Ashton Sahli to Return to Competition in Camrose, Eyes Edmonton in November
By: Covy Moore Wednesday, May 10, 2023 @ 7:51 AM
AIRDRIE, Alta. – Last season was a breakthrough year for Red Deer, Alberta’s Ashton Sahli.
With an event win to his credit, and a momentous run through the summer last season that included a seven-out ride streak, no one questioned that Sahli was a shoe-in for the 2022 PBR Canada National Finals.
But what many didn’t know was that the Sahli had a torn labrum and irregular bone growth on his femur, bringing him an immense amount of pain and discomfort throughout the season.
“The beginning of last year it was normal,” Sahli began. “I was used to it bugging me, but it got progressively worse and worse. It got to the point where it was hard to pick my leg up to get in the chute. Towards the end of summer, it was really bad.”
“I was beaten before I showed up to be honest with you,” Sahli continued.
“It was sore, I wasn’t having fun. The biggest part is that expectations of myself and to do good and get my bulls rode, and everyone else expects it too. I am capable of doing it, but this was for sure weighing on me in that sense, it was holding me back from doing what I know I can do.”
Not dissimilar to what 2020 PBR Canada Champion Dakota Buttar experienced in 2021, or what former PBR Canada riders Bryce West or Wacey Finkbeiner had operated on, Sahli said he had a wealth of experience from riders and the PBR’s partner, the Ty Pozzobon Sports Medicine Team.
“I had a really good go at Bullbustin’ in Calgary and Czar Lake, Alberta and through those. I started getting on really sore, it was playing in the back of my mind that I wasn’t 100% and I was doubting myself. Getting on sore with that many bulls week in and week out, it weighs on you pretty hard.”
“I got in touch with Brandon Thome with sports medicine and we did all of the scans and MRIs it turned out I had a torn labrum in my hip, and a bone growth on my femur. The only way to fix it is to go under the knife and get surgery. It was scheduled for the day after the bull riding in Saskatoon. I said hell with it and went for it anyway. It didn’t go my way at all.”
Each person will handles these situations differently, but Sahli was honest with his assessment of the situation before going in for surgery.
“I was pretty scared going into it,” Sahli explained. “It was a bit of that make it or break it side of the decision. It will either work or it won't. Thinking that maybe, shit, bull riding could be done for me. There is life after bull riding, I don’t want to be crippled up to the point of not being able to do the day-to-day things.”
“It was a tough decision, in the end I am super glad I went the route of taking all this time off and getting back to 100%.”
“I am really excited to get back going, now with the hip feeling better than it ever has before. It is time to make a good run at things and not worry about this stuff or being so sore."
After having surger November 1, 2022, the 22-year-old says he is back to 100%, something he hasn’t felt in almost two years.
His return this weekend at the second annual Rose City Invitational, organized by current PBR Canada frontrunner Coy Robbins and his partners, is long awaited.
But while the elder Sahli was out recovering from his surgery, his brother, Carter, burst on to the PBR Canada ranks, making a statement with a third-place finish in his first 2023 event in Dawson Creek, British Columbia.
“I am even more excited right now just talking about it on the phone,” Sahli said. “I am excited to get up to Camrose. I have been waiting for this day since November 1 when I was wheeled into that operating room.”
“I haven’t been able to sit down in a dressing room with Carter’s bag next to mine since I was 12 or 13-years-old in the steer riding days. It gives me just that little extra kick in the ass, you know, my brother's here, I have to pull my socks up and show him what’s up.”
This weekend’s event will mark the start of Sahli’s fourth full time campaign on the PBR Canada trail.
With a personal best summer run in 2022, he plans to take things week by week, but those expectations to be in the hunt for a title come the end of the season are well alive for the Albertan.
“Every guy that pulls their bag into that dressing room week in and week out has the goal of rolling into Roger’s Place at Finals and holding that big cheque over your head. That’s everyone's goal, or it should be at least, or you shouldn’t be doing it.”
“My goals are week-to-week showing up and getting my bulls rode. If you can get bulls rode they are going to pay you at the end of it. It’s pretty simple.”