ok. Right now, they are saying possibly Jacksonville. I pray it's with a helmet, but I'm not holding my breath.

shannon said...

My apologies for spelling your name wrong.... *blushing

Stockyard Queen said...

Jay, Barn Cat and I were literally grinding our teeth on Saturday, worrying that you were seeing this sorry exhibition and wondering why on earth we dragged you out on a Sunday afternoon to bore you senseless. I hope the pulled pork was good, at least!

Jaye said...

Jay, I'm most likely the reason Shannon spelled your name wrong. Anyway, I'm glad you missed the Tulsa show. It was just awful. I don't know what they were thinking! Hope you'll get to see a real event sometime soon. I know you'll love it as much as we do....Jaye

Jean said...

Well heck Jay. I was looking forward to your impression on your first televised event. Do you get ESPN Classic? I have satellite so we don't pay extra for that channel. I don't know if it comes with basic cable or not.

Unlike Shannon (ahem, wink) I enjoy watching the Xtreme bulls events from years past. Last night, for instance, we saw a baby Dustin Elliot ride. We've also seen Adriano Moraes and Paolo Crimber debut on the U.S. bullriding scene and get to see some legendary bulls. It's fun for us to see our PBR cowboys "back when".

I don't know how far any of these events are from you, but I looked up the Challenger and Enterprise event schedules and found these:

On August 16th, there's a Challenger Tour event in Prescott, AZ (If you're up for a drive to Prescott, my husband and I'd be glad to meet you and Pam there.)

Aug. 31, an Enterprise event in Lancaster, CA

Sept. 25, Enterprise event in Pomona, CA
Sept 25, Enterprise event in Red Bluff, CA

Oct. 2, Enterprise event in Hollister, CA

Anonymous said...

great story i enjoyed reading it

Jay said...

Shannon: Anaheim is relatively close. Wild bulls won't keep us away! (Well, actually, they could. But they won't.) No problem about the misspelling. Believe me, I've been called worser. Let's all stay in touch as the date draws near...

Stockyard Queen: Actually, the pullled-pork sandwiches were pretty weak--but that's just how the day went. Their dinners are BETTER.

Jaye: Nice to make your acquaintance. What a truly LOVELY name you have! Yip.

Jean: Thank you for your dreamy invitation to join you and your husband in Prescott. (As a kid, I lived in Williams, AZ. Best year of my life!) Alas, we cannot. The Hollister date you were so kind to report caught my eye. It's a ways away, but...maybe? Anyway, thanks for...everything you said and sent. Me appreciate it.

All: Geez. I think I'm in love.