Bullfighters rise up during rough Nampa night

By: Keith Ryan Cartwright April 05, 2014@ 11:00:00 AM

Marco Eguchi takes a shot from Pound the Alarm on Friday night. Photo by Andy Watson /

NAMPA, Idaho ― On what wound up a busy night in the PBR sports medicine room began as a stressful evening of as many wrecks as there was rides for the Dickies Bullfighters.

A rough Friday night in Nampa, Idaho, at the Ford Idaho Center concluded with back-to-back wrecks involving Fabiano Vieira and Tanner Byrne in the 15/15 Bucking Battle leading up to a rematch between Joao Ricardo Vieiraand Bushwacker that ended in just 2.4 seconds.

There were only seven qualified rides, highlighted by Zane Lambert’s86.25 points on Woody, in the opening round of the DeWALT Guaranteed Tough Invitational, followed by just two more in the 15/15.

Fabiano Vieira (no relation to Joao) rode Cowtown Slinger for an 89.25-point, 15/15 win in the nightcap, but was knocked unconscious when he landed awkwardly on the dirt and was nearly stepped on several times until Frank Newsom grabbed Vieira by the left leg and simply dragged him out of harm’s way.

Vieira was third in the opening round earlier and scored a total of 354.5 points on Friday to move into second place in the world standings behindGuilherme Marchi, who missed the first of two days because of a travel issue related to a canceled flight and missed connections in San Francisco.

Moments later, Byrne, who replaced Marchi in the 15/15, wound up underneath Chocolate Thunder.

When all three bullfighters – Shorty Gorham, Jesse Byrne and Newsom – had trouble moving the aforementioned bull away from Tanner, who was stepped on several times, his older brother Jesse resorted to lying on top of his injured younger brother.

However, in the moment, it wasn’t his brother.

He was any one of 35 bull riders who needed help.

“I would have done that for any one of the guys out tonight,” said Jesse. “When you can’t get that bull to move out and those feet just keep coming around and around, it comes down to a point where you have to try and do something to help the guy, especially when they’re (lying) face-up like that. They have too much exposed, so you try and cover up some of those spots.”

Jesse added, “In the moment, to me, it’s all the same. With each guy it’s just a rush to get it over with and after the fact, when it’s Tanner (lying) out there, it doesn’t sit real well with me.”

Neither one of the bulls – Cowtown Slinger and Chocolate Thunder – are known as being mean.

According to Jesse, who called Friday “an interesting night all together,” it actually makes it harder to get those bulls to move out.

All three talked about emotionally compartmentalizing the situation.

It’s important to move on and refocus on the task at hand.

Gorham said he has a rule in which he allows himself to replay it back in his mind once, while he’s in the arena, maybe twice and then he mentally and emotionally has to move on—the next riders are depending on him to do so.

It is, after all, their job to protect everyone as best they can.

Newsom said he uses those moments as motivation, while Gorham said it can be a reminder to be more aggressive in certain situations.

“At this time in our career it’s a little easier to refocus,” Gorham explained. “But that’s something we’ve had to train to do for so many years—just when you see something bad like that happen to reset back to zero, focus on your job and go get the next one.”

“Tonight I think we did everything we could,” Newsom said. “You just say a prayer and hope that they’re all right. It’s a dangerous sport.”

Jesse admitted its tough knowing that his brother was being tended to by the medical staff.

“Like they say, you (have) to move on to that next one,” said Jesse. “It’s something that’s going to affect you, but you have to deal with it, push it out and move on to that next one and we can worry about all that other stuff after she’s all said and done.”

Gorham added, “If you dwell too much on the last one you’re thinking about that instead of thinking about what’s happening in the now. Our job is to react to what’s happening now.”

Bullfighting is physically demanding.

On Friday night and again tonight, there are 35 outs in the long round, while Friday also featured a 15/15 round and had four re-rides in the long round. Saturday will conclude with a 15-man short round for a total of 100-plus out in two nights.

But a night like Friday becomes mentally exhausting.

“It’s frustrating because we want everybody to walk out in good shape,” Newsom said. “I mean, that’s our plan, but it’s frustrating when things go like they did tonight. You know you did everything you can, but you always wish you would have done something more. You don’t feel like it’s a win.”

“That’s a good way of putting it,” responded Gorham. “It’s almost like it wasn’t a win, it was a tie. We like to win, but we didn’t lose because, I think, Frank’s right, I felt like we did everything we could have done in the situation, but we didn’t win.

“It’s a tie and that sucks.”

There were several injuries in the opening round of the Built Ford Tough Series event, two of which – Robson Palermo and Matt Triplett – kept riders out of the 15/15 Bucking Battle.

Markus Mariluch replaced Palermo on Wicked after the 30-year-old Brazilian native dislocated his right shoulder when he hung up to Cosa Nostra in Round 1.

Palermo said he wasn’t sure if the hard impact of being slammed to the dirt or having his back stepped on resulted in the injury. However, moments after he stood up, Palermo said his shoulder slid right back into place.

He’ll be further examined Monday in Dallas by Dr. Tandy Freeman and is listed as doubtful for next week’s event in Billings, Mont.

Freeman has informed Triplett that the second-year BFTS rider will need to have X-rays on his right hand Monday. According to Triplett, if any of the bones in his hand have been separated he’ll undergo an MRI to determine if there’s any ligament damage.

The 22-year-old from Columbia Falls, Mont., who is currently listed with a sprained right wrist, said if needed he’ll try switching to his left hand in Billings and emphatically stated he will not miss his home state event.

He injured the same right hand last summer.

According to Freeman, Thad Newell injured his left shoulder (riding arm) when he was struck by Prince Albert’s horn as he was thrown from to the ground in Round 1. He is doubtful for the second round.

At the end of the night, all three bullfighters quickly made their way to the sports medicine room.

Gorham and Newsom checked on the wellbeing of all the riders and then went to their locker room, where they discussed the night’s events and talked through some of the situations, while Byrne stayed behind with his brother for a few more minutes.

Soon thereafter, Tanner and was up and walking around and then Jesse joined the other bullfighters in their locker room.

“Hopefully everybody is doing all right,” Jesse concluded. “It’s been a rough go here the last couple weeks and it’s not fun to watch these guys go through what they’ve been through. I just hope everybody heals up.”

Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.


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