PUEBLO, Colo. – Chris Shivers rolled to the right of Black Cat, sprinted away from any danger and ripped off his helmet and used every ounce of strength in his right arm to toss the now pointless piece of equipment high into the Decatur, Texas, skyline.
The two-time World Champion then lifted his arms as the 7,000-plus fans at the Wise County Posse Sheriff’s Arena roared in celebration before Shivers finally let a smile crease a face while his helmet slammed to the ground and came to a resting halt near the edge of the arena.
A few feet away on the back of the bucking chutes was his son, Brand, who was cheering his dad on with as much intensity as his father had to exalt to make the 8-second mark during the Built Ford Tough Ring of Honor: Unfinished Business, presented by BlueDEF, on Saturday night.
“It is real special,” Chris said. “You always want your kids to look at you for something you do –something that you put into something – and something they will be able to get out of it. That always makes you feel good.”
Brand never stopped smiling, even as his dad continued to sign autograph after autograph following his split-victory with J.W. Hart.
“It was pretty exciting,” Brand said. “From where he came in 2012 to now, he can still ride like that. I was pretty happy.”
About his reaction on the bucking chutes?
“I think I was more nervous than he was,” Brand replied.
Brand wasn’t alone hooting and hollering in Decatur.
Everyone was there cheering on Chris as he spurred his way to 88.5 points on Black Cat in a ride that made Shivers look like he hadn’t lost a step since last competing at an event during the 2012 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
“It was just a good bull,” Chris said. “He came out of the chute a little awkward. It kind of felt like he run down the chute and kind of set me back, but the bull was kind of into me and everything just worked out good.”
Chris’ wife, Kylie, and son, Blayne, were also in attendance, as well as a slew of family and friends from Jonesville, Louisiana.
The 36-year-old who holds the PBR record for 90-point rides (94) had every intention of spurring his way to victory in Decatur.
Shivers may not have surpassed the 90-point threshold one more time, but he once again kicked out his foot like he had done in so many memorable rides during his illustrious 16-year career.
“I just wanted to win,” Shivers said. “I had a strategy. I come to this deal when I was 18 and I come in here spurring at them, and I told myself tonight that is the way I want to go out. I don’t want to go out just trying to clinch down and hang on. If it is going to be exciting, I want it to be exciting. If it ain’t, it was going to be exciting for a little while.”
It wasn’t as easy as it looked though.
Shivers said to Tater Porter following his ride that he was out of breath.
Porter laughed and replied, “If you would have kept your foot down, you wouldn’t be out of air.”
Shivers split the victory with 1994 Rookie of the Year and 2002 World Finals event winner Hart, who is doing well since sustaining a concussion after riding King Buck for 88.5 points on Saturday night.
“That little sucker,” Hart said on Monday. “Typical Shivers. I don’t know why anybody is surprised. My bull was way better, but he fancied his up and spurred him like he always did to beat us. That is just what he did his whole career. He could take something worse and look so much better and beat us. That is what he does and that is why he is a champ.”
Shivers’ longtime traveling partner and close friend Mike White actually picked Black Cat for Shivers.
“Man, Chris made an outstanding ride,” White said. “He had called me and asked if I had a bull that went to the left and I brought that bull up for him. I told him it would be a great bull for him and he was.”
White then joked, “It brings the bull stats down on my bull now!”
Two-time World Champion Justin McBride and 1997 World Champion Michael Gaffney also called Shivers’ ride a typical Chris Shivers’ performance.
“That is Shivers,” McBride said. “He is a little older and a little chubbier, but you run him one like that in there and that is what he will do. He will beat you every time. That is why he is a champ and has the most 90-point rides in the history of the PBR.”
Gaffney added, “Chris just showed up and kicked our ass like he always has.”
Even after Shivers had safely made it away from Black Cat, there was still a look of fierce determination on his face.
“That fire never dies,” Shivers concluded. “It is something I have done since day one and I don’t think it will ever go completely away.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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