Game Notes – Edmonton
By: Kacie Albert Friday, November 12, 2021 @ 1:31 PM
LAST STOP, EDMONTON – This weekend, for the first time in league history, PBR Canada will hold its National Finals in Edmonton, Alberta, bucking into the state-of-the-art Rogers Place on Nov. 12-13 for the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals, presented by Command Tubular Products. PBR has only once prior held an event in the home of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, launching the Global Cup in the venue in November 2017. The 2021 PBR Canada National Finals will mark the richest in league history, set to award more than $175,000 in prize money to the 20 competing athletes, including a $50,000 bonus for the 2021 PBR Canada Champion. Further, the Finals event winner is guaranteed to earn a minimum $30,000.
With a maximum 180 points available to one rider, the Top 9-ranked riders in the nation are all in contention for the 2021 PBR Canada Championship.
THIS WEEKEND’S FORMAT – The 2021 PBR Canada National Finals, presented by Command Tubular Products, will feature four rounds of bull riding. Each rider will get on one bull in Round 1 and Round 2 on Friday and Round 3 on Saturday. The 12 bull riders with the top combined ride scores will then advance to the championship round on Saturday where they will attempt one final bull in an effort to win the PBR Canada National Finals event and earn crucial points to be crowned the 2021 PBR Canada Champion. During the event Round 2 and Round 3 will feature a rider drafted draw, while Round 1 and the championship round will be pre-determined.
BUTTAR SEEKS HISTORY – In 2021, reigning PBR Canada Champion Dakota Buttar is attempting to accomplish a feat never before done by a rider in PBR Canada history – win the national title in consecutive seasons. And while he may have had a slower beginning to the season, Buttar has been one of the league’s hottest riders since the Cup Series campaign got underway in Lethbridge, Alberta in late August. A dominant force on Canadian soil in 2021, Buttar has gone a torrid 32-for-48 (66.67%) throughout the regular season. The five-time Glen Keeley Award winner has registered three Touring Pro Division and one elite Cup Series event victory, along with a win at one of the league’s three 5/5 Bucking Battles.The four-time PBR World Finals qualifier is also one of five riders to record a 90-point score to date in 2021. In September at the Touring Pro Division event in Ponoka, Alberta, Buttar covered Norse God for a monstrous 90 points en route to the event win.
Looking back at his season, while the reserved cowboy was shutout inside ENMAX Centre at the first elite PBR Canada event of the year in late August, he was quick to rebound when the Touring Pro Division resumed competition in September. Riding at the developmental event in Ponoka, Alberta, Buttar not only delivered a 90-point ride, but went a perfect 2-for-2 to notch his first event victory of 2021. The Saskatchewan man got off to an electric start in Round 1, delivering the second-best score when he went the distance atop Twisted Soul for 84.5 points. In the championship round, Buttar drafted Norse God who at that point had been ridden just once prior in five outs on record. Becoming just the second rider to make the 8 aboard the powerful bull, Buttar matched Norse God jump-for-jump en route to a head-turning 90-point score. The 90-point ride was Buttar’s first of the 2021 season and fifth of his career across all levels of PBR competition. The flawless effort earned the Saskatchewan man a critical 30 national points, allowing him to crack the Top 5 in the national title race. He rose six positions from No. 9 to No. 3.
