FORT WORTH, Texas - Throughout his career, Chris Shivers lit up the leaderboard more than 90 times with scores of 90 points of more.
In 2001, on the opening night of an event in St. Louis, he lit up the ground around him - literally.
Shivers nodded and Palace Station Express spun around right in front of the gate, where moments earlier, flames from the rider introductions had been burning. In one of the most crowd-rousing moments in PBR history, the flames flamed up around the pair, as Shivers rode him for 90.5 points.
"They just stirred up the dirt where that fuel was and it ignited again," recalled Cody Lambert, who was judging that particular event.
Two-time World Champion Justin McBride said, "It was cool," before Lambert finished his original thought, "Every time he'd hit the dirt it would fan the flame."
McBride, a longtime admirer of Shivers' style, added, "It jacked everybody up. Everybody was whooping and hollering."
The flames, which Lambert described as cosmetic, were more like bright flashes that burned out as quickly as the 8-second ride was over with. They weren't hot - or else the bull would have run off into the arena - and neither Shivers nor Palace Station Express, formerly known as Doctor X, were even aware of the exciting show.
However, when asked what he first thought when he saw the flames, Lambert joked, "Don't get bucked off."
Shivers didn't buck off the entire event, going a perfect 3-for-3. To go along with his 90.5 points in the first round, he was 93.5 points in Round 2 and again in the championship round, on Diamond Cut and Panhandle Slim, respectively.
"There for a while, every time the gate opened, you expected him to be 90 points, or at least I did anyway."
It was quintessential Shivers in the prime of his career. Shivers will be inducted into the Ring of Honor later this year, along with fellow Louisiana native Bubba Dunn.
"Yeah, that was Chris Shivers in his prime and that's what he did," said McBride, who still marvels at one of the best events of Shivers' illustrious career.
"There for a while, every time the gate opened, you expected him to be 90 points, or at least I did anyway. He was that exciting to watch and he could make a decent bull look really good."
He then explained, "Bulls buck better with Chris. They buck better with guys that size.
"Sure Chris looks exciting on them, but bulls buck way better with Chris than they do Adriano [Moraes]. There's no doubt about it. Think about it. There's 50 pounds difference. On race horses, three pounds makes a difference."
It came as no surprise to see Shivers atop the leader board.
His 90-point rides were just three of 11 during the St. Louis event that year.
PBR fans will have an opportunity to watch the St. Louis event from 2001 Wednesday night on RFD-TV, as part of the new series "PBR 20/20" at 8 p.m. ET.
Because of the rare hat trick completed by Shivers - it's only been done one other time by Renato Nunes - several historic rides have almost become an afterthought.
Gilbert Carrillo rode Perfect Storm for 96 points in the final round and Ty Murray covered Blueberry Wine for 93.5 points.
McBride, who rode Millennium for 93 points, had forgotten about Carrillo's ride until Lambert reminded him.
"I got on Millenium, which is about one of the nicest bulls you could ever want to get on, and Adriano got on one of the hardest bulls that you could ever want to get on - Bone Collector," McBride said. "I rode all my bulls, and I only won fourth. It was a tough event. I remember that."
Ednei Caminhas rode Clayton's Pet for 92.5 points and earlier in the event, he scored 90 points on Candyman.
Terry Don West was 92 points on Promise Land, as well Cody Hart on Moody Blues, while Mores was 90.5 points on Bone Collector.
Lambert noted that it's easy for judges to mark the top bulls when they buck riders off. However, in an event like this, where bulls are being marked 22 and 23 points in the championship round, and riders are staying on, it becomes a bit more difficult.
For instance, he said that McBride dominated Millennium, whereas Murray got into "a little trouble near the end," and yet Murray was marked a half-point higher than McBride because Blueberry Wine was harder to ride - despite not being as flashy.
"I was judging the event and it was fun because you had to use all your points. It was fun because there was something special there and they all didn't look the same."
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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