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Meet Bryan Titman: a star of Syracuse’s professional bull riding return

first_imgMore than half an hour before they let the bulls loose, a few men in different colored 10-gallon hats swarmed the cages that enclosed their enemy and their ally. In The Oncenter Friday, where there usually sits an ice hockey rink, the darkness gave the dirt a reddish tint. Aerial lights cut through the ground.Amidst the chaos, one of the bull riders at the Professional Bull Riders Velocity Tour: Syracuse Showdown, Bryan Titman, popped five peanut M&M’s into his mouth. He doesn’t know when his pre-ride snack started, but at some point it parlayed into significant results.Even as a star in a sport at the pinnacle of spectacle, introduced Friday by fire shows, blaring music and moderated by a wise-cracking man in clown makeup, Titman is dedicated to his routine, his training, his preparation. A good day and a bad day both end launched to the dirt by a disturbed animal. But he knows he can’t slow down, so he maintains the same mindset on the ground as on the bull: Those who hang around the longest go the furthest.“If you can’t push past it,” Titman said, “you better stop.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textJoe Hostetler grips onto his bull rope as his bull launches out of the bucking chute.Corey Henry | Photo EditorOn Friday, 39 bull riders hoped to conquer the eight-second threshold set for the night of competition. A lively Syracuse crowd experienced an event that hasn’t graced the city since 2008. They were introduced to the new stars of the sport, including Titman, who has been riding for 28 years.Titman, now 31, was born into a lineage of bull riders. So at three years old he hopped on his first sheep, worked his way toward a small bull and became a professional rider in 2011. Titman was compelled in the same way many are: Breaking down how something so chaotic can be so well kept. He had seen his family do it, but he thought he could be better.“They were nowhere near as good as I am,” Titman joked the day before the event.In 2006, a woman named Kaitlynn noticed Titman at a club dancing in a different way. He asked her to dance and the two of them exchanged phone numbers. She didn’t want to tell him at the time, but when she was 10, she told her parents she’d marry a bull rider.They rarely texted in the two years that followed, many of the exchanges developed the same way.“Who is this?” Kaitlynn would text.“It’s Bryan, the bull rider,” he responded.Alex Jenks slides off the bull’s back as he loses his grip.Corey Henry | Photo EditorBut in 2008, he and his future wife Kaitlynn Titman went on their first date. She was introduced to many of the quirks and superstitions Bryan has. He doesn’t lift weights, keeps his hat on his bed during competition season and washes his clothes based on his performance in training. The night before matches, he sits in front of his TV and remains totally still, making sure to stay clean and neat.Those superstitions help him stay invested even as things go awry, he said. Since Kaitlynn and Titman have been together, Kaitlynn has been at every match when he’s gotten majorly hurt. In 2012, he broke his hip and pelvis. Titman required an airlift to Houston after traveling in an ambulance was deemed too dangerous.Doctors said he should sit out a year. But Titman returned in six months. Now, wear and tear of some weekends have morphed his training into idle time and Epsom salt baths. He does the occasional cardio, but strength has never been an issue.“When he’s able, he’ll go get on practice bulls,” Kaitlynn said. “But that’s really it.”Dakota Louis removes his helmet after his ride that gained him an 8 ranked spot.Corey Henry | Photo EditorWhen it comes time for the event, Titman tries to relax. Friday, he waited on the peak of the wall as the bull riders entered the arena. Titman, along with three others, were featured riders of the night. In a sport littered with inconsistencies and bad showings, he was one of the must-sees.Titman said when things are going good on the bull, everything feels slow. He can breathe, hear the music, take in the crowd. But after Titman’s bull let loose Friday, for both he and the crowd, it went fast. He bucked off in 5.17 seconds. As the bull continued to pounce, Titman crawled away from danger. When the scene settled, he placed his hands on his hips.He peered up toward the video board and watched a replay. Kaitlynn said he does a lot of analysis of bulls and techniques. When the video ended, his head tilted down. Titman has had better days, and every time he fails he knows he’ll have better days in front of him. It’s that assurance that compels him each time to jump on the back of an animal that doesn’t want him there: When it’s time to perform, he just has to do it.He nodded his head, walked off the concourse and started his preparation to get back up on the back of a bull again. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 26, 2019 at 12:05 am Contact Michael: mmcclear@syr.edu | @MikeJMcClearylast_img read more