After righting the ship in Ponoka, Buttar’s stock only continued to rise, winning two of the three Touring Pro Division events held the following week in Calgary. As competition got underway at Grey Eagle Resort & Casino, Buttar delivered yet another flawless 2-for-2 performance to log his second consecutive Touring Pro Division event win. And not only did the perfect performance earn him the event win, but it also allowed Buttar to surge to the No. 1 rank in the race for the 2021 PBR Canada Championship, a position he has maintained ever since. Buttar was one of eight riders to record a score in Round 1, making the 8 atop Sellin Dreams for 80 points. Drawing Slip Slap as his final opponent, a bull who had bucked just once prior in PBR competition, Buttar remained poised, registering the lone score of the championship round when he made the whistle for 84.5 points. The golden finish earned Buttar a crucial 25 national points, propelling him from No. 3 to No. 1 in the national standings. After beginning the tour stop 18.67 points behind Lambert, Buttar inched 2.33 points ahead of the two-time PBR Canada Champion. Buttar, however, still had work to do in Calgary. When the second iteration of the Cody Snyder Charity Bull Bustin’ began the following day, Buttar was once again unrivaled, netting his third consecutive event victory and extending his lead over No. 2 Lambert to 29.33 points. Concluding the day with a six-out ride streak, Buttar posted the fourth-best score of Round 1 when he made the requisite 8 atop Double Deuce for 81 points, before capping his efforts with an event-best 89.5-point ride aboard One Eyed Charlie. Buttar concluded the trio of events with a fourth-place effort on the final day of competition. He recorded his seventh consecutive ride when he covered Fake News for 84.5 points in Round 1 but was inevitably bucked off by In Cahoots in 4.3 seconds in the championship round.
At the second PBR Canada Cup Series event of the season in Grande Prairie, Buttar remained in control of the No. 1 ranking in the standings. Going 1-for-3, Buttar finished seventh in the main event, but he also won the tour stop’s accompanying 5/5 Bucking Battle courtesy of an 87.5-point score on Trump Card. The stoic Saskatchewan native left Grande Prairie having netted a combined 29.5 national points. As the 2021 Cup Series continued in Medicine Hat, Buttar’s fourth-place effort allowed him to remain in control of the top position despite his lead slightly shrinking. Buttar punched his ticket to the championship round after riding Devils Boy for 79.5 points. The Saskatchewan man then punctuated his efforts at the third Cup Series event of 2021 when he became the first rider in PBR competition to cover Black Dust, scoring 84.5 points in the final round of the PBR Thunderbuck in the Badlands. Buttar left Co-op place having earned 27.5 national points.
In Calgary, Alberta, for the fourth Cup Series event of the year, Buttar defended his event title by going a perfect 2-for-2, furthering his stronghold on the No. 1 rank in the national standings. Buttar got off to a hot start in Round 1 inside the Nutrien Western Event Centre, tying for the third-best score when he covered Langham Kid for 84 points. With an early pick in the championship round bull draft, Buttar was quick to architect a rematch that had previously propelled him to glory. Opting to go head-to-head once again against Norse God, Buttar again delivered a picture-perfect ride, reaching the requisite 8 for a championship round-best 89.5 points in the Stampede City. For his efforts, the Saskatchewan man netted 72.5 national points, further cementing his position atop the race for the 2021 PBR Canada Championship and accompanying $50,000 bonus. After travelling to Calgary 31.16 points out front, Buttar surged to a 96.16-point lead over the No. 2 contender.
In Saskatoon in late October, however, for the final regular-season Cup Series event, Buttar was bit by the injury bug, sustaining a groin injury in Round 2 during his 3.47-second buckoff atop Thor’s Hammer. While he finished the event 13th compliments of his 84.5-point ride on Grey Tower III in Round 1, Buttar, who was unable to compete at the last two Touring Pro Division events of the year in Yorkton had his lead shrink to a mere 53.66 points ahead of No. 2 Cody Coverchuk.
Should Buttar be crowned the 2021 PBR Canada Champion, not only would he become the first rider to win the honor in consecutive seasons, but he would become just the third multi-time title holder in league history, joining three-time Champion Aaron Roy and two-time Champion Lambert. In Buttar’s return to competition for Round 1 of the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals, presented by Command Tubular Products, he has drawn Flying Four Bucking Bulls’ standout Look Alive as the last man to leave the chutes.
