Game Notes – Grande Prairie
By: Kacie Albert Thursday, September 30, 2021 @ 2:25 PM
GRANDE PRAIRIE GETS RANK – This weekend, for the second time in league history, PBR Canada’s elite Cup Series will buck into Grande Prairie, Alberta, holding the PBR Grande Prairie BuckWild at Bonnetts Energy Centre, formerly Revolution Place, Oct. 1-2. The tour stop is the second Cup Series event of the year, with action for Canada’s premier series getting underway in August in Lethbridge, Alberta. The Grande Prairie event will begin Friday, October 1 at 7:00 p.m. MDT with Round 1 and the 5/5 Bucking Battle, with the event concluding on Saturday, October 2 at 7:00 p.m. MDT with Round 2 and the championship round.
THIS WEEKEND’S FORMAT – The PBR Grande Prairie BuckWild, 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 Grande Prairie will also feature the second 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 Grande Prairie are:
Hot Tamale (Two Bit Bucking Bulls)
Wolf Bait (Vold Rodeo)
Up Shift (Vold Rodeo)
Gandy (Skori Bucking Bulls)
Trump Card (X6 Ranch Bucking Cattle/Lazy S Bucking Bulls)
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. While Buttar was shutout inside ENMAX Centre, 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 selected a new bovine athlete opponent, drafting Norse God who 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, climbing within 18.67 points of then No. 1 Zane Lambert.
After righting the ship in Ponoka, Buttar’s stock only continued to rise, winning two of the three events held the following week in Calgary, Alberta. 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, victorious at the opening iteration of the Cody Snyder Charity Bull Bustin’. 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. Fresh off his victory the weekend prior in Ponoka, 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.
Ahead of this weekend’s event in Grande Prairie, Buttar competed one final time on the Touring Pro Division, finishing both fourth and fifth in Prince Albert to begin his campaign inside Bonnetts Energy Centre with a consecutive qualified ride streak of four in a row. Buttar clinched fourth place at the event compliments of an 81.5-point ride aboard Claude in Round 1, and an 89-point effort atop 2019 PBR Canada Bull of the Finals Finning Lil Shorty in the championship round. The reigning PBR Canada Champion went on to register his second Top-5 finish of the event after riding Broken Trigger for 83.5 points in Round 1, and Hanna Motors Wilford for 86 points in the championship round. Collectively, Buttar earned 10.33 national points in Prince Albert. He now leads No. 2 contender Lambert by 36.66 points. Buttar will attempt to continue his winning ways in Grande Prairie when he faces a rematch in Broken Trigger in Round 1 and goes head-to-head against Built Tough in Round 2.
WEST GETS THE W – Only one rider will travel to this weekend’s PBR Grande Prairie BuckWild fresh off an event win – Lonnie West. Competing at last weekend’s Touring Pro Division event in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, no rider was more dominant than Cadogan’s West as he rode his way to his second victory of 2021. As action got underway, West tied with Australian sensation Callum Miller for the Round 1 win, delivering an impressive 88-point trip. West covered Western Wine, while Miller went the distance aboard Hot Tamale. West then took sole ownership of the No. 1 position on the event leaderboard when he brought the raucous Prince Albert crowd to its feet with an 89.5-point trip atop Spooky Lukie in the championship round. The score avenged a buckoff from the 2019 season, when the powerful bull brought West down in 6.02 seconds in Calgary, Alberta. The golden finish earned West a critical 29 national points, elevating him from No. 9 to No. 7 in the PBR Canada standings. He now trails No. 1 Dakota Buttar by 66.66 points. Seeking his first PBR Canada Championship in 2021, West has gone 9-for-16 (56.25%) on home soil, collecting two event wins and an accompanying four Top-10 finishes. West earned his first victory of 2021 in late July when he topped the field in Czar Lake, Alberta. One of West’s Top-5 efforts was earned at the PBR Canada Cup Series season-launch event in Lethbridge where he tied for fourth. The 25-year-old entered the championship round atop the leaderboard after riding Shameless for 83.5 points in Round 1 and topping Round 2 courtesy of his 86-point score on Double Major. The Albertan favorite, however, was unable to conclude the event with a score, bucked off by Finning Lil Shorty in 3.72 seconds in the championship round. West will attempt to earn his third event win, and first on the Cup Series, in 2021 in Grande Prairie, first facing off against Smash in Round 1, followed by Bob Rock in Round 2.
