Game Notes – Red Deer
By: Kacie Albert Thursday, June 9, 2022 @ 4:48 PM
BACK TO BUCKING – This weekend, for the first time in history, PBR Canada’s elite Cup Series, presented by Wrangler, will buck into Red Deer, Alberta. The PBR Red Deer Classic, presented by Tsunami Water Solutions, will be held at Peavey Mart Centrium on June 11. Adding to the significance of the event, the tour stop is the season-launch event for the premier Cup Series. The Red Deer event will begin Saturday, June 11 at 7 p.m. MDT with Round 1 and the championship round.
THIS WEEKEND’S FORMAT – The PBR Red Deer Classic, presented by Tsunami Water Solutions, will feature two rounds of bull riding. Each rider will get on one bull in Round 1 on Saturday. The 10 bull riders with the best scores will then advance to the championship round on Saturday where they will attempt one final bull in an effort to be crowned the event champion. This weekend, one rider will have the chance to earn 80 national points.
COVERCHUK MAKES HISTORY WITH 2021 TITLE – The first-ever PBR Canada Cup Series event in Red Deer comes on the spurs of one of the most exciting and historic battles for the PBR Canada Championship in history. After a dominant season, including four event wins across all levels of competition and a victory in one of the division’s 5/5 Bucking Battles, Dakota Buttar entered the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals with a firm grip on the No. 1 ranking in the race for the 2021 PBR Canada Championship and accompanying $50,000 bonus. However, a groin injury initially sustained at the final regular-season event of the year proved too much for Buttar to battle, sidelining him from competition on the last day of the campaign. With the title decided on the final outs of the year, 2018 PBR Canada Champion Cody Coverchuk mounted an incredible come-from-behind surge. Coverchuk erased Buttar’s 53.66-point lead to conclude the year No. 1 in the nation, capturing his second career national championship. The Saskatchewan contender clinched the title and his share of the record $175,000 purse paid out at the year-end event with an impressive 89.5-point ride aboard annual PBR Canada Bull of the Year contender Finning Lil Shorty. Coverchuk is now one of just three riders to have won the coveted PBR Canada Championship in multiple seasons, joining two-time titleholder Zane Lambert and three-time Champion Aaron Roy.
Wasting no time in getting to work on his third national title, Coverchuk has already ridden at the three Touring Pro Division events held in Canada thus far in 2022. After finishing third in Lloydminster, Coverchuk was eighth at the inaugural Touring Pro Division event in Camrose. As a result, the Saskatchewan man is presently tied for the No. 8 rank in the national standings, 18.5 points behind No. 1 Coy Robbins. Coverchuk has also spent time south of the border. In addition to representing Team Canada at the 2022 PBR Global Cup USA, Coverchuk earned a berth to two premier Unleash The Beast events, competing in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Billings, Montana, while also riding at the Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour event in Casper, Wyoming. This weekend in Red Deer, Coverchuk has drawn a rematch in his Round 1 opponent Beast of Burkenshaw.
LET’S RECAP THE 2022 TPD ACTION – While the first bull has yet to buck for the elite Cup Series, presented by Wrangler, the developmental Touring Pro Division has held three events, travelling to Lloydminster and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and Camrose, Alberta. Here is a recap of those events:
Lloydminster: Courtesy of matching 2-for-2 showings, Blake Smith and Marcos Gloria tied for the event win at the Lloydminster Winter Classic. For Smith, the win marked the first of his PBR career. The 20-year-old began his march to the golden finish after recording the top score of Round 1, outlasting Monkey Dance for 87 points. Smith remained perfect in Round 2 when he reached the requisite 8 aboard Eski Time for 83.5 points. The Saskatchewan contender left his home-province event having earned 24 national points, rising to No. 2 in the early race for the 2022 PBR Canada Championship, a mere one point removed from the top spot. Brazilian sensation Gloria punched his ticket to the second round compliments of his runner-up finish in Round 1, scored 85.5 points aboard Boots. Gloria then surged to the top of the leaderboard alongside Smith after he covered Ain’t About Fame for 85.5 points in Round 2. Garnering 25 national points, Gloria became the No. 1-ranked rider in the PBR Canada standings. The Top 5 was rounded out by Cody Coverchuk and Aaron Roy, who tied for third, and Mike Ostashek in fifth.
Camrose: As the 2022 PBR Canada season continued in Camrose, Alberta, hometown favorite Coy Robbins reached a critical career milestone. Going a flawless 2-for-2, Robbins won his career-first event, victorious at the Rose City Invitational, presented by BDS, surging to the No. 1 rank in the race for the 2022 PBR Canada Championship. Robbins was quick to strike in Round 1. He delivered the seventh-best score when he reached the requisite 8 atop Thor’s Hammer for 80.5 points. The 22-year-old sensation then clinched the golden finish when he delivered the top score of the championship round, covering Hanna Motors Winston Bruce for 86.5 points. For his efforts, Robbins collected 25 national points, catapulting to the No. 1 position in the national standings, a slim 1.5 points ahead of No. 2 Marcos Gloria. Looking down the leaderboard, Nick Tetz was second, Zane Lambert and Logan Biever tied for third, and Brock Radford was fifth.