A STREAK CONTINUES – In PBR Canada history, one man has qualified for, and competed at, all fifteen editions of the event – Zane Lambert. Continuing the streak, the two-time PBR Canada Champion has further etched his name in the record books, qualifying for the 2021 edition of the event, his 16th qualification, as the No. 4-ranked rider in the nation, 100.16 points behind No. 1 Dakota Buttar. Should Lambert make a come-from-behind push at the season-culminating event like he did in 2017 to win his second national championship, Lambert would tie three-time PBR Canada Champion Aaron Roy for winningest bull rider in the nation’s history. On home soil in 2021, Lambert has gone 15-for-28, logging five Top-5 finishes. Entering the season-culminating event, Lambert is arguably one of the hottest riders competing. After two event wins and six accompanying Top-5 finishes. Both of Lambert’s event wins were earned on the elite Cup Series topping the field in both Lethbridge and Medicine Hat, Alberta. Lambert is the only rider to win multiple Cup Series events in 2021. Lambert is also just one of five riders to register a 90-point ride in Canada in 2021, leading the league with two monstrous scores. Teaming with reigning PBR Canada Bull of the Year Catch My Drift in both outs, Lambert was score a season-best 91 points at the first event of the year in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, before covering the impressive animal athlete for 90 points en route to his Cup Series victory in Lethbridge.
Roy will also compete at the quartet of the events, presently No. 8 in the PBR Canada National Standings, 191.5 points behind No. 1 Dakota Buttar. Thus far in 2020, the 33-year-old veteran has gone an impressive 7-for-15, recording four Top-10 finishes. His top performance of the year was a third-place finish at the season-launch Monster Energy Tour event in Calgary.
Shutout in his two most recent outings in Calgary and Saskatoon, Lambert will be eager to reverse course when action gets underway in Rogers Place for Round 1 of the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals, presented by Command Tubular Products, when he’ll go head-to-head against Kool Aid.
CAN ROY MAKE IT FOUR? – There is arguably no more accomplished Canadian bull rider in PBR history than Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan’s Aaron Roy. Not only is Roy the lone Canadian to earn more than $1 million in league competition, but he is the only rider to have earned three PBR Canada Championships in their career. And in 2021, Roy is attempting to further etch his name in the league record books by winning an unprecedented fourth national title. Ranked No. 8 in the national standings, Roy will travel to Edmonton with momentum at his back, winning the penultimate regular season Touring Pro Division event of the year last weekend in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. Capitalizing under pressure, Roy went a perfect 2-for-2 to win his first event of 2021. Roy was quick to strike in Round 1, delivering the second-best score when he reached the requisite 8 aboard Spitfire for 84 points. In the final round, Roy surged to the top of the leaderboard when he registered the high-marked ride of the event, scored 87 points on Mogely. When the season concluded in the city the very next day, Roy punctuated the regular-season with a 10th-place finish. Collectively, Roy has gone 13-for-34 (38.23%) in 2021, logging an event win and six accompanying Top-10 finishes. Ahead of the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals, Roy is No. 8 in Canada, 163.83 points behind No. 1 Buttar. Competing for his first time inside Rogers Place, after coaching Team Canada at the 2017 PBR Global Cup inside the venue, Roy has drawn Alberta Prime Union Black as his Round 1 opponent.
HANSEN HITS HOT STREAK – While Jordan Hansen spent the majority of the 2021 season stateside, when he returned to PBR Canada action in his home country, Jordan Hansen has been on fire. Unranked prior to the Touring Pro Division event in Prince Albert in late September, Hansen has parlayed a Cup Series event victory in Saskatoon, along with six additional Top-10 efforts across all levels of competition into his current No. 3 rank in the national standings. Ahead of the start of the PBR Canada Finals, Hansen trails No. 1 Buttar by a mere 68.66 points. Among his many highlight-reel worthy moments, Hansen is one of just five riders to record a 90-point score in Canada in 2021. At his season-debut in Prince Albert, Hansen covered 2018 PBR Canada Bull of the Year Happy Camper for 90 points en route a runner-up finish. He has gone a torrid 14-for-17, covering a league-leading 82.35% of his bovine athlete opponents. Hansen, who finished third and second at the last two Touring Pro division events of the year following his Cup Series victory in Saskatoon, is also amidst a streak of nine consecutive rides. In Round 1 of the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals, presented by Command Tubular Products, Hansen has drawn All Access.
