Thursday, February 5, 2009

Enough of This

All right, folks, I've had just about enough. As of this moment, and for the duration of this post, I am not going to talk about anything the boys are up to outside their riding. I have had it with the endless loop of the Kasey Hayes saga, starting with the throwing of the helmet, followed by the public apology, and ending up with the fake throwing of the helmet after his first ride in Dallas. I am through trying to figure out why Kody Lohstroh is so utterly dull, except for when he’s exposing himself as the redneck he apparently is, hunting down a worn-out old lion for sport and insulting roughly half the PBR audience by saying he’d ridden “like a girl.” I am done thinking about Flint Rasmussen’s stupidity, I am turning my back when Austin Meier starts testifying about the Christ in him, I really can’t be bothered with the cussin’ and discussin’ on the PBR message boards, and I don’t want to hear another word about Brendon Clark’s groin, please. I’m through with all that. I mean it.

Instead, I’m going to talk about what keeps me coming back to the sport—the bulls. And I have to say that while the bulls I’m seeing in the short-rounds this season generally have been up to snuff, I have not been impressed with the quality of the long-round bulls. With a few exceptions, it’s been a pretty sad slog. Practically everybody who weighed in here after the Madison Square Garden event remarked on how poorly the bulls bucked, and if there’s been any improvement, it’s been marginal.

Just consider, for instance, the results from Winston-Salem. On the first night, there were 24 qualified rides. In the long-round on the second night, there were 16, which is a little closer to what I’d expect, but still high, in my estimation. In the short-go, seven of the 15 cowboys rode, which I frankly think are about three too many.

And this is why: I am absolutely certain, as certain as I’m breathing, that the cowboys aren’t improving by leaps and bounds. We do have some new faces on the BFTS, and have seen some great rides by Ryan Dirteater and Sketter Kingsolver, but for the most part, it’s the same crew we’ve been seeing for years, and as far as I can see, the only ones who are really stepping up their game are Chris Shivers, Matt Bohon, and Austin Meier. What I mean is, those three guys are clearly, obviously riding better this season than they did last season. That might be a little unfair to Shivers, who last year rode decently when he wasn't hurt, but he does seem to have gained some confidence since he returned to the tour. The rest of them don’t look that different.

All this leads me to think that the quality of the long-round pen is declining, not that the cowboys are suddenly evolving into super bull-riding machines. I don’t know if running the Pussy Pen in for the long rounds is a deliberate decision, or if it just sort of happened, but I, for one, am not happy about it.

But while I’m grousing, I suppose I should mention the bulls I loved seeing at Winston-Salem. Code Blue, who looks like a monster talent to me. Big Tex, who had Mike White out of shape and on the ground almost immediately. Blizzard—what can I say about that bull? Ridden three times in 45 outs, that’s all I can say. Chance, who pitched Mike Lee off for a bull score of 46 the first night, and then scored nearly that high when he threw Josh Koschel in the short-go. Sir Patrick, who knocked Zack Brown out cold on Friday night and then made short work of Shane Proctor on Saturday. My man Avalanche, whom brave little Skeeter picked in the short round. Avalanche has only been ridden one time in 40 trips, so I can’t say the results were unexpected, but I have to admire the kid’s initiative. Rocket Launcher, Stiffer, Red Bull, Skyhawk Cut-a-Rug, and Spin Zone, formerly I’m a Crook—though I would like to know why on earth Tom Teague changed that bull’s name.

Bones, of course, did what most people thought he would, but I’m not entirely convinced about him. I have to see if he’s got what it takes over the long haul, and I have to confess I am curious to see what Bones’ reaction will be if he goes get ridden. If he comes back undaunted, then I will know he’s a true champion. This season, the champion bulls have been in short supply, so I will gladly welcome him into the panoply, if he keeps up the good work.


shannon said...

I really need to pay more attention to the bulls because aside from the usual suspects (Troubadour, Blizzard, Slinger, Gunnar, CoaC..etc, etc.....), I hardly ever remember them. You were all going on about Code Blue the other day and I don't remember a thing about him. I do remember being impressed with Silver Wings, though. I remember him well.

Speaking of usual suspects: Bones. You have a good point about him and what he'll do once someone rides him. I'd forgotten all about what had happened after White Magic was covered. (Have we seen him at all this year?) Until then, though, I'm going to have a good time watching them try to ride Bones--even if I am getting tired of the "showdown" publicity.

Jay said...

Hmmm. Well. OK. I'll just work on my biscuits recipe, factoring in the baking powder required for the elevation (which changes baking physics) of Boseman, Montana. It's raining here, so it's a good day to do such stuff.

Black Boots said...

WORD to your post, SQ. There's more drama going on with these riders than backstage at a drag show! I'm happy to focus on the bulls and love their workmanlike attitude.

Stockyard Queen said...

Black Boots, that's the most perfect description I've ever seen. Maybe we should send those boys some sequined gowns and some makeup and spike heels.

Black Boots said...

Sounds like Ty's gonna be sporting some sequins on "DWTS!" Hee!