Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Our Woman in Billings: The Skank Factor

I know I promised to talk about the bulls next, but I am driven instead to address a phenomenon that was continually rubbed in my face during the Nile at the Metra. I am sure that all of you who have attended a PBR event have seen it with your own eyes: the skank factor. No, I'm not talking about the Jack Daniels girls.

Now, unlike my (admittedly few) Republican friends, I do not feel compelled to tell other people how to run their personal lives--those issues are none of my business. And I totally get the “sistuhs are doing it themselves” point of view, but still, I was frankly amazed by the number of women and girls who showed up at the Nile looking, to put it kindly, like they’d been rode hard and put up wet.

It wasn’t just their clothing, though there were near-nekkid buckle bunnies aplenty. (Certainly I understand the point of that. Before somebody will buy it, you’ve got to sell it. That’s why God invented the push-up bra.) It was that many of them looked like they hadn’t slept or taken a shower or even washed their faces for about 48 hours. And it wasn’t just the young women--plenty of the females my age or older looked like they’d compensated for being up drinking all night by troweling on more makeup and putting on their tightest jeans.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, given that this was a Saturday night in Billings, Montana, and, let’s face it, the weekend starts at 5 on Friday evening, especially out here--assuming you can't manage to slither out of the boss' sight a little early. But I was still startled when, during the intermission, one of the little kids rode a miniature bull and two chicks of at least 30 years of age, in low-cut tank tops and hooker pumps (high wooden platform soles and heels, clear plastic insteps) in the row behind me jumped up screaming and drank a big beer toast to his success. I hope his mamma has raised him right, because he is going to have his hands full if he rides in the PBR.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Our Woman in Billings: The Rides

The Divine Montana Barn Cat and I have conferred, and have decided that to avoid boring you all silly with one long-ass description of our high jinks in Billings, we would instead post a series of short essays on various subjects that are dear to our hearts. We recognize, sadly, that this may not succeed in communicating to you just what a great time we had over there, so just imagine all this going on against a backdrop of lots of really great food and really great wine and really exceptional conversation. Yes, folks, after an embarrassing number of years together, MBC and I still talk to one another like it’s going out of style. He is the most interesting man I have ever met, and I plan to talk to him nonstop every day for the rest of my life.

So I will begin with my list of the top four rides of the Saturday night event at the Metra.

Third runner up: Silvano Alves on Road Daddy. I swear to you that when the gate flew open and that bull jumped out, I thought Alves was a goner. He practically stretched out flat over the bull’s neck to stay aboard, and the miracle of that was he didn't foul the bull. It was an amazing ride.

Second runner up: Renato Nunes on Husker’s Terror. The new world #1 made the best of a less than wonderful bull with his signature style. Watching him, I finally realized that he rides like bare-back bronc riders do, leaning back on his pockets with his arm flung above and behind his head and his spurs going like crazy on the animal’s shoulders. It may not be textbook bull riding style, but it sure does dress up a mediocre animal.

First runner up: Robson Palermo on MacNett’s El Presidente. Robson is the most consistently underappreciated rider on tour at the moment. This is not an easy animal to, as Michael Gaffney says, “get by,” and Robson just made riding him look way too slick for his own good. He did stop my heart for a second, though, when he got thrown back into the chute and the bull stepped right on his ankle. Fortunately, it wasn’t as direct a blow as it first looked to be.

Winner: J.B. Mauney on Bird Creek. I am certain that the other three nominees rode as well or better than J.B. did this out, but he by far got the best bull. Bird Creek jumped high enough to earn his name, but it was no use—he just couldn’t unload J.B. I’m not sure it was a 91-point ride, but it was without question the best ride of the night.

In our next installment, the best bulls. Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Sacred and Profane Hype Machine

In case you haven't wandered over to recently, I'm happy to inform you that IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO BUY TICKETS to see the World Cup in Las Vegas this coming weekend. Considering that the broadcasts on Saturday and Sunday don't start till after midnight, your chances of actually staying awake to see the event might be better if you did hop a plane at the last minute. I, for one, will not be making the trip.

I have thought quite a lot over the past month about why I'm not terribly interested in the World Cup, and the thing I keep coming back to is the way the Powers That Be at PBR headquarters keep hyping it, but lately I've decided that's not really the root of my discontent. It's that the PTB are so damned bad at hyping it. Hell, they're bad at hyping anything.

Some people used to accuse Hillary Clinton of being insensitive and tone deaf--I guess some of them are probably surprised, if they have the grace to admit it, that she's turned out to be one hell of a diplomat. But if she was tone deaf, the dudes at the PBR have their eyes closed and their fingers stuck in their ears, and are yelling at the top of their lungs to keep any other subject from coming to the floor. Come to think of it, they bear a fair resemblance to a woman some of them doubtless worship, Sarah Palin, whom Wonkette, the merciless chronicler of DC gossip, described recently as a "screeching dingbat."

Of course I don't know what's going on in Pueblo, but it does seem like every week, some new *controversy* is brewing and the commentators just have to talk about it like it's as important as keeping Iran from building a nuclear bomb. Trouble is, the new controversy frequently isn't a controversy at all, or worse yet, there's some other, more important issue that should be talked about that gets short shrift.

For instance: While we were being tortured with endless, blow-by-blow reports of who's on the team, who's off the team, which team captain doesn't like which of his compatriots, which compatriots are begging on their knees to represent and which ones, in Travis Briscoe's words, "could care less," Nick Landreneau quit the PBR in the middle of an event--packed his gear and walked away--and apparently disconnected his phones and pulled the plug on his e-mail as well. Is he okay? Who knows? Is it likely we'll ever find out from the folks at the PBR? There's not a snowball's chance in hell of that.

It's a good thing that Cody Lambert, at least, is good at what he does, because if the PTB at the PBR picked bulls as well as they pick issues to hype, I wouldn't give you a plugged nickel for their chances. We'd be watching cowboys and bulls sedately saunter around the arena, and dozing off in our seats. I fully expect to be dozing when the World Cup is broadcast, and I am pretty damned sure that I won't miss a thing.