So last weekend — or was it two weekend ago?? — hell, this time thing kinda sucks. No time, no time! There’s never any time! Anyway, oh yeah, so two weekends ago my brother James and I saddled up in my Passat (sans one hubcap) and tooled on down to Fort Worth, Texas, for my first CBR event (Championship Bull Riders). James had been to the first one of the season at Bossier City, Louisiana back in January, my mom & dad had been to another one in Texas a few weeks earlier, but we were still not quite sure how well this whole CBR experience/sponsorship thing was gonna play out. In fact, we may not know for quite a while.
The nitty-gritty is that B&W is the PRESENTING sponsor of the CBR — a relatively-minor competitor of the more famous PBR, bull riding outfit — and we wanted to scope out our presence in the arena, as well as let our faces be known. So we set off around 9pm from Humboldt, just James and I and his trusty Magellan GPS, which calmly led us there without deviation.
The next evening, after a day at the mall and lollying around the hotel, we arrived at the Will Rogers Coliseum about two hours early. We wanted to get our credentials for both days, set up the B&W booth, and definitely hit up the VIP room. Unfortunately, the VIP room was quiet, lonely, and extremely NOT FREE. So mostly we just wandered around the premises as if we owned the place. Which we were allowed to do, basicially because we had tickets stapled to our collars with a C written on it (C, we found out later, means we were allowed behind the chutes if we damn well pleased).
The crowd on Saturday night was pretty nice. My dad had worried about the crowd size since his experience was more like a “county fair rodeo”, but this was impressive, probably 90% capacity. It was a huge arena, which someone told us later was “the truest bit of Fort Worth still around”, meaning that it was original or something.
Here’s James and the Giant Booth, which was so full of shaving cream when we opened it that it flooded out for hours, and was a terrible mess to clean up. People were not happy.
Pam, the CBR’s Leah Garcia, who does periphery announcements for TV or whatever. I’m not exactly all privy to that. James wanted his picture with her and I obliged. When he introduced himself, she said “Oh yeah, of course, I remember you. You and,” waving with her hand around her face, “the guy with the beard.” “Oh yeah, Dad,” James says. “Ahahahah.” Awkward.
Celena Rae, a then-recent castoff from Fox’s American Idol, sang the National Anthem on Sunday. After the event, she was standing at the bottom of the stairs I was walking down (from a secure area) and she was waiting for her turn to get her picture taken with Justin Monsen, so I said “Hi, you did a good job” or some bullshit like that and asked her if I was taller than Seacrest. She said that she was taller than Ryan Seacrest. She got her picture taken, and then we walked together through the arena where she and some bullriders were signing autographs and then made out for about a half hour. So that was cool.
At both days’ events they put up on the big screen (as seen above) — this is the guy that operates all that stuff — something like “Welcome to James and Josh Works of B&W” and they simultaneously announced the same thing over the intercom. Microcelebrities for like two seconds. But it was nice of them… some good southern hospitality welcoming us like that and all.
Speaking of hospitality, James and I hung out in front of the arena each event to give away our tickets, since we had credentials and planned on hanging out behind the chutes anyway, so some people were pretty lucky to get some nice seats gratis, thanks to B&W.
The CBR folk, and Justin Monsen, were so friendly in fact, that when I asked a few questions about bull riding and showed my eagerness, they suggested I get on a bull for the amateur portion of the show. They helped me out with all the garb and basic techniques, and even though it didn’t go so well (here’s me being bucked off in good style), it sure was fun.
Tuff Hedeman, of 8 Seconds fame, and a 5-time World Champion Bull Rider, was the host of the event — the Tuff Hedeman Championship Challenge — and so he was around most of the time, opening chutes and winking in my general direction.
On Sunday, Justin asked James if he would do the honor of riding in the horse-drawn carriage that speeds in loop-de-loops around the arena floor at intermission, with several of the presenting sponsors. James said it was hard to hold on, since you couldn’t see anything and didn’t know when they were gonna turn or bounce. They asked if I wanted to go too, but I thought I’d be better behind the camera.
So I could get pictures like this one, of James, dizzy, walking off the arena floor. They exited right over where our ORIGINAL seats were supposed to be and James said he could see the people we gave our tickets to going “OH!! it’s him! Look!” Hahaha. Good ole country folk.
So that’s all, really. Just another bull riding event, with some good bulls, some good bull riders, some good fans, but a long ways to go to match the PBR. But I think they can do it. For being such a young organization, they’re doing things differently and right and I have hope that in a couple years time, they may very well be the biggest thing in bull riding.