By TRACY HACKLER | BECKETT MEDIA EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Never in my career did I think I’d have the occasion to write this about a sports card product: I discovered one today that made me wish I still dipped Copenhagen snuff.
That’s a good thing. I really loved Copenhagen snuff.
To be honest, I chuckled Wednesday afternoon when Press Pass’ Nick Matijevich presented me with a two-box preview of his company’s newest release. My first reaction? “Don’t give me that bull.” My subsequent reactions? “Give me this bull. And that one over there. And that one, too, the one they call ‘Chicken on a Chain.’ ”
Indeed, by the time our packs had been busted, not only did I want all of the bulls in Press Pass’ new 8 Seconds Professional Bull Riders set, I also wanted all of its bull riders, bullfighters, entertainers, on-card autographs and memorabilia cards.
That’s no bull.
For any number of reasons, a gimmicky product I expected absolutely nothing from and knew absolutely nothing about bucked me as quickly and as wildly as any cowboy who’s had the misfortune of mounting Code Blue in the chute. (According to the back of his Press Pass card, Code Blue has been successfully ridden exactly zero times in 14 tries.)
It’s abundantly clear from the look, feel and content of the set that Press Pass officials approached the project with the utmost respect. As a result, they equipped it with everything you’d hope a successful new brand would have, including an attractive design, on-card autographs, unique memorabilia cards, hits aplenty and, well, cards of bulls.
Aesthetically, 8 Seconds delivers a rugged, authentically western feel that would be completely out of place in any other sport but feels as comfortable as three-year-old Wranglers here. Speaking of, there are event-used jean cards in this set, not to mention cards featuring pieces of shirts, hats and riding vests.
But easily the most rewarding thing about 8 Seconds’ memorabilia cards – many of which feature fabrics and patterns rarely seen in sports cards today – are the backs, which include photos of the respective swatch-yielding subjects intact, as they appeared before being cut. That’s an extra-mile touch that hasn’t been utilized in many years, as is the usage of different color photos of each subject on the back of every card.
Press Pass also stayed true to its roots by incorporating on-card autographs complete with Red Ink inscriptions. Each box of the product should deliver three autographs and three memorabilia cards.
Regardless of how you feel about the set’s subject matter, as a collector, you have to appreciate the reverence with which 8 Seconds was created. Given the seemingly limited, but rapidly growing, national appeal of PBR trading cards, it would’ve been easy for Press Pass to mail in the development of this product. Instead, company officials saddled up and crafted a refreshing new addition to the sports card landscape.
I just hope collector reaction isn’t the equivalent of drawing Code Blue in the first round. A quality product like this deserves to be here for a lot longer than just eight seconds.