Monday, January 30, 2012

Just Say No to Nostalgia

Howdy, friends and neighbors! I anticipate we may enjoy a guest report on the Sacramento event a little later this week, but ever since the event in Portland, something has been eating on me, and I decided I might as well let it rip.

First off, I want you all to take note that I have not ranted about J. W. Hart in a good long while—as a matter of fact, the last time anybody at the Stockyard complained about him at any length was back in August 2009, when Sir Alexander MacKenzie commandeered the computer to demand that JDub be shown the door. So I guess maybe it's time Mr. Hart took a bow on his way to the woodshed, because that's where I'm taking him.

I am absolutely sick to death of hearing JDub insist that the guys whom he competed against who are still on the PBR tour can ride as well or better this second than the cowboys who are currently at the top of the heap. I will grant you that Chris Shivers has shown us some great stuff so far this season, but seriously—Sean Willingham? Isn't that the dude that JDub himself ripped a new one last season because he couldn't ride a stick horse? Mike Lee? Really? Yeah, he's ridden a few this year, but does anybody with two eyes and any sense at all really believe that Mike is riding as well as Silvano or Valdiron?

And for damned sure I don't want to hear one more word about Brendan Clark or Ross Coleman or any of the others who have either been cut or have finally come to their senses and retired. It's embarrassing enough that those guys are being trotted out to drive the Ford F-150 around in those lovely infomercials we are treated to each week. Some newer fans probably have never even HEARD of half the guys JDub keeps praising to the skies. For their sakes and ours, John—give it a rest.

Of course, JDub isn't the only such sinner—his best bud Justin McBride is at least as guilty. Say what you will about how crazy Ty Murray makes me with his endless bull riding clinics during the broadcasts, but he, at least, seems to be looking at the current field and assessing their riding reasonably well.

It all comes down to this—nostalgia is a useless exercise for a sport that is scrambling, at this point, to hold its own, let alone bring in new fans. New riders come onto the PBR tour all the time, sometimes from one week to the next, as witness the astonishing performance in Sacramento of young Mr. Marco Eguche.

Those who are running the PBR need to look forward, not backward, on every single front—I have a strong suspicion that this mess with the broadcasts is a perfect example of the boss dogs not paying attention to something that in hindsight was perfectly obvious—and they would do well to advise those who are the public faces of the operation to do likewise.


shannon said...

I don't know how you can still listen to the commentators after all of these years. I hear things from time to time, many of which cause me to raise an eyebrow or roll my eyes, but mostly, I tend to tune them out. Of the few things that I have heard from JW, yes, he really does seem to be heavy on the nostalgia.

Anonymous said...

Check out this article that was posted, very briefly, on the PBR Facebook. Now it is down but here is the link. It is a very sexist and degrading remark by Jim Haworth. It show what he really thinks of PBR female fans. Disgusting

He spoke to Fortune about marketing to "buckle bunnies," taking the New England Patriots' Chad Ochocinco up on a challenge, and pleasing the Facebook fans of a bull named Bushwacker. Here is an edited transcript of our conversation.

Shawk said...

I try to tune out the commentary since it usually makes me annoyed at best, but every once and awhile, something gets through that has me thinking, "Whaaaa?" (or something with more oomph). At least they don't put J.W. Hart and Justin McBride in the booth together anymore. That was like frat boy nostalgia hour-- yikes.

Well, Jim Haworth hasn't had a big public voice so far and that certainly didn't impress me, although I don't think he was trying to say that all female fans are Buckle Bunnies (apparently some are grandmas -- way to put a foot in it, Jim!). It appears to me that he was trying to say that there are a range of female viewers, and he probably should have stopped there.

It continues to amaze me that the PBR can't seem to figure out that if over half the fanbase is women, maybe they should stop with the overly-simplistic "men just want to see blood and guts and women just want to see attractive, strong, silent cowboys" stuff that always seems to inadvertently spill out.

Stockyard Queen said...

I'm a little tired of giving these dolts the benefit of the doubt. NOBODY who works for the PBR should ever let the words "buckle bunnies" cross their lips.

Anonymous said...

This is the response that I got back from the PBR regarding the degrading use of buckle bunnies. I find it most appalling that this was spewed out of the mouth of Jim Haworth. This is very demeaning to all women>

"There is a specific group of female fans that are being referred to when we refer to buckle bunnies – true not all of all female fans fit this group – but this group is very visible at events.

To assume that no female fits the category of buckle bunny is also very incorrect. I am not a buckle bunny – but I do recognize that the term directly refers to a very distinct part of our audience and a very distinct part of the Rodeo Culture."

Shawk said...

Whoever wrote that reply probably shouldn't have. Wow.

There's no denying that there are buckle bunnies, it's true, but if the PBR is really going to make a concerted effort to market to them, I don't even know what to say. Based on the Bad Boy Mowers ads and the various sponsors' women in their teeny-tiny outfits, I can only extrapolate from there what the PBR's idea of what the buckle bunny part of the fanbase might like would be... and it's not what I want to see. And if the PBR really thinks that buckle bunnies are a big and important part of the fan base that they would like to increase, they should probably just keep that tidbit to themselves.

I'm guessing this is more of the PBR's typical foot-in-mouth attempts at PR combined with their usual stubborn refusal to ever admit mistake or fault, but really, PBR, get a grip and try to not alienate all your female fans in one fell swoop.