Game Notes - Lethbridge
By: Kacie Albert Friday, March 1, 2019 @ 9:13 AM
WELCOME TO LETHBRIDGE – This weekend, for the first time in tour history, PBR Canada’s Monster Energy Tour will travel to Lethbridge, Alberta for the Bridge City Chrysler/LA Towing PBR Challenge at the ENMAX Centre. The event begins on Friday, March 1 at 7:00 p.m. MST and concludes on Saturday, March 2 at 7:00 p.m. MST.
HIGH STAKES – This year the PBR’s Executive Competition Committee (ECC) approved a revised PBR world points system pertaining to the Velocity Tour and International Tour events for the 2019 season and beyond. International Cup events in Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico will now award 170 world points to the winner.
With the increased points available, the stakes are raised for the Lethbridge event, with seven riders in position to possibly earn a berth or alternate position to next weekend’s Unleash The Beast event in Duluth, Georgia. For the trio of Tanner Byrne, Shay Marks and Dayton Johnston and event win would mean climbing into the Top 35 and a possible position next weekend on the elite tour:
Byrne is currently No. 38 in the world and would rise to No. 18
Marks is currently No. 42 and would rise to No. 21
Johnston is currently No. 70 and would rise to No. 31
For another four riders, Garrett Green, Jared Parsonage, Zane Lambert and Lonnie West, the world points earned for the win would put them all within 30 points of the Top 35.
Green is currently No. 83 and would rise to No. 36, just 2.5 points outside of the Top 35
Parsonage is currently No. 91 and would rise to No. 39, just 17.5 points outside of the Top 35
Lambert is currently No. 96 and would rise to No. 40, just 20 points outside of the Top 35
West is currently No. 98 and would rise to No. 40, just 27.5 points outside of the Top 35
CHALLENGE OF CHAMPIONS – Following the first round of the Lethbridge event, fans will witness the Challenge of Champions. In the special out, the top-ranked rider from Round 1 will get the opportunity to attempted reigning PBR Canada Bull of the Year Happy Camper for the chance at $2,500.
TEAM CANADA – Many of the riders who rode for Team Canada at the most recent edition of the inaugural PBR Global Cup in Arlington, Texas will compete for the first time since the sixth-place finish this weekend in Lethbridge. The draw will include Aaron Roy, who made history as the first rider to both coach and compete, Lonnie West, Tanner Byrne, Zane Lambert and Jared Parsonage.
MILLION DOLLAR MAN – After earning $6,687.50 inside AT&T Stadium at the PBR Global Cup USA, Aaron Roy made history as the first Canadian in PBR history to eclipse the $1 million mark in career earnings. With his total now at $1,002,486.57, Roy is the 39th rider overall in PBR history to reach the milestone. Last year Roy made the second comeback of his career, competing for the first time since fracturing his femur during Round 1 of the 2016 PBR World Finals. The Lethbridge stop marked the first event of his return where he went 1-for-2 to finish 16th. Roy notably covered his first bull upon return, covering Big Deal for 81.5 points inside the ENMAX Centre. In 2018, Roy earned three event wins, including his career-first Monster Energy Tour victory in Edmonton, along with 13 Top-10 efforts, capping the year with a fifth-place effort at the 2018 PBR Canadian Finals. Thus far in 2019, Roy has ridden at the Canadian Monster Energy Tour stop in Winnipeg, bucked off by Blue Blood in a close 7.13 seconds.
HOME-PROVINCE FAVORITES – This weekend, 15 of the 22 entered Canadians will be competing in front of a home province crowd: Logan Biever (Claresholm), Cawl Braithwaite (Bluffton), Riley Gagnon (Innisfail), Wyatt Gleeson (Sundre), Garrett Green (Meeting Creek), Dayton Johnston (Milk River), Klayton Lakevold (Provost), Zane Lambert (Ponoka), Wyatt Laughlin (Lundbreck), Shay Marks (Sunny Brook), Mike Ostashek (Edson), Chase Thielen (Milk River), Lonnie West (Cadogan), Billy West (Cadogan) and Cole Young (Fairview). Among the contingent, Johnston and Thielen will be riding less than one hour from home. Johnston notably made his PBR debut in 2017 at the Canadian Touring Pro Division stop in Lethbridge. While he was unable to make the 8 inside the ENMAX Centre, Johnston won the very next event he entered in Teepee Creek, going a flawless 2-for-2. Thus far in 2019, Johnston is ranked No. 10 in the national standings, notably finishing fifth at the Canadian Monster Energy Tour season-launch event in Winnipeg. The Milk River native also finished 17th on the Velocity Tour in Reno, Nevada, when he traveled stateside in January.
MARKS WINS WINNIPEG – After reconstructive shoulder surgery sidelined Shay Marks for the majority of the past two seasons, the Sunny Brook, Alberta rider made his 2019 debut in electric fashion, capturing the first Monster Energy Tour event win of his career, victorious in Winnipeg. As one of three riders to go a perfect 2-for-2, Marks tied for both the Round 1 and championship round wins courtesy of his 84.5-point trip on Tom Petty and 86.5-point ride on Baja Midnight. The win earned Marks 510 Canadian points and propelled him to the top of the national standings. Following his win, Marks travelled stateside competing at three Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour events in the United States. At his first event of the season stateside, Marks covered his Round 1 draw in Knoxville, Bout Time, for 81 points, however did not advance to the championship round. After getting shutout in Jacksonville the next weekend, Marks earned world points last weekend in Worcester, Massachusetts where he finished 7th to collect 2.5 points. His Top 10 effort was earned via an 84.5-point trip aboard Hurricane Tested. In the world standings, Marks is currently No. 42, just 55 points outside of the Top 35 and a berth onto the elite Unleash The Beast.