HOT TAKES – Ahead of the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals, presented by Command Tubular Products, here are a few other hot takes to note:
- Aussie Miller Eyes History: In 2021, Queensland sensation Callum Miller is trying to accomplish a feat never before done – become the first Australian to win the PBR Canada Championship. Presently ranked No. 6 in the standings, Miller, who is 143.66 points behind the top spot, is in prime position to do just that. Thus far in 2021, Miller has registered a victory in the league’s 5/5 Bucking Battle in Lethbridge, along with nine Top-10 finishes across the elite Cup Series and Touring Pro Division. He has gone 12-for-34, covering 35.29% of Canada’s top bovine athletes. Miller will look to remain in contention for the 2021 PBR Canada Championship when he faces off against Twisted Soul in Round 1.
- Sahli Caps Regular Season with a Win: Only one rider will begin the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals, presented by Command Tubular Products, having won the last event they competed at – young gun Ashton Sahli. Marking his career-first PBR event win, Sahli won the Touring Pro Division’s Yorkton Grain Millers Harvest Showdown to crack the Top 10 in the race for the year’s PBR Canada Championship. The 21-year-old was quick to strike in the opening round of action at the Gallagher Centre, covering Urban Legendfor a third-best 83 points. Sahli then remained perfect in Round 2 when he covered Legend of Tomorrow for 82 points to clinch the win. For his efforts, Sahli earned a critical 23 national points, climbing from No. 13 to No. 10 in the national standings. He now trails No. 1 Dakota Buttar by 185.16 points. Eager to continue his momentum, in Round 1 of the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals, Sahli has drawn Night Blood.
PAST PBR CANADA CHAMPIONS – Set to ride at the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals, presented by Command Tubular Products, are five former Champions, all looking to make further history. Three-time PBR Canada Champion Aaron Roy enters the event No. 8 in the nation, 163.83 points behind the top ranking, while two-time PBR Canada Champion Zane Lambert is No. 4 and 10.16 points back. Roy and Lambert are the only two multi-time Canadian Champions in league history. While a fourth title for Roy would be unprecedented, should Lambert claim the coveted honor, he would be tied with Roy for most Canadian Championships. Reigning PBR Canada Champion Dakota Buttar and 2018 PBR Canada Champion Cody Coverchuk are both attempting to become just the third multi-time Champion in leaue history, and Buttar is trying to become the first to do it in back-to-back seasons. Ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the national standings, Buttar leads No. 2 Coverchuk by 53.66 points. While he isn’t in contention to be crowned the 2021 PBR Canada Champion, 2019 PBR Canada Champion Daylon Swearingen will also compete at the first-ever PBR Canada National Finals in Edmonton. The complete list of past Canadian Champions is:
2020 Dakota Buttar
2019 Daylon Swearingen
2018 Cody Coverchuk
2017 Zane Lambert
2016 Ty Pozzobon
2015 Tanner Byrne
2014 Stetson Lawrence
2013 Zane Lambert
2012 Aaron Roy
2011 Tyler Thomson
2010 Aaron Roy
2009 Beau Hill
2008 Aaron Roy
2007 Tyler Pankewicz
2006 Scott Schiffner
PAST NATIONAL FINALS EVENT WINNERS – In 2020, for the first time in history, the PBR Canada Finals were comprised of four events, held across three days. After Zane Lambert and Callum Miller tied for the win at the first of the quartet events, Dakota Buttar topped the second stop, followed by Lonnie West winning the third event, and Buttar again finishing atop the podium in the fourth. Aaron Roy, Lambert, Daylon Swearingen and Cody Coverchuk are the only past Canadian Finals event winners set to ride this season inside Rogers Place. While Roy won the season-culminating event in 2014, Coverchuk topped the field in 2018 and Swearingen emerged victorious in 2019, Lambert is the lone rider to win the event in multiple years, let alone in back-to-back campaigns. After winning the event for the first time in his career in 2016, Lambert emerged victorious again in 2017 en route to his second national title.
