Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Back to the Couch: Day 2, Part I

The Stockyard Queen proudly introduces Shannon's penultimate installment about the Anaheim PBR event. Just thinking about those ladies staking out the hotel lobby makes me smile.

Back to the Couch: Day 2, Part I

When I last left off, I was ready to head out to day two of cowboy oogli . . . erm, I mean, watching, after only four hours of sleep. I left at 8:30 a.m., after a habitual, and on this day necessary, stop at Starbucks, for what I thought was supposed to be a breakfast date with my brother. At 9:30 a.m., I was standing in the hotel lobby, calling him, wondering why he hadn’t called me yet. It seems that there was a miscommunication and he just wanted to meet me “sometime” before he had to be at the event at 3:30 p.m. (don’t ask). Of course, I still would have been there early, but would have probably opted for at least one more hour of sleep. So, I called Laura to tell her I was there and within minutes, she was downstairs. We both dragged ourselves, exhausted and hungry, to the restaurant where, over my second cup of coffee and her protein-filled plate, we observed Flint and his family, Randy Bernard, L.J., and Clayton enjoying their breakfasts, neither of us breaking one of our cardinal rules: Never bother anyone during a meal. As we were leaving, it was a pleasure to look outside and see Flint (whose family was just finishing eating as we were ordering) sitting in a chair at poolside watching his girls enjoy the swimming pool in the middle of February—something they don’t get to do too often, being from Montana, and something to remind us Californians not only how lucky we are, but how much the blood can be thinned in warmer climates, as those of us who have lived here for years think 70 is still too cold to go swimming. [Stockyard Queen: Hell, when we lived out there, everybody whined like 10-year-olds if the temperature dipped below 60. No wonder I had to leave.]

Back on our couch in the lobby, we were surprised at how much different it was than the day before—there were no riders to be seen outside the restaurant. After a quick trip to Target (when upon returning, we almost collided with Kasey, Brian, and a couple others—finally!) and an hour in the lobby without any further sightings, we finally went to lunch, at which time Guilherme stepped out of the elevator and offered a pleasant “hello” for us as we walked by.
After a lunch, we were back at the hotel for another couple hours of sitting. During this time, we saw Luke Snyder walk out in full cowboy-sponsor clothing and step outside to wait for a taxi. We watched as he took a minute to play with another guest’s bulldog, then, as he sat on the bench right outside the window, our eyes turned in shock to the back of his shirt. The closest thing to a metro-sexual the cowboy world has probably ever seen, the always well put-together Luke Snyder was wearing a shirt so terribly wrinkled it looked like he’d slept in it. It had us wondering what Rachel Ray would think if she could see him at that moment. A few minutes later, he was joined by Mike White and they headed out to their autograph signing.

After a bit more time, J.B. Mauney walked by, again with his girlfriend, and then, a few minutes later, Flint walks by. I decided to call him over. I told him that I was the sister of the Border Patrol agent he’d spoken to the day before and asked if I should smack him upside the head for asking if he was “the head clown.” Flint laughed and said “Nah, it’s okay.” Then, as he turned to leave, he looked back at us and said, “Tell him I’m not the ‘head’ clown—I’m ‘the’ clown. That he is.

Not long after that, we finally saw Brian Canter alone. This was Laura’s big chance as she’s a huge Brian fan. After a moment to take a deep breath, she waved him over. Without thinking, because sometimes, when faced with a favorite celebrity, one can be prone to not thinking, she smiled and gave him a hug. Since I was behind them, I got to see the shocked look on his face as his arms slowly kicked into “hug back” mode. I grinned and gave him a helpless shrug, let her say her piece, then took their picture. Okay—my turn now. Surely I can keep it together . . . well, maybe, sort of . . . I shook his hand and told him how good it was to see him back healthy and riding so well. Unfortunately for him, I did one of those handshakes where you use a firm grip, but then let your hand soften to just hold the fingers for a second while talking. Once again, the little voice in my head started shouting, “Let go!” Thankfully, I listened to it. I told him about our encounter from the year before, because I’d been told that I should remind him and he’d probably remember. Yeah. Right. It was obvious from a few sentences in that not only did he not remember, but he also had no idea how to respond. It was time to let him off the hook, so I said something to give him an out and he took it—being as gracious as possible as he left. So, I can file my encounter with him under the “awkward” category. I was, however, able to look back at it and laugh.

The final group of riders we saw before we left was the international crew of McKennon, Renato, Leonil, and Peter. They came out and sat down right around us, McKennon right next to me. He started talking to us and I was actually able to have a good conversation—well, as good as I could, given that this guy’s eyes are so mesmerizing that it was hard not to just stare at him. We learned that the lobby had been so empty because all the guys were sleeping in. He himself didn’t wake up until just a short time before, but that was due to two hours of sleep on Thursday night—something to do with an early flight and time zones. We talked about Reese, autographs, his getting to Arizona by hitching a ride with Chad Berger. I told him that I’d left my autograph item in the car because I didn’t think we’d see anyone. He told me that he wouldn’t be in the ring that night after the show because he was going to be at the Jeffrey Scott Booth from 4:30–5:30 p.m. I told him I’d be there. When we had to leave for dinner, I wished them all luck and said I’d see him later. Finally! The second of two really good encounters (the first being with Guilherme)!

Dinner at the Outback Steakhouse was very relaxing—too relaxing, in fact. I glanced at my watch and noticed that if we didn’t leave for the arena, we’d miss McKennon’s signing. I really wanted his autograph and I told him I’d be there! My sense of responsibility sometimes goes into overdrive and I swear, this signing factored into my anxiety. Sadly, in our rush to get there—because I just knew that McKennon would be distraught for days because the girl on the couch promised she’d be there and didn’t show up!—I didn’t pay attention to the street signs and we got lost (again!). By the time we got there, I had accepted the fact that it was too late—the booth was closed. Hopefully, we’ll see him in Ontario and I can get his autograph then. The jury is still out as to whether or not I’ll remind him of our talk at the hotel in Anaheim.


Shawk said...

I'm sorry, I just had to chuckle. But it's a chuckle with sympathy at the heart of it... I'm not even going to go into my awkward encounters with celebs. ;)

Sounds like quite an... experience.

Stockyard Queen said...

A comment from Shannon, who is having technical difficulties:

Chuckling is fine, S! Heck, we were laughing ourselves silly most of the weekend--after the subjects of said awkward encounters left, of course