<
>

Every event, every ride, every second counts

2/19/2009

I think everybody's had their rest, finished up the holidays and we're starting a new season. It seems to give everyone a fresh start — they're all at zero — and there's a lot of hope in the beginning.

It's just like at the start of an NFL season — every team has dreams of a Super Bowl or at least the Playoffs. I think you could see that in Baltimore.

I thought a lot of the guys were really going at it and, I think, Guilherme Marchi is pretty rock-solid. Whether he's the bridesmaid or the champ it looks like he just goes out and does his job every time. He's not emotionally an up-and-down guy — he's just real steady and real consistent.

Going back to the analogy of looking at football, I think the key is, starting the season your goal may be to make the Super Bowl or win the Super Bowl, but that can't be your focus, because it's a long season and there are a lot of distractions.

Our season is way longer than the NFL's, and you're going to get tested in every way throughout the course of a PBR season.

If you can keep your focus day-by-day and ride-by ride — even down to jump-by jump or challenge-by-challenge — I think that's so important to approach your career like that. It's almost moment-by-moment to where you're not letting little things slip away from you, because in the course of the year — just like in a football game — it's so repetitive because you get on so many bulls that you'll let one slip by. Then you'll let another and you're like, "Oh, we'll get him next time. Oh, we could have intercepted that pass, but we didn't. Oh, well."

That's how competitive it is at the highest level of anything you look at. You can't let little moments be slipping by. You've got to be doing your job day-by-day, moment-by-moment, and I don't know that it makes as much sense to everybody else as it does me.

But it's so darn important.

I always hear teams say, "Now that we're in the Playoffs we're going to really step up our game."

If you're saying that, you're not going to be a World Champion. I can guarantee you that. You hear a team say that or an individual say that, like in bull riding, they're not going to win it because your game needs to be stepped up with your first bull in Baltimore.

It's clear as a bell to me, and I see it happen in all sports all the time, where everybody says, "Yeah, we want to make the Super Bowl," but it's the people who are focused on the kickoff of the very first game like it's the most important play of their life. Then they focus on the next play like it's the most important play of their life.

That's where you're going to keep your mistakes to a minimum.

I think this can be a great year, and right now Guilherme is the man to beat, just because he's the champ and he's showing no signs of weakening. But I think we have a lot of talent.

When you look at the bulls we had in Baltimore, and we had some great bulls for being in Baltimore — it's not like we were in Dallas or Oklahoma City — I thought the bulls bucked real well the first night.

They rode 24 of them in Round 1. There's a lot of talent out there right now. Behind Guilherme you have J.B. Mauney, Kody Lostroh — I really hate naming names because I don't want to leave anyone out. Look at Kasey Hayes. He made three great rides to step up and win the event.

But it's a matter of growing up and being able to maintain that drive, determination and that focus every night at every event for the whole year.

The guys who get on hot streaks and win three events or do real well at three events in a row and then kind of drop off, well, that dropping off isn't going to get it done when you're looking at going after a championship.

When I see guys come into the season and they're out of shape — Robson Palermo admitted being out of shape. He admitted being too fat and not in great shape. I don't question his ability one bit, but that has to make you question his drive and his dedication.

I look at it like when you get to that level, if you're lacking an element whether it's a little bit of your ability, a little bit on your toughness, your drive or determination, your work ethic, a little bit on your practice, there's going to be someone who isn't lacking. There's going to be somebody who's bearing down and putting out the effort and doing what it takes to cover all the aspects.

Being a professional athlete is in a lot of ways an easy life, but when you come in fat and out of shape – self-admittedly a little fat and a little out of shape — it's only one person's fault, and it's yours. There's only one excuse, and it's laziness.

It was surprising.

I'm not saying he's going to go through the whole year like that, and I realize he just came off a big win and then it was the holidays — it's your one short chance to kind of relax and unwind — but, at the same time, if you look at a guy who's burning to go win a World Championship, I think they're looking at it from a different perspective.

Robson is a guy who has the talent. I think if he's in top shape and healthy, he is the biggest threat to ride Bones right now, but he's going to have to fire on all cylinders, because while you're sitting at home being lazy there are guys who aren't.

There are guys who are getting on practice bulls or who are training, or are at least, even if nothing else, they're having the thought of having that burn in them every day. That ought to be the most minimal — that ought to be happening.

Who knows what we're going to see. He still rode fairly well, but it says, to me, when asked if he would pick Bones and he says, "No, I don't think so. Not this week. I'm a little fat. I'm a little out of shape." That goes back to what I was trying to talk about a little earlier.

That drives my point home perfectly to where the guy that it's burning in, that is just overrode with the drive and the desire and the will to want to be the best and do what it takes to be the best — you're not going to let Baltimore get away. You're not going to say, "Oh, I'm a little fat."

That goes back to my main point. You can't be looking at the World Championship like we'll roll along and bear down at the last minute and give it everything I've got.

You have to be giving it everything you've got the first round in Baltimore and you have to be attacking it and you have to be ready to attack. There are no excuses and nobody wants to hear them.

And, in this sport, there are no coaches, so you have to be self-motivated, self-disciplined and, in the end, I think, that's going to be the guy who wins it. It's that guy.