LAMBERT DOMINATES LETHBRIDGE – Zane Lambert’s name is already firmly etched in the PBR record books, but he is looking to leave a further impression this season as he attempts to earn his third PBR Canada Championship. To date, only one other rider has accomplished that feat, with Aaron Roy winning the national title in 2008, 2010 and 2012. As the PBR Canada Cup Series got underway this August in Lethbridge, Alberta, Lambert delivered a performance that chartered him on a path to earning his third Canadian Championship. Backed by a monstrous 90-point ride in the championship round, Lambert clinched the season-launch event victory, catapulting to the No. 1 rank in the race for the 2021 PBR Canada Championship, and accompanying $50,000 bonus. The Ponoka man began the tour stop in dominant fashion, tying for the Round 1 win compliments of an 84-point effort atop Gandy. As Championship Saturday got underway, however, the Ponoka native was unable to continue his hot streak, dispatched by Bob Rock in a quick 1.84 seconds in Round 2. With his opening-round score enough to secure his spot in the championship round, Lambert drafted a familiar opponent in reigning PBR Canada Bull of the Year Catch My Drift. In June, the veteran Canuck delivered the first 90-point ride of the Canadian season atop the striking bovine athlete, scored 91 points in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Replicating his past success, Lambert once again matched the bull jump-for-jump, making the requisite 8 for an event-best 90 points in Lethbridge. For his efforts, Lambert netted a critical 85.5 national points, catapulting him from No. 9 to No. 1 in the race for the 2021 PBR Canada Championship, then 1.34 points points ahead of No. 2 Nick Tetz. Following the event in Lethbridge, the Touring Pro Division held a trio of events in Calgary, however, after a fifth-place finish on the opening night, Lambert was relegated to the sidelines by injury. As a result, he was surpassed by reigning PBR Canada Champion Dakota Buttar for the No. 1 position in the national standings. Quick to return to competition, Lambert was back in action at last weekend’s Touring Pro Division event in Prince Albert, going 2-for-2 to finish third. Lambert first delivered the fourth-best score of the opening round when he covered Blue North for 85 points. His momentum then continued in the championship round, remaining red hot when he rode Finning Twitch for 87 points. Earning 12 Canadian points, Lambert overtook young gun Griffin Smeltzer for the No. 2 rank in the national standings. The veteran contender will travel to Grande Prairie within a mere 36.66 points of No. 1 Buttar. At the PBR Grande Prairie BuckWild, Lambert will attempt Sons of Junkie in Round 1, followed by Time Well Spent in Round 2 inside Bonnetts Energy Centre.
HANSEN GOES FOR 90 – Jordan Hansen may not have started his 2021 PBR Canada season until last weekend in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan on the Touring Pro Division, but when he did begin his campaign, he did so in head-turning fashion. Backed by a monstrous 90-point effort, the Okotoks contender finished second at the Prince Albert PBR, presented by Riverside Dodge, earning 20 national points. Hansen first put points on the board in Round 1 when he covered Sure Shot for 85.5 points.
Making magic in the championship round, Hansen registered his first 90-point ride of 2021, and sixth of the year on Canadian soil, when he rode Catch My Drift for 90 points. Hansen, who needs to make up ground if he wants to punch his ticket to the 2021 PBR Canada Finals in November where more than $175,000 will be on the line, is now No. 17 in the national standings. He trails No. 1 Buttar by 160.66 points. In his first Cup Series outing of 2021, Hansen has drawn Mr. Legit in Round 1 of the PBR Grande Prairie BuckWild, and will then face Mr. Smooth in the second round.
GARDNER RETURNS TO CANADA – Peace River Country native Jake Gardner had yet to compete on home soil prior to last weekend’s Touring Pro Division event in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Travelling stateside to begin the season, the 25-year-old had been hard at working riding at both rodeo events and tour stops for the PBR’s Touring Pro Division and Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour. Specific to PBR, Gardner was electric in the winter months, registering three Top-10 efforts in the United States. His campaign was championed by a ninth-place result on the Velocity Tour in early April in College Station, Texas. However, Gardner is now back in Canada eager to reach the 2021 PBR Canada Finals, where he hopes to be a front runner for the National Championship and accompanying $50,000 bonus. In Prince Albert, Gardner earned 4 national points and will travel to Grande Prairie ranked No. 26 in Canada, 176.33 points behind No. 1 Buttar. Finishing sixth at the Touring Pro Division stop hosted by the Byrne family, Gardner went a perfect 2-for-2, covering Finning Hou’s Deacon for 81 points and Hwolin’ Wolf for 86.5. Gardner will attempt to continue his ride streak in Grande Prairie when he attempts Oldsmobile in Round 1, and Dance Monkey in Round 2.
