Game Notes – Grande Prairie
By: Kacie Albert Friday, September 29, 2023 @ 1:36 PM
WHEELS UP, WE’RE GOING TO GRANDE PRAIRIE – This weekend, for the fourth time in history, PBR Canada’s elite Cup Series, presented by Wrangler, will buck into Grande Prairie, Alberta. The PBR Peace Country Invitational, the seventh elite tour event of the season, will be held at Bonnetts Energy Centre on Sept. 30-Oct. 1. Action will begin at 7:00 p.m. MDT on Saturday, Sept. 30 and 2:00 p.m. MDT on Sunday, Oct. 1.
THIS WEEKEND’S FORMAT – The PBR Peace Country Invitational will feature three rounds of bull riding and is a Tier 1 Challenger Series Global event. Each rider will get on one bull in Round 1 on Saturday and Round 2 on Sunday. The 11 bull riders with the best combined scores will then advance to the championship round on Sunday, 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 140 national points in the main event, in addition to ride score points. Following Saturday 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 2023, 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. The national points will be awarded as: 1st – 15; 2nd – 8; and 3rd – 7. 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:
Desperado (Vold Rodeo)
Grey Day (Vold Rodeo)
Times A Tickin (Thompson Rodeo Livestock)
Disco Daze (X6 Ranch Bucking Cattle/Legend Rodeo Stock)
Putsey (X6 Ranch Bucking Cattle)
MONEY MOVES – This past week prior to holding a one-of-a-kind outdoor bull riding exhibition in front of Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, PBR Canada gathered to make a historic announcement. As announced, beginning in 2023 at the upcoming National Finals, the annual Canadian Champion bonus will be $100,000, the largest bonus ever awarded to the nation’s year end Champion. The now-doubled Champion’s bonus increases the total payout of the PBR Canada National Finals to an unprecedented $225,000. This makes the 2023 Canadian National Finals to be held Nov. 17-18 the richest in Canadian history. The Canadian year-end event is now also the richest international Finals in PBR’s history.
HITTING THE REPLAY ON KELOWNA – While it has been more than two months since the Cup Series was last in action in Kelowna, British Columbia, we would be remiss to not reflect on that high-adrenaline, sold-out tour stop. Inside Prospera Place, Wyatt Gleeson (Sundre, Alberta) rode supreme going a perfect 2-for-2 to win the Okanagan Challenge. Gleeson first put points on the board in Round 1 when he topped Bow Before Me for 84.5 points. With the third pick in the championship round bull draft, the Albertan selected Wolf Bait, a decision proved dividends. Remaining in perfect time with the powerful animal athlete Gleeson reached the requisite 8, marked a commanding 88 points to clinch the victory. Compliments of the win, Gleeson left Kelowna with a crucial 113.5 national points. He surged from No. 20 to then No. 10 in the heated 2023 PBR Canada Championship race, inching within 188.5 national points of the top spot. In the months since, Gleeson has continued to climb the ranks, now No. 8, and 269.17 points back of the No. 1 rank. Eager to continue his climb up the standings, Gleeson has drawn Red Coat in Round 1 of the PBR Peace Country Invitational.
TIME TO TALK TOURING PRO DIVISION – It has been two months since the most recent Cup Series event in Kelowna, British Columbia, and the PBR Canada Touring Pro Division event has been in full swing, holding 13 events. Here’s a recap of how each event unfolded:
Czar Lake, AB (July 21): Punctuating his perfect performance in Czar Lake, Alberta, with a monstrous 90-point ride, Dakota Buttar earned his second PBR Canada Touring Pro Division event win of the season, victorious at the Czar Lake Bullarama. The 2020 PBR Canada Champion first put points on the board when he topped Big Easy for a Round 1-best 84.5 points. The top marks set up a showdown in the championship round between the Saskatchewan man and Hot Carl. In what proved to be a perfect pairing, Buttar matched the powerful animal athlete jump-for-jump en route to a monstrous 90-point score. The mammoth ride was Buttar’s first 90-point ride of the season, and the sixth of 2023 on Canadian soil. Compliments of the golden finish, Buttar earned a crucial 137 national points. He surged from No. 5 to No. 2 in the national standings, climbing within 32 points of No. 1 Nick Tetz. In the weeks since his win in Czar Lake, Buttar has continued to be a top contender for the 2023 title. He is currently No. 3 in the nation, 136 points behind the top spot. He will attempt War Time in Round 1 of the PBR Peace Country Invitational.
Manor, SK (July 22): As the 2023 PBR Canada season continued in Manor, Saskatchewan, Aaron Roy earned his then organization-best third Touring Pro Division victory of the year at the Manor PBR Touring Pro. While Roy was upended in the opening round, tossed by Space X in 4.13 seconds, he rebounded in resilient form in Round 2. Tasked with Southern Heat (Vold Rodeo), Roy remained in perfect time with the animal athlete, reaching the requisite 8 for an event-best 87 points to clinch the victory. Courtesy of the win, Roy earned a much-need 27 national points. Seeking an unprecedented fourth national title, Roy rose from No. 9 to No. 6 in the Canadian standings, propelled within a then144 points of No. 1 Nick Tetz. Roy has continued to light up arenas at the events since, now No. 5 in the national standings, and within 188 points of the top spot. Roy will climb aboard Crazy Little Thing as action gets underway in Grande Prairie, Alberta.
