Friday, February 27, 2009

The Final Night: Day Two, Part II

It is with some sadness that the Stockyard Queen presents the final installment of Shannon's inimitable report on the Anaheim event. I appreciate her thanks, but truthfully, the thanks go to her. There's nothing like hearing from the folks who are down on the ground, and I am grateful that she was willing to go to the trouble for us. Enjoy, folks! And if others of you do manage to get to PBR events, by all means, let me know if you'd like to guest blog about it. I'm all ears.

The Final Night: Day Two, Part II

Once back inside the event, we said hello to my brother and then went to our seats, which are in the same section as they were before. Behind the chutes, we see Judd Leffew and, wow! Luke Perry! *dreamy sigh* I had the pleasure of meeting him quite a few years ago when my husband worked in the movie industry. He is a great guy—very personable—and all of the sudden, I find myself splitting my attention between the chute seats and the riders. My brother, who, as you may remember, doesn’t really follow the PBR anymore, was ushered with a few other agents, up to watch from the chutes themselves. In the grand tradition of younger brothers teasing older sisters, he just had to ring me up and say, “Did you see where they brought me?” *sigh* “Yes, Sean, I saw you.” “Yeah, I’m watching Ryan in the chutes right now.” “Uh-huh.” “Hey, I can see you! Wave!” *grrr….* I’m not even going to discuss the irony of him being up there. . . . Later, he rang again: “What’s up?” “You know—watching from up here really isn’t that good. You can’t see anything.” “Right.” (Speak for yourself, buddy—I’d have given up watching a few rides just to be able to watch the action behind the chutes—but then, good-looking cowboys were never his thing, anyway).

This time, the bulls were even more exciting, as you all probably saw on tv. I actually got hit with quite a bit of dirt and was able to collect some of J.B. and Skeeter’s 90 point confetti. Brendon’s, for some reason, went in the other direction. Anyway, you all saw the rides, but I thought I’d report on one bull moment. They showed Frank getting clocked, of course, and there were a few who had to do a victory lap, and one that thought a barrel needed to die, but you only saw part of McKennon’s bull’s antics. After he bucked off (distraught, I tell you! ;), the whole song and dance of getting the bull back behind the chutes went on for quite a while. He would turn towards the chute and take a step, then turn back. Then again, and again, and again. Finally, Julio Moreno was able to lasso him. When Julio headed straight back behind the chutes, this bull decided that no mere mortal and his fancy horse were any match for him! He yanked back on the rope, and suddenly, it went slack and came back out from behind the chutes—without Julio attached to it (did you hear the gasp?). After a minute or two more of playing, the bull decided he’d had enough. He walked through the gate, but then decided he wanted one more moment in the spotlight—either that, or he was ticked off that the gateman was closing the gate so quickly. He started to buck when it was halfway closed, kicking the crap out of it. That’s when about five guys slammed it shut and held it there while he continued his routine. I only wish I could have seen behind the gates to see how they got him to stop. That was fun.

After we’d watched some great rides, the draft (where everyone one gasped in awe, then shouted and applauded when Skeeter chose All In), and listening to the two people around me try to explain the sport to their buddies who’d never watched before (that can be fun), and to the announcer talk incessantly about the cut, just on the off-chance the riders forgot (no pressure guys!), the show ended. I was torn between trying to holler out to Luke and going down right away so I didn’t miss any autographs. I decided to go for the autographs, since security probably would have frowned on me shouting “Luke! Luke!” over the railing. We chatted with a few more riders and waited forever for J.B. to finally decide to come out. Most people had left, figuring he wasn’t going to, but some of us waited (patiently!). When he walked out with Kasey, the little girl with the family next to us got giddy with excitement. She couldn’t have been more than four and obviously, her parents are big fans because she knew who she was waiting for! Kasey and J.B.! She was bouncing away until Kasey got there. He gave her and her older sister a smile and a hello, then obliged when mom asked for a picture with all three ladies (dad got to take the picture). We all got a laugh when the little one had to be convinced to turn towards the camera and stop staring at the cowboy (a girl after my own heart!) and then sweetly called “Bye!” with a wave after he left. Kasey turned and waved back. But, that wasn’t the end. Not for them and certainly not for her! J.B. was still a ways behind. She leaned back over the railing and shouted “J.B., come on! J.B.!!”. God love her, she was adorable. And when he got there, it was the same exact routine as with Kasey (“Look at the camera, sweetheart!”) and he was just as good with her.

Finally, it was time to go. We once again got lost (proof that I wouldn’t last one leg on The Amazing Race!) and when we made it back to the hotel, as we turned into the parking lot, I’ll give you three guesses who we saw waiting for us to pass. Brian Canter. As we laughed at running into him once again, I pulled up the last few yards to the front doors. The last rider we would see in person this year was standing there: Kasey. More laughter from us because how fitting was it that we ran into them all weekend, then one last time before our night ended?

As I drove off, I thought about an older couple that we’d met in the lobby. They’ve attended several events a year since the beginning of the PBR 16 years ago and have become friendly with many staff/crew members and riders (I had no reason to doubt them after the warm welcome they got from a staff member who walked by and one Renato Nunes). We told them that it must seem odd for the riders to see us there all day, both days. They smiled and said, “You keep coming back every year and sitting on that couch. They will appreciate it because they know that the fans are what brought the PBR this far, they will remember you [as they were certain Guilherme remembered me from the year before—they said he was very sharp] and, they will even eventually start looking for you.” You can bet from now on, I’ll be at that couch whenever I can get to Anaheim, because as odd as it may be, I have a great time when I’m there.

Thank you, Stockyard Queen, for letting me tell my story. It was nice to be able to share it with people who would get it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just have goose-bumps imagining you sitting there on that couch.

Thanks for the posts...I hung onto every word!