Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Two Fans on the Couch: Day One, Part One

Folks, our good friend Shannon is reporting in from the Anaheim Invitational. I have to say, I admire her sand. If you've never been to a PBR event, her description will give you a taste of the experience. Enjoy!

The Two Fans on the Couch: Day One, Part One

Before I begin telling you about my first day, I have to fill you in on two details:
1. I’m not going to write a lot about the bull rides themselves. I’m not as astute at many of you when it comes to what makes one ride better than the others unless the differences between them go from one extreme to the other. This comes with my apologies as I know that the PBR will not be showing round one on tv.
2. I love Kasey Hayes. There. I admitted it. I don’t love him in the same manner as Guilherme—that of an excellent rider who is unbelievably good looking and very, very nice to boot, nor do I love him in the way that I love Reese for totally embracing his fans and what celebrity means. Nor do I love him in the way that I love Ryan Dirteater for not only making waves in his second season (his first full one at that!), but for relaxing enough to have fun in a way that says, “I finally feel like I’m part of the family now!” I love Kasey in a way that brings me back to my teen years in a *Squee!!!* “It’s Matt Dillon, John Stamos, Simon LeBon, >insert your favorite sex symbol from your childhood here<“ kind of love. Now, I know that Kasey doesn’t fit into sex symbol category—he’s a good looking guy (even better in person), imo, and his riding isn’t spectacular, but I have my reasons, but I’ll spare you the explanations. Just keep this in mind as you read the rest of my story—it will give you a better idea of what was going through my mind. **And I promise you: I know my real life boundaries--the aforementioned fan-girly stuff only goes on in my head.
When I first arrived at the hotel, I walked down the long corridor, past an empty table and into the lobby. Here, just after watching Dr. Tandy for a minute, while he was checking in, the lovely Laura stepped off the elevator. We said “hello” and hit it off right away. I told her that I didn’t see my brother anywhere and she pointed out that he was at the now empty table. Frustrated and confused, I called him only to find out that he had to have been walking out the front door, just as I was walking in the back—even though he was supposed to be there until noon and it was only 11:10 a.m. *sigh* Then he, who used to watch PBR occasionally many years ago, and whose memory of it only goes as far as “Adriano and Chris were pretty good riders,” asks me if I knew anyone with the PBR named Tandy. “Yes, Sean, I know Tandy.” “Oh. Well, he was checking in when I left.” “Uh-huh.” Then he says: “You know, you just missed me talking to Flint, too.” “Yeah? Damn.” “Yeah, he was nice. He was walking by and I tapped him on the arm and said ‘Aren’t you the head clown?’” ::facepalms:: Later that day, when Flint was walking by with his family, I had a strong urge to wave him down and apologize on my brother’s behalf. But, then I thought maybe it would be better if I left it alone.
Anyway, Laura and I perched ourselves on the couch in the lobby and had fun watching the guys walk by. Now, we really did want to talk to them, but there was a problem. Many times, “so and so” would walk by with “Oh God, who is that?” and because we didn’t want to embarrass ourselves by admitting that we didn’t know who “Who is that?” was or be rude by ignoring him altogether, there were many times that “so and so” got away without our getting to meet him. Such is the way it was for most of the day. However, there were a couple of riders we did get to meet and chat with. But, before I get to that, I have to tell you about the two men of the hour. The first one comes with an award called “The Best Dressed” and it goes to Zack Brown who is proof that you can take the kid out of California, but not California out of the kid. Amidst a sea of denim, sometimes dirty, jeans, t-shirts, and button up shirts, he was a standout and looking dashing, in white cotton pants and a bright red polo shirt. It was a sight to behold. The next award goes to our “Cutest Cowboy.” This honor goes to young Cooper Teague Coleman who is simply adorable—especially when dressed in his little cowboy outfit and dancing to the music in the lobby. Let’s just hope his looks are the only thing he gets from his father, who I found a bit rude at autograph signing time when he passed me up altogether, then slopped his autograph down for the girl next to me with a look on his face that he’d rather be anywhere but there. That’s ok, Ross—if you can’t be bothered to smile for us, then I can’t be bothered to care about your season, so I guess we’re even.
But, let’s get back to the hotel story: After about an hour, we went across the block to eat lunch and were seated outside on the patio. Here we were able to see a few riders walk by—mostly ones we’d already seen in the hotel—as well as Aaron Roy with “Who is that?” Later, we watched as Kasey, Brian Canter, Brian Herman, and “Who is that?” sauntered across the street over to Target. While walking across the parking lot, Kasey saw fit to chase a pigeon for a few feet, which caused me to quip that I hoped no one from the conduct committee was watching. Later they returned with a bag full of whatever it is that young bull riders would buy at Target. I’m sure I don’t need, nor want, to know.
Back at the hotel, we got back on our couch where we spent the afternoon amused by the fact that these guys were walking in and out of the lobby only to notice that, yes, we were still there (and we will be there the next day, too!). In fact, in the entire day, it seemed as though we were always running into Brian Canter and Kasey (most of the time, they would walk by and see us still sitting on the couch, but once, we almost physically ran into them. That was . . . interesting). They were everywhere, but always with at least one “Who is that?” So, speaking to them looked like it wasn’t going to happen unless we found the guts that we thought we’d brought with us, only to find out that we did indeed leave them behind. Finally, a rider walks into the lobby alone! Kasey—looking for internet service. We called him over and I started with my already rehearsed line. Yes, I rehearse because I foolishly think that this will help me not clam up. Well, it does help, but unfortunately, it works too well as I end up babbling while a little voice in my head is shouting “Shut up!” Anyway, as babbling goes, I didn’t do too bad. The polite Kasey was with us that afternoon and he actually smiled as I told him that I was glad to see him back and doing so well. Now comes the next award –the one SQ calls “Hoof in Mouth”—and it goes to me. Did you ever say something that, even as you’re saying it, you know it’s not quite the right thing to say? Well, out of my mouth comes, “That [accident] was so hard to watch!” during which time the little voice in my mind is saying, “Good, Shannon. I’m sure it was harder to watch than it was to go through it!” So, I immediately capped it with, “I can’t even imagine how that felt.” Good save? If not, I don’t want to know. I asked if he was flooded with fan mail and he said, “I don’t know—it all goes to my parent’s place, so I don’t get it.” Well then, there went $2.50 down the drain. Thankfully, I had the right presence of mind not to say that. Then we set him free by wishing him luck and he thanked us for coming to the event.
Also in the lobby we had a nice chat with Chad Berger in Starbucks, who said he was out here for the first time. That encounter was a pleasant surprise. Later, Guilherme, Ednei, and Robson walked into the lobby. We call them over. Robson gave me a big smile and thank you when I congratulated him on winning Vegas and Guilherme stuck his hand out for a shake when I congratulated him on his win. Then, when I inquired about Paulo, he actually sat down and didn’t just tell us that he was fine, but that he was in Arizona to do some PR, that he was taking a two week vacation in Brazil in a few weeks, that he’s not sure if he’ll come back because it’s a difficult decision and that his wife is having a little boy who is due next week sometime. He went on to say that his family and his restaurant are doing well. In spite of the poor English, which is definitely getting better, he made us feel like we were friends. What a wonderful man! Earlier that day, and then just before we left, we saw McKennon, Pete Farley, Renato Nunez, and Leonil Santos hanging out together. It was so nice to see the Brazilians and the Americans and the Aussies getting along like that as I always wondered if they were as friendly at the hotels as they were behind the chutes. After they left, Brian Herman sat down next to us. Just as he was sitting down, the bellman walked by and said “Break a leg!” After Brian said “Thank you,” he glanced at us and I told him, “Don’t break a leg.” He gave a small laugh and smile and said, “No, I won’t break a leg.” And that was that—he’s not a chatty sort of fellow.
Just before it was time to leave, we realized that the one rider that we were sure we could talk to without babbling or clamming up—Ryan Dirteater—had been not been around. We’d been there for hours and he hadn’t been spotted at all. We mentioned this to a couple of ladies who had just sat down next to us and they informed us that some of the guys were staying at a cheaper hotel because they couldn’t afford the Marriot Suites. Huh. We kept mentioning (ok . . . grumbling) that he was number two in the standings, had won an event, and had picked up a sponsor. Why couldn’t he afford this hotel damnit (?!), as though if we mentioned it enough he’d suddenly materialize in front of us. He didn’t. Nor did he miraculously materialize in the back seat of our car on the way to the event (&@!%$*!!).


