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16Sep/20

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

30Aug/20

Digital performance drives growth for Rank Group

first_imgShare Submit Rank Group extends support for Carers Trust July 28, 2020 Rank Group has praised further growth across its digital division, with the group reporting growth in NGR and operating profit of 14% and 117% respectively.Publishing its interim results for the six months ended 31 December 2019, Rank attributed the 10% year-on-year lift in net gaming revenue (NGR) to the progress made on the group’s transformation programme.John O’Reilly, Chief Executive of The Rank Group Plc, said: “We are pleased with The Group’s first half performance which demonstrates that the transformation programme is delivering the right results.“The revenue growth in our digital business and across our Grosvenor and Enracha venues shows that we are moving in the right direction in key areas of our business. We remain on track and are confident in our ability to deliver operational and financial improvements underscored by a relentless commitment to delivering exciting, entertaining and safe gambling environments and experiences for our customers.“The successful integration of Stride into our business will ensure that we benefit from strong synergies, proprietary technology and a first-class digital team, all of which will position us well for the second half of the year. These are a good set of numbers and are a testament to our committed and talented colleagues across the Group who have worked hard to deliver them.”Digital performed strongly in the half with LFL NGR having risen by 14%, driven by the performance of the Mecca and Grosvenor brands. Mecca’s NGR grew by 13% in the first half of the year, which has largely been driven by customer journey improvements and strong promotional activity.Meanwhile, strong growth in Grosvenor’s active customer base helped deliver a 21% increase in Grosvenor’s NGR during the period, with 33% of Grosvenor’s revenue coming through Grosvenor One.As part of the chief executive review, O’Reilly explained that the push for safer gambling has been a big focus for Rank: “During the first half, we finalised the Group’s safer gambling workstream, with an initial focus on enhanced training for colleagues, review of customer messaging, continued development of our affordability and propensity models, the introduction of machine limits and tighter entry controls within Grosvenor venues,” he said.“The successful integration of Stride is a key priority for the Group with the project now falling within the transformation programme’s framework to ensure the benefits from combining Stride’s and Rank’s digital businesses are maximised.“Work continues on creating a safer environment for all our customers. For our digital channel, an affordability model was introduced to help risk score all of Rank’s digital customers with the aim of seeking to ensure that customers are playing within their means.“For our UK venues, length of play and loss limit customer alerts were introduced across our gaming machine products. We are trialling ID scanning technology within our Grosvenor venues and expect to roll this out across the estate in the second half of the year, further tightening entry controls into our casinos.” StumbleUpon Share John O’Reilly – Erratic orders have placed UK casinos on life support August 4, 2020 Rank outlines plans to reopen Grosvenor venues July 22, 2020 Related Articleslast_img read more