Thursday, May 6, 2010

Our Woman in Billings: The Ambiance

Late as it is, I’m going to try to get up a few more quick posts about our trip to the Nile, and then I swear I’ll leave you all alone about it. I have to congratulate myself, though, because on this, our fourth trip to the event, we have FINALLY figured out where to sit. This is no small accomplishment, because even though the folks who sell you tickets at the box office are the nicest people on the planet, their little seating chart looks like a first project for an 8th grade drafting class. It’s just about impossible to tell how well you’ll be able to see by looking at the chart, so at some point you just have to toss up the bucks and take your chances.

Indeed, if we had gotten the seats we had last year on our second trip, we might have never again sprung for the “expensive seats,” since even though we were in the front row of the section, we were so far from the action we might as well have been out in the parking lot with the jackasses who were soliciting signatures for a petition to outlaw abortion in Montana.

This time, I bought the tickets so late that I’d resigned myself to yet again having awful seats, but the lady at the box office really came through for us. We found ourselves in the middle of a row in the second tier, about four rows back, to the left of the bucking chutes, and ideally situated to see just about everything.

Aside from the skanks immediately behind us on the right (and down in the front row of the section, and two rows behind her, and behind us on the left), the folks we sat with were very congenial. One fine old gentleman right behind me obviously fell in love with me instantly—he kept patting me on the shoulder and asking me what the rider’s score had been. He might not have known the score, but his wife clearly did, and after about the third time, she shut him down and he kept his hands to himself (at least as far as I was concerned) for the rest of the evening.

The Rimrock Auto Arena at Metra Park is a tiny little stadium—it’s billed as seating 10,000, but I’m damned if I can see how that many people could shoehorn their way into it. The place was packed to the rafters, too. For this particular event, a dude with a crossbow fired a flaming arrow across the arena and lit the PBR lettering in the dirt—much more impressive than those guys sneaking around the arena in the dark to do the deed.

Then the roman candles started exploding, and the music hit about 100 decibels, and the confetti started to fall, and I felt like I was in a big snow globe being shaken by the Jolly Green Giant. Ordinarily I hate that stuff, but this time, I was ready for it in spades. How could I not be? Montana Barn Cat and I had a lot to celebrate. What better place to do it than the PBR on a Saturday night?


shannon said...

I've always loved the feel of the live show, even when I know it's going to be the same basic thing every time. They do a good job, imo.

As for the seats, I've had some great ones and some horrible ones. This year, I've learned that the next time I order, I'm going to be asked to be seated no closer than row E. I was irritated this year when our tickets were so close that we couldn't even see the chute on our side (and only the rides if no one was leaning out in front of us so they could see) and middle railing was right in our line of sight. I almost emailed them to request that they do not use those seats as "the best seats reserved for PBR Team Members"--because their not.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the live show, too, and I know what you and Shannon mean about seats! We switched sides this year in W-S due to the huge electrical cord that hangs from the rafters to the ground right in front of the PBR Fan section. This year, the "fan section" got moved one section away from the chutes--I mean the %50.00 seats. The seats in the closer section are now $100.00. So we were "on the fifty yard line--looking straight out at the shark cage. And what was between us and the action? A huge microphone!
When we went to T&M for the finals in 2008 we had different seats every night and only once (the LAST night, of course) were too high up over the chutes to see the bulls buck unless they went tearing out to the center. Luckily, Guilherme had already won the night before!