FlashOBlue said...

Oh, Shannon! I've been in your shoes and I absolutely understand. Once, I talked to Harve Stewart and his mom as if he was Kasey Hayes--commenting on how his hat flew off his head as soon as he left the gate. He and his mom exchanged smiles and then I realized that this wasn't Kasey. I got a nice picture and a big smile but poor kid must have thought, "What an idiot!"
Sounds as if Guilherme is taking Adriano's place as the chattiest cowboy! Good for him.
Glad you're enjoying the event.
Can't wait for your next report!

Black Boots said...

Great post Shannon! I love event recaps.

"While walking across the parking lot, Kasey saw fit to chase a pigeon for a few feet, which caused me to quip that I hoped no one from the conduct committee was watching. Later they returned with a bag full of whatever it is that young bull riders would buy at Target. I’m sure I don’t need, nor want, to know."

BWAHAHAHA! Loved that.

"the bellman walked by and said “Break a leg!” After Brian said “Thank you,” he glanced at us and I told him, “Don’t break a leg.” He gave a small laugh and smile and said, “No, I won’t break a leg".”


shannon said...

Shelia, it's awful, isn't it? You'd think you'd recognized them, but they look so different in their street clothes. And yes, Guilherme is simply wonderful.

blackboots, that was quite a moment for me to watch Brian being helped out of the arena. Either the bellman shouldn't have said that, or I should have left it be, since it's an age old phrase for "good luck". I feel like one of us jinxed him.

I'm glad you two liked the reports. I'm almost done with day two. Sorry they are so long, but once I started writing, that's what came out.