SEEING DOUBLE – In Lethbridge, fans will have the opportunity to witness a rare occurrence of brothers competing side-by-side as Lonnie and Billy West are both slated to ride at this weekend’s event inside the ENMAX Centre. For younger brother Lonnie, the 2019 season began on the elite Unleash The Beast for the Cadogan native. At the season-launch in New York City, Lonnie finished 26th and just three weeks later earned a 14th place effort in Glendale and 16th place finish in Sacramento. He last competed in Arlington, Texas as a member of Team Canada at the third leg of the inaugural Global Cup. For eldest brother Billy, he has ridden at just one event in 2019, bucked off by Uptown Funk in Round 1 in 4.23 seconds.
VENTURING SOUTH – Since the last Canadian Monster Energy Tour event in Winnipeg, Canuck rider Cawl Braithwaite has been active in the United States on the Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour. First riding in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Braithwaite covered Neon Dreams for 84.5 points to propel himself to a sixth place finish. The Top 10 effort earned him 20 points towards the PBR world standings. He next rode in Edinburg, Texas, where he again used a Round 1 ride to propel him to a Top 10 effort. After making the 8 on Time to Shine for 85.5 points, he finished tied for seventh, collecting 2.5 world points. His success, however, came to an end in Jacksonville where he was bucked off by Blame It on the Whiskey in 3.69 seconds.
PREVIOUSLY IN LETHBRIDGE – While this year’s event will mark the first time PBR Canada’s Monster Energy Tour has visited Lethbridge, the league’s developmental Touring Pro Division has a rich history in the city. Last season, Garrett Green used a 2-for-2 performance in front of a near-capacity crowd to win the event inside the ENMAX Centre. After entering the event No. 24 in the Canadian national standings, Green left Lethbridge the No. 1 ranked rider in the nation. For Green, the victory was the second of his career in Lethbridge. The Meeting Creek, Alberta native had previously won the stop in 2016 as one of three riders to go 2-for-2. In 2017, Jordan Hansen swept the top two spots at the event, finishing first and second to edge out Lonnie West who was the only other rider to cover both of his bulls.
BULL PEN – This weekend, reigning PBR Canada Bull of the Year Happy Camper will make his 2019 debut. For the Two Bit Bucking Bulls bovine athlete his debut will come in front of a hometown crowd, hailing from nearby Magrath, Alberta. Happy Camper notably bucked last season at both nights of the Lethbridge event, recording the top bull score each night. In 2018, Happy Camper had a record year, earning a league-best three bull of the event titles, including in Saskatoon for the Canadian Finals. Outside of the PBR, Happy Camper was also the high-marked bull of the Calgary Stampede after he earned a career-best 46.5-point bull score for his 4-second buckoff of Marcos Gloria.
NEXT UP – PBR Canada’s Monster Energy Tour will next travel to Calgary, Alberta and the Nutrien Western Event Centre for the Calgary Classic. The two-day event begins on Friday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. MST and concludes on Saturday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m. MST.
PROVIDING PROTECTION – The bullfighters on hand for this weekend’s event in Winnipeg are Bo Byrne, Greg Loring Jr. and Ty Prescott.
RIDEPASS COVERAGE – Fans will be able to watch the action in its entirety live via PBR’s new streaming digital platform RidePass. Coverage of the Bridge City Chrysler/LA Towing PBR Challenge will begin at 9:00 p.m. ET.
LETHBRIDGE COMPETITORS BY COUNTRY
Brazil (1) –Italo Aguilar Goncalves
Canada (22) – Logan Biever, Cawl Braithwaite, Tanner Byrne, Todd Chotowetz, Riley Gagnon, Jake Gardner, Wyatt Gleeson, Garrett Green, Dayton Johnston, Klayton Lakevold, Zane Lambert, Wyatt Laughlin, Tim Lipsett, Shay Marks, Mike Ostashek, Jared Parsonage, Aaron Roy, Jackson Scott, Chase Thielen, Lonnie West, Billy West, Cole Young
United States (7) – Cody Casper, Weston Hartman, Jake Lockwood, Dakota Louis, Kache Moosman, Dalton Rudman, Thor Hoefer II
BREAKDOWN BY PROVINCE –
Alberta – Logan Biever, Cawl Braithwaite, Riley Gagnon, Wyatt Gleeson, Garrett Green, Dayton Johnston, Klayton Lakevold, Zane Lambert, Wyatt Laughlin, Shay Marks, Mike Ostashek, Chase Thielen, Lonnie West, Billy West, Cole Young; British Columbia – Jake Gardner, Jackson Scott; Saskatchewan – Tanner Byrne, Todd Chotowetz, Tim Lipsett, Jared Parsonage, Aaron Roy.