Monday, September 15, 2008

Taking Stock

The Stockyard Queen is walking the battlefield—picture George C. Scott in Patton, blithely strolling past the burned bodies and intoning, “War. God help me, but I love it so.” Well, the Stockyard Queen loves the war between the boys and the bulls, but she just can’t be quite that blasé about the mess we had this past weekend in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Let’s survey the ruined landscape and see what’s what:

1) The brilliant, acerbic, and wickedly funny Jean, one of my most devoted readers and avid PBR fans, LEFT THE ROOM on Saturday during the broadcast, unable any longer to stomach any more of the endless worship of Justin McBride that Craig Hummer, Justin McKee, and Ty Murray spewed as McBride approached the $5 million mark in career winnings.

2) William, her compatriot, TURNED OFF THE SOUND and read a book while watching the rest of the show.

3) Guilherme Marchi BROKE A RECORD FOR THE NUMBER OF RIDES IN A SINGLE SEASON and was acknowledged with barely a languidly raised hand.

4) You heard it here first, folks—I predicted this would happen a week ago and it’s obvious now that I AM PSYCHIC. Justin McBride FELL OFF HIS BULL at 7.9 seconds in the Xantrex Instanta-Shot Grudge Match and STILL GOT A SCORE. Ty Murray even stooped to say that Justin cheated fate (or the judges cheated everybody) that time. I have to confess, though, that I didn’t expect to see it happen so soon. Maybe I should challenge superhero McBride to a contest. He can try to overcome me with his super powers, and I will defeat him by predicting what he plans to do and cleaning his clock first.

4) The divine Shannon, a fairly recent convert to the PBR, is so tired of the hosannas in Justin’s honor that she posted a pointed, though also pointedly polite, objection to all the hoopla on Keith Cartwright’s blog. She also fast-forwarded through her recording of the broadcast on Sunday, so at least she didn’t have to hear most of the blather.

5) William posted an eloquent discussion of the injustice of it all on his blog. He is advocating a move to the PRCA, which I’m not prepared to do yet, for reasons that are even dumber than my usual ones.

6) Several of us who did manage to stick the broadcast out without tossing our cookies are now worried stiff that Guilherme is in a slump and may lose the world title to Valdiron or even J.B. Mauney.

7) Reese Cates, poor thing, was robbed of his first BFTS win when Mauney got a 93 in the last ride of the night and collected the big check. A 93! What is the world coming to when you can get a 93 while your ass is hanging off the side of the bull? Oh, excuse me, I seem to recall a similar atrocity a few years back at the finals involving—wait a minute—it’s coming to me—Justin McBride! I guess I should be glad that Mauney managed to ride so we were spared the sight of him throwing stuff and kicking the walls as he stormed back to the locker room, but I feel bad for Reese. And you all know Reese hasn’t always been in my good graces.

8) Worst of all, every time McBride climbs into the chute now, I find myself hoping he’ll get face planted instantly. This might not seem like news to any of you, because you all know I nearly always root for the bulls, but the fact is, up until Saturday night, the list of boys I can’t stand to see ride has been short (actually there’s only one on it, and he’s in the “for his own good” column), and that rider was not McBride. I don’t want to start feeling like that about any rider, or at least not about any more riders. It’s not good for me, but furthermore, it’s not good for the sport when folks start to feel like the judges are favoring one rider over all the others, particularly when one of the un-favored is riding better than 70 percent of his bulls, and start hoping for bad outcomes as a result.

It’s clear, though, that if Justin McBride doesn’t just flat-out FALL OFF at, oh, say, 7 seconds or less, he’s going to get a score, even if the bull ambles out to Flint’s barrel and back. On second thought, make that 6 seconds. I’m wondering if he wouldn’t have gotten a score on Stick and Stones, that bull in the PBR commercial who stalls in the chute, finally comes out and looks around, and then goes right back in, with Adriano along for the trip.

I guess in hindsight, we should have expected the weekend to start off like it did, since the most recent issue of PBR magazine features a long-ass story in which Ty Murray and Cody Lambert compare notes about how great Justin McBride is. When the PBR posted a news release about how McBride was getting close to the $5 million mark, we should have known we would hear about it till we wanted to stick our fingers in our ears and sing, “LA LA LA LA LA!” at the top of our lungs. But I am still dumbfounded by how long the praising and backslapping and genuflecting went on. It really only stopped (and most probably only temporarily) when Homer Simpson (oh, the irony!) definitively threw McBride during his last ride of the second round, which Justin McKee described as going “from the penthouse to the outhouse” in a single day.

The only good news about any of this is that it's pretty much statistically impossible for McBride to take a third world title this year, unless the unthinkable happens and Marchi falls off every single bull for the rest of the season, and McBride rides everything he climbs aboard. Oh, I guess we don't have to worry about the latter because obviously he's going to get a score regardless, but we do have to worry about Marchi, who hasn't looked very good since at least the World Cup in Chihuahua.

