Game Notes – Kelowna
By: Kacie Albert Wednesday, July 19, 2023 @ 9:21 AM
NEXT STOP, KELOWNA – This weekend, for the second consecutive season and third time in history, PBR Canada’s elite Cup Series, presented by Wrangler, will buck into Kelowna, British Columbia. The PBR Okanagan Challenge, the sixth elite tour event of the season, will be held at Prospera Place on Thursday, July 20. Action will begin at 7 p.m. PDT.
THIS WEEK’S FORMAT – The PBR Okanagan Challenge will feature two rounds of bull riding and is a Tier 1 Challenger Series event. Each rider will get on one bull in Round 1 on Thursday. The 10 bull riders with the best scores will then advance to the championship round, 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 120 national points, in addition to ride score points.
TIME TO TALK TOURING PRO DIVISION – While it may have only been a month since the most recent Cup Series event in Regina, Saskatchewan, the PBR Canada Touring Pro Division event has been in full swing, holding nine events. Here’s a recap of how each event unfolded:
Edgerton, AB (June 30): Nick Tetz inched closer to history on June 30 in Edgerton, Alberta. Attempting to become the first back-to-back PBR Canada Champion, Tetz went a perfect 2-for-2, sweeping the competition to win the Touring Pro Division event and overtake the No. 1 spot in the heated 2023 national title battle. Tetz surged to an early lead in Round 1 when he topped Whiskey Moon for 86 points. As the last man to leave the chutes, Tetz, who rides for the Arizona Ridge Riders in the separate PBR Teams league, next went head-to-head with Sure Shot. In a perfect pairing, Tetz remained in perfect time with the animal athlete, matching him jump for jump en route to the requisite 8, marked an event-best 88 points. Courtesy of the event win, Tetz collected a crucial 39 national points. He overtook Jared Parsonage for the No. 1 rank in Canada, climbing 3 points ahead of his countryman.
Ponoka, AB (July 1): Young gun Stefan Tonita reached a crucial career milestone July 1 in Ponoka, Alberta. Delivering the high-marked ride of the Canadian Touring Pro Division’s Wild West PBR, presented by Ponoka Stampede, Tonita won his career-first PBR event, catapulting inside the Top 10 in the race for the 2023 Canadian Championship. Tonita was unrivaled in Round 1, topping Sure Shot for 85.5 points. While the Saskatchewan man was unable to make the 8 in the final round, upended in 3.45 seconds by Airplane Mode, his opening score was enough to cement the victory. Courtesy of the win, Tonita netted an important 108 national points. He surged from No. 19 to No. 6 in the national standings, inching within 101.5 points of No. 1 Nick Tetz. Just one day after overtaking the No. 1 rank in the battle for the 2023 PBR Canada Championship, Tetz was unable to grow his 3-point lead over No. 2 Jared Parsonage. Tetz went 0-for-1 in Ponoka, bucked off by Finger Roll in 3.61 seconds.
Cluny, AB (July 2): As the 2023 PBR Canada season continued July 2 in Cluny, Alberta, Dakota Buttar rode supreme, collecting his first event win of the season at the Touring Pro Division’s Cluny Lions Charity PBR. Buttar was the lone contender to go a perfect 2-for-2 at Coulee Creek Farms. The Saskatchewan man got off to a quick start in Round 1 when he posted the top marks, covering Red Rust for 84 points. As the last man out in the championship round, Buttar punctuated his first PBR Canada event win of the season with a 75-point effort atop Irish Rebel. Courtesy of the win, the 2020 PBR Canada Champion garnered a much-needed 31 national points. He climbed from No. 8 to No. 7 in the standings, rising within 118 points of No. 1 Nick Tetz. Should Buttar continue his upward momentum in the standings and earn the 2023 title, he would become just the fourth multi-time PBR Canada Champion in history, joining three-time title-holder Aaron Roy and two-time winners Zane Lambert and Cody Coverchuk.
Calgary, AB #1 (July 4): At the first of four Cody Snyder Charity Bullbustin’ Touring Pro Division events in Calgary, Alberta, Chad Hartman reached a career milestone. In front of an enthusiastic crowd, Hartman went 2-for-2 to win his first PBR event, vaulting inside the Top 10 in the heated race to be crowned the 2023 Canadian Champion. Hartman delivered his first score at Grey Eagle Resort & Casino in Round 1 when he went the distance atop Housefire for 81.5 points. Tied for third, the young Saskatchewan man next went head-to-head with The Remedy in the championship round. Matching the powerful animal athlete jump for jump, Hartman reached the requisite 8 for 87.5 points to cement his victory. Leaving Calgary with 54.5 national points, Hartman surged from No. 11 to No. 7 in the Canadian standings, inching within 106.5 points of No. 1 Nick Tetz. Hometown hopeful Tetz was unable to extend his lead after going 0-for-1 at the opening Cody Snyder Charity Bull Bustin’. In Round 1, Tetz was upended by Naughty Kisher in a hard-fought 6.44 seconds.
