Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Where's My Shovel?

We’re cleaning up the Stockyard, friends and neighbors, preparatory to the big end-of-the-season shindig we call the PBR World Finals, and Lordy! is there ever a lot to do! We must admit, the Montana Barn Cat and I, that we have been sorely distracted this season, what with trying to keep our work and living situations from getting completely out of whack and tossing us summarily off the teeter-totter. 

Keeping up with all this crap has pretty much convinced us that the notion of multitasking is bullshit, pure and simple. You can’t keep your eye on two balls at once—you have to toggle back and forth, and sometimes you lose track of one and get smacked in the face for your inattentiveness. That’s life.

Yet we have to confess that more than our standard obligations that have us out of sorts. No, one problem that has seriously weighed on us has been our inability to lose ourselves completely in the beauties of bull riding every weekend. Since we are anxious to be fair in our approach to all things, we are perfectly happy to lay ALL the blame for that sorry state of affairs on the altar of the Powers That Be at PBR HQ in Pueblo, CO.

Ever since the Big Versus Debacle, when NBC kicked the PBR and all its issue to the curb, the boys in Pueblo have been trying and failing to get decent TV coverage for what they bill as one of the “fastest growing sports in the world.” After some initial floundering around, in January 2012, the outfit signed on with CBS Sports Network to broadcast the next several seasons.

In a press release issued at the time, PBR President and COO Sean Gleason stated that "CBS Sports Network is an ideal network partner for PBR. Our fans wanted more live programming, consistent timeslots and continued enhancements in how the events are presented on television.  CBS Sports Network is an aggressive, growing sports network that allows PBR to deliver against all of those objectives." 

Well, guess what, friends and neighbors? The hallmark of this arrangement has been NO consistent timeslots for the broadcasts. We poor fans are lucky if we get to see one night of an event out of three, two at the most, and they are ALWAYS televised at some unpredictable hour of some unpredictable day. 

To compensate for the lack of broadcasts, the brainiacs at PBR HQ came up with the brilliant idea of airing the live events on the Internet via the so-called Live Event Center, which obliged those truly dedicated to the cause to either watch on their computers or figure out how to stream the signal to their TV sets. 

This hamfisted approach had an immediate effect—people who for years had turned on Versus every Saturday and Sunday at roughly the same time, give or take an hour on occasion, were suddenly scrambling to figure out if, and then when, bull riding would be broadcast. This confusion still has not sorted itself out. I literally cannot tell you how many fans have written to me over the past two years, moaning and complaining about this sad situation. And I have to admit I’m right there with them.

After all, I’m the woman who owned up to her addiction to bull riding in the second summer that this blog was up. I had no problem admitting then that I had a problem, and I wish to God that I had no problem admitting that I have a problem now. But the fact is, the current state of affairs has very nearly cured me of my irresistible urge to watch bulls jump every Saturday and Sunday nights. 

The good news is that the execs at PBR HQ have pretty much single-handedly discovered a cure for addiction. If all sources of alcohol (including that found in Lysol, hair spray, and mouthwash) suddenly vanished from the face of the earth, alcoholism would follow suit pretty much immediately. Alcoholics would either dry out, find a new addiction, or wither up and die, but alcoholism would be a thing of the past.

I wish I could consider this progress on behalf of humanity, but I really can’t. If I could fix one thing about the PBR—and believe me, there’s a hell of a lot that needs fixing—I would nail down a stable television schedule that would put bull riding back on the tube at least two nights of every weekend, on the same network, at roughly the same time. That would go a long way toward reviving the flagging interest that many fans tell me they are feeling. 

And it would also put more butts in the seats at the live events. I am virtually certain that most people who go to the events got interested in the sport because they’d seen it on TV first. Did any of you actually manage to see the broadcast of the Cooper Tires Invitational last weekend? Did you happen to notice the zillions of empty seats? How fast can a sport be growing if there’s nobody there to see it? I’m pretty sure that everyone in that audience didn't just decide to go buy beer at the same exact moment. 

I'm also just pretty damned sure that the dudes at CBS Sports aren't nearly as enthused about bull riding as they were in late 2011. When a sport ranks so low on the totem pole that it gets bumped off the air by beach volleyball, you know things have gotten serious. No doubt the comparative importance of the sponsors plays a role in such programming decisions. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Nike has hell's own drag with a sports network compared to Bad Boy Mowers.

