Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Guest Post by Sheila

Folks, after many weeks of wandering in the wilderness of work, the Stockyard Queen just can't seem to quit posting about the PBR World Finals. I had planned to write a tribute to Adriano Moraes, but our loyal reader Sheila actually was fortunate enough to attend the finals and go to Adriano's retirement luncheon, and she has graciously sent me a report of the experiences she and her husband had there. So I am going to let Sheila's account stand as a salute to Adriano here. I am also grateful to her for generously permitting me to illustrate this post with some of the photos she made on the trip. Unfortunately, I can only post a few here, but if you click on the link, it should take you to her entire slideshow, which I recommend highly. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, with ruffles and flourishes, this guest post, and I invite you, at Sheila's suggestion, to also visit her husband's URL, where he has a PBR section as well: www.budrudesill.com

Reflections of the PBR World Finals

by Sheila

The PBR World Finals in Las Vegas were the first and most likely the last finals my husband, Bud, and I will attend. 2008 was the perfect year for us to go, what with Adriano’s retirement party, my retirement, Guilherme’s probable win, and the 15th anniversary of the PBR.

Most of the pre-shows, especially the first weekend, were awesome with the usual pyrotechnics, music loud enough and exciting enough to get even the most complacent fan clapping or stomping their feet. But the best was yet to come—the riders and the bulls! How thrilling to see Mike Lee doing acrobatics while being lowered into the arena from the rigging overhead, and Guilherme Marchi emerging from the cockpit of a fighter jet!

The atmosphere for our 11-day stay was electric—everything from The Fan Zone, the drafts, the Meet & Greets, Flint’s radio show, the mutton busting, the hotel elevator door opening to Wiley Peterson, JB Mauney, Guilherme, Adriano, and several of their wives and children, to the main events at Thomas & Mack.

Guilherme is the 2008 World Champion! Yeah! Robson Palermo is the World Event Champion, which was a surprise. A happy one, although I’m a BIG fan of J.B. and believe his ride on Crosswired should have been the highest scored ride of the PBR’s fifteen year history! Back to Robson. He wasn’t or didn’t seem to be a contender for the title, yet he rode exceptionally well and rode one more bull than J.B. Only Guilherme and Robson rode seven of eight bulls!

As for the farewells to Adriano and Justin, I’m sad that Justin’s name was ALWAYS mentioned first and Justin was ALWAYS introduced last in the most revered position. The PBR still thought it was The Justin McBride Show.

Three Meet & Greets and no Justin. Then after the draft for the sixth round (I think) I noticed a line forming. Yes, it was Justin signing autographs, but the fans had to pass a table with two people selling Justin tee shirts and his infamous CD. I have to say that the only reason I stood in that long line in the hot sun with my sinus infection is because of the “baseball cards” of the top 45 riders in the Official Souvenir Program. Every other rider, including alternates and even a surprise visit by Cory Rasch, the bull fighters, and Flint had already signed, and if I wanted a complete set, I needed Justin’s autograph, too. I have to say that Justin was extremely charming while signing autographs and having his picture made with just about all his fans. I was civil with a smile and he smiled back and even shook my hand! I’m pretty convinced that the PBR pushed Justin into retirement by showing favoritism that he didn’t need or want. I also don’t believe that Justin wanted to constantly be in the limelight—he just wanted to ride his bulls and go home. I hope they don’t do the same to J.B. next season. They just seem to need an American for their Poster Boy!

Most of the judging seemed fair. Justin got a re-ride, but at least four others who seemed to deserve one didn’t. The crowd booed low scores for Guilherme and others, but no one booed the inflated scores for Justin. I really think the PBR wanted him to win the event title.

Adriano’s Retirement Party was the highlight of the finals. Randy Bernard, Paulo Crimber, Michael Gaffney, Cody Lambert, Guilherme, Ty Murray, and some of the “suits” gave speeches which left EVERYONE in tears! When Dr. Tandy Freeman began his speech, he spoke a couple sentences in Portuguese that brought the house down! Adriano, Flavia and their three sons sat on a couch on the stage. When Adriano got up to speak, his youngest son burst into tears. Everyone had said how much they would miss Adriano and the boy evidently thought his daddy was going away. Adriano turned to him and said, “Don’t cry. I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to be your daddy forever.”

I’ve never seen a more gracious and humble champion.

A quote from Randy Bernard: “Adriano is a three time World Champion who is still signing autographs. He wants to be with his family, wants to be with his friends, wants to represent his country. To me, nothing represents a sport better than those qualities.”

Adriano said, “Don’t take pride in what you do right. You need to be ashamed of the things you do wrong, but when you do things you’re supposed to you’re just being an ordinary man.” He also said that when he died, he wanted his headstone to simply read, “Here lies a good man.”

As for Vegas, the transportation was horrid and expensive. Since the events are spread out from hell to breakfast (one end of town to the other) and even back-to-back, it was difficult enough on the fans, let alone the riders! The final round was at 11:30 a.m. and most of the riders arrived before 10:30 in limos and shiny Ford trucks to walk the red carpet one last time.

At the awards banquet, when Guilherme was introduced as the 2008 World Champion, Justin McBride was the FIRST person to stand and applaud!

Bud and I aren’t “Vegas” people! We didn’t and don’t gamble, the shows we attended were expensive and overrated, and we missed our home cooking! Don’t get me wrong, we love eating out, but not every meal for 11 days (unless we’re in Europe, of course!). I think Mandalay Bay used to host everything, even the first three rounds, but now everyone wants a piece of the PBR! One of the arena announcers stated that the PBR left $30,000,000 in Vegas last year! And the champion won only $1,000,000!

All in all, it was a fantastic experience. But, I’ll encourage you to go in the future and tell me all about it!


shannon said...

Thank you for writing up this commentary, Shelia. I'm so glad that someone we knew could go and report back to us.

I've been to Vegas many times and I can understand it getting old after a few days (I can't imagine 11!), but what a once in a life time experience you had! And what a wonderful year to attend.

Adriano's farewell sounds like it was very bittersweet. From what I've seen, nothing about his speech and what was said about him surprises me.

I'm glad you got to see it and that you had a good time. I hope we can go one year, too.

Jean said...

I loved this post. I know I will certainly remember Adriano as a good man. Whether they'll admit it or not, there's a lot of bull riders who are going to miss that good man and that hellaciously strong arm always ready to drag them to safety. The facts that he has that hellaciously strong arm, that he is a good man, and that he is the epitome of sportsmanship are the reasons we became addicted to the PBR.

That smile on Marchi's face just kills me. He must have been so pumped up I'm betting he was about walking on clouds the whole time. That's a good young man too.

I'm more impressed by Austin Meier than JB and hope Austin rises as the American Golden Boy this year. It'd be fabulous if Cord McCoy would ride consistently because he is a great sport and a good man too. I'd love to see Mike White do well this year too for the same reasons.

I sure hope that's not the reason that Justin McBride left the PBR. If he's going to try to become a singin' star he'll have to do even more "fan c r a p" and will be miserable and quit that too.. wait a minute... maybe that's not such a bad thing ;-)