Game Notes – Saskatoon
By: Kacie Albert Thursday, October 28, 2021 @ 10:37 AM
WELCOME TO SASKATCHEWAN – This weekend, for the 13th time in league history, PBR Canada will buck into Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, holding the elite Cup Series’ PBR Saskatoon Classic, at SaskTel Centre, Oct. 29-30. The tour stop is the fifth, and final regular-season, Cup Series event of the year, with action for Canada’s premier series getting underway in August in Lethbridge, Alberta, followed by a tour stops in October in Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat and Calgary, Alberta. The Saskatoon event will begin Friday, October 29 at 7:00 p.m. CST with Round 1 and the final 5/5 Bucking Battle of the year, followed by Round 2 and the championship round on Saturday, October 30 at 7:00 p.m. CST.
Including the PBR Saskatoon Classic, one Cup Series events, in addition to one Touring Pro Division stop, remain prior to the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals, presented by Command Tubular Products, Nov. 12-13 in Edmonton, Alberta. With an intense battle underway for the 2021 PBR Canada Championship, the Top 5 riders in the nation will travel to Saskatoon within 154.66 points of one another. This weekend, one rider will have the chance to earn 105 national points, with an additional 15 national points available in the tour stop’s accompanying 5/5 Bucking Battle.
THIS WEEKEND’S FORMAT – The PBR Saskatoon Classic, will feature two rounds of bull riding. Each rider will get on one bull in Round 1 on Friday and Round 2 on Saturday. The 10 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 be crowned the event champion. The Cup Series event in Saskatoon will also feature the third, and final, 5/5 Bucking Battle of the year. Following Friday night’s Round 1, the Top 5 riders from the opening round will attempt five of the event’s top bulls. Featuring both a separate purse, and national points, $2,500 will be available, with the winner set to collect 15 national points.
5/5 BUCKING BATTLE – In 2021, at all two-day PBR Canada Cup events, the opening night of competition will feature a 5/5 Bucking Battle. Pitting the Top 5 riders from the event’s opening round against the five best bucking bulls at the event, the special round will feature both a separate purse, and national points. No world points will be awarded. The national points will be awarded as: 1st – 15; 2nd – 12; 3rd – 9; 4th- 6; and 5th – 4. The money will payout as: 1st - $1,250; 2nd - $750; and 3rd – $500. The bulls slated to buck in the 5/5 Bucking Battle in Saskatoon are:
Lil‘ Hooch (Two Bit Bucking Bulls)
Mogley (Lazy S Bucking Bulls_
Crossfire’s Black Jack (Lazy S Bucking Bulls)
Twisted Soul (X6 Ranch Bucking Cattle)
Blue Blood (X6 Ranch Bucking Cattle/Rank Pen Cattle Co.)
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. And his success was on full display last weekend at the Cup Series event in Calgary, Alberta as 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 covered the fierce bovine for 90 points this past September en route to a victory on the Touring Pro Division in Ponoka, Alberta. 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 now leads No. 2 Zane Lambert by 96.16 points.
Buttar’s first event win of 2021 on the Cup Series is just the latest in his wave of momentum that began earlier this summer. 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 logging 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 win 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.
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. Amidst a four-out ride streak, Buttar has gone an impressive 31-for-45 on home soil in 2021, covering a torrid 68.88% of his bovine athlete opponents. He will look to remain red hot in Calgary when he faces Black List in Round 1 and Thor’s Hammer in Round 2.
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. Last weekend at the Cup Series event in Calgary, Alberta, Roy inched closer to achieving that history by finishing third to net 42.5 national points. In Round 1, Roy tied for third after posting an 84-point score atop Irish Rebel. Roy then handcrafted a showdown of champions in the final round, selecting 2020 PBR Canada Bull of the Year Catch My Drift as his last animal athlete opponent. A familiar showdown, Roy had climbed aboard the bull three times prior, but had never made the 8. With a raucous crowd watching on, Roy reversed his fates in Calgary, outmatching 2021 PBR World Finals selected Catch My Drift for an 86-point score. Roy’s bronze showing allowed him to gain five positions in the national standings, climbing from No. 13 to No. 8. He now trails No. 1 Dakota Buttar by 188.83 points. Roy will look to continue the momentum in Saskatoon when he faces Hot Tamale in Roudn 1 and Mighty Moe in Round 2.
PAST SASKATOON EVENT WINNERS – Of the 12 prior PBR Canada events held in Saskatoon, including the most recent event in 2019, 10 have marked the year-end PBR Canada National Finals. When PBR Canada last travelled to Saskatoon in 2019 The Hub City welcomed the league for the season’s Finals, as one of the most fiercely contested national title races in league history came to a climactic end. Going a flawless 4-for-4 to win the season-culminating event inside SaskTel Centre, Daylon Swearingen completed a come-from-behind surge to rise from No. 4 to No. 1 in the national standings, capturing the 2019 PBR Canada Championship. Following his dominant performance in Saskatoon in 2019, Swearingen went on to contend for the PBR World Championship in 2020, concluding the year a career-best No. 9 in the world.
