LAS VEGAS — The audience-to-be at the bull draft before the seventh round of the PBR World Finals snaked through a neon playpen called the NASCAR Café in the corner of the Sahara Casino, sipping bottles of Coors, sporting "BODACIOUS" belt buckles and the first known "Guilherme Marchi 2008 World Champion" ball caps.
Once they filed into the adjacent theater, they found a row of bullriders seated on stage. And for the first time in these bull drafts, they had a chance to ask questions of the athletes before the bulls were selected.
Question for Marchi, who was just a couple of hours removed from being named the world champ: "Is it finally good not to be a bridesmaid anymore and be a world champion?"
Answer from Marchi: "I'm excited," and, "I have two more bulls. I now have the title in my head."
Question for Reese Cates: "When you're not 21, how can you have any fun in Vegas when you're not bull riding?"
Cates: " I'm having the time of my life." He demurred when someone later suggested he go to Hooters.
Question for Marchi: "Will you go back to Brazil, or stay here?"
Marchi asked the crowd, "What do you think?" A rousing call of "STAY" came from the crowd.
Question for all the bull riders: Would they let their sons grow up to be bull riders?
Wiley Petersen: "Golf."
Then they got down to choosing bulls for the last time. After Round Seven, it goes back to a draw, so the 15 riders who survive to the Short Round are left to let fate decide which animal thrashes them around the arena.
With his Round Six win, Justin McBride had first choice, and once again left the pick to PBR livestock director Cody Lambert. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," he said, and gave in to Lambert's pick, Pearl Snap. Next, Chris Shivers took Walk the Line and Robson Palermo picked Ricky Bobby.
Cates explained that he was deliberating between the Iceman and Maverick — "I guess I've been watching a little 'Top Gun' — before going with Maverick. Valdiron de Oliveira went with Outsider, Brian Canter tabbed Chester and Zack Brown made up for a botched pick in Round One by choosing the bull he wanted then, Carillo Cartel.
Ednei Caminhas, in picking Wrangler's Rock Star, described the back injury he received the night before: "From 1 to 100, I have 120 pain in my back."
Picking before his last day as a PBR rider, Adriano Moraes went with Grey Dog. "I'm going to feel like a superman for one more night," he said.
Picking 39th, J.B. Mauney went with Bad Blood. "I'm a little mad from tonight," he said, "but tomorrow's another day."