The Morning Line – Saskatoon – Day 1
By: Ted Stovin Friday, November 22, 2019 @ 7:50 AM
SASKATOON, Saskatchewan – I thought last year’s race was close, and it was, but this year things have increased to a whole new level.
Last year coming into Saskatoon, three riders entered the finals within 100 points of each other. This time around, No. 2 Dakota Buttar only trails No. 1 Jared Parsonage by 32.49 points. For both of the past two years since the points system in Canada changed, our finals champion has earned the Canadian Finals event title. In 2017, Zane Lambert however split the victory with Mexico’s Edgar Durazo.
With as many points that are on the line at these Finals, I wouldn’t doubt we see that happen again.
There are four rounds of competition over two nights with Rounds 1 and 2 taking place on Friday. On Saturday the night begins with all 20 riders competing in Round 3 for their spot in the ten-man championship round. Round 3’s order will be set by a bull draft at the end of the opening night of competition, with riders selecting their bulls via their order of finish in Round 2.
With the event winner set to collect $17,500, and the 2019 Champion an unprecedented $50,000 bonus, a massive 2,250 national points are potentially available if a rider were to win every round and the aggregate. First place in each round is worth 250 points and first in the aggregate checks in at 1,250 points.
Technically, every rider competing this weekend has a chance at the finals, however, in my opinion, only the Top 6 are really in the conversation, but anything is possible. Those six are within the range of 1,250 points. As for world points, we can’t forget that the event champion here will earn 270 points towards the 2020 standings.
On the other side of the game are our Bull of the Year contenders. This year there’s a new format with five PBR Canada outsaveraged with one trip at the finals to decide our champion.
On Day 1 we see Bull of the Year contender Rhythm & Blues take on Dayton Johnston in the first out of the night; Tom Petty faces Australia’s Lane Mellers in Round 2; Thor Hoefer takes on Uptown Funk in Round 2; Zane Lambert has Buck Nasty in Round 2 and both Two Bit buckers in the race, Happy Camper and Catch My Drift may add a trip as the re-rides in Round 2.
Check out my thoughts below on our Top 5 contenders. Always know if you can’t be in Saskatoon you can follow along with live scoring at PBRCanada.com/daysheet or via RidePass. Even the standings update after each round if you want to keep an eye on who our champion might be come Saturday night.
Jordan Hansen vs. 400 Grizz
Ridden once in seven outs, Grizz from Vold Rodeo is a big rodeo looking bull that’s white with a rather large set of horns on him. That one score wasn’t huge, but it was back in Czar in July. Grizz started around to left then went straight for a couple. Marks on the bull side have been as high as 44.5 points, that was in Stavely on Labour Day at the Glen Keeley Memorial. Jordan rides as well as anyone here and will ride this bull, it’s just for a matter of how many points.
Daylon Swearingen vs. 314 Twist of Barbwire
I’m calling this my Round 1 winner right now. With nine rides to his credit in 30 outs, Twist of Barbwire is one of the best bulls to have in Round 1 in my opinion. For a guy like Daylon who made both the PBR World Finals and Wrangler NFR this year, he should ride this bull every time. Last month in Edmonton, Hansen put up 86 points on the Thompson Rodeo bovine. They rode the bull both trips he had on the elite tour in Minneapolis at the start of October of this year. Even though this bull started in 2017, he’s been ridden eight times in the past year since Radford rode him here last year at the finals in Saskatoon in Round 3 on Saturday night. Look for the spurs to fly and score to be high.
Shay Marks vs. L11 Broken Trigger
This is a rematch from Lethbridge this year. The score there was 79.5 points on the Monster Energy Tour. Ridden 13 times in 33 outs, Broken Trigger from Skori Bucking Bulls is one of the most experienced in the pen. For Shay’s sake, third in the nation, he’s going to be hoping for a higher score this time around. The good news is that Jackson Scott was 86 on this bull last month in Grande Prairie. Shay needs to be ready for the change up here to ensure he gets the whistle.
Dakota Buttar vs. 212 Mish Mash
The tough part about this draw is that Mish Mash from Vold Rodeo is already hard to ride and even if he gets the whistle, which he most likely will, he might not win the round. This one isn’t the most-flashy so hopefully Dakota flashes him up a bit. When you ride as good as this guy though you can do that sort of thing. The highest score on Mish Mash so far in PBR competition is 86.5 points. He’s been ridden just six times in 28 outs on record at ProBullStats.com, but should go left which is advantage Buttar.