The complete list of past Canadian Finals event winners is:
2020 *Multiple Riders*
2019 Daylon Swearingen
2018 Cody Coverchuk
2017 Zane Lambert / Edgar Durazo
2016 Zane Lambert
2015 Brady Oleson
2014 Aaron Roy
2013 Scott Schiffner
2012 Ty Pozzobon
2011 Dusty Ephrom/Harve Stewart
2010 Mike Lee
2009 Guilherme Marchi
2008 Jock Connolly
2007 Vince Northrup
2006 Brian Canter
FAMILIAR WATERS – In Round 1 of the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals, presented by Command Tubular Products, four riders have drawn a rematch, headlined by a rubber match between two-time PBR Canada Champion Zane Lambert and Kool Aid. Having faced off four times prior, both Lambert and Kool Aid have each emerged the dominant athlete twice. The two first danced during the 2018 Touring Pro Division event in Yorkton, with Lambert reaching the requisite 8 for 85.5 points. Kool Aid, however, got the better of the Ponoka-rider in their next showdown, sending Lambert to the dirt in a hard-fought 6.76 seconds during the 2018 PBR Canada National Finals in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The two then went head-to-head twice in 2019. After Lambert rode the bull for 85.5 points during the Major event in Quebec City, Kool Aid bucked him off in 6.31 seconds a few short weeks later in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
For Jordan Hansen, Nick Tetz and Todd Chotowetz, each will be looking to make the 8 for the first time aboard their draw. Hansen was bucked off by All Access in 2.2 seconds during the 2018 Touring Pro Division event in Yorkton, while Tetz was upset in 2.96 seconds by Eski Time in 2.96 seconds this season in Cluny, Alberta, and Chotowetz was sent packing by Irish Rebel earlier this year in Ponoka, Alberta, in 5.33 seconds.
BULL PEN – In addition to crowning a 2021 PBR Canada Champion, this weekend’s year-end event in Edmonton will also crown the season’s top bovine athlete. The 2021 Canadian Global PBR Canada Bull of the Year will be the animal athlete with the top average score when combining his Top 3 outs from the regular season across all levels of competition and his one out at the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals, presented by Command Tubular Products, in Edmonton, Alberta, at Rogers Place Nov. 12-13.
Atop the standings for the honor is 2018 PBR Canada Bull of the Year Happy Camper and Gaume Farms Stickin “n” Movin both of whom will travel to the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals with a matching 45.17-point regular-season average.
Happy Camper is seeking history in 2021. Should the “Bucking Sensation from the Two Bit Nation,” be crowned the season’s Canadian Global PBR Canada Bull of the Year, he would become the first bovine athlete to achieve the honor in multiple seasons. Fellow Two Bit Bucking Bulls’ animal athlete Catch My Drift is also attempting to accomplish the feat in further record-setting fashion, attempting to earn the honor in back-to-back seasons after being crowned the 2020 PBR Canada Bull of the Year. Catch My Drift will begin the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals ranked No. 5 in the standings, 0.67 points behind the top spot.
Happy Camper has bucked nine times on home soil in 2021, with his top three outs all scored 45 points or more. The striking bovine athlete’s top scores were registered in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in June when he was marked 45.5 points for his 4.13-second buckoff of three-time PBR Canada Champion Aaron Roy in Cluny, Alberta in July when he was scored 45 points for his 3.09-second trip with 2018 PBR Canada Rookie of the Year Nick Tetz, and in October at the elite Cup Series event in Medicine Hat when Happy Camper bucked to a 45-point score for his 6.09 seconds of work against Jordan Hansen.
Happy Camper’s impressive 2021 season also included his fourth career selection to the sport’s most prestigious event, the PBR World Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada, which did not impact his standing in Canadian competition. Earning two outs last weekend at T-Mobile Arena, Happy Camper was marked 44 points in Round 3 and 43 points in Round 5 when he was covered by Dener Barbosa for 89.75 points and Mauricio Moreira for 88.25 points, respectively. Fellow 2021 Canadian Global PBR Canada Bull of the Year contenders Unkle Kranky, ranked No. 3 in the race and 0.34 points behind the top ranking, and Catch My Drift also travelled to the PBR World Finals alongside Happy Camper. In his first-ever out on U.S. soil, Unkle Kranky was marked 43.5 points for his 2.69-second buckoff of Claudio Montanha Jr. in Round 3, while Catch My Drift was covered by three-time PBR World Champion Silvano Alves for 86.25 points in the third round, earning a 42.25-point bull score.
