Tuesday, February 26, 2013

More Adventures in Delusion

Friends and neighbors, I regret to state that yesterday I attempted to publish yet another brilliant post on this inestimable blog, only to be thwarted by technical difficulties. Alas and alack, by the time I managed to sort all that out, I had lost my enthusiasm for my subject and had to comfort myself by making a lovely dinner for the Montana Barn Cat and watching a bunch of trash TV.

But never fear! I am back, because while I was moping around over the weekend, sadly commiserating with the Barn Cat because the bulk of the PBR event in Kansas City was not broadcast (I adamantly refuse to grant that the LEC is a legitimate broadcast), I was suddenly struck down by a revelation. I know why the Powers That Be at the PBR have neglected to book air time for several of the BFTS events this year! It’s because they want to give me plenty of time to POST MY SNARKY OPINIONS here on Turn Him Out!

You can be certain I will not let them down, fellow travellers! In the course of the season, there is so much shit flying through the air around here that we have to hustle like ninety to comment on the occurrences at the events, and thus we only occasionally have the time to contemplate the bigger, more philosophical picture. So this is the perfect opportunity for me to sound off about something that’s been bothering me for as long as I’ve watched this sport. Since Montana Barn Cat and I have now clocked well over a decade of parking ourselves in front of the tube to watch the bulls and the boys, you can see that this has been festering for a long damned time.

And here, ridiculous anti-climax, it is: When a cowboy (let’s face it, almost always an American cowboy) is getting ready in the chute, why in hell do the commentators insist on saying, “[Fill in the blank] can ride any bull here.”

Now, in St. Louis two weeks ago, it’s true that on the first night, 20 cowboys managed to make the whistle. But all that tells me is that the pussy pen was in the house that night, because come the short round on Sunday, NOBODY managed to stick for eight seconds.

But here’s my point: If we look at the stats, we are forced to acknowledge the undeniable fact that of the top 10 riders (as of the end of the Kansas City event), only THREE are riding more than 50% of the time. Shane Proctor, who is riding the best at the moment, has a riding percentage of 58.33, which means he is making the whistle a little less than two-thirds of the time. (The other way to look at it is that he’s riding just over half the time, but since I like Shane Proctor, I reserve the right to spin that stat to my own satisfaction.)

Put another way, that means Proctor gets tossed off about every other bull he tries to ride. And that means that the remaining seven riders in the top 10 are riding LESS than half the time.

So this is the way it goes, weekend after weekend: Commentator A: “This guy can ride any bull here all day long.” The gate opens, a few seconds click off the clock, and SPLAT! Bull fighters rush in, (we hope) the cowboy scrambles up and dashes for the fence. Repeat as necessary, up to 31 or 32 times a night.

Now, nobody knows better than I do that a rider can get on a hot streak, and then it will seem like no bull on the planet can throw him off. But just remember this: In 2008, when Guilherme Marchi won the world championship, his riding percentage was 74.75 for the entire year. That means he rode roughly three out of every four bulls he straddled. I had never seen anything like that, and I will not be surprised if I never do again.

So drastic as it would be, how about we change our approach and start talking about how HARD it is to ride bulls. How about we forego the bullshit propaganda about man conquering animal and accept the fact that even the best riders get thrown off—a lot. How about we celebrate when somebody manages to ride, because it's not a common occurrence.

The riders farther down the rankings, frankly, are hardly worth watchingIf it were up to me, I’d cut the field to the top 20, not because I get tired of seeing the bulls buck—never!—and not because I get tired of seeing riders go SPLAT!, but because I get tired of hearing that “This bull should be right in [fill in the blank’s] wheelhouse,” followed by SPLAT! If I never again heard what a wonderful rider Stormy Wing is just before he SPLATS into the fence, I would count myself a fortunate woman.


Shawk said...

I considered making it a drinking game that I would drink each time a commentator says that so and so can ride any bull here and then so and so promptly hits the dirt, except I'd be on the floor in round one.

It's already been demonstrated that as the bull power gets better and better, there are going to be more and more buck offs. And the PBR has a problem -- audiences in general like to see rides, or at least a ride or two. So, as you have pointed out, the PBR needs to recognize the increasing difficulty level during their broadcasts, and/or focus more on the bulls, because the cowboys aren't necessarily going to come through.