There's a lot of talk of late about throwing every single member of the U.S. House of Representatives out into the street and starting over from scratch with some responsible people who might take their obligations to the country seriously. Well, somebody in Pueblo better be scrambling to fix this mess with the broadcast schedule. We fans can't vote anybody at PBR HQ out of office, but we can damned sure quit following the sport altogether. Shortly after we do that, nobody will be working for the PBRnobody. 

That would be one way to start cleaning up this mess. As we denizens of the Stockyard know, sometimes putting things in order means you have to shovel out a big pile of shit.


shannon said...

I started making time for PBR after the summer and I'm glad I did because the finals could be really exciting with JB and Silvano so close in points. However, the excitement isn't exactly what it used to be and I kind of miss that feeling. Something definitely needs to be done.

I'm assuming that there have been no press releases about changes next year? If one comes out soon, let's hope that it's something that sounds promising.

Anonymous said...

I remember when people were complaining about the PBR alternating between being on NBCSports and CBSSports and never being on at the same time. I just had to shake my head and chuckle because it was obvious that they didn’t watch any other sport. If you have a favorite major league sport’s team you never know what channel they will be on nor what time – you just have to look through the guide. Especially with the NFL, with them you don’t know if your team is playing on Sunday, Monday or Thursday. I’m sure most, if not all, PBR fans want to have the events broadcast live, which means they will be shown at different times. If an events starts at 8pm on the west coast it will be broadcast 8pmPT and 11pmET. If it starts at 8pm on the east coast it will be broadcast at 8pmET and 5pmPT. I’m sure if major league fans can figure out their team’s schedule PBR fans can do the same. After all the TV schedule is always posted on the PBR website. So, I say do your part, look up the schedule. In other words – COWBOY UP.

Shawk said...


I am hoping this doesn't mean that people have to pay $99.95 to see what we can currently see for the $29.95 Tough fan club level.

Kris D said...

I don't know what universe Anonymous inhabits, but in mine, I know there's something called Monday Night Football--and I don't even watch football. For most sports, there's a TV schedule that doesn't change when a beach volleyball game goes into overtime. Yankee games don't bounce all over the channels; they have a contract and the network(s) stick to it.
Since bull riding is the only sport I watch, I want to be able to believe the schedule. The number of times the PBR website has been wrong is ridiculous. Just recently, they listed an event as being on CBS (network), when in fact it was on CBSSports (cable). It's also ridiculous that live events occurring at the same start times every weekend can't be televised at consistent start times.
Liking a sport shouldn't be a chore.

Jaye said...

I forgot this is where you post. It's been a long time. I just want to say I agree with what you're saying about the way the PBR events are broadcast nowadays. I haven't watched much of it since The began doing most of the commentary. Bless his heart, but there's only so much you can say about rider technique. I want to hear about the bulls including who their daddy, granddaddy and half-brothers are. I have been watching the last few events and the World Finals closely since my hometown boy could possibly win it all. The Mooresville paper wrote an article on him, but The Charlotte Observer hasn't mentioned him at all, neither have any of the local networks. I know JB used to be an arrogant hothead, but I think he's grown up a lot & matured into a fine, soft-spoken Southern gentleman. So I gotta say, GO JB!!!

Anonymous said...

Kris D – for someone who doesn’t even watch football to say I live in a different universe prompts a reply. Tomorrow, Sun 11/3, out of 11 games being played only 4 are being shown on the national networks and which ones depends on where you live. Yes, there are cable and satellite channels that let you view any game you want if you are willing to pay extra for that package. I don’t think the PBR can afford a dedicated channel like NFL teams do. Now, using the NY Giants as an example, of their remaining 8 games 1 will be on CBS, 1 on NBC, and 6 on Fox. Additionally 3 will start at 1pm, 4 at 4:30pm and 1 at 8:30pm. Yet, true Giants fans will find their games. And if a game goes into overtime, it will continue to be shown, even if goes into time allotted to another game. I’ve never seen the PBR be cutoff when it goes longer than allotted, which doesn’t happen very often but has on occasion, so why should other sports. If a PBR show starts later because of another sport going long, the PBR goes long also, it has never been cutoff.

Stockyard Queen said...

My recollection is that the PBR has not only been cut off several times, it's been preempted when the event being broadcast before it runs long--that has happened multiple times this season.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what happened where you are but it was never preempted where I'm at. It started late sometimes but then went late also. I never missed seeing an event this season.

Jean said...

I hate to bring y'all down but didn't know how else to get SQ this news. William passed away last week.

Stockyard Queen said...

Jean--I am so sorry! Would you email me, please, at stockyardqueen@gmail.com?

Shawk said...

Jean, I don't know what to say. My thoughts are with you. Please let us know if there's something we can do.