Saturday, November 14, 2009

S's Adventures at the Thomas & Mack

Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to present the report of the divine S, who journeyed to Vegas last weekend for the PBR Finals. Reading this cheered me up immensely--I hope it does the same for you. And check out these photos. That's her, S herself, in the arms of Valdiron! Lucky girl! And don't blame her for the inexpert arrangement of said photos--that you can lay at the feet of the Stockyard Queen and Blogger. Enjoy, folks. It's the next best thing to being there.

So, your intrepid reporter set out to the city that never sleeps, the city that is so, so unabashedly tacky, the city that hosts CSI: The Experience (for a mere $30, you too can collect evidence!), the city of neon and dollar margaritas... Las Vegas, Nevada. Friends and coworkers alike were confounded by my reasons for doing so: the PBR, musical theater, and a side of tapas. I soldiered on in the face of their disbelief.

Saturday -- Team PBR Meet & Greet
The PBR part of my adventure started bright and early on Saturday morning at Mandalay Bay, where my friend and I, firmly clutching my poster tube and my coffee, walked through halls festooned with banners and signs depicting the top cowboys and bulls (including I'm a Gangster, leading me to wonder just when these were printed). After joining a massive line outside the Fan Zone in the parking lot, a friendly man gave my TeamPBR membership card a cursory glance before handing over some red paper bracelets for entry to the Meet & Greet, and a friendly woman handed me a map of the Fan Zone that I quickly disregarded as utterly useless (my directional sense is not great and the map wasn't great either-- bad combination. What I needed was Cowboy GPS. Sadly, this does not appear to have been invented yet). Immediately following, I was bewildered by being handed, in quick succession, a free DVD which is apparently some sort of cowboy testimonial (I can't say for certain as I didn't exactly rush home to the DVD player to find out) and lanyards and cards from Cooper Tires, who had their people out taking pictures of fans and the cowboys, to be uploaded to their website for future viewing and downloading.

In an attempt not to be tedious, I won't go on about each interaction I had, but overall, the cowboys were friendly and kind, as were the fans I talked to in various lines. The ones that weren't, well, although I do wish that a few of the guys would have summoned at least a semblance of interest in the proceedings, I can understand lack of enthusiasm at 8am, especially when tons of people want a piece of you. Part of my general good impression might have had something to do with the fact that I didn't even attempt to get anywhere near Kody Lostroh, J.B. Mauney or Guilherme Marchi (although he did bump my friend's elbow as he was coming through to get to the draft), all of whom had utterly insane lines.

As you may know, I had prepared a digital painting to get signed, and the reaction from the cowboys and other fans was good for my ego. Pretty much every cowboy said, "Hey, that's Brian Canter on Big Mac," or, "Who is that there on Big Mac?" when they saw it, which was pretty amusing and thrilled the former art major in me. Also, numerous people asked me where I bought it or where they could buy one, so I guess I missed a lucrative opportunity. Alas. Perhaps next year.

A few highlights:
- Running into Chad Berger, who was zipping madly around on a Segway. Just try to picture that. He seemed tickled that fans were talking to him and since Big Mac is his bull, he seemed to enjoy signing my painting as well.

- Having Shorty Gorham and Frank Newsom tell us, "Be safe." Um, right back atcha, guys.

(I'm the one grinning madly behind Shorty and clutching the prints of the painting. What can I say, I like the guy and his predictions.)

- Meeting the sweetest table of guys ever: Cody Nance, Wiley Petersen and Michael Manes and his dorky glasses (henceforth they will be dubbed "Team God," although I don't know if Manes is a big God guy or not). On Sunday, Wiley would remember me as the one with the drawing. Good memory on that guy, since I'm sure he met hundreds of people the day previous.

Team God is, unfortunately, rather blurry.

- Seeing a very pained-looking Ryan McConnel trooping through the Meet & Greet; I was worried for him but much like his bull riding career this season, he seemed determined to stick it out and you have to commend that. I hope he is getting whatever treatment he needs now.

- Watching Zack Brown joke around with a bemused Skeeter Kingsolver, and wondering why, if the cowboy in my painting was whoever he wanted it to be, he wasn't wearing Zack Brown's chaps and sponsor patches.

- Talking with Dustin Elliot about the process of making the drawing. Thankfully, no Bob Ross wigs were involved.