I hope that I haven’t already reached the point that SoCal Jay was predicting for me a few weeks ago, when he observed that when we wide-eyed rookies start to follow any sport, we are breathlessly willing to watch anything so we can learn all about it. In the end, we are worn-out and jaded, turning the tv off because “they’re playing like pussies,” as he says of Southern California University’s football team. But I may have gotten to the point where I can’t listen to the commentators anymore, which will result in at least one casualtyThe Stockyard Queen’s Hoof in Mouth Award. I just don’t know how much more of this crap I can take, and clearly, I’m not alone.


shannon said...

You know, I was so ticked off at what I was seeing in regards to Justin, that it didn't even occur to me that yet another rookie came in second this week. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

A good blog, as always, SQ, but I can't help but feel sad. We should be having fun with this-especially this year-but, instead, there have been rare moments of fun surrounded by an appalling amount of hype. The funny (awful?) thing is that they haven't even tried to be subtle about it.

I'm not done with it yet. I fell in love with the sport last year and can't imagine turning it off completely, but I am thankful for my dvr--just in case it comes to having to ffwd every event from now on.

Jean said...

I think my last statement (loud statement) at the television before I left the room was something to the effect of "Oh hell I'll just send you a case of KY Ty then go ahead and 'cover' Justin and be done with it!!" I decided against sending it (for now) because at least Ty was honest about that score at the end.

William said...

I find myself in complete agreement with pretty much everything you said. But while I can live with the Saint Justin business, and the constant attempts by the PBR/Versus thought police to turn me into a McZombie, what irks me more and more is the frankly silly judging.

Complaining about the judging in a sporting event is always a fool's mission, because there's no way to prove anything and all you do is end up looking like a wide-eyed conspiracy theorist with a layer of aluminum foil in your hat.

But is it really just me, or do riders like Justin McBride *routinely* get three or four bonus points per bull compared to riders like, say, Guilherme Marchi?

And how DOES a guy get a 90 when he's out of control? How can a guy get a rider score of 23 when his butt is catching more air than a windmill in a thunderstorm? What does this mean for the overall probity of the PBR?

This is why I sort of like the PBR - all the scores in the long go tend to be low, and all the scores in the short go tend to be high. I can live with skewed judging, so long as everyone benefits or suffers accordingly.

Or can I? I'm also reminded of a cartoon where the fellow said "It doesn't bother me that the world is unfair. It bothers me that it isn't unfair in my favor."

shannon said...

Great comments, william! (are you new here? I don't recall seeing your name before) I agree with most of what you said.

"But is it really just me, or do riders like Justin McBride *routinely* get three or four bonus points per bull compared to riders like, say, Guilherme Marchi?"

I would say so, yes. And if you look at comments that have been written about this, it usually comes down to "riding style". Huh. That's hard to believe. An example from this past weekend was the two rides by Justin and Guilherme. I'd have to see them again just to be sure, but it looked to me like Justin's bull wasn't that much better than Guilherme's but Justin got an 86 (?) and Guilherme got an 83. I don't know why I was surprised. I'm really bothered by the whole thing.

Also, McZombies? Bwah!

jean? I'm so glad I wasn't eating/drinking when I read your comments. :)

Stockyard Queen said...

I was on the verge of suggesting that the boys just, er, offer JM a sexual service and be done with it, though the one I had in mind didn't involve KY. But I decided that would just be too gross to think about.

Stockyard Queen said...

I'm also waiting with baited breath for the day when one of the riders comes out of the closet. You know it's bound to happen sooner or later.

Jean said...

Shannon, that's my husband William of the great after-party debacle.

Jean said...

SQ, statistics are not on the side of them all being straight.

and thar's anuther place I'm just not gonna go.

Stockyard Queen said...

You're right, Jean. I think the average is one in 10, and even if we presume it's half that, we'd still statistically have a chance for at least two in the top 45. That would probably give some of these guys the heebie-jeebies for sure.

shannon said...

I've said since last year that with 800+ PBR riders, there's bound to be at least one in there somewhere. I've been wondering about one in the top 45 myself, but refuse to say it on a public site. At any rate, I'm sad to say that I'd strongly suggest that whoever they are, they stay in the closet until well after retirement.

"Shannon, that's my husband William of the great after-party debacle."

Ah! That william! Great blogs and post, my friend. I enjoy them just as much as your wife's and SQ's.

Stockyard Queen said...

Even if I had absolute proof that one of the riders is gay, I'd never breathe a word of it unless (and until) he came out himself. I'm sure it would totally kill his PBR career instantly if the word got out while he was still riding.

Jean said...

I dunno, maybe the PBR would finance a trip to that gay boot camp here in Arizona where they pray the gay out. But oh yeah, we'd have to watch him on the LOGO channel gay rodeo documentaries from then on.

Back in what my parents deemed my "misspent youth" I used to go dance in the gay bars in N.O. (NO one can twirl you like a gay man) One such excursion, I literally bumped into a guy I worked with. He turned beet red and begged me never to tell anyone I saw him there. Poor dude. Of course, I never did. Still haven't. Never will.

shannon said...

"....that gay boot camp here in Arizona where they pray the gay out."

