Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Return of (and to) Fresno - Part I

Sorry for being such a laggard on the posting front -- blogging and having a day job don't always go together. Fortunately, S. is here with her Fresno tales and photos to keep us entertained!

Much to my joy, Fresno returned to the BFTS schedule this year, and so of course, did I! Fresno is a somewhat weird destination to get excited about, I realize. And then things did not start off auspiciously as I ended up driving rather than taking the train (Amtrack decided at the last minute that a bus bridge would be a great idea for half my trip -- I disagreed), but in the end, Fresno not only met, but exceeded expectations.
Darryl Worley sings
the national anthem

So, into the Prius (I got some really weird looks from guys in big trucks; I guess you don't see many Priuses with PBR stickers) we went. After numerous stops for coffee in such thrilling destinations as Tracy, Ceres and Chowchilla, we arrived in good time to pick up tickets for the Saturday night event at the Savemart. With Posse early entry, we made our way inside and entered various contests. Not much else was going on, although I had a little chat with Ty Pozzobon at the Wilco Gopher Bait booth; he seemed very interested in my drawings, and also seems like a very nice, polite fellow. We also found Austin Meier at the Wrangler booth, and had a somewhat hilarious encounter with Team Weatherby at the Rider Relief Fund table. On Saturday, Team Weatherby consisted of Chad Mendes (a MMA fighter), Darryl Worley (a country singer) and Brendon Clark. I somehow ended up having Chad Mendes sign something for me even though both he and I clearly knew that I don’t know or care about MMA fighting, but he was a good sport. I also don’t know much about Darryl Worley, although his rendition of the anthem was quite good and he easily avoided all the off-key wailing of many of the attempts heard via the Live Event Center thus far.

PBR Party Barn baffles
Anyway, having not been to a live event this season until now, I found a few things… interesting. Firstly, while I like fireworks, I miss the flaming bull heads. Secondly, there is now something called the PBR Party Barn, which is across the arena from the chutes and behind the in-arena announcers. As best I can tell, it’s a place you can go to get totally trashed on PBR beer while you stand in cattle fencing, packed in like cattle, and barely see the event? Apparently some people go for that.

Monster Energy girls
do the shimmy
And then there were the dreaded Monster Energy girls. Not content to lurk bustily behind Clint Adkins and Brandon Bates, they also opened the show with two of them shimmying on the shark cage. What the heck? It was just so sad that Monster/the PBR thinks this is a good idea, and I felt kind of sorry for these two women pathetically dancing in their skimpy outfits. I don't drink energy drinks, but Monster is definitely on this woman's list to avoid after these kinds of displays.

We were also subjected to Uncle Kracker, whoever he is, talking and singing to us via video about how nobody is sad on a Saturday night. As if I didn’t already know it, between yelling R. Lee Ermey, Uncle Kracker and the Monster girls, I am pretty sure that whatever the PBR thinks their target audience is, I’m clearly not it. I'm also not the hugest fan of the new Gary Allan theme song, but obviously the PBR is not consulting me on these things.

The luck of the Rasmussen
Flint was wearing the dreaded four-leaf clover outfit that he had only worn one other time—the time he got clotheslined in the pick-up man's attempt to get a bull out of the arena. There was a long bit with Clint Adkins about it—they of course showed the infamous video again, and they’re so very right, it never grows old. There were actually a couple of times where it was in danger of happening again, but I guess those who learn from history are not doomed to repeat it. In other Flint news, much of the audience was too young to know the words to “Sweet Caroline,” so that whole part of the schtick was depressing.

For the first round, the bulls were fairly strong, which I was pleased to see. There were only two re-rides offered and one taken. I was sort of taken aback by all the talk of Silvano Alves having slapped his bull when I looked online, as I didn't suspect it during his ride, and don’t remember seeing any concern about it or any talk from the in-arena commentators, either. I have some reflections on judging that I’ll bring up later, since I got a whole new perspective on Sunday, but it’s interesting to me how differently things play out live versus on television. I was also impressed that he scored so highly, being used to the usual 80-82 point scores he is given, although in the end the night narrowly went to Kody Lostroh.
Trust me, Shane Proctor
has awesome boots

The one part of the evening I could have really liked to have not happened was Agnaldo Cardozo’s wreck. With the way his head snapped back, I was certain he had a spinal cord injury. I think the guy who jumped down to stabilize Cardozo’s neck while the bull was still in the arena thought the same. Thankfully, Julio Moreno was able to get the bull out without further incident, and then it was the stressful silence of an arena full of people holding their breath and praying. Having a guy lying in the dirt with blood coming out of his mouth, then get strapped into a backboard, is just so horrible, and seeing Guilherme Marchi, who is usually stoic, look so upset and run out of the arena with his comatose friend just made it even worse. This definitely put a damper on the evening, especially since we didn't hear until the next day that Cardozo “just” had facial fractures and a concussion. While everyone who knows anything about the sport knows that a catastrophic injury is a possibility, potentially seeing it in person is an experience I would never like to repeat. I do hope after this and his broken nose at the Iron Cowboy, Cardozo will consider a helmet.