Calgary, AB #2 (July 5): Going a perfect 2-for-2 on July 5 in Calgary, Alberta, red-hot Garrett Green won the second iteration of the PBR Canada Touring Pro Division’s Cody Snyder Charity Bullbustin’, cracking the Top 10 in the national standings. Green got off to a quick start, recording the third-best score of Round 1 when he topped Moonwalk for 83.5 points. The Alberta veteran then squared off against Lil’ Hooch in the championship round. In what proved to be a perfect pairing, Green reached the requisite 8 atop the animal athlete, marked an event-best 88.5 points to climb the leaderboard and cement the victory. Green’s flawless effort garnered him a much-needed 58 national points. Chasing his first PBR Canada Championship this November, Green rose from No. 14 to No. 10 in the national standings, rising within 137 points of the No. 1 rank. Reigning PBR Canada Champion Nick Tetz extended his lead atop the national standings via a third-place finish. While he failed to convert in Round 1, bested by Silver Creek in a heartbreaking 7.37 seconds, he earned a renewed shot at victory as he advanced to the championship round on time. Making the most of his second chance, Tetz was quick to rebound, finishing second in the final round via an 88-point ride aboard Haunted Creek. Earning 23 national points, Tetz extended his lead over No. 2 Jared Parsonage to 26 points.
Calgary, AB #3 (July 6): At the third iteration of the Cody Snyder Charity Bullbustin, part of the PBR Canada Touring Pro Division, the competing riders showed up and showed out, as five contenders went a perfect 2-for-2. However, Cole Brewer was unmatched, besting runner-up Coy Robbins by a mere 0. 5 points, to capture his career-first PBR event win. Brewer was sensational in Round 1 as he teamed with Bull Dozzer for an 85-point score. The South Dakota man then found himself matched up with Sure Shot, positioned second on the event leaderboard ahead of the championship round. Continuing his momentum, Brewer remained in perfect time with the powerful animal athlete, covering him for 84.5 points to cement the win. Brewer left Grey Eagle Resort & Casino in Calgary, Alberta, with 54 national points. He rose from No. 22 to No. 16 in the Canadian standings, propelled within 198 points of No. 1 Nick Tetz. Calgary’s own Tetz was unable to extend his lead atop the standings on July 6. In Round 1, Tetz met his match against Cliff as the animal tossed him to the ground in a quick 3.16 seconds.
Calgary, AB #4 (July 7): Punctuating his performance with the high-marked ride of his career and the top score of the 2023 PBR Canada season, Nick Tetz was unmatched on July 7 in Calgary, Alberta, victorious at the fourth Cody Snyder Charity Bullbustin’. Tetz got off to a quick start in Round 1 when he delivered the third-best score, marked 84 points atop True Grit. Tetz then readied to go head-to-head with Time Marches On in the final round. In what proved to be a perfect pairing, Tetz matched the powerful bull jump for jump en route to the 8-second whistle, marked a monstrous 92 points. For Tetz, the win was his second Touring Pro Division victory of the season and third across all levels of competition in Canada. He garnered a crucial 59 national points, extending his lead over No. 2 Coy Robbins to 68.84 points.
Picture Butte, AB (July 8): On July 8 in Picture Butte, Alberta, Stefan Tonita and Jake Dunham were unrivaled, tying for the event win at the Touring Pro Division’s Coyote Flats PBR. As competition got underway, both Tonita and Dunham failed to convert in the opening round. Tonita came down in a heartbreaking 7.03 seconds aboard Putsey, while Dunham was tossed by Ignite in a close 6.62 seconds. Both competitors, however, got a renewed shot at victory, advancing to the championship round on time. Tonita and Dunham both rebounded in winning form, tying for the championship round victory with matching 86-point rides. Tonita topped Ceili’s Pyper, while Dunham conquered Jail Break. Each rider earned 23 national points. Tonita remained No. 9 in the national standings, climbing within 179.5 points of the No. 1 rank, while Dunham rose five positions in the standings from No. 30 to No. 25. Chasing history this season, 2022 PBR Canada Champion Nick Tetz was third, garnering 19 national points. Tetz was electric in the opening round, delivering the top score when he rode Times A Wasting for 85 points. The Albertan, however, fell short of his second consecutive event win when he was upended by Al Capone in a quick 1.59 seconds in the final round. The podium finish allowed the Albertan to extend his lead atop the national standings, elevated 87.84 points ahead of No. 2 Coy Robbins.
