Ladies and gentlemen, it was touch and go there for a bit, but in the end, the Divine Shannon succumbed to the allure of the PBR in Anaheim. She has sent us this stellar report about the experience. Enjoy!
I Wish I Could Quit You
Well, PBR fans, after the disenchantment and less time and desire to keep up with and watch the odd programming schedule, I went to Anaheim to visit a couple of friends who came into town for the event for lunch. I was absolutely not going to the event. Until I did. Then, I wasn’t going to go to night two. And then I did. And I was certainly NOT going to the final day. Of course, that sentiment lasted just a few short hours. There’s something about PBR fans and the live events that just sucks me in and now, I have a renewed interest in the sport that I fell in love with six years ago. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to gripe and groan on occasion (maybe even in this blog!), but I think I’m going to do a better job of keeping up. So, without further ado, here’s how my weekend went.
Rider Observances and Experiences
It was a shock to see Austin out after he did so well last year and so fun to see Ben dance again!
After years of not catching one glimpse of a bull fighter, I got to meet Shorty and Jesse and get their autographs. I also had the pleasure of meeting Michael Gaffney and had a good laugh when he told the others in his group, “I need to sign an autograph. There are actually people out there who remember me!” The next night, I had the extreme pleasure of meeting the very nice and very handsome Gary Leffew! We also got assistance from Cody Lambert, who helped me get onto the dirt when an uninformed security guard was insisting that I wasn’t allowed down there.
It was nice to catch a glimpse of Beau Hill, Harve Stewart, and Wiley Peterson in spite of the fact that they aren’t at the BFTS level of riding right now.
Shane Proctor was riding high by night three, of course, and it was sweet to see him blow kisses to Jesse after each ride.
Gee, I wonder who’s supposed to win the world title this year? Could it be JB, the resident PBR bad boy? A fact that was quite evident when the DJ played “Bad to the Bone” before each of his rides? JB may have sustained a fracture in his leg on night one and was seen between events on crutches. That boy was in PAIN. I was close enough to the chutes on the third night (seven seats in, four rows back!) to see him grimacing when no one was watching.
Watching Aaron Roy with his little girl was so sweet. He looks like such a good dad, having her sitting on his lap during autograph signing and then letting her straddle his luggage as he pulled it to the car. Actually, the one thing that hit me on the last night while watching the guys sign, was that no matter what you think about them, they all do very well with the little ones.
This is the first time I’ve been very impressed with the Anaheim bull line-up. Sure, there were some duds, but for the most part, it was a good few rounds. Especially the short go! I don’t recall the last time an Anaheim event had so few short go rides!
One note I made on my day sheet: “Luke’s ride (night 3) was so pretty! He was ON!”, then beside his score of 85.75 “But what do I know?” Which brings me to Edevaldo Ferreira on Mr. Feiger (who we learned was a little brother of Bushwacker). Again on night three, when we were only four rows back, he was slammed into the railing, hard, right in front us and a judge, fell off, but didn’t get a reride. That really should be a reride option.
Kody, in a juvenile act of anger, threw his hat at the bull who dared buck him off. I know, it’s not a face mask like Kasey’s was all those years ago, but the look on his face was pure pissed off. Poor boy. However, Jesse’s save was quite awe inspiring!
Speaking of bull fighters: Frank Newsome continued to be a magnet for every angry bull that entered the arena for all three nights.
It’s Who You Know
I’ve been lucky enough to meet some wonderful fans who also tend to travel to all of the CA events and even the surrounding ones. So, needless to say, my ears were burning with gossip. Obviously, I can’t share much of it with you, but I will fill you in on some McKennon news. He and Mesa have broken up. Apparently, his head injury has affected him greatly—his speech is still off and there was the unfortunate gun incident (I have no further information on his case)—and while he’s riding bulls at local rodeos, Dr. Tandy still won’t clear him to try the PBR yet. I can’t presume what it was that broke up him and Mesa, but I will assume that the difficulties stemming from such a severe injury had a little bit to do with it. It all saddens me because he ranked up there with one of the nicest riders I’ve ever met. I wish him well.
Thanks to the nice woman I met, who considers herself kind of a team mom, I entered the ranks of fans who’ve assisted riders. We gave Sean Willingham a ride to the event on Saturday and had a lovely conversation with him about his wife, my sobriety, and the movie Top Gun. When we got there, there was this cute exchange: My friend, who got into VIP parking for free, “Thanks! It’s always nice to be able to take advantage of a bull rider!” Sean replied, “Thank you! We love being taken advantage of!” On Sunday, I was 10 minutes too late to be in the car with Jesse Burns, Ty Pozzabon, and Douglas Duncan!
One of her “boys” whom she’s taken under her wing whenever he’s in CA is Jory Markiss. We met him in the parking lot when we were on the way to the car and he stopped to chat. While there, I found out that he’s doing his best to market himself and one thing he’s doing is working on a deal to be the cover model for a bull-riding-based romance novel written by a lovely woman that I met at the event. Close up, he seemed to fit the mold. And when he changed his shirt in front of us, I can say that he definitely fit the mold (although, some tanning will be necessary). He’s a good kid, but also has a bit of a bad boy attitude about him and I pray that he can find a good agent who is going to steer him in the right direction.
Well, for the most part, Flint was Flint. I got to see the generations of dances again, with the addition of Gangnam Style. I’m still impressed with his Michael Jackson dance and his improv, though. He and the PBR staff are choosing more girls, I’ve noticed, from best dressed to the bow and arrow bit during intermission. That’s nice. Also, after the heated exchange on one of the social media outlets, I found it a bit ironic that I was the one he had to acknowledge, even though he didn’t know who I was. (Same goes for Shorty, who I found very nice, in spite of our vehement differences.)
I’m still amused at the number of men who want their pictures taken with the riders. I can only imagine what goes through their mind when a guy asks them to pose with them. I’m sure they are appreciative of all of their fans, but I have to wonder if the autograph seeking and picture posing is something they’d prefer to do with women only.
The opening video sequence has been redone with fewer wrecks. It’s really enjoyable now.
I can’t get over how hard the dirt gets!!
I’m disheartened by how few guys were out on the concourse for signatures and how few came out afterward each night. I wonder if that will be eventually phased out. It seems like the farther they go in the BFTS, the less likely they are to come out.
Which brings me to: When the announcer says, “Who wants to meet all of the bull riders after the event? Sign up at the Ariat Boot booth for a chance to win a pair of boots and a free pass to get onto the dirt, etc., etc.” Yeah, right. I won those boots, had a hard enough time getting down there (that’s when Cody came to the rescue), and I’m guessing less than half the riders were there. But I get a new pair of Ariats!! I never win anything and I’m so excited to go shopping asap.
This is just one little thing, but I found is so charming: Evevaldo Ferriera was out and when he signed my boot, he was very meticulous, writing slowly, an E and an F in a way that would be readable, but still somewhat fancy. I’m sure I even heard him mumbling “E…F” under his breath while he was signing. There’s something about almost all of the Brazilian riders that makes me feel special, that makes them seem special.
In the end, I’m glad I went. I have a renewed interest now and, in spite of my love for the Brazilian Riders, Shane Proctor is on my list of American riders that I like, so I’m pleased with how the event turned out. I wish him well this season and will do my best to keep up for the rest of the year.