PAST GRANDE PRAIRIE EVENT WINNERS – Last season, the elite Canadian Cup Series debuted in Grande Prairie, when the league held the three-day, four-event 2020 PBR Canada Finals at Bonnetts Energy Centre, formerly Revolution Place. After an electric quartet of events inside the Alberta venue, Dakota Buttar capped his dominant season with the 2020 PBR Canada Championship. Entering the series of season-culminating events with a firm grip on the No. 1 rank on the national standings, Buttar furthered his stronghold in the opening tour stop, finishing third to expand his lead over then No. 2 Garrett Green to 137 points. While all eyes were on Buttar, the first Cup Series event in Grande Prairie was won by two-time PBR Canada Champion Zane Lambert and Australian sensation Callum Miller. As the 2020 PBR Canada Finals Week continued, Buttar notched his third Cup Series event victory of 2020 on the second night of action in Grande Prairie to clinch his first national championship. As the 2020 PBR Canada Finals wound to a close, Buttar completed his impressive tare through the first-ever Cup Series events held in Grande Prairie with a win in the third event, earned courtesy of an 88-point ride on Bull of the Year contender Finning Lil Shorty. The fourth Cup Series stop in Grande Prairie, which capped the 2020 season, was won by Albertan Lonnie West, a victory earned courtesy of an 85-point ride on Duck Soup.
While the elite Cup Series debuted in 2020, the city first welcomed PBR in 2019, hosting a stop on the Canadian Touring Pro Division. Going a perfect 2-for-2, Thor Hoefer II won the inaugural event, followed closely by runner-up Brock Radford.
2020 Lonnie West
2020 Dakota Buttar
2020 Dakota Buttar
2020 Zane Lambert/Callum Miller
FAMILIAR WATERS – In Round 1 of the PBR Grande Prairie BuckWild, four riders will face familiar opponents, with every member of the quartet entering the showdown with a perfect record against their bovine athlete counterpart. For Dakota Buttar, he is preparing to climb aboard Broken Trigger for the third time in his career. The duo first went head-to-head in Medicine Hat, Alberta, in 2019. Buttar rode Broken Trigger for 85 points en route to the event victory. The rivalry was reignited last weekend on the Touring Pro Division in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, with Buttar and Broken Trigger again meeting in the opening round. With Buttar making the whistle for a second time, he earned an 83.5-point score before finishing fifth overall in the event. Much like Buttar, Garrett Green will also attempt a bull he has previously ridden in 2021. Drawing Blue North in the opening round of the second Touring Pro Division event held in early September in Calgary, Green rode the bull for an 86-point score. For Lonnie West, he’ll be embroiled in the most established rivalry when he attempts Smash. The pair met in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in 2017, when West reached the whistle for an 85.5-point score in the opening round. Jared Parsonage is the final contender slated to face a rematch in Round 1 of the second PBR Canada Cup Series event of 2021. He rode Blow Me Away for 87 points during the 2019 Calgary Stampede, then sanctioned by the PBR.
Round 2 of the Cup Series event from Grande Prairie, Alberta, and Bonnetts Energy Centre will feature three rematches. Australian sensation Callum Miller will be the lone member of the trio to have reached the whistle aboard his second round opponent. Meeting this June in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan on the Touring Pro Division, Miller rode the bull for 88.5 points.
The remaining Round 2 rematches are:
Landon Schmidt vs. Ain’t About Fame (2021 Kinsella, Alberta TPD – Round 1 | 2.45 seconds)
Nick Tetz vs. Blue Blood (2021 Cluny, Alberta TPD – Round 1 | 2.54 seconds)
BULL PEN – This weekend’s bull pen for the PBR Canada Cup Series event in Grande Prairie, Alberta, will be headlined by four bulls who have previously earned the high-marked bovine athlete of the event honor in 2021: Lil’ Hooch, Muzzle Blast, Last Rights and Gifted. The quartet of bulls is led by Flying High Rodeo Co.’s Lil’ Hooch who has twice topped the bull pen on the Touring Pro Division. Lil’ Hooch is one five bulls to earn the honor multiple times this season. Happy Camper leads the league as a four-time recipient of the honor, followed closely by Hanna Motors Winston Bruce who is a three-time winner. Both bulls topped the field at the season-launch Cup. Lil’ Hooch is tied for third-most honors won by one bull alongside Blackstone After Party and Stickin n’ Movin.