Emilio Resende,
meticulous cowboy
Although after the awful accident we were pretty somber, Posse had set up an on-the-dirt signing after the event. Unfortunately, first we were told the wrong information about how to get onto the dirt by the fan club, then entirely different wrong information over the airwaves by Brandon and Clint, followed by variations on a theme by two different Savemart employees. We did finally make it, though, and I enjoyed a fairly long and animated conversation with Cody Nance about Super Duty/Hustler (“We’re buddies! I love that bull!”) as I admired his pink paisley shirt and camo neckerchief combo. I also told Shane Proctor that I liked his boots, which seemed to amuse him (he does have some of the most daring fashion sense of the current crop of BFTS cowboys).

Edevaldo Ferreira
and his great glasses
The highlight, though, was meeting some of the new Brazilian riders. While almost all of the riders are pleasant, I really enjoy how much the Brazilian riders seem to value the fans, and the newer guys, who must be a bit bewildered and frustrated by being unable to communicate clearly, are still there and putting out so much effort to interact and get to everyone. Personal favorites this time around were Emilio Resende, who wanted to be very sure he had signed everything to everybody’s satisfaction, and Edevaldo Ferreira, who made sure my picture with him was “beautiful” before he moved on down the line. I do feel a little badly for Silvano Alves, who seems to find the idea that people want to talk to him sort of embarrassing, but his English has improved a great deal and hopefully this will help him feel more comfortable.

We ended up having a nice chat with some great ladies while we waited for the hotel shuttle. I bring this up because I would nearly throw my $5 Jamba Juice on some racist drunk jerks behind me on Sunday, so I'm happy to report that there are sane and sensible fans out there to be met, too. That’s pretty much it for Saturday. Stay tuned for Sunday, which may have spoiled me for live PBR events forever!


Anonymous said...

I too missed the flaming bull heads at the event I went to. Hope they bring them back next year. As far as the Monster Energy girls, I don’t have a problem with their outfits – I’ve seen skimpier outfits at the supermarket. My problem is that they don’t seem to know what they are supposed to do, which appears to be just to look and act sexy, but most of them don’t seem to know how to pull that off nor do they appear comfortable or confident doing what they do and that is what raises the bimbo level. Are these girls hired locally at each event and given 5 minutes of instructions on what is expected of them? If they are employees of Monster Energy and go to every event, Monster needs a new training program. The PBR should end this as it just denigrates the events.

How fantastic this event turned out for you. Chute seats! Talking with Craig and JW! I’m jealous!

Shawk said...

I was at an event a few years ago and saw the Tecate girls being given their "outfits." They looked... not pleased. So I would imagine they do hire local people for these roles.

It looks like they just point the Energy Girls to where they want them to be and instruct them to be sultry. Which is easier to do by lurking behind the in-arena announcers than it is to dance forlornly on a shark cage to supposedly fire up the crowd.

Thanks! It was a totally amazing experience.

shannon said...

I met one of the Monster girls and she was so sweet and looked so much better without all the revealing clothes and thick make up.

Did Edevaldo Fierra take his time on signing "EF" like he wanted it to look kind of fancy, but legible? I just loved that.

I kind of miss the flaming bull heads, too.

Shawk said...

They did retire the flaming bull heads before and they came back, so I have hope that we have not seen the last of them. They're probably in storage with the flaming belt buckle thing that used to light up below the world #1 during the intros.

The whole Monster thing seems so inept. I don't really watch other sports but I feel like they must have some experience in marketing at live events, so I don't know why it's coming across so amateur.

Yes, Edevaldo did take his time to make his signature "fancy." I told him I liked his glasses but I'm not sure he know what I was saying. Maybe next time. ;)

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity I did a search for ‘Monster Energy Girls’ on You Tube and I think we should be thankful these girls aren’t at the PBR.

Shawk said...

I'm not sure if that makes it better or worse that we have inept Monster Energy girls. ;)