Tuesday, July 26, 2011

If I Ran the PBR . . . . Publicists Needed!

Dear friends, please join me in perusing the Divine Shannon's observations about how the PBR could do a better job of promoting the sport. I look forward to your observations on the subject!

Publicists Needed!

My friend Sonja first mentioned that she was shocked at the riders’ lack of promotion. Once we started talking about it, the ideas started rolling. Keeping in mind that you have to spend money to make money, here are just a few of the things I’d do with the riders if I were in charge.

First: Hire some publicists to work specifically with the riders. They might start by looking at the following areas.


There are many TV programs that the riders and the PBR can be promoted on. Two I was thinking of are 20/20 and Who Do You Think You Are? For the former, why not try to sell a story not just on bull riding, but also on stock contractors and the riders from other countries? I picture it this way:

*Ten minutes on Mesa Pate and Chad Berger
*Ten minutes on the riders
*Ten minutes on the riders from other countries (especially the Brazilians)
*Ten minutes on the PBR itself (the inception, rules, treatment of bulls, etc.)
For the latter, how interesting would it be to see one of the riders’ family trees (especially Ryan Dirteater)?

Next, I’d go to People Magazine Special Editions: “Sexiest Man Alive,” “World’s Most Eligible Bachelors,” or “50 Most Beautiful People.” There are plenty of riders in the Top 40 that People could consider.


If Adriano Moraes is sponsored by Ariat, then why don’t he and his wife design a line of men’s and women’s cowboy boots with Adriano’s signature on it or his initials stitched into it somewhere? Many riders are sponsored by Wrangler. What about a line of Wrangler jeans or shirts with their names on it? They could also help design the clothing. Then, at the events, these riders could sign autographs next to racks of their clothing for sale. For every sale of clothing or pair of boots, the rider would get a percentage of the sale.

All of these items could include a small card with the rider’s info/websites and PBR info/websites.


Photgraphs! Some of the guys who work on ranches could have a photographer come take some gorgeous shots of them around the area, then have them sign the prints and frame them or make some into posters and calendars and then sell them at the events when they are signing.

Finally, there are the riders like Shane Procter who, with his wife Jesse’s help, make chaps and leather accessories for horses. When he’s signing autographs at a local store (and you can bet that here in Anaheim, I’d have him at the Broken Horn (http://www.brokenhornsaddlery.com/), he could have a sign up sheet to win a free accessory. Then there would be mass emails to all the participants with all of his and the PBR’s websites. Same with Josh Kochel and spurs.

Rider Images

Finally, a brief note about those images I’ve griped about over the years. A good publicist will work out an image for a rider and identify things for him to do and not do within that image. The publicist would monitor all online social media and, if one of his/her clients steps out of line, damage control would start.

Two Final Notes

The PBR in general could use a lot more advertising. I suggest this.

1. Promotions on local radio stations and local TV stations. With 40 riders in the BFTS, as well as Craig Hummer, J. W. Hart, Justin McBride, Ty Murray, and some increasingly well-known stock contractors, there are more than enough guys to do the rounds in every city.

2. More merchandise! What about yearly calendars? I don’t believe I’ve seen any in Target or Barnes and Noble. And how about any of the appropriate stores in the general areas where the events are held? There’s a sports section in Walmart and Target where they can sell sports accessories and t-shirts with riders/bulls/PBR logos on them. Where is this stuff?

Basically, what this comes down to is this: There is no reason why these guys shouldn’t be making more money. If the PBR wants a bigger audience, helping to promote the riders could be a good way to start.

Friday, July 15, 2011

If I Ran the PBR . . . .

Welcome, gentle readers, to the first in a series under the umbrella subject, “If I Ran the PBR.” I have invited several of my longtime contributors to write about this, and I expect we are going to get an earful about a very diverse group of topics.

In the past few days, as some of you no doubt already know, some very, very bad stuff has begun to emerge about practices in the PBR, but I am going to leave that alone for just a bit, till some of the smoke clears and we can get some hard facts about the situation. In the meantime, we will go on with our previously planned offerings, subject to change without notice and at my whim, naturally.

Since I am the Queen of this Stockyard, I cannot of course be outdone right out of the chute, so I staked my claim at the outset. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my magnum opus (thus far): If I Ran the PBR, I Would Dump the Small-town Rodeo Crap.

I hasten to say that I don’t mean I would no longer have the Touring Pro Division swanning around to small venues, or that I would not be looking for new talent on the rodeo circuit (small town or otherwise). Not all of fans are fortunate enough to be able to get to a BFTS event, so Mohammad must go to the mountain.

What I mean specifically (and I can already hear the outraged cries of the less enlightened starting to roil the air) is that I would eliminate all the artifacts that the PBR imported, willy-nilly, into its events straight from rodeo held at the Podunk County Fair. Here’s why: The PBR will never be a world-class, international sport till it starts looking more like other international sports—that is to say, sports that recognize and embrace an international audience.

First up: I would do away with the public prayer before ALL PBR events, BFTS or Touring Pro or what have you. The world is not made up of Christians only, let alone of fundamentalist, right-wing, Southern Christians, and it’s way past time that the PBR accepted this. There is no public prayer before National Football League games, or National Basketball Association games, or National Hockey League games. The PBR would be wise to follow those examples. (There is, naturally, public prayer before NASCAR races, but NASCAR can by no stretch of the imagination be considered an “international” sport. There are NO sanctioned NASCAR events outside the boundaries of the United States and, indeed, none anywhere except in the South. Case closed.)

As a matter of fact, I would ban ALL religious observances at PBR events, including the Cowboy Church and Riding High Ministries. If you folks want to proselytize, you’re free to believe that’s your calling, but if I were in charge, you’d be doing it on your own time and not on the PBR’s dime.

And while I’m on the subject: The condition of my soul is none of your damned business. Nothing to see here, move on.

Next, I would deep-six the xenophobic declarations that “We live in the greatest country in the world” and the overt militarism. I am fine with playing and/or singing the national anthem before the event starts. Everybody does that, everywhere. Hell, at NHL games between U.S. and Canadian teams, BOTH national anthems are played. Maybe we should also be playing the Brazilian, Australian, Canadian, and Mexican national anthems, just to acknowledge the contributions of participants from places other than the United States.

But I would most definitely NOT have “The Star-Spangled Banner” serving as a backdrop for film of F-18s soaring over the mountaintops, nor would I march a bunch of new recruits in and have them take their oath in front of the crowd. That kind of mawkish jingoism creates a circus-like atmosphere that demeans the seriousness of the commitment those people are making. I would put a stop to it, yesterday.

No doubt about it—we do have the biggest, most expensive military in the world, bought and paid for with a budget that is ten times larger than that of the country in second place (which happens to be Great Britain). But if we are going to take the PBR international, we would do well, as our distinguished Commander in Chief said recently, to not spike the football.

Next, I would do away with the official second-class treatment of women. On my watch, there would be no leather-clad Jack Daniels girls or Copenhagen girls (and don’t even get me started on how out of line the PBR is in endorsing the use of tobacco in any form) and no Las Vegas showgirls, not even in Las Vegas. If I were in charge of small-town rodeo, women would be competing in rough-stock events and there would be NO demeaning, girly competitions like goat tying and barrel racing. It’s time for the PBR to move into the 21st century and act like it really cares that roughly half of its fans are female.

Next, I would ban all political speech, regardless of which side it endorses. That means Justin McKee would not be making jokes about Nancy Pelosi, or anybody else, for that matter. If you want to attract an international audience, you have to recognize that some of them aren’t Tea Baggers, and it will do you no good to stand on either side of the political fence.

Finally, I would ban ALL hateful public speech, and since I am a generous sort, my definition of “hateful” would be considerably broader than most people’s. The bottom line is that nobody formally affiliated with the PBR—not board members, employees, announcers, entertainers, bull riders, bull fighters, pick-up men, roadies, or grounds crew—would ever again say anything hateful or demeaning about any group. Never on my watch would any cowboy, World Champion or not, stand up on camera and say he was embarrassed to have ridden “like a girl,” nor would there be one mean word spoken about any ethnic group, women, or gays. Anybody who broke this rule would be reprimanded and fined—painfully—on first offense. If it happened again, he would be thrown out of the PBR for life.

And when all these changes are completed, and my utopian bull-riding kingdom has arisen anew from the ashes of its ancestry, only one form of violence will be tolerated — the violent interplay between rider and bull, under the bright lights, down on the dirt, where it belongs.