Stakeholders outline positions in response to new pro League report

first_imgThe responses of three major stakeholders to the New League Working Group (NLWG) report and recommendations, delivered to the FFA last Sunday, indicates that consensus is still some way off on the alternative model for the professional leagues: A-League, W-League and Y-League.Whilst all agree that a new model is required, a final form has yet to be agreed to and as a result, the NLWG has extended the time frame for formalising the model to 31 June, 2019.The FFA released the NLWG report last Tuesday and it contained the following five key principles:* That a new and separate professional leagues entity must have in regard to the best interests of Australian football as a whole;* The new League’s entity would be responsible for the professional football leagues including, but not limited to, the A-League, W-League and Y-League;* The new entity would be autonomous and separate from Football Federation Australia (FFA);* The League’s entity would offer the clubs greater responsibility and encouragement to invest in order to commercialise and to grow the professional game as a part of and for the benefit of Australian football; and* The new League’s entity should foster the development of the leagues and, through the leagues, football in Australia by providing the pathway for Australian footballers to an elite level and, ultimately, Australian national teams.The NLWG acknowledged that more time was needed for the various stakeholders to negotiate and work out the detail of “legal, commercial and regulatory arrangements needed to put these principles into effect.”The positions of the various stakeholders around some of these issues have come to light in response to the FFA’s release of the NLWG report on Tuesday. In response, the Member State Federations released a nine page document outlining their Professional League Principles under the over-arching vision which it calls “the Good of the Australian Game.”READ MORE: How an Independent A-League will affect clubs like South MelbourneThe Member Federations go on to “acknowledge the benefits of an entity dedicated solely to the governance, operation and commercialisation of the professional leagues, so long as that entity is wholly integrated, duty-bound and equally committed with all stakeholders to developing Australian football as its core purpose and objective.”However, even though there is support for the new entity, which they name League Co, as an independent and self governing organisation, they tellingly advocate the inclusion of FFA as a majority membership stakeholder with an entitlement to proceeds from sale or commercial gain arising from League Co assets. They also advocate that FFA is to have representation on the governing board of the League Co and its committees and working groups.In contrast, the A-League clubs responded to the NLWG report with another forceful warning about the precarious state of the professional game and the need to establish an independent Professional League structure, although he was short on detail as to what this looks like other than to imply that those who invest the most (club owners) should be the ones who manage the entity.“The message from the broadcaster and sponsors is clear,” Lederer said.“Our league needs to be immediately turned around and put on a growth trajectory, together with the W and Y Leagues. They must be invested in now.“The message from the A-League clubs also needs to be clearly understood. The professional game must be transformed now in order to make it something that can be invested in.“The clubs are the only investors ready to provide the capital required to see our domestic elite professional game flourish.“Combined, the clubs will lose more than $25m this year and we and the game will have little to show for it.“If we are to turn the professional game around and fulfil its potential, the clubs will need to invest more than $120m over the next four years. Only in that way can the value of the league’s broadcast rights be maintained or grown at the end of the current cycle.READ MORE: All About A-League and a whole lot more“We cannot be expected to continue to financially prop up something that we do not own and that is managed by a third party that is failing to perform.“The FFA and the stakeholders of the Australian game need to decide, and do so quickly. Do you want a domestic professional competition that maintains us as an advancing football nation? Or in four years’ time do you want to go back to the days when our elite player pathway was based entirely overseas?“That is the decision to be made in the coming weeks. The game is at a critical decision point and the clock is ticking.”Finally, the PFA ( Professional Footballers Association) CEO, John Didulica has urged the various stakeholders to work towards a compromise to avoid gridlock, urging them to consider an independent model similar to the AFL Commission, governed by a diverse board whose members provide diverse skill sets, ethnic and gender backgrounds.“The challenge is to find the right checks and balances to make sure the clubs can’t run a league in an unadulterated way working outside the interests of the broader game,” Didulica said. “That can be achieved through a number of means. If you look at an independent commission running the competition making sure that what they’re imposing on the clubs in terms of licensing, in terms of management, in terms of finding that harmony between national teams and clubs is always achieving the right balance. That’s where an independent commission.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more