Let the record show that I have never ridden a bull. Let the record further show that I hope the previous six words appear as a quote from me in my obituary. If they don’t, there’s a pretty good chance you don’t have to keep reading it to find out the cause of death.
While I’m still on the record, it should be noted that I’m not anti-bull or even averse to bull riding as a hobby or vocation. In fact, I heartily admire the folks who endeavor to remain seated some eight seconds after the chute opens. You think your life has its ups and downs …
Their life has something most of the rest of us can only imagine: virtually unparalleled bravery. They also possess something else to which many of the remainder of us can only aspire: an unmatched ability to keep getting up no matter how many times they’ve fallen. As life metaphors go, I can think of few more inspirational than the routine of the bull rider. Down, up, down, up, down again, up again … those people are remarkably driven by a passion that makes them refuse to stay down. Maybe it’s something genetic. Maybe they were just “brought up” well. Whatever the case, you would have to look long and far to find persistence personified any better.
This month, that quality will be on display in spades at AT&T Stadium. The best of the best bull riders will congregate in our fair burg to determine the last man sitting. The PBR World Finals is the Super Bowl of bull riding, but instead of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at the conclusion of the competition, this month’s winner will wear the coveted gold buckle. Oh, and he will walk away $1 million richer than he was when he arrived in town. That probably should be noted.
The event is chronicled in our cover story this month on page 28. After you read it you will not only know more about the World Final and the sport; you’ll meet the principals vying to become known as king of the arena. Given where the PBR World Final is being held this year, that’s some arena.
Speaking of kings of arenas, this month we’re also spotlighting local versions of the best of the best – kings and queens (and even some institutions) – as deemed by our editorial team. This is the second year of our Editors’ Choice Awards, and I urge you to turn to page 30 to see who we’ve selected.
You likely have already taken a liking to most of them – that’s one of the reasons we chose them. And I fully expect that you might take exception to a selection or two dozen, but that’s OK. The truth is: Our region is full of greatness, and it is nigh impossible to give everyone his or her due whenever we reveal our selections.
This, however, is not nigh impossible: We fully plan to have a third annual Editors’ Choice Awards edition this time next year, if just to spur and continue the conversation. Spoiler alert: It’s highly unlikely I will win the bull riding category.