Shivers riding into spotlight

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 7, 2001

Professional bullriding is getting big in these United States. Just is, that’s all. So much of it is televised is one reason it’s catching on. Locally, Chris Shivers is another reason. Chris is a Miss-Lou rider of national renown, a young 22-year-old PBR daredevil from Jonesville, just across the Mississippi from Natchez. He’s the man about town in the Jonesville-Ferriday-Vidalia area, and he got that way by being one of the top riders on the PBR Circuit.

One of these days I hope to run into Chris eating at Jackie’s Restaurant in Jonesville.

Only a few nights ago, Chris rode in a St. Louis PBR meet that was re-run for TV audiences last weekend. He finished on top, too – raking in the $37,000 prize after riding all three of his Bulls and scoring in the 90s each time. Chris’ likeness aboard a big, bad white Bull graces the outside front page of a 2000 Pro Bullrider magazine, and get this: he’s dubbed &uot;Sensational Shivers,&uot; and hailed as &uot;2000 PBR Bud Light Cup World Champion.&uot;

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Officially in the 2000 PBR Bud Light Cup standings, Chris was No. 1 in points with 9,138.5, in front of Ty Murray with 7,952.5 The 5-foot-three-inch, 135-pound Shivers rode 41 of 66 Bulls mounted in competition or 62.1 percent of the time. Murray rode at a 63.1 percent clip, but he didn’t ride as well as often as Chris – Murray’s stats were 27 events, 65 attempts, and 41 successful rides.

Chris, incidentally, finished second behind Tater Porter in money winnings last year with a &uot;mere&uot; $351,534 (Porter was at $412,090). Chris is young but frugal. It’s my understanding that he’s investing much of his money in land, and already owner of a place or two near Jonesville. His career earnings top a million dollars. My friend Ellis Crooks of Vidalia subscribes to the PBR Bullriding publication, and I was privileged to scan one. Ellis has even attended some of the PBR events, and he really goes for the action. To him – and all in the Miss-Lou knowledgeable of Chris Shivers’ success in the competition – Chris is a local hero.

I buy that, I guarantee!

HURRIED HASH…USM’s Golden Eagles and the Ole Miss Rebels kept their eye on the roundball last week, and victories spelled good tournament seedings. USM first dispatched USF 83-77, nailing down Conference-USA’s No. 2 seeding and a share of the league title with Cincinnati. And today in Louisville the Eagles face the St. Louis-Houston winner for the right to advance. Ole Miss won a key game, trouncing Alabama 105-71 in a victory that earned them perhaps a higher national ranking, the SEC West title outright (Arkansas was in it too), and a good tournament seeding, which happens to be No. 1. The Rebels rest while others get after it today in Nashville. This should be a great tournament, and the Rebels – picked originally to finish last in the West – hold their own fate. The Mississippi State Bulldogs are involved in March Madness as well. They handled South Carolina 77-73 in last Saturday’s SEC Tournament tuneup at Starkville. Antonio Jackson and Tang Hamilton celebrated their last game at home by pouring in 18 and 23 points, respectively, for the Bulldogs. State coach Rick Stansbury has pretty good reason to believe his Dogs are on track to perhaps better things.

Glenvall Estes is a longtime sports columnist for The Democrat.