Stockyard Queen said...

And while we're on the subject, could I just add--for the love of God, BRING BACK JUSTIN MCKEE! Did anybody besides me notice this past weekend when JDub was talking about Bushwhacker that he kept alluding to "his daddy," like of course EVERYBODY would know who Bushwhacker's daddy was? We need somebody on board who can tell us more than, "This here bull is a good little bull, he should be around to the right with a lot of up and down." I. Can't. Stand. It.

Shawk said...

At least he wasn't talking about a clone. J.W. Hart still seems unclear on that concept, unfortunately.

My favorite is when Hart will say, "That wasn't that bull's usual trip," but he won't bother to tell us what was different about it. Thanks, JDub. Back to you, Craig.

Stockyard Queen said...

And this is a guy who breeds bucking bulls for a living, but doesn't seem to understand what cloning is. I suppose you know that JDub and his wife are home schooling their kids. I hate to imagine what their biology lessons will consist of.

shannon said...

Sounds like it's a good thing that I tend to tune out the commentators. I have heard, many times, though the comments you all are talking about and yeah, they do need to do something. Poor Craig is trying to keep the ball rolling so there's no dead air time (except during rides--last year, they started staying silent for rides. Are they still doing that? I don't recall.) and yet people complain that he says some dumb things. Maybe if the others would explain a few more things, it wouldn't be so bad.

What does J.W. (I can't say JDub...I just can't...not after this, anyway :) say about cloning? You all have me interested now.

Stockyard Queen said...
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Stockyard Queen said...

For the answer to that question, over to you, Shawk!

Shawk said...

It usually turns out that he mumbles something about their "daddy" (referring to Panhandle Slim), gets flustered, and then talks about how they all look and buck similarly (surprise?). It probably would be better if he let Craig handle it, I'm somewhat alarmed to say.

Stockyard Queen said...
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Stockyard Queen said...

Dub said on at least one occasion that he didn't approve of clones bucking in the PBR, but if we've learned anything since the Panhandle Slim clones came on the scene, it's that cloned bulls are not exact replicas of their daddies. None of the Panhandle Slim clones has even come close to matching his ferocity, and I can only recall having seen one of the Doctor Proctor clones at a BFTS event--one time. It turns out that nurture sometimes does trump nature--big surprise!

Anonymous said...

I did submit and pay the $39 for the LEC. I did not do so last year. I refused to do so when they changed the rules in the middle of the season. I do watch now, if I am home. Now with the added girls in the Monster outfits, etc... hanging by the announcers before each event, I am appalled at the new exploitation of women.

I believe that the stock contractors are breeding the bulls and they are getting stronger and stronger. After all, they are clones. What would be fair would be if we could clone Shivers or McBride or Adriano then maybe the playing field would become level. I want to see rides in the short go, not all buck offs..Call me frustrated as well.

Montana Barn Cat said...

Anonymous, as far as I know, there are only a handful of clones competing in the BFTS--the Panhandle Slim clones, and maybe one or two of the Dr. Proctor clones. All of the rest of the bulls are produced the old-fashioned way. Maybe we should encourage the best riders to arrange marriages between their kids? Although there might be trouble if Justin McBride's daughter can to ride bulls better than Chris Shivers' sons do.

Anonymous said...

Many of the bulls today are not produced the "old fashion" way. It is very common now to AI a proven cow with semen shipped in from proven bull, then flush the embryo and place it in a recip cow to gestate. They can also take the eggs out of the said cow, fertilize the egg and the implant the embryo in a recip cow. This way a proven cow can produce more than 1 calf a year. They are also getting better & better at knowing if the embryo is male or female. I don't know if the ABBI has limits on how many embryos can be used from a cow per year, but the horse world has limitations. I do know that it is much more cost effective to do this in cattle than it is in horses. Straws of semen of proven bulls are going for thousands of dollars and eggs from proven cows are worth even more. It's a big money business, one that they have gotten serious about......and one that I doubt ever comes into play when producing future bull riders. :)