Lil’ Hooch topped the bull pen at the Touring Pro Division events in both Cluny and Magrath. In Cluny, Lil’ Hooch was marked 44.5 points for his 1.95-second trip with Aston Sahli, while in Magrath, he was marked a career-best 45 points for his 5.68-second buckoff of Callum Miller. With three outs on record in his PBR career, Lil’ Hooch most recently bucked in Coronation, Alberta, marked 42.5 points when he was ridden by two-time PBR Canada Champion Zane Lambert for 87.5 points. For Muzzle Blast he tied with Happy Camper and Hanna Motors Winston Bruce for the Bull of the Event honor at the season-launch Cup Series event in Lethbridge. He delivered a 44.5-point effort when he bucked off Brock Radford in 5.32 seconds during the accompanying 5/5 Bucking Battle. Of note, Muzzle Blast is the lone bovine in the quartet with experience stateside on the elite Unleash The Beast. Earlier this season, Muzzle Blast travelled to Billings, Montana. In his premier series debut, he bucked off Joao Henrique Lucas in 2.4 seconds to earn a 41.75-point score. Muzzle Blast, who is unridden in eight outs on record across all levels of PBR competition, last bucked in Ponoka, Alberta. Drawn by Cody Coverchuk, the X6 Ranch standout bucked off the 2018 PBR Canada Champion in 5.18 seconds to earn a 44-point score.
Vold Rodeo contender Last Rights made his PBR debut in 2020, bucking twice. However, it wasn’t until this season that the bull began to find his groove. After posting a 41.5-point score in Marwayne, bucking off three-time PBR Canada Champion Aaron Roy in 7.84 seconds, Last Rights delivered an improved 42.5-point score in Ponoka, besting Blake Smith in 4.39 seconds. In his most recent PBR out, Last Rights delivered a career-best performance in early September in Calgary. Marked 44 points, and earning his career first Bull of the Event title, Last Rights sent Dawson Shannon to the dirt in a swift 2.45 seconds. Fellow Vold Rodeo bovine Gifted completes the quartet. Much like Last Rights, Gifted also earned his first Bull of the Event title in Calgary compliments of a career-best trip. Bucking off Griffin Smeltzer in 3.87 seconds, Gifted was scored 45.5 points. Gifted is one of only three bulls to post a season-best 45.5-point score in 2021, joined by Happy Camper and Stickin n’ Movin. Ridden just once in his five outs on record, Gifted’s other out from 2021 to note was witnessed in Stavely, Alberta for the Glen Keeley Memorial Bull Riding. Also bucking off Smeltzer, Gifted’s 7.53 seconds of work earned him a 45-point score.
Lil’ Hooch, Muzzle Blast, Last Rights and Gifted will all buck in the championship round in Grande Prairie at Bonnetts Energy Centre.
NEXT UP – Following a one-week break, the 2021 PBR Canada Sup Series will travel to Medicine Hat, Alberta and Co-op Place for the PBR Thunderbuck in the Badlands on October 16. Action will get underway at 7:00 p.m. MDT.
PROVIDING PROTECTION – The bullfighters on hand for this weekend’s event in Lethbridge are Tanner Byrne, Ty Prescott, and Brett Monea.
GRANDE PRAIRIE COMPETITORS BY COUNTRY
Australia (1) – Callum Miller
Canada (24) – Logan Biever, Dakota Buttar, Todd Chotowetz, Cody Coverchuk, Tyler Craig, Tanner Eno, 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, Nick Tetz, Lonnie West, Cole Young
Paraguay (1) – Fabian Dueck
BREAKDOWN BY PROVINCE –
Alberta – Logan Biever, Tyler Craig, Tanner Eno, Riley Gagnon, Garrett Green, Jordan Hansen, Nicholas Klinck, Zane Lambert, Micheal Ostashek, Coy Robbins, Ashton Sahli, Landon Schmidt, Dawson Shannon, Nick Tetz, Lonnie West, Cole Young; British Columbia – Jake Gardner; Saskatchewan – Dakota Buttar, Todd Chotowetz, Cody Coverchuk, Chad Hartman, Tim Lipsett, Jared Parsonage, Aaron Roy.