Friday, September 2, 2011

I'm Mad as Hell

Dear friends, in the weeks since Pearl de Veres posted her spot-on analysis of the PBR drug controversy, we have continued to see reports about it that have ranged from thoughtful commentary to outright rumor to completely crazy conspiracy theories that have just about made our heads spin around backward.

Despite the temptation to share the wildest (and naturally, the least trustworthy), however, I want to direct your attention to two pieces that were published in the Stephensville Empire-Tribune. The first, which appeared on August 20, describes the drug-testing process at the Thackerville event. The second, published a week later, discusses the fallout from the discovery that one of the bulls tested positive for steroids there, a full six weeks after PBR officials warned the stock contractors that they would be testing all competing bulls in Thackerville.

I am recommending these two articles to you not only because they are authoritative and comprehensive, but also, and most damning, because we have still not heard one official word in response from the PBR about this frightening mess. Let me repeat that: Not. One. Word. I have been looking at the website almost constantly since this whole thing raised its ugly head, and there has not been one word posted about it. I have even, I am sorry to state, watched PBR Now on the Real F****** Dumb TV network, hoping every week that some fan will slip past the gorgons manning the phones and ask a question, any question, on the subject. Read my lips, people: Not. One. Word.

At this point, the only people we have semi-officially heard from are being quoted in the Stephensville newspaper--the PBR's general counsel, a couple of vets involved in the testing, and Ty Murray, who could hardly get away without being questioned because he lives in the same town. None of that is a substitute for a straightforward statement from the PBR brass.

All of this is leading me toward a conclusion I am loathe to reach, one that pisses me off more than just about anything else I can think of. I really do not want to believe that the men who are running the PBR are a bunch of arrogant dudes who really believe all they have to do is lay down the law, and people will stop thinking and talking about this mess. I've got news for you boys--it ain't gonna happen.

The fans of the PBR do not work for the PBR--in fact, we could make a pretty convincing case that the PBR should be working for the fans if it wants to keep them. The people who run the PBR are not our fathers, or our husbands, and they are for damned sure not our bosses. They can't expect us to do what they tell us to just because they apparently think they are gods and we will quail for fear of being struck dead if we question their authority. We don't have to believe that they have our best interests at heart.

In fact, this ridiculous silence only suggests the opposite--they are hiding some even bigger atrocity than we have thus far supposed, or they are covering somebody's ass (possibly several somebodies, possibly several very big somebodies), or worst of all, they are trying to save their own bacon. None of these possibilities bodes well for the sport.

One article on the subject is still to come from the Stephensville Empire-Tribune. I can't say I'm looking forward to it, but it's obvious that’s the only place I can turn for factual information and analysis of the subject. I invite you all to stay tuned.


Shawk said...

The third part of the story came out, but it was pretty useless, I felt. I'm sure the PBR would really like to declare that there is no problem and magically there would be no problem, but that's generally not how things work.

Regardless, I hope the PBR doesn't decide to suspend testing any time soon. That clearly didn't work out so well the last time (and I am really boggled they just stopped testing -- really, PBR?).

I do hope they keep tabs on this and that it is handled fairly... it's hard to tell with the way they are handling it currently. I love the sport and really would rather not be thinking about bull doping, but...

Anonymous said...

Just returned from Ellensburg rodeo, and delighted that Justin McKee was the announcer! Not in my wildest dreams would I think he'd be FIRED ?!?!?! from the PBR. Some changes are not for the best, and PBR lost our family for going the way they have the past year. Borrrrring. Justin McKee was a perfect fit, as is Leah Garcia. Craig Hummer - city boy?!? Never have thought he was a good fit, for all these years. Somebody lost it.

shannon said...

That second article has some damning statements in it, that's for sure. If this really is a serious problem that is being swept under the rug, then I'm just as outraged as you are. We're not just talking about bulls who are going to pay dearly for it, but the riders, too.

Then there's the fact that the PBR has bent over backwards to assure that their bulls are treated with the utmost respect and care and I, as a fan, have defended them to members of PETA because of that. If they got wind of this, it would get even uglier for the PBR.

What a mess. I hope they continue testing and giving the guilty parties a strict punishment. Time will tell, I guess.

Oh and one more thing that bothered me about the article: If the steroid really was given as a way to help a hurt animal, then why the hell was the contractor allowing an injured bull to compete!! That burns me, too.

Stockyard Queen said...

I am not particularly worried about the riders, because despite all the folklore attached to steroid use, there apparently isn't much evidence that giving bulls steroids makes them more aggressive. In fact, if anything, it seems to make them bulkier and less agile, which I would think would work in the riders' favor. I am completely pissed off on behalf of the animals--this is just not right. It makes me wonder what else we've been lied to about all this time.

BullRidingMarketing said...

Well, let's see: Rather than conduct surprise, random testing, the PBR and ABBI telegraph 2 months in advance, "Guys, you'd better clean up your bulls 'cause we're gonna put on the dog and pony show soon." They nail one guy who has two bulls, put him out of business for 2 years, and barely scratch the bigger boys. Talk about making an example of someone! So now everything's hunky dory, right? And just how objective is it to have the PBR's legal rep participate in the testing, with only one vet? How about an independent panel? Maybe we should investigate what happened to Closet Gangster.