Summer Series is All-American
The summer series of bull riding started with a fancy shirt and 11 riders.
Rodeo Director Coleman Peveto was resplendent in an American Flag themed shirt that represented both the Fourth of July and the debut of the All-American Bull Riding Series at the Texas Longhorn.
The 11 riders were a mix of regular series riders and some that were new to the Longhorn. The attraction of the custom designed $500 Broken Arrow buckle, and the $2000 added to the pot at the end of the series is a big attraction to any Longhorn series.
Judges Joe Blackwell, Landis Hooks and bullfighters, Bubba Tacker and Bobby Williams, took their usual places in the arena. Peveto turned the microphone over to Joey Broom for the announcing duties. Broom, a former bullfighter wants to branch out in his rodeo career and Peveto was giving him the option to try announcing. After presenting the American Flag in the opening, Chipper Nance and Boar Hog were in their place behind the gate, ready to ride in to remove any bull too stubborn to leave the arena on its own. The show was ready to start.
The first rider of the night would be Jace Coleman. Coleman was making the usual moves to get set on bull 615. The bull was ready before he was; 615 blew out hard and flat, setting the style for the night. Coleman was not prepared for that sort of move and went off in about three seconds. That would be the scenario for several riders as the night went on.
David Picard hung to bull 501 like an insect on a fly strip. There was no way the bull was going to shake him loose. Picard kept his form and 501 did his best to rid his back of the pesky rider. When the whistle blew, Picard was still on board. The bull’s white face should have turned red. Picard scored 76 points. That would be first place at the end of the ride making him $345 richer.
Sterling Johnson was the winner of the last session of open riding. In the process he was hung on the horns and spun like cotton candy on that ride. Friday night at the Longhorn was uneventful for Johnson. His draw was 503, a black bull with a small blaze on his forehead and moves like a chicken on a hot plate. The move that put Johnson in the dirt happened about half way through the ride. 503 moved right, then left, Johnson then lost his grip and went to the dirt hard. No score and no dough. Johnson will be back. It was just an off night.
Devin Elkins was matched with bull 38. It was a miss-match. His bull left the chute flat and caught Elkins unaware. It was not clear what Elkins should have been aware of, but it was not a bull leaving the chute. Elkins came out with his body position so forward, his left hand was over his right knee. It belonged high in the air, not down low. Bull 38 headed into the fence, put his brakes on and Elkins went off over 38’s right shoulder. The surprise of the night was that Elkins lasted as long as he did. His ride did not strain the stop watches.
Rodeo announcer Shannon Faircloth, trying life inside the arena instead of above it, tried his hand at riding. When asked what he had been doing lately, Faircloth remarked, “I’ve been getting on bulls nobody else wants to get on.” Getting on is one thing, staying on is another. Bull 07 left the chute with his front end high and back end low. One spin, one buck and Faircloth was off and rolling in the arena dirt.
Timmy Faul, long overdue for a covered ride, did good Friday night. Faul kept his seat, held his form and made the eight. Bull 17 was not the best performer of the night. He did not make any moves that were particularly difficult to counter. Faul looked as good as he could under the circumstances and was awarded 58 points. It would give him fourth place on a night that would only pay three places. At this point Faul needs the confidence boost of a covered ride at the Longhorn. Maybe his drought is over and he will begin to score again.
Seth Tippit followed Faul on the blazingly white bull, 631; a capable bull and a good draw to earn points and money on. Tippit was out of position for most of the eight seconds he made. His command of the ride was questionable. The rider’s points make half of the total with the bull’s points making the other half. On this night the bull’s points should have been higher in the total than Tippit’s. The judges generously awarded Tippit 69 points. He would end up with second place and $207.
Tim Murphy had the hard luck ride of the night. Bull 66 overpowered Murphy and in the storm that led to the wreck, Murphy slid off the right shoulder of 66. In the process of sliding off, his hand hung tight in the rope. 66 made a hard spin to the left and Murphy went airborne. He was hung and slung perpendicular to the ground, like a rag out of a car window. His right arm was twisted and his face was down. Williams and Tacker moved in fast to help and Murphy was loosened from his hang-up. No score and empty pockets, along with a sore arm would be all he would go home with.
“I have laid off for three weeks and not even thought about bull riding. I have been working out and have lost a little weight. I think I am in pretty good shape,” said Dawson McKee before the show started.
McKee’s confidence was not unrewarded. Bull 321 was possibly the best bull of the night. The bull’s moves were high, hard, and fast. McKee hung tough with every move of 321 as he spun and bucked. One of McKee’s problems in the past has been staying erect. He whipped that problem Friday night. The string on a plumb bob would have stayed straight on his back. McKee looked good all the way through.
Bull 321 had McKee on the fence at the time for his dismount. McKee grabbed the fence as 321 made a move into the fence again. McKee was left hanging on the fence like a bug on a windshield, all four in different directions. Dismounts do not count. McKee only earned 68 points, but that gave him $138, enough to go back home to Houston on.
Joey Johnson followed McKee, in order only. Two moves out of the chute by RS and Johnson bucked off, landed on his knees and nearly got RS’s head in his hip pockets. All ended well for the newcomer. A little practice and he should be better next time.
Bull B brought Jeff Whatley out with the big bull head down and the big bull back end high. Whatley hung on for that and looked good, erect, with his arm high for balance. The next move was a little crow hop followed by a spin and Whatley began to loose is seat and slide to his left. Unable to pull himself back to the center of the back, he just kept going until he hit the ground.
The All-American Series will conclude on Aug. 21. The series champion will be awarded the Broken Arrow buckle with the American Flag theme. There will be $2000 up for the taking at the end of the series. Aug. 21 the Longhorn will also host a concert featuring the popular Mark Chestnutt. Along the way will be more of the high quality entertainment that the Texas Longhorn is famous for.