Jared Parsonage vs. 421 Finning Hou’s Deacon
Hou’s Deacon from Flying Four should go to the right, away from Jared’s hand. Ridden eight times in 20 outs, the most recent score was an 86 by No. 7 man in Canada Jake Gardner in Edmonton. With this title coming down to the finals, it’s definitely an advantage for Parsonage who stays on a ton of bulls. This should be a great way to get his weekend started.
Brock Radford vs. 174 Blow Me Away
I didn’t talk about Brock’s matchup in Round 1, I planned to only write about the Top 5 in both rounds, but this showdown stood out too much to not say something. Blow Me Away from Vold Rodeo is actually a bull that was born and raised by former bull rider Tanner Allemand right here in Saskatoon. With only four rides in 20 outs, he looks like a bull that could be rode more, but there sure doesn’t seem to be a very big sweet spot on him. Parsonage rode him for 87 points in Calgary at the Stampede and our two-time and reigning World Champ Jess Lockwood made one of the coolest rides I’ve ever seen at the Ranchman’s for an 89, propelling him to an event win and $25,000 check. Blow Me Away is likely going left and looks to have a lot of timing if a guy is in the right spot, but he will sure slam dunk a guy if he’s not. It’s a long-ways down from his back too. Good news for Brock is that only one right hander has made the whistle so far and the other three ride left-handed like he does.
Jordan Hansen vs. 434 Crank It Up
An Eno Bucking Bull with three rides in 13 outs, this little black, white-faced bull was tamed by Brazil’s Alisson de Souza for an 83.25 points in Minneapolis. This bull looks pretty waspy and bucked off Parsonage going to the right in Coronation in pretty short order back in August. In July, fellow qualifier Lane Mellers put up an 85.5-point score in Czar Lake. Again, with the way Hansen rides and his abilities, look for a score keeping this guy in the race for Saturday.
Daylon Swearingen vs. 51 Karl’s Big Orange Tractor
Currently 689.57 points back of No. 1, a pair of round wins could be a real possibility for Swearingen. Even if he gets two scores it could be a game changer in that 1,250-point aggregate on Saturday night. Ridden twice in seven outs, scores have been 86 and 86.5 points. The latter was made on the red, horned bull by Wacey Finkbeiner in Abbotsford. I like these two bulls for Daylon, now he needs to capitalize on them.
Shay Marks vs. 503 Spooky Lukie
After making an appearance at his first PBR World Finals earlier this month, Marks has an uphill battle in front of him in Round 2. Spooky Lukie from Two Bit Bucking Bulls is a familiar foe. Shay has been bucked off the white and black spotted bull twice this year already. Usually going left, which would be away from Marks’ hand, it’s one he’s going to have to ride like he’s going straight. Buttar won Medicine Hat on this bull at 88.5 points. If Marks can ride this bull and get a score, he’s going to put major pressure on Buttar and Parsonage.
Dakota Buttar vs. 517 Finning Young Trent
It’s actually been an entire year since we’ve seen Finning Young Trent in PBR competition. Last year here in Saskatoon he was one side of the only 90-point ride we saw. This bull has a lot of up and down and was real snappy in that 90 with Zane Lambert. He started right and came back around to the left. Should Dakota ride this Flying Four bull it’ll fly him right up to the top of the round and likely be a 90.
Jared Parsonage vs. 2 Double Major
This is a rematch from here in Saskatoon in 2017 where the bull won and was marked 41.5 points. Double Major is easily the most experienced in pen with 51 attempts on record. He hasn’t been ridden since July when Aaron Roy took him for an 85.5-point score. Double Major is a big red bull that’s not easy to ride, but should fit Jared this time around. Big guy, big bull, hopefully a big score.
Tickets remain available for the 2019 PBR Monster Energy Canadian Finals, presented by Dakota Dunes Casino, on November 22-23 at the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.ca.
Fans will also be able to watch all the action LIVE on RidePass. The stream will begin on both Friday, November 22 and Saturday, November 23 at 7:30 p.m CT.
Follow Ted Stovin on Twitter @TedStovin.