Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bring on the Alligators

Friends and neighbors, we have much to look forward to at the PBR event in Birmingham, most notably (or at least, most loudly) the big contest between Bones and Big Tex. I for one will be glad to get this settled. I started to say “settled once and for all,” but somehow I have a sneaky feeling that no matter which way it turns out, this shoot-out won’t be the last shot fired.

All that said, I really haven’t minded Tom Teague and Chad Berger trashing talking one another, because it’s distracted me from something I haven’t wanted to think about. What it boils down to is this: Every time I see Kody Lostroh climb into the bucking chute, I wonder why I really don’t give a damn about whether he rides or doesn’t. Then as soon as the ride is over (and sometimes before that), I hastily sidle off to some other line of thought, since if I think about this at any length, I’ll have to write about it, and the next thing you know, I’ll be up to my ass in alligators. But Guilherme Marchi’s return to the winner’s circle last weekend has forced me to deal with the issue. Here, in ascending order, are the reasons why Kody Lostroh bores me senseless.

1. His riding style is dull.
Obviously a lot of people are going to disagree with me about this, and clearly the judges do, because it all goes back to my preference for buckers over spinners. It seems to me that all I’ve seen Lostroh do all season is perch on the back of a spinning bull. Surely at some point he must have ridden some wild and crazy bucker, but I cannot for the life of me remember any such occurence. I don’t, for instance, recall Lostroh ever completing a ride remotely as spectacular as J.B. Mauney’s on Crosswired at the PBR finals. Since the judges always, without exception, favor spinners over buckers, I’m not in the least surprised that Lostroh is leading the pack on the strength of such rides. But I don’t like it one bit. And the endless nattering from the broadcast booth about how Lostroh “dresses up a bull” just adds insult to injury. Chris Shivers, who actually does manage to make watching a spinner sort of interesting, is the only rider who merits the “dressing up a bull” honor, in my book.

2. He’s not charismatic. Now, unlike many of my lovely readers, I’m not unduly swayed by looks, so it’s probably unfair of me to even mention them here. As Montana Barn Cat once replied to my question on the subject, “I’m a brains man.” But on reflection, I have to admit that it’s not just brains that appeal to me, it’s also charisma. Lostroh may be the most charming rider ever to strap on a pair of chaps, but I haven’t seen any sign of that so far. It really struck me last Sunday night, as I watched Marchi stride out of the arena after he’d ridden Big Iron in the short-go, that I like ’em smart, confident, and charming, and good looks just sweeten the deal for me. I don’t always agree with Ty Murray, but I think he is the third most adorable cowboy I ever laid eyes on—behind Adriano Moraes, and Marchi, of course. Who can resist those dimples, that manly scar on his chin, those huge forearms, that swagger? Watching him makes me purr like a cat high on catnip. Compared to that, Lostroh is offering me a plastic cup of pink Zinfandel out of a cardboard box—another elitist comment that will doubtless land me in hot water. Well, damn the torpedos, and grill me up some arugula.

3. Every once in a while, something creepy raises its ugly head. I’m thinking first of the incident in Dallas when Lostroh told an interviewer that he’d ridden “like a girl.” My recollection is that he was talking to Leah, which only makes the offense worse, since the divine Ms. Garcia is a former all-around rodeo champion and professional mountain bike racer, and presently runs her own personal training business in Boulder, CO. I bet she could take Lostroh two falls out of three, probably in her dancing dress and high heels. She even has a college degree, which is more than I can say for most of the boys she spends her time interviewing for Versus.

I can sort of excuse this crap on the theory that like most of the riders, Lostroh spends his time hanging around with guys whose senses of humor would make frat boys look like card-carrying debutantes, so maybe it just hasn’t registered with him that other people might not find that expression as funny as he apparently did. But then there was also that time when Lostroh posted a video of himself and some of his buddies hunting an old, worn-out lion for sport online and then appeared to be mystified at the outrage it provoked. He finally apologizing in the “whatever” vein that every parent of a teenager is intimately familiar with.

I am loathe to decide on the basis of these bone-headed missteps that Lostroh holds opinions that are creepier than those of your average redneck, but I’m also not ready to let him off the hook yet. I will need to see a little more sensitivity out of him before I regard him without any suspicion at all. And unless and until I can get the bad taste out of my mouth, I’m not going to be cheering him on to the world title. In that department, my heart belongs to Guilherme.


shannon said...

I could never really explain why I was so indifferent about him, but when I read your blog, I found myself nodding in agreement quite a bit. You're right--there's no charisma there, no spark.

I just hope Guilherme stays in the mix or it will be a rather dull year (although, like I said last week--I *can* get behind JB winning if it comes to that, which, if it can't be Guilherme, I'd prefer over Kody).

shelia said...

So, SQ, do you think that the draw really isn't random? I mean do you think the good ole boys actually pick the bulls--as in giving Kody spinners and JB buckers and Beau (with his long legs) the shortest bull in the pen? I'm only asking because that's my theory. A few years back Mike Lee got huge scores week after week on spinners. I didn't like him much then, because he had just won the World title over Adriano. My husband suspected a "fix" but I was way too naive to think that possible. Let's just hope that Kody "draws" a great big bucker this week.
I do have my favorites in this race for the 2009 World title and you know who they are, but I keep hearing this voice inside say, "Anybody except Kody." That's pretty sad.

Black Boots said...

WORD! Seriously, I think you took every thought I've ever thunk about Lostroh and put them into a cohesive, well-thought out post.

And I (heart) Guilherme, too. For so. MANY. reasons.

Stockyard Queen said...

Sheila, it's occurred to me several times that the draw might really not be random, and I've always shied away from the thought because I'm not sure what to do with it. But it does seem oddly suspicious that Kody has ended up on spinners more times than not this season.