Prince Albert: Compliments of a dominant effort on the second day of competition in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, surging young gun Griffin Smeltzer won the Clunie/Cooper Memorial PBR, presented by Riverside Dodge, to surge to No. 2 in the race for the 2022 PBR Canada Championship. Just days after being signed to the Austin Gamblers of the PBR Team Series via free agency, Smeltzer was electric as he made his 2022 season debut on home soil. He first converted in Round 1 when he covered James Bond for 76 points. Positioned seventh on the event leaderboard entering the championship round, the 2022 Glen Keeley Award winner next readied to face Sure Shot. In full control, Smeltzer matched the powerful athlete jump-for-jump en route to an event-best 87-point score, clinching the victory. For his efforts, the Albertan sensation netted a critical 25 national points. Unranked prior to the event, Smeltzer surged to No. 2 in the national standings, now within a mere 5.5 points of No. 1 Coy Robbins. Robbins also competed at the Clunie/Cooper Memorial PBR, presented by Riverside Dodge, finishing both seventh and eighth compliments of a double entry. Registering both of his scores in Round 1 of the event, Robbins made the 8 atop Broken Trigger for 82.5 points and Spartacus for 80.5 points. The 2017 PBR Canada Rookie of the Year left Prince Albert having earned a combined four national points. Rounding out the Top 5 was Aaron Roy in second, Callum Miller in third, Dakota Buttar in fourth and Garrett Green in fifth.
SMELTZER, SMITH SUCCESSFUL STATESIDE – Young guns Griffin Smeltzer and Blake Smith will compete this weekend on home soil after spending much of their 2022 season stateside. While Smeltzer began his campaign south of the border a few months before Smith, both reached several career milestones. They ultimately qualified for their first PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour Finals and were signed by the Austin Gamblers as free agents ahead of the debut season for the groundbreaking PBR Team Series.
Smeltzer began his 2022 campaign with a Top-10 finish, riding to an eighth-place result at the Touring Pro Division event in Kearney, Nebraska, in mid-December. After a 25th-place result in Denver, Smeltzer registered three consecutive Top-10 finishes, punctuating the string of successes with an eighth-place finish at the Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour stop in Greenville, South Carolina. As the season continued, Smeltzer remained consistent, logging three additional Top-10 finishes on the Velocity Tour to earn his career-first berth to the elite Unleash The Beast in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in late March. Smeltzer then reached a crucial milestone in late April, winning his first Velocity Tour event in Wichita, Kansas. At the conclusion of the regular season, Smelter not only reached his first Velocity Tour Finals, but did so as the No. 1-ranked rider in the expansion series’ standings. Despite being shut out at the Velocity Tour Finals, Smeltzer finished the year a career-best No. 51 in the world, earning the Glen Keeley Award for the top-ranked Canadian. In the weeks since, Smeltzer not only won the PBR Canada Touring Pro Division event in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, but also finished fourth last weekend at the Touring Pro Division event in Great Falls, Montana. This weekend in Red Deer, Smeltzer, who is tied for the No. 2 rank in the national standings, will face Sammy in Round 1 inside Peavey Mart Centrium.
Smith also found great success stateside. While he began his season on home soil, tying for the event win alongside Marcos Gloria in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, he quickly made his way to the United States in time for the February slate of Velocity Tour events. Despite being shut out in his Velocity Tour debut in North Charleston, South Carolina, Smith was quick to rebound, finishing fourth the very next weekend in Memphis, Tennessee. As the season rolled on, Smith twice finished a career-best third, registering the bronze effort in Oakland, California, and Grand Forks, North Dakota, before punching his ticket to the Velocity Tour Finals. During his time in the United States, Smith also made his Unleash The Beast debut, first riding on the premier series in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and earning his second berth in Billings, Montana. Smith concluded the season ranked No. 66 in the world. In Canada, Smith will travel to Red Deer ranked No. 4 in the national standings, a mere 6.5 points removed from No. 1 Coy Robbins. Smith will attempt Langham Kid in the opening round of the PBR Red Deer Classic, presented by Tsunami Water Solutions.
ROBBINS LEADS THE FIELD – For the first time in his career, 2017 PBR Canada Rookie of the Year Coy Robbins will compete at an elite Cup Series, presented by Wrangler, event as the No. 1-ranked rider in the national standings. Robbins currently leads the race for the 2022 PBR Canada Championship by a slim 5.5 points. Thus far in 2022 on home soil, Robbins has registered a Top-10 finish at each event he has entered. After finishing seventh at the first Touring Pro Division event of the new year in Lloydminster, Robbins won his hometown event in Camrose, Alberta. He then followed that with an eighth- and seventh-place finish at the most recent stop in Prince Albert, Alberta. Robbins has gone a collective 5-for-8, covering 62.5% of his draws. This weekend in Red Deer, Robbins has drawn Big Easy as his Round 1 opponent.
