From Publishers Weekly
Sportswriter Peter chronicles a year on the circuit of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) tour, yet fails to capture the excitement of the tenacious battle between man and beast. Readers meet former champ Chris Shivers, whose injuries—broken bones and worse—in 2004 prevented him from finishing in the top 10 that year; Brazilian rider Adriano Moraes, who rides atop the field all year until the final showdown in Vegas; Justin McBride, whose nickname, "McBridesmaid," indicates his perennial runner-up status; and Mike Lee, a devout Christian rider and eventual 2004 champion. Peter tells their potentially enthralling stories in a pedestrian fashion, simply narrating the details of each event on the tour. Readers also meet the bulls, like Little Yellow Jacket, who wins Bull of the Year honors for the third year in a row in Las Vegas, and their millionaire owners, and get a peek at the conflicts about the future of the PBR in the front office (like any other sport, business folks banter about athletes' contracts, sponsorships, prize money, etc.). Along the way, Peter searches for the elusive fried Twinkie, a treat none of the concessions stands on the tour even sell. (Nov.)
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*Starred Review* The argument can be made that the Professional Bull Riders Tour may be the most dangerous, least financially rewarding of all sporting endeavors. Skull fractures, punctured lungs, and destroyed knees are all relatively routine injuries. At least now there is a million-dollar payout for the overall champion each season, but even that is in deferred dollars. Peter, a sportswriter for the New Orleans Times-Picayune
, spent the 2004 season with the PBR tour and offers a penetrating portrait of a sport that stands at that awkward stage between minor league and national acceptance. The riders represent many nations besides America--some say Troy Dunn, an Australian, was the best ever--and Peter gives a glimpse into many of their lives. Much space is devoted to defending champion Justin McBride, a media darling with his boyish good looks who is only now realizing that the toughest part of being a champ is staying a champ. The book's title? Fried Twinkies are a genuine but rare concession delicacy, and buckle bunnies are the young ladies who curry the favor of the young macho men who ride the bulls. This is a tough book to walk away from. The icon of book-length sports journalism, John Feinstein, would be proud to include it in his body of work. It's that good. Wes LukowskyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved