Annual Championship Contender Zane Lambert Proves his Prowess with Top 3 Finish in 2021
By: Covy Moore Wednesday, December 8, 2021 @ 10:01 AM
AIRDRIE, Alta. – “I thought I had it.”
That was the initial sentiment from Ponoka, Alberta’s Zane Lambert when asked about his 2021 season, which saw him within one ride score of a record tying third PBR Canada Championship inside Roger’s Place in Edmonton, Alberta this November.
The two-time PBR Canada Champion was effectively in a ride off with eventual Champion Cody Coverchuk as they both stared climbed aboard the back of formidable foes during the championship round of the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals, presented by Command Tubular Products.
And for Lambert, that foe was none other than reigning PBR Canada Bucking Bull of the Year Catch My Drift.
The Two Bit Bucking Bull athlete had already gone head-to-head with Lambert three times in 2021 and five times in their total careers. Of their meetings in 2021, the first two ended in 90-point rides, while Catch My Drift finally got the better of Lambert in their last regular-season showdown, sending him to the dirt in 6.06 seconds during the Touring Pro Division event in Ponoka.
And inside the home of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, it was Catch My Drift who again proved the more dominant athletes, sending Lambert airborne at the 4.94-second mark.
As a result of the buckoff, coupled with Coverchuk’s 89.5-point effort on 2019 PBR Canada Bull of the Finals Finning Lil Shorty, Lambert was out ridden for the 2021 PBR Canada Championship. He concluded the year No. 3 in the standings, a mere 56 points behind No. 1 Coverchuk.
“I thought I had it,” Lambert repeated. “I was staying in the hunt the whole time. It was a pretty cool season. It was a little bit short and sweet. I started it off in a good spot and was able to hold that spot through the season with some good draws.”
“The good bulls, you’re not going to ride every time,” Lambert continued. “The best bulls are going to buck you off more than you ride them. I was getting ahead on him in that tally, and he just said no it’s time to buck you off.
“I respect that bull a lot. He figured out how to buck Zane off. Whether he knew it was me getting on or not. He had a lot of tough guys get on him at the end of the year, at the World Finals, he made a lot of miles. When he came back, he had those tracks and said I am not going to do that today. Kudos to that bull. I respect that bull a lot.”
When asked what the most memorable part of the season was, Lambert admitted his four matchups with Catch My Drift will always be standouts from 2021.
“That bull this year, what did I get on him four times, a couple of 90-point rides. That is pretty cool. I will remember that forever.”
Entering the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals, Lambert needed a reset.
The stoic Albertan was blanked through the six rounds of competition at the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer, Alberta just one week before the year-end PBR Canada event, as nagging injuries began to resurface.
“I went into the Finals a little bit hurt, but so did everybody else,” Lambert chronicled. “It came down to one bull. That is what I have found is the trick in this sport to winning titles, staying in the hunt and having the opportunity to be within one or two bulls.”
“I was prepared to win it, catch whomever I needed to. I maybe slipped up a bit at the end, it was in my fingertips, and it can be tough to grasp sometimes.”
The down-to-earth cowboy said being able to ride against the likes of Coverchuk, and 2020 PBR Canada Champion Dakota Buttar was special, adding that he feeds off great competitors like them.
“It was really cool to ride against Dakota, I thought he had an outstanding year, Coverchuk had an outstanding year. They both rode rank all year.”
“When you see a cool ride, I am like ‘Yeah that's cool man, bring it on, watch this.’”
“Unfortunately, it ended up with Dakota getting hurt which let some more of us slide in there and made it a tighter race,” Lambert continued. “That is the thing about bull riding, every season you just don’t know. Injuries come up with different guys. You just have to focus on you and get yourself in a position to win and try to be up there in the standings.”
For Lambert, the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals inside Roger’s Place was the second time the veteran has rode bulls in the state-of-the-art venue. He debuted in the building during the inaugural PBR Global Cup as a member of Team Canada in November 2017.
Beyond the great crowds and larger-than-life setting, Lambert said that bull riding deserves to be inside world class venues like that.
“It was really nice to be able to compete in a building that is at the top of its class in the world,” Lambert explained. “It’s fancy, it's beautiful, it was great to be able to ride there.”
“A lot of the fans love that place and are comfortable coming there too. It really has an ambiance about it. Just walking in the place is special. Putting up a couple 87s in that building is pretty cool, you will always remember those.”
Lambert echoed the sentiments of many PBR Canada competitors and contractors, heaping praise onto the division’s operational team for their efforts the past two seasons as they continued to provide a place to compete, earn and entertain.
“We have to give big kudos to 3D Bull Riding, Jason [Davidson] and Blaine [Fyson] getting us into these events and going through the hoops of COVID we have had to do the last couple years. If it wasn’t for Jason going out these last couple years and making sure we had the tools, we needed to compete safely and making it work. There are committees left right and center in all associations who said it’s just too much work, we don’t want to do that. Well, he is a problem solver. Having those guys getting us into these buildings is huge.”
As for what 2022 looks like for the veteran competitor, Lambert admitted with a laugh that had he claimed the 2021 PBR Canada Championship, he likely would have hung up his bull rope for good.
With a second son on the way with wife Stacey, he says he is going to work on enjoying the sport in 2022, traveling with his growing family and taking the time to see the sights along the way.
“I am going to enjoy it,” Lambert stated. “I am going to make sure I see some of the things we don’t always take the time to see in the different places we go. We are having another child, so they will be on the road with me a bit more, momma will be off work with the little one. You will see the family with me more, which I think is pretty cool.”
“We are setting up for a good year with a solid spring run. Then setting up for the summer where it really gets fun. Take the family and friends and go see some stuff. Try to take in as much as we can.”
And when asked what a retirement plan looks like for the Ponoka cowboy, Lambert said he is just looking for an opportunity to end his career on a high note.
“I think the body told me a few things this year. A couple old injuries coming back. If I had won it this last year, I would probably have hung it up.”
“This year we will give it another go. I want to finish it off on a good note, but I just want to go and enjoy it with all the people that we are lucky enough to have around us.”