Kinsella, AB (July 12): For the second time in 2023, Griffin Smeltzer rode his way to victory, winning the PBR Canada Touring Pro Division’s Kinsella Graveldome Bullarama in Kinsella, Alberta, cracking the Top 20 in the race to be crowned this season’s Canadian Champion. In the opening round, Smeltzer was unrivaled, delivering the top score when he reached the requisite 8 aboard Finning Nikki Sixx for 86 points. As the last man out in the championship round, Smeltzer had clinched the win before climbing atop Time Marches On as each of the nine riders prior had bucked off. Smeltzer was also unable to end the event with a score, tossed by his bovine athlete counterpart in a quick 2.65 seconds. Compliments of the win, Smeltzer earned a crucial 27 national points. The 2022 Glen Keeley Award winner gained six positions in the Canadian standings, rising from No. 23 to No. 17. He is now within 299 points of No. 1 Nick Tetz, who extended his lead atop the standings by tying for second in Kinsella alongside Callum Miller. Tetz went 1-for-2, topping Teeka for 84 points. He narrowly missed the event win when he was bucked off by Ain’t About Fame in 5.70 seconds. The silver showing earned Tetz 18 national points. He extended his lead over No. 2 Coy Robbins to 105.84 points.
PAST KELOWNA EVENT WINNERS – When the elite Canadian Cup Series last travelled to Kelowna in July 2022, Brock Radford went a perfect 2-for-2 to win the tour stop and catapult to the No. 1 rank in the feverish race for the PBR Canada Championship. Radford, who won the first-ever PBR Canada event in Kelowna in 2017, traveled to British Columbia amidst a hot streak, registering three consecutive Top 10 finishes in his most recent outings. Continuing his momentum, Radford first struck in Round 1 when he delivered the second-best score, marked 85.5 points atop Trapped. With the second pick in the championship round bull draft, Radford used his early selection to architect a matchup with Irish Rebel, a decision which would pay dividends when he recorded an event-best 88.5 points to clinch the victory. Radford’s golden finish garnered him a crucial 77 national points. After beginning the tour stop No. 4 in Canada, Radford surged to the No. 1 position, rising 12.67 points ahead of then-No. 2 Blake Smith. The victory was the second for Radford in Kelowna. In 2017, PBR Canada held its first-ever event in the British Columbia city as part of the Touring Pro Division. Radford won the event, his second of a historic four consecutive event wins, as the only rider to deliver a perfect 2-for-2 performance. Radford, who double-entered in 2017, also finished sixth at the event. This week, the Alberta standout will look to earn his third career victory in the city, first climbing aboard Limpy in Round 1.
2022: Brock Radford
2018: Lachlan Richardson
FAMILIAR WATERS – Round 1 of the PBR Okanagan Challenge will feature three rematches. Those riders facing familiar opponents are:
- Blake Smith will look to avenge a 2022 buckoff dealt to him by Smooth Sailor. Last July at the Touring Pro Division event in Lacombe, Alberta, the animal athlete tossed Smith in 3.91 seconds.
- Jake Dunham will look to even the score against Allemand Left. A few weeks ago, at the Touring Pro Division stop in Ponoka, Alberta, the bull bested Dunham in 3.88 seconds.
- Tyler Craig will face the final rematch as he climbs aboard Look At This Dude for the second time in his PBR career. At the September 2022 Cup Series event in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Craig was bucked off by Look At This Dude in a quick 3.54 seconds.
NEXT UP – The 2023 PBR Canada Sup Series, presented by Wrangler, will next travel to Grande Prairie, Alberta, and Bonnetts Energy Centre for the PBR Peace Country Invitational on Saturday, September 30, and Sunday, October 1. Action will get underway at 7 p.m. MT on September 30 and 2 p.m. MT on October 1.
PROVIDING PROTECTION – The bullfighters on hand for this weekend’s event in Kelowna, British Columbia, are Tanner Byrne, Brett Monea and Ty Prescott.
2023 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 five 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 2023:
March 3 in Lethbridge, Alberta | Coy Robbins, 89.5 points on Positively Bangin
KELOWNA COMPETITORS BY COUNTRY
Australia (2) – Toby Leake, Jake Maher
Canada (23) – William Barrows, Dakota Buttar, Cody Coverchuk, Tyler Craig, Weston Davidson, Jake Gardner, Wyatt Gleeson, Garrett Green, Chad Hartman, Tim Lipsett, Keaton Martz, Micheal Ostashek, Brock Radford, Coy Robbins, Aaron Roy, Ashton Sahli, Tyson Salmon, Cauy Schmidt, Grady Smeltzer, Griffin Smeltzer, Blake Smith, Nick Tetz, Stefan Tonita.
New Zealand (1) – Wade Marshall
Paraguay (1) – Fabian Dueck
United States (1) – Jake Dunham
BREAKDOWN BY PROVINCE –
Alberta – William Barrows, Tyler Craig, Wyatt Gleeson, Garrett Green, Keaton Martz, Micheal Ostashek, Brock Radford, Coy Robbins, Ashton Sahli, Cauy Schmidt, Grady Smeltzer, Griffin Smeltzer, Nick Tetz; British Columbia – Jake Gardner; Saskatchewan – Dakota Buttar, Cody Coverchuk, Weston Davidson, Chad Hartman, Tim Lipsett, Aaron Roy, Tyson Salmon, Blake Smith, Stefan Tonita.