Oh dear...I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Gay bars? Never been to one, but I have been to the gay pride parade. It was a blast.

I need to party with you guys--jay, jean and william, SQ and Barnyard cat, jaye...y'all sound like some fun people to hang out with.

Stockyard Queen said...

If we could all get together in the same bar to watch the PBR, at least we wouldn't be alone in our misery and we'd doubtless have a lot of laughs. And a lot of drinks. And we might throw some stuff at the tv in the process.

Jean said...

I think if we're gonna throw stuff SQ, we need to own our own bar.

So, where shall we build our bullriding fan honkytonk? Colorado perhaps? We're kinda spread out. Darned shame. Another of my good ideas that will never reach fruition.

Stockyard Queen said...

Jean, the only possible place for it is in Pueblo, as near as we can get to the PBR headquarters. That way we can throw stuff at the perps themselves if we feel like it and we can rob the till to bail ourselves out of the local jail. What shall we call it? We have to have a mechanical bull, obviously.

Jean said...

In light of the recent conversation and in homage to this blog, we could call it "Stockyard Queens".

Stockyard Queen said...

Oh, my, Jean. That's too much. How about we just put a pink tutu on the mechanical bull? We could call it The Stockyard, I guess. Or we could call it "The Office" and then people could say, "I'll be at The Office" when they sneak out of work for a beer.

Jean said...

no tutu on the bull. I like The Stockyard. Anything but "The Office".

shannon said...

Ha! "The Office" is good and, forgive me, but I have to say it: we have to have a stencil on the window that says something like "We dare you to try to quit." Opening night we can have a performance by the Village People...

Ok, we've gotten way off topic and as much as I love it, I need help my friends. I can't quite resist internet trolls and my fingers are itching again. It seems that a McZombie (tm william), has rushed to his defense and has exclaimed that we are "all jealous!" then asks, and I kid you not, "What media hype?" She then explains that she's googled Justin on many different sports sites and his name never comes up.

I swear to God, I'm ready to quote her "what media hype?" question and simply respond: "Are you serious?"

I need help relaxing...or letting it go...or a life...or something....

William said...

There is a TV show that occasionally appears on ESPN called "The Cheap Seats." It amounts to a sports version of Mystery Science Theater 3000, where two urban geek types watch footage of various sporting events and offer pointed commentary. I bring this up because once they used PRCA bull riding as their source material, and at one point they caught what could only be described as a very tender embrace between two cowboys. Very tender indeed. A hand had been placed in a location that elevated it far above the level of "manly shoulder chuck" and turned it into something approaching "butt caressing". So there's your ten percent for you, on video.

One final note: at one point, the PRCA announcer said "So-and-so is in a pretty advantageous position right now." And Urban Geek A said "Is there really an advantageous position in bull riding?" And Urban Geek B replied "Yes, in the car, driving away from the arena."

By the way, thank you, Shannon! I'm not entirely new here, but I haven't been moved to comment until Saint Justin and the Five Million Reasons We Must Love Him broke my spirit.

Jean said...

Your McZombie must not be able to spell. I just googled Justin McBride. You may see the search results here:

Jean said...

oh and...

Versus search result:

ESPN search result:

So, either McZombie Troll lies or is seriously inept at searching.

(and it is seriously ironic that part of the word verification I'm being asked to type is "bunk")

Stockyard Queen said...

Shannon, did you gently correct the (moron) who thought we were all jealous? She probably believes in penis envy, too.

shannon said...

I never did understand the whole penis envy theory.

I have no idea where she was looking for Justing info. I have half a mind to tell her that all she has to do is watch a replay of the Grand Rapids event and that if she made it a drinking game, she'd be blitzed within the first half hour and comatose by the end of the first hour.

No, I don't think I'll respond. It will only add fuel to the fire and piss me off. Odds are someone else will come in and say something to her.

However, all bets are off if she gets a bunch of other defenders to agree with her. I may not be able to control myself then.

btw, william: When I was in IA, there were two riders in identical outfits which included pink shirts. I've always said that only real men wear pink, but I was surprised so see it at such a macho event in the mid-west. I watched how they behaved with each other and something about it was subtly pinging my radar....

Stockyard Queen said...

Two years ago, at the Cody Stampede, all the riders and the rodeo workers wore pink shirts. The proceeds of the rodeo went to support breast cancer research. It was pretty funny, reading the comments of all the guys who had never worn pink but sort of went along with it for the good of the cause.

I think it's safe to say that Sigmund Freud invented penis envy because he truly believed women were inferior beings who MUST wish they were men, because who wouldn't want to be male? Although in his time period, he probably had a point.

Jean said...

Shannon dear, never fear. Your insights have been defended on that PBR blog thing. I even sort of quoted you, although my brain couldn't remember the exact phrasing. Several others have posted regarding the ridiculous hype as well.

shannon said...

I'd love to have seen the Cody Stampede. I bet it was fun to see them all in pink. Good for them!

jean, I saw your remarks! Very nice! Thanks. I wonder if she'll even bother to respond.