PAST RED DEER EVENT WINNERS – While the PBR Canada Cup Series, presented by Wrangler, has never before travelled to Red Deer, the city has twice welcomed the organization’s developmental Touring Pro Division. Travelling to the city in both 2015 and 2016, both events were won by Garrett Green. Green is anticipated to compete this weekend inside Peavey Mart Centrium and will begin his quest for his third Red Deer event victory tied for the No. 8 rank in the race for the 2022 PBR Canada Championship. Green trails No. 1 Coy Robbins by a mere 18.5 national points. He has drawn Black Jack as his Round 1 opponent.
FAMILIAR WATERS – Round 1 of the PBR Canada Cup Series’ Red Deer Classic, presented by Tsunami Water Solutions, will feature three rematches, with all riders having previously made the 8. The list is headlined by Jared Parsonage, who will be locked in a rubber match with Sons of Junkie. In their first meeting in 2021 in Lethbridge, Alberta, Sons of Junkie bucked Parsonage off in a swift 2.58 seconds. Parsonage, however, was quick to avenge the buckoff. Later that season in Ponoka, Alberta, the Saskatchewan man covered Sons of Junkie for 81.5 points. For two-time and reigning PBR Canada Champion Cody Coverchuk and Coy Robbins, they will both look to remain perfect against their opening round draw. Coverchuk covered Beast of Burkenshaw for 82 points during the 2021 event in Cluny, Alberta, while Robbins rode Big Easy for 84.5 points during the Cup Series event in Medicine Hat, Alberta.
BULL PEN – This weekend’s bull pen for the season-launch PBR Canada Cup Series, presented by Wrangler, event in Red Deer, Alberta, will be headlined by two-time and reigning PBR Canada Bull of the Year Happy Camper. The Bucking Sensation from the Two Bit Nation will compete in Red Deer after making his fifth career appearance at the prestigious PBR World Finals. In Round 3, Happy Camper was ridden by 2018 PBR World Champion Kaique Pacheco for 89 points and was marked 43.5 points, while in Round 6, he bested 2021 PBR Rookie of the Year Eli Vastbinder in a close 7.78 seconds to earn a 42.75-point score.
Last season in Canada, Happy Camper made history, becoming the first bovine athlete in PBR Canada history to earn the coveted Bull of the Year honor twice. After a dominant regular season, Happy Camper travelled to the Canadian National Finals in Edmonton tied for the No. 1 rank in the national standings alongside Gaume Farms Stickin “n” Movin, each with a 45.17-point average. On home soil in 2021 during the regular season, Happy Camper bucked nine times, with his Top 3 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 he bucked to a 45-point score for his 6.09 seconds of work against Jordan Hansen. Happy Camper remained a force once inside Rogers Place for the year-end National Finals. Bucking in the championship round with soon-to-be 2022 PBR World Champion Daylon Swearingen, Happy Camper clinched the Bull of the Year honor when he was marked 44.5 points, part of Swearingen’s 91.5-point score overall.
Happy Camper will return to home soil this weekend, bucking in the championship round. He will be joined by fellow Two Bit bucking bull and 2020 PBR Canada Bull of the Year Catch My Drift, in addition to Devil’s Advocate, Perlich Bros Switchback, Muzzle Blast, Alberta Springs, Unkle Kranky, Timber Jam, Sure Shot and Sicilian Kiss.
NEXT UP – The 2022 PBR Canada Sup Series, presented by Wrangler, will next travel to Brandon, Manitoba, and Westoba Place for the PBR Mazergroup Chute Out on June 18. Action will get underway at 7 p.m. CDT.
PROVIDING PROTECTION – The bullfighters on hand for this weekend’s event in Red Deer, Alberta, are Tanner Byrne, Ty Prescott, and Brett Monea.
RED DEER COMPETITORS BY COUNTRY
Australia (2) – Jake Maher, Callum Miller
Brazil (1) – Marcos Gloria
Canada (22) – Logan Biever, Dakota Buttar, Todd Chotowetz, Cody Coverchuk, Tyler Craig, Tanner Eno, Jake Gardner, Garrett Green, Chad Hartman, Zane Lambert, Micheal Ostashek, Jared Parsonage, Coy Robbins, Aaron Roy, Ashton Sahli, Cauy Schmidt, Landon Schmidt, Dawson Shannon, Griffin Smeltzer, Blake Smith, Nick Tetz, Lonnie West.
BREAKDOWN BY PROVINCE –
Alberta – Logan Biever, Tyler Craig, Tanner Eno, Garrett Green, Zane Lambert, Micheal Ostashek, Coy Robbins, Ashton Sahli, Cauy Schmidt, Landon Schmidt, Dawson Shannon, Griffin Smeltzer, Nick Tetz, Lonnie West; British Columbia – Jake Gardner; Saskatchewan – Dakota Buttar, Todd Chotowetz, Cody Coverchuk, Chad Hartman, Jared Parsonage, Aaron Roy, Blake Smith.