2019 Daylon Swearingen*
2018 Cody Coverchuk*
2017 Zane Lambert / Edgar Durazo*
2016 Zane Lambert*
2015 Brady Oleson*
2014 Aaron Roy*
2014 Rosendo Ramirez
2013 Scott Schiffner*
2012 Ty Pozzobon*
2011 Dusty Ephrom/Harve Stewart*
2010 Mike Lee*
2009 Aaron Roy
FAMILIAR WATERS – In Round 1 of the PBR Saskatoon Classic, four riders will face familiar opponents, with none having found prior success. All rivalries witnessed earlier this season, reigning PBR Canada Champion Dakota Buttar leads the quartet, set to once again face Black List. Meeting this August during the 5/5 Bucking Battle in Lethbridge, Alberta, Black List got the better of Buttar in an uncharacteristic 2.72 seconds. Despite having limited outs on home soil in 2021, Jake Gardner will also face a familiar foe in Devils Boy. Going head-to-head at his debut PBR Canada event in late September in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Devils Boy bested Gardner in a quick 1.5 seconds. Fabian Dueck and Todd Chotowetz have also drawn bulls they have previously climbed aboard. Stutter Step bested Dueck this September in Ponoka, Alberta in 5.42 seconds, while Howlin’ Wolf got the better of Chotowetz earlier in the year in a swift 2.22 seconds.
Four rematches will once again be showcased in Round 2 inside SaskTel Centre. While Dueck has drawn another familiar opponent in Clear The Village, the two never left the chutes during the Cup Series event in Grande Prairie, Alberta. Of the remaining trio, just one has previously made the 8. Nick Tetz will attempt Black List for the second time in his career, covering him for 85.5 points en route to his victory on the Touring Pro Division in Marwayne, Alberta. Griffin Smeltzer and Riley Gagnon have drawn the final two rematches. Smeltzer initially bucked off Ain’t About Fame at the 2021 Glen Keeley Memorial PBR in 3.01 seconds, while Gagnon was upset in a hard-fought 7.82 seconds by Power Play during Round 1 of the Cup Series event in Medicine Hat, Alberta.
BULL PEN – This weekend’s bull pen for the PBR Canada Cup Series event in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, will be headlined by the trio of Hanna Motors Winston Bruce, Lil’ Hooch and Stickin n’ Movin, all of who have earned the Bull of the Event honor multiple times in 2021.
Hanna Motors Winston Bruce leads the contingent with three Bull of the Event honors, the second most of any bovine athlete in PBR Canada competition. The Skori Bucking Bulls’ bovine first led the pen in Marwayne on the Touring Pro Division, marked 44 points for his 3.93 seconds of work against Logan Biever. In the league’s very next event, Winston Bruce finished in a three-way tie for top bull at the season-launch Cup Series event in Lethbridge, Alberta, alongside Happy Camper and Muzzle Blast. Each delivering a 44.5-point trip, Winston Bruce earned his marks when he sent Brock Radford to the ground in 2.87 seconds. Hanna Motors Winston Bruce was back atop the leaderboard at the most recent Touring Pro Division event held in late September in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Marked 45 points, Winston Bruce earned the score for his 4.47-second trip with 2017 PBR Rookie of the Year Coy Robbins. In 10 outs across all levels of competition, Winston Bruce has been ridden just once, covered by Griffin Smeltzer for 87.5 points this August in Stavely, Alberta. Hanna Motors Winston Bruce earned a 43.5-point score. The bovine athlete is one of 12 selected to buck in the championship round.
Lil’ Hooch and Stickin n’ Movin are both two-time Bull of the Event recipients. Lil’ Hooch led the field in Cluny, Alberta, scored 44.5 points for his 1.95-second buckoff of Ashton Sahli, and in Magrath, Alberta, marked 45 points for his 5.68 seconds of work against Australian sensation Callum Miller, while Stickin n’ Movin topped the pen at two Two Touring Pro Division events in Calgary, scored 45.5 points for his 3-second trip with Robbins and 45 points for his 5.97-second buckoff of 2018 PBR Canada Champion Cody Coverchuk. While Lil’ Hooch will compete in the 5/5 Bucking Battle, Stickin n’ Movin will be out in the championship round of the PBR Saskatoon Classic.
NEXT UP – The 2021 PBR Canada Sup Series will next travel to Edmonton, Alberta, and Rogers Place for the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals, presented by Command Tubular Products. Action will get underway at 7:30 p.m. MST on both Friday, November 12 and Saturday, November 13.
PROVIDING PROTECTION – The bullfighters on hand for this weekend’s event in Saskatoon 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
SASKATOON COMPETITORS BY COUNTRY
Australia (1) – Callum Miller
Canada (25) – Dakota Buttar, Todd Chotowetz, Cody Coverchuk, Tyler Craig, Weston Davidson, Wacey Finkbeiner, Riley Gagnon, Jake Gardner, Garrett Green, Jordan Hansen, Chad Hartman, Nicholas Klinck, Zane Lambert, Tim Lipsett, Micheal Ostashek, Jared Parsonage, Coy Robbins, Aaron Roy, Ashton Sahli, Landon Schmidt, Dawson Shannon, Griffin Smeltzer, Blake Smith, Dylan Somerville, Nick Tetz.
Paraguay (1) – Fabian Dueck
BREAKDOWN BY PROVINCE –
Alberta – Tyler Craig, Weston Davidson, Wacey Finkbeiner, Riley Gagnon, Garrett Green, Jordan Hansen, Nicholas Klinck, Zane Lambert, Micheal Ostashek, Coy Robbins, Ashton Sahli, Landon Schmidt, Dawson Shannon, Griffin Smeltzer, Nick Tetz, British Columbia – Jake Gardner; Saskatchewan – Dakota Buttar, Todd Chotowetz, Cody Coverchuk, Chad Hartman, Tim Lipsett, Jared Parsonage, Aaron Roy, Blake Smith, Dylan Somerville.