- Randomly bumping (well, not literally) into Brendon Clark in the hallway on the way out, which was quite unexpected. He would later reappear at the event with a set of keys that may or may not have started a custom PBR Ford truck.

And of course, the crowning glory was meeting Adriano Moraes, something that had somehow not entered my consciousness as a possibility at all. Some of the cowboys were at tables inside the main merchandise tent (including Team Border Patrol, consisting of Austin Meier and Luke Snyder, and the aforementioned Team God table), and I noticed while we were in there that there was a sign at the Jeffrey Scott booth with a giant Adriano face on it. The small print revealed that the man himself would be there signing during the time slot for the draft. So my friend and I made the easy decision to ditch the draft to get in the already somewhat long line for Adriano Moraes.

After admiring the handcrafted Jeffrey Scott buckles, and taking a picture for the nice North Carolinan in front of us, the conversation went something like this:

AM: "Hey, this is a pretty nice drawing, did you do this?"
Me: "Yeah, thanks so much. It's an honor to meet you."
AM: "That's Chad Berger's bull. You should show this to him. You know, I am breeding bulls now. Maybe one day you'll draw one of my bulls."
Friend: "You could commission her!"
AM: ::look of mock outrage:: "That's not how it works! It should be the other way around!"

Needless to say, if Moraes ever does have a top bucking bull, I'll probably be drawing it. Love that guy, and he looked relaxed and happy, which was nice to see.

In other news, although I don't have any need for a Big Tex trailer, a Ford truck, a Daisy airgun or in fact, anything made and/or sold by most of the PBR's sponsors, this urban liberal vegetarian female can heartily recommend American Cowboy Coffee, a place with great coffee and coffee-based items (such as soap and organic lip balm), which is run by very kind people.

To Be Continued...


shannon said...

You know what, SQ? We have a good bunch of writers here! (And yes, I realize that by having written a few things for you, this falls under the category of 'tooting my own horn'-but I'm pleased with what I wrote:)

S-great write up! I can't wait to read what happens next. I'm sorry to hear the lines for the "big three" were so long. I've had good experiences with all of them (especially Guilherme). I must say, I'm a bit jealous that you got to meet Shorty and am wondering what it was about me that made Cody Nance give me what felt like a brush off. Huh. Maybe next time he'll be more talkative.

Sounds like it was a bit crazy, but a lot of fun.

Shawk said...

I'd agree, and not just because I think I'm clever. ;) I've enjoyed everyone's writing here.

The lines for the big 3 reminded me of the lines for the Indiana Jones Adventure when it first opened at Disneyland... with no Magic Morning to make it tolerable. I decided it just wasn't worth it. Maybe in Sacramento I'll catch some of the remainder, since I also missed all of Team Enterprise (except Flint) and a few others.

I was thrilled to meet Shorty, and the line wasn't long either, so double bonus. We also briefly met the new Canadian bullfighter, Jesse Bryne, and Joe Baumgartner.

Cody Nance read as shy and/or naturally quiet/reserved to me. The only direct conversation we had was when he almost stepped on me after the photo. He seemed sweet, though.

And it was crazy. I had no idea what to expect, and there were way more people there than I had imagined. It was fun, though.

shelia said...

Thanks, S, for the great write-up! Almost made me feel like I was there! Last year, while I waited in one line, my husband scouted out the next cowboy and then I'd take his place in line and he'd find the next one. I know, sounds like a spoiled brat in junior high, but that's how I act around those cowboys--silly and stupid! I just can't help it!
The only long line I stood in was for Justin McBride and ya'll know how I used to feel about him, BUT, in the program they had these little cards (like baseball cards without the bubble gum) and I had all of them signed except Justin's. One reason is b/c he didn't show up for most of the M&G's and he showed up at one on the morning of the last day (after Guilherme had already won the night before) so I had nothing to lose except time!
Can't wait for the next part(s) of your story. Can you take a pic of the signed drawing? I'd love to see it! That was such a great idea! And who was "the nice North Carolinan."

Shawk said...

I guess I need to find an understanding husband. ;) I was happy with who I talked to, though. It was less, "Collect them all!" and more relaxed.

I believe the next installment will feature a picture of the signed drawing.

In the Adriano line, we ended up behind a young lady from No. Carolina whose sister abandoned her to do some shopping. So we talked to her and a gentleman from Texas as the line slowly crawled forward. She really wanted a picture with Adriano, and my friend volunteered to take it since the sister was still a no-show. Nothing too mysterious.