Jake Gardner Readies for Global Cup Return
By: Covy Moore Wednesday, February 5, 2020 @ 1:26 PM
CALGARY, Alberta -- Every member of the Team Canada for the 2020 WinStar World Casino and Resort PBR Global Cup USA, presented by Monster Energy, have been to the premier Unleash the Beast except one -- Jake Gardner.
The Dawson Creek, British Columbia native was the final pick to the Scott Schiffner and Tanner Girletz curated team announced just prior to the 2020 PBR Canada Monster Energy Tour Calgary Classic.
Having experienced the first ever PBR Global Cup as part of the expanded national team for the evolving format, Gardner admitted he was woefully unprepared three years ago.
“Going to the first one at Rogers Place in Edmonton was an eye opener,” the 23-year-old said. “After that I told myself that I wanted to be on that team competing for my country at some point in my career.
“Three years ago in Edmonton I was half the bull rider I am now. I had a lot of heart and try, but I didn’t have the experience. When I left Edmonton, I told myself I have a lot of work to do to get back to this stage.”
And work he has.
Gardner has collected two back-to-back titles as the All-Around Champion in Canadian Rodeo competition in 2018 and 2019, two event wins in PBR Canada Touring Pro competition in Whitecourt, Alberta in 2018 and Manor, Saskatchewan in 2019.
And to begin the 2020 season, Gardner has been electric.
He rode the 2018 PBR Canada Bull of the Year Happy Camper at an open bull riding event in Ponoka, Alberta, going 2-for-2 on the night to win the event title.
Two weeks later at the country’s first rodeo event of the year, Gardiner would again go 2-for-2, this time covering the 2019 Canadian Rodeo bull of the year Blackstone After Party.
“I didn't want to give the coaches a reason to not pick me for this team,” Gardner said.
“The weeks leading up to it I was definitely nervous, I wasn’t sure which way it was going to go.
“I saw a call coming from Strathmore, [Alberta] and I definitely perked up. There was no doubt in my mind, no hesitation, I said yeah I will be there. That has to be one of the highlights of my career already, being named to this team.”
Being surrounded by a very experienced lineup of bull riders will play into Gardner’s hand as well, as he attributes the successes he has seen in his career so far to the guys he rides with.
“Everyone on that team is phenomenal,” Gardner commented. “They have all been there done that. [Jordan] Hansen has been to the NFR, all those guys have been to the World Finals and they know what it’s like.”
“They have all helped me out tremendously to get where I am today. They are all equally as good as the others to look to for leadership.”
While heart and try are an evident trait in most bull riders who reach the level of success Gardner has seen so far in his young career, it’s another characteristic he feels might have helped show the coaches he can win with this team.
“I feel like those guys have seen me the past few years and watched me develop,” Gardner explained.
“I think I am coachable as well. Whenever I am having a rough go I have no problem asking for help, I can take pointers and positives out of it. That helped me for sure. When it comes down to it, I am willing to lay it all on the line for my country and do what it takes, and I think that has a lot to do with it too.”
And lay it out there he wants to.
When asked what sort of caliber of bull he would be hoping to see come February 15-16 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Gardiner went straight to the top.
“Smooth Operator. That is a no brainer, he is the World Champion Bucking Bull from last year.
“Most of the time he is right there to the right at the gate, and that’s the way I like them. I just like the way he bucks, I feel like he would fit my style. There are so many great bulls to get on, but that would be my pick if I got that chance.”