Two-steppin’ is Not Just Dancing
At the Texas Longhorn two-stepping is not just what goes on on the dance floor. It is also happening with the bulls and riders on the arena floor. The current series has the least covered rides of any since the shows began.
The last session of the All-American Series was the only two-step bull riding that most of the audience has ever seen. Whatever has been wrong is still wrong. It was a short night, and the riders flew like popcorn off a hot griddle.
Often a rider will go into a slump that will last for an indeterminable length of time; then the rider will begin to come out of his slump, begin to cover his bulls and win a pot or two.
The situation at the Longhorn is as if the bull riders have been dipped in buck-off solution. It does not appear that anyone could ride if they had a seat full of superglue.
Landis Hooks has made a ride or two in past series, but Friday night did not show that he had ever seen a bull; much less rode one. When the gate opened, Hooks was so far out of position that it was terrible to see. He began to slide off as the gate opened, only lasting two seconds at the most. His entire ride consisted of a slip to the dirt. It resembled a mutton-bustin more than a bull ride.
Josh Barrentine and Josh Durant started the two-stepping. Their bulls made two moves and then the riders went up-close and personal with arena dirt.
Timmy Faul and Nathan Dupry followed suit. It was; open gate, bull bucks, out of the gate, bull bucks, riders spin, slide or fall off. It was like the step, step, quick-step, quick-step of the dance. Seldom have four riders seemed so alike.
The basic problem was that as they came out, they were all looking down. If you look down, nine times out of 10, you will go down. That was the way it worked Friday night.
Brett LeJeune is a new rider to the Longhorn, possibly new to the sport. His ride broke the curse, for a while at least.
LeJeune was the first rider of the night to come out of the chute looking forward instead of down as the others had. His head was up and his body was in fair position. He held through the first spin. The next move that his bull, 144, made was to put his head nearly on the ground and kick so high with his hind end; he was nearly vertical. It was a move that would have tested anyone.
LeJeune hung tough, but it was the beginning of the end for him. As the bull came down, LeJeune began to slip to his left. Bull 144 made a pile driving move with his front hooves and LeJeune went off.
His time was close to six seconds. He was the best of the riders to this point.
David Pickard, Dillon Terro, and Joey Bergeron kept the short rides going. They all made less than three seconds and no more than three moves by their bull.
Sterling Johnson did somewhat better. For a few seconds he looked as though he may last a while. Johnson hung on as his bull, bucked, spun and took him on a tour of the arena. As bull 615 moved into the corner near the exit gate, Johnson began to lose his position. The bull charged out of the corner and nearly hung Johnson on the fence.
At about the six second mark, it was all over folks. No score, no dough.
Jeff Whatley more or less made eight seconds aboard his bull. It was a covered ride, but Whatley was a “Mount Out.” His ride did not count.
When a rider does not have entry money and there are “extra” bulls in the pen the person running the rodeo may let the rider ride. He will not score points and will not win money. This may have been the case with Whatley. For whatever reason his covered ride was just to show what he could do.
Dawson McKee finished the show as the rider in the 13th spot. McKee is a good rider that has fallen on hard times. He is tough as rusty nails. He is riding with a torn bicep in his riding arm and is wrapped from his wrist to his shoulder. He also drives from the Houston area for each series he competes in.
Bull 100 came out hard with his rear high and turned in the chute so fast he nearly kicked the back of the chute. One move out he turned hard to his left, then spun right with his head down. The bull’s body was leaning left and McKee was countering by leaning right. It was looking good. McKee hung through another turn and 100 covered a good bit of ground with McKee hanging with every move.
At about the five second mark on the watch; 100 made a tight turn and kicked with the back end at the same time. McKee began to lose his seat. It may have been that he lost grip with his legs. As he slid off, his right hand hung in the rope. He was drug around and was pretty much helpless. Bullfighter Bubba Tacker got inside the spinning bull and managed to get McKee’s hand loose. As McKee came loose the buzzer buzzed. He was about two seconds short of winning the session and all the money.
With nothing else working, maybe the riders will visit the Longhorn store and purchase one of the voodoo dolls. At this point in their careers they should try anything.
Aug. 15 will be the first rodeo in the new arena. Rodeo director Coleman Peveto has been burning midnight oil putting together a great show that is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. The full event, open rodeo has received many calls. It will be a rodeo you will not want to miss.