Thursday, October 28, 2010

PBR Finals - The Las Vegas Experience II

(I will be doing a seven part series of the seven days in Las Vegas for the PBR finals. Each day in Vegas will be posted for the next seven consecutive days)

The night before we left to go to Vegas, I got 2 hours sleep and Tammie got about an hour. So, after spending Monday in a car, plane, airport terminal, and hotel and then saying up late (2:00am back home time), it was time to sleep in. Our room was quite, dark and cold. Just the right situation for staying under the covers and catching up on some needed sleep. After getting up, watching TV and spending time on the internet we made our way downstairs for lunch.

We planned to go to the opening draw late that afternoon and then to the PBR Black Jack tournament. In the meantime, since there was a movie theater at the hotel, why not go to a movie. We went upstairs to see the movie RED. This was Tuesday afternoon around 1:00 pm. Surprisingly, the only tickets left were front row. if you've ever seen a movie in the front row, you know that a neck ache is in order after sitting there staring straight up for two hours. No thank you (just a side note, we have seen the movie since being back home and it was great). What do you do for 2-3 hours while in Vegas? Gamble!!! I made my way to the Craps table. Craps is the fastest, funnest table in a casino, if the table is going good. If not, you can lose and lose quickly. As I stated yesterday, not much in the form of winning at this casino. So, after losing and passing the time, it was time to get ready to go to Freemont Street for the opening draw.

We jumped into the red Charger and dashed to Freemont Street to meet some friends that had already made their way. Ahhh, traffic, traffic and more traffic. There was no charging to Freemont street. But alas, we did make it there in plenty of time to get a good spot for gawking and taking pictures. Freemont Street is a cross between a carnival and walking through the lamp and light section at Lowes. There are vendors, stores, casinos, hotels, street performers, and just some unusual people to watch. One of the main attractions at Freemont Street is an overhead canopy that runs the length of the three streets that make up this area. During the night, the canopy lights up and there are different projections shown on the canopy, usually moving to music that is playing. This night, it was of course country music and the PBR!!!

As we were standing waiting for the riders to arrive, I got a chance to spend some time talking to Keith Ryan Cartwright. I said it before, Keith is an unusual and fascinating guy to talk to. We cover subjects from the PBR to other sports to music and just about everything in between. When the riders were coming in and being announced, Tammie was in her spot, of course fingers poised on top of her camera. Snapping pictures and genuinely excited as each rider was announced. In the meantime, Keith and I were engrossed in our conversation about our favorite football teams and what is going to happen at the PBR finals and who has the advantages coming in. Then we were joined by a friend, Dave Brito (who later got to pick a chip for one of the riders in picking a bull). We started talking about music and current bands and past great bands. Keith's eyes lit up when he found out that Megadeath might be in town. lol When the draw started, it was time to end the conversation.

One by one a fan, sponsor, etc.. would come up and put there hand into the Champions Cup and pull out a chip that had a number on it, which corresponded with a number that was beside a bull name. This was the "classic" bull pen (3 and 4 year old bulls) and a small amount of non classic bulls. Just a few of the bulls that riders would like to have were: Hee Bee Gee Bee, Copp Hou,, Ice T&D, Deja Blu. However, there was one bull that nobody wanted Bushwacker. I wish some of the guys would just admit that they would like to ride anybody but Bushwacker but most said, "it don't matter to me". Yeah right. As he's bucking you off in less than 3 seconds and you could have had a bull and a score of 88.00 and maybe a round win and $25,000. One by one the riders came up and sat down and no Bushwacker. Bushwacker's numbered chip was 3. When the rider would come up and the #3 was not drawn, there was a sigh of relief from the fans, but then everybody knew someone was going to get him. That someone turned out to be Harve Stewart. Most of the night several riders would come up and say "I would like to give a shout out to Harve". Brandon Bates finally explained that when a rider would get up to find out what his bull would be, Harve would give a high five and say "give me shout out". It made for some funny moments.

As the draw ended the music started as the riders were leaving and on the Freemont canopy was the PBR logo for the 2010 World Finals. Pretty neat to be standing in Vegas, on Freemont street and look up at this giant canopy and see the PBR logo turning and music blaring. It made you want to go straight to the arena and watch these guys get on the bulls that were just drawn. But alas, that would be the next night.

It was time to make it back to the car and over to Treasure Island hotel and the Black Jack tournament. All of the riders were going to be at different tables and fans, supporters and sponsors had paid money to participate in the tournament. All of the proceeds were going to the Rider Relief Fund.

I got a chance to talk to Flint before the tournament and we talk about the PBR comment section. He's told me before that he rarely reads the comment section, but he does look on there and if it has 50+ comments, he knows that I am involved and he reads them. For those that read the comment section, you will know what I am talking about when I say that Flint told me that you can say that he is "hot" and that he is so good looking that he is "eye candy. :) For those of you that don't know what I am talking about, you need to join in on the PBR comment section and leave comments. Flint and I have had numerous conversations about the comment section, and as he says "folks, this is bull riding, we aren't curing cancer". In other words, don't take this thing so serious.

The first part of the tournament was in three rounds. Tammie got to participate in the second round. When she found out who was going to be at her table she nearly fell to the floor. (well maybe not fall to the floor, but I did have to pull her off the ceiling). At her table was going to be Jason O'Hearn and her favorite rider, the 2009 reigning World Champion Kody Lostroh. Tammie was nervous because she is not normally good at Black Jack, but then having to sit at the same table as her favorite, she didn't want to look foolish and lose all of her money quickly. Not only did she not look foolish, she actually WON!!! There are 15 hands and the person with the highest dollar amount of chips, after the 15 hands, wins the table and moves to the next round. Of course I was instructed to get as many pictures while she was playing.

Tammie moved to the next round and Skeeter Kingsolver and LJ Jenkins were the riders at her next table, who had also won on their first table. This was the semi finals and whoever won the table would move to the final round, with a total of six players at that table. Again Tammie was nervous, but did not show it. She looked like a pro out there. She was kidding with LJ and trying to prod LJ to go "all in" on one of his hands. He did. However, her strategy backfired because he won the hand, doubled his chips and made his lead almost insurmountable. But the fearless Tammie was not not done yet. She continued on and as it turned out, LJ did win the table, but Tammie did come in second at the table. Her magic night of playing the best Black Jack she had ever played came to and end.

We stayed for a few more minutes, but we needed to take someone else back to their hotel and it was already late, so it was time to mosey on along. We got back to our hotel and since we had not eaten dinner, it was time to grab something to eat, at midnight. Nothing like going to bed, early in the morning, on a full stomach. Starting tomorrow I will be blogging about meeting the riders at the TeamPBR meet and greet and the first night of the bull riding!!!

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