North Battleford, SK (July 27): Going a perfect 2-for-2 in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, two-time PBR Canada Champion Cody Coverchuk dominated, winning the Touring Pro Division’s McDonald’s Colby Cave Memorial PBR Classic. Chasing his record-tying third national title this November, Coverchuk got off to a quick start in Round 1, delivering the second-best score when he conquered Dealing After Midnight for 85 points. As the penultimate man to leave the chutes inside the North Battleford Civic Center, Coverchuk next climbed aboard Finning Lil Shorty in the championship round. Remaining in perfect time with the powerful animal athlete, Coverchuk reached the requisite 8 for an event-best 87 points to cement the victory. Coverchuk garnered a crucial 38 points for his home province event win. Ranked No. 5 in the nation prior to the tour stop, the Meadow Lake man rose one position to No. 4, climbing within a then 85.34 points of No. 1 Nick Tetz (Calgary, Alberta). Coverchuk has continued to ride red-hot in Canada, now No. 2 in the standings and within a mere 22.84 points of No. 1 Tetz, who will not compete in Grande Prairie this weekend due to a conflicting PBR Teams event. Coverchuk will look to overtake Tetz at the PBR Peace Country Invitational, first drawing Relatively Famous.
Maple Creek, SK (July 28): The feverish 2023 PBR Canada Championship race further intensified in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, as Coy Robbins went a perfect 2-for-2 to win the Touring Pro Division’s Showdown in Cowtown, climbing to a then No. 2 in the title race and inching within fewer than 20 points of the No. 1 rank. As competition got underway in Round 1, Robbins climbed aboard Watermelon Sugar Hi. Reaching the requisite 8, the 2017 PBR Canada Rookie of the Year delivered the fourth-best score of the opening round, marked 82 points. Robbins then squared off with Putsey. Matching the bull jump-for-jump, the Albertan concluded the event with a score, awarded a championship round-best 86 points to cement his victory. Robbins’ third Touring Pro Division victory of the season garnered him a crucial 57 national points. He leapfrogged Dakota Buttar for the then No. 2 position, while also climbing within a mere 18.84 points of No. 1 Nick Tetz. Robbins success as continued to flow as the season has continued, and he will travel to Grande Prairie this weekend ranked No. 4 in Canada, 148.84 points back of No. 1 Tetz. Inside Bonnetts Energy Centre, Robbins will attempt Jail Break as competition gets underway with Round 1.
Lacombe, AB (July 29): In late July, Cody Coverchuk continued to his white-hot momentum, going a perfect 2-for-2 in Lacombe, Alberta, to win his second Touring Pro Division event of the 2023 season, victorious at the Lacombe Pro Bull Riding. Coverchuk got off to a quick start in Round 1, climbing to second on the event leaderboard when he topped Emerald Inn for 84.5 points. As the penultimate man to leave the chutes at the Lacombe and District Agricultural Society, Coverchuk then went head-to-head against Black Jack. In what proved to be a perfect pairing, Coverchuk remained in perfect time with the animal athlete, matching him jump-for-jump en route to the whistle for a commanding 89.5 points. The score not only earned Coverchuk the Round 2 win, but also clinched him the event victory. Coverchuk also logged a seventh-place finish in Lacombe courtesy of a double-entry. His second Top-10 finish was headlined by an 82-point ride atop Highway to Heaven in Round 2. Earning a combined 48 national points, Coverchuk furthered his stronghold on the then No. 4 rank in the standings.
Tofield, AB (August 10): In mid-August in Tofield, Alberta, Tyler Craig went a perfect 2-for-2 to win the Touring Pro Division’s Tofield Bull Bash, presented by BHD Tubular, marking his first victory of the 2023 season. Craig got off to a quick start in Round 1, tying for the top score when he conquered Times A Tickin for 86.5 points. The young Albertan then defended his position atop the leaderboard, and cemented the event win, when he covered Whiskey Clouds for an tour stop-best 87.5 points. Courtesy of the event win, Craig collected a much-needed 38.5 points. Craig catapulted five positions in the heated 2023 PBR Canada Championship race, rising from No. 10 to No. 5 to climb within 157.5 points of the top spot. At present, Craig is currently No. 9 in Canada ahead of this weekend’s event in Grande Prairie, Alberta, 280.5 points behind No. 1 Nick Tetz. At the PBR Peace Country Invitational, Craig has drawn Pennywise in Round 1.
Coronation, AB (August 11): Reigning PBR Canada Champion Nick Tetz inched closer to history in Coronation, Alberta, winning the Touring Pro Division’s Royal Rumbull to further his grip on the No. 1 rank in the national standings as he attempts to become the first back-to-back Champion in Canadian history. Tetz was sensational in the opening round, delivering the second-best score when he made the requisite 8 atop Dirty Turtle for 82.5 points. The Arizona Ridge Rider in the separate PBR Teams League then delivered the high-marked ride of the event to cement the win, conquering High Voltage for 86 points in Round 2. Tetz’ then PBR-best third Touring Pro Division win of the season on Canadian soil garnered him a crucial 38 points. He extended his lead over No. 2 Cody Coverchuk to a then 86.34 points. Fast-forward to current day and Tetz remains No. 1 in Canada, 22.84 points ahead of No. 2 Coverchuk. Tetz will not compete this weekend in Grande Prairie, Alberta, as he will be stateside riding for the Arizona Ridge Riders at their PBR Teams homestand in Glendale, Arizona.
Elnora, AB (August 12): Two-time PBR Canada Champion Cody Coverchuk rode supreme in Elnora, Alberta