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Documentary Review By: Jim Weaver

It happens every October, bull riders, bulls and their fans converge on Las Vegas, Nevada to decide who's the best bull rider of the year, who gets the check for 1 Million, and who rides away looking ahead to next season.

The upcoming documentary titled Rank which will air on IFC (Independent Film Channel) on Monday, October 9th, chronicles the lives of three professional bull riders, one rodeo stock company, and one of the bull fighters (formerly known as Rodeo Clowns) during those 7 days. I'm a city boy who grew up in and around Dallas, TX and I'll be the first to admit that I don't know squat when it comes to rodeos or bull riding, but I do enjoy going to these PBR bull riding events and deeply admire the intestinal fortitude that it takes to climb up on 2000 lbs of angry animal that doesn't want you on his back. These guys have guts beyond anything I would ever dream of, although I did get roped into a steer saddling and riding event one time... but that's another story, and yet I can't help but admit to utter fascination at what these guys and their families go through in preparation for and during the 7 day event. 

To set the stage, imagine 45 of the best bull riders in the PBA with the highest point totals for the season, virtually all of them nursing some kind of wounds from minor to very serious, coming together to compete not necessarily against each other, but against the nastiest bulls in the business. These chap-wearing warriors have to ride a different bull each day for seven days, and who ever has the best combined score at the end of the competition wins the million dollars, a beautiful a gold belt buckle, and the coveted title of PBR World Champion.

The three men this documentary focuses on are Justin McBride, Mike Lee and Adriano Moraes, I won't give away who wins but if you're a big fan of the PBR you probably already know anyway. The finals chronicled here took place in October, 2004 and I must admit being completely and totally riveted to my laptop during this "ride-u-mentry". I didn't read anything about it or have any real idea of how it was done before viewing it and I think Rank is terrific. No actors, no big-throated voice guys narrating for you, the images and people tell the story beautifully. 

If you know all there is to know about bull riding, you're going to love this documentary, if you know very little about it but find it fascinating as I do, you will love this documentary.  If you hate everything that has to do with rodeo, I submit that even you would probably find out some new things that you only thought you knew about this sport.

Taking the bull by the horns might be a nice saying and all, but trust me, after watching Rank, I'm thinkin' you wanna avoid the pointy end.

Title: Rank
Debuts: IFC October 9, 2006 at 9 PM ET/10 PM PT
Running Time: 90 minutes
Directed by: John Hyams

To watch the trailer, click on the icon.

Related Links:
Official Website   

Justin McBride

Mike Lee

Adriano Moraes



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