Vying for his first PBR Canada Bull of the Year honor, Gaume Farms Stickin “n” Movin is unridden in his five outs on record in league competition. After making his PBR career debut in August in Coronation, Alberta, Gaume Farms Stickin “n” Movin posted back-to-back 45-plus-point efforts in Calgary, Alberta. He was first marked 45.5 points for his 3 seconds of works against 2017 PBR Canada Rookie of the Year Coy Robbins, which he followed with a 45-point score when he dispatched 2018 PBR Canada Champion Cody Coverchuk in 5.97 seconds. Gaume Farms Stickin “n” Movin’s most recent out also turned heads. Bucking at the final regular-season Cup Series event in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the Eno Bucking Bulls’ animal athlete earned 45 points for his 3.1 seconds of work against Tyler Craig.
The complete list of contenders for this year’s Canadian Global PBR Canada Bull of the Year honor are:
No. 1 (tie) Happy Camper (Two Bit Bucking Bulls) – 45.17 points
No. 1 (tie) Gaume Farms Stickin “n” Movin (Eno Bucking Bulls) – 45.17 points
No. 3 Unkle Kranky (Vold Rodeo) – 44.83 points (-0.34 points)
No. 4 Hanna Motors Winston Bruce (Skori Bucking Bulls) – 44.67 points (-0.5 points)
No. 5 Catch My Drift (Two Bit Bucking Bulls/K Rose Ranch) – 44.5 points (-0.67 points)
No. 6 (tie) Lil’ Hooch (Flying High Rodeo Co.) – 44.33 points (-0.84 points)
No. 6 (tie) Norse God (Wild Hoggs Bucking Bulls) – 44.33 points (-0.84 points)
No. 9 Finning Lil Shorty (Flying Four Bucking Bulls) – 44 points (-1.17 points)
PROVIDING PROTECTION – The bullfighters selected to work the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals, presented by Command Tubular Products, in Edmonton, Alberta, are Tanner Byrne, Ty Prescott, and Brett Monea.
2021 5/5 BUCKING BATTLE SCHEDULE AND RESULTS - Each 5/5 Bucking Battle features the Top 5 riders from the event following Round 1, competing against the 5 highest-ranked bulls at the event for extra bonus points and an additional purse. Here are the winners of the special rounds thus far in 2021:
Aug. 27 in Lethbridge, Alberta - Callum Miller, 88 points on Hanna Motors Wilford
Oct. 1 in Grande Prairie, Alberta - Dakota Buttar, 87.5 points on Trump Card
Oct. 29 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - Cody Coverchuk, 88.5 points on Crossfire’s Black Jack
EDMONTON COMPETITORS BY COUNTRY
Australia (1) – Callum Miller
Canada (18) – Dakota Buttar, Todd Chotowetz, Cody Coverchuk, Tyler Craig, Tanner Eno, Jake Gardner, Garrett Green, Jordan Hansen, Zane Lambert, Tim Lipsett, Micheal Ostashek, Jared Parsonage, Coy Robbins, Aaron Roy, Ashton Sahli, Griffin Smeltzer, Nick Tetz, Lonnie West.
United States (1) – Daylon Swearingen
BREAKDOWN BY PROVINCE –
Alberta – Tyler Craig, Tanner Eno, Garrett Green, Jordan Hansen, Zane Lambert, Micheal Ostashek, Coy Robbins, Ashton Sahli, Griffin Smeltzer, Nick Tetz, Lonnie West; British Columbia – Jake Gardner; Saskatchewan – Dakota Buttar, Todd Chotowetz, Cody Coverchuk, Tim Lipsett, Jared Parsonage, Aaron Roy.