Tuesday, February 26, 2013

More Adventures in Delusion

Friends and neighbors, I regret to state that yesterday I attempted to publish yet another brilliant post on this inestimable blog, only to be thwarted by technical difficulties. Alas and alack, by the time I managed to sort all that out, I had lost my enthusiasm for my subject and had to comfort myself by making a lovely dinner for the Montana Barn Cat and watching a bunch of trash TV.

But never fear! I am back, because while I was moping around over the weekend, sadly commiserating with the Barn Cat because the bulk of the PBR event in Kansas City was not broadcast (I adamantly refuse to grant that the LEC is a legitimate broadcast), I was suddenly struck down by a revelation. I know why the Powers That Be at the PBR have neglected to book air time for several of the BFTS events this year! It’s because they want to give me plenty of time to POST MY SNARKY OPINIONS here on Turn Him Out!

You can be certain I will not let them down, fellow travellers! In the course of the season, there is so much shit flying through the air around here that we have to hustle like ninety to comment on the occurrences at the events, and thus we only occasionally have the time to contemplate the bigger, more philosophical picture. So this is the perfect opportunity for me to sound off about something that’s been bothering me for as long as I’ve watched this sport. Since Montana Barn Cat and I have now clocked well over a decade of parking ourselves in front of the tube to watch the bulls and the boys, you can see that this has been festering for a long damned time.

And here, ridiculous anti-climax, it is: When a cowboy (let’s face it, almost always an American cowboy) is getting ready in the chute, why in hell do the commentators insist on saying, “[Fill in the blank] can ride any bull here.”

Now, in St. Louis two weeks ago, it’s true that on the first night, 20 cowboys managed to make the whistle. But all that tells me is that the pussy pen was in the house that night, because come the short round on Sunday, NOBODY managed to stick for eight seconds.

But here’s my point: If we look at the stats, we are forced to acknowledge the undeniable fact that of the top 10 riders (as of the end of the Kansas City event), only THREE are riding more than 50% of the time. Shane Proctor, who is riding the best at the moment, has a riding percentage of 58.33, which means he is making the whistle a little less than two-thirds of the time. (The other way to look at it is that he’s riding just over half the time, but since I like Shane Proctor, I reserve the right to spin that stat to my own satisfaction.)

Put another way, that means Proctor gets tossed off about every other bull he tries to ride. And that means that the remaining seven riders in the top 10 are riding LESS than half the time.

So this is the way it goes, weekend after weekend: Commentator A: “This guy can ride any bull here all day long.” The gate opens, a few seconds click off the clock, and SPLAT! Bull fighters rush in, (we hope) the cowboy scrambles up and dashes for the fence. Repeat as necessary, up to 31 or 32 times a night.

Now, nobody knows better than I do that a rider can get on a hot streak, and then it will seem like no bull on the planet can throw him off. But just remember this: In 2008, when Guilherme Marchi won the world championship, his riding percentage was 74.75 for the entire year. That means he rode roughly three out of every four bulls he straddled. I had never seen anything like that, and I will not be surprised if I never do again.

So drastic as it would be, how about we change our approach and start talking about how HARD it is to ride bulls. How about we forego the bullshit propaganda about man conquering animal and accept the fact that even the best riders get thrown off—a lot. How about we celebrate when somebody manages to ride, because it's not a common occurrence.

The riders farther down the rankings, frankly, are hardly worth watchingIf it were up to me, I’d cut the field to the top 20, not because I get tired of seeing the bulls buck—never!—and not because I get tired of seeing riders go SPLAT!, but because I get tired of hearing that “This bull should be right in [fill in the blank’s] wheelhouse,” followed by SPLAT! If I never again heard what a wonderful rider Stormy Wing is just before he SPLATS into the fence, I would count myself a fortunate woman.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

She's Baaaaaccccckkkkk!

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.

The Rides

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.)

Random Things

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.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Call for Transparency

All right, I know, you can stop laughing now. I'm being totally naive to even say this, but just hear me out for a minute.

I've been mulling this over for quite some time and the way things played out in Anaheim have convinced me that it's time to speak up. Here it is: I call upon the PBR to conduct the bull draw for all future events PUBLICLY.

At first, I thought I was imagining that the bulls the top American riders were being assigned were easier to get by than the bulls riders from other countries were getting, but then several of my readers started asking me the same question.

Don't misunderstand me--I love Shane Proctor, always have, since long before he moved to North Carolina and threw in his lot with the Mauney family, and I am always happy to see him win. But I can't help but seriously question how impartial the bull draw really is when I see the bulls that many of the lower-ranked American riders are being given, especially when you see the eliminators some of the Brazilians in particular are told to ride.

To put a stop to such speculation, the PBR should start doing the bull draw PUBLICLY, where anybody who cares to can witness it. This will put to rest any lingering questions about whether the process is anything less than genuinely impartial. To keep on doing business as usual (and let's be truthful--that's what we expect to happen, because that's what always happens, right?) is to stoke the suspicion that the riders from other countries are being set up to fail.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

That Will Be Super

Good morning, friends and neighbors! Here we are, it's already Thursday, and no doubt some of you are wondering why we haven’t posted anything about last weekend’s event in Sacramento. And the reason is—we didn’t see it! Because except for the 15/15 bucking contest, it wasn’t broadcast! 

Because apparently there was some other big-deal sporting event taking place last weekend, and CBS and CBS Sports were for some inexplicable reason distracted by all the hype and the hoopla and sadly, the PBR got trampled underfoot and left, broken and battered, to mope on the arena floor.

Except—the Super Bowl WAS and IS a big deal, much bigger than any PBR event ever staged, up to and including the World Finals in Las Vegas. Aside from the handful of addicts (of whom I am certainly one) who start to get the shakes when we can’t see a broadcast, nobody else in the world gave a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut that virtually none of the event in Sacramento aired last weekend. Chicken on a Chain sang a sad song about it on Facebook—that’s about all the attention it got. 

Now, it’s common knowledge that many international sports enthusiasts regard American football as a joke, since virtually nobody else on the planet plays it in any serious way. (Naturally, that doesn’t stop us from proudly crowning one team world champions of a sport that is not a worldwide phenomenon every year—that’s ego for you.) Obviously, soccer, not American football, is the most popular sport on the planet. 

But even if we are determined to be both accurate and modest, we can certainly state with authority that the NFL is a major national sports league in the United States, and by comparison, the PBR—is not. Not by a long damned shot.

I am longing for the day when the PBR World Finals is a serious contender for the kind of attention that the Super Bowl gets, year in and year out. But a lot of things will have to change before that blessed day arrives. 

And another thing is certain—I am not going to bother watching events via the LEC. I have seen enough of Clint and Brandon telling Flint he’s being creepy to last me a lifetime at live events. “Sweet Caroline” again?!?!?! Stud of the Night, chosen by three guys? No, ma’am, no, no thank you. I'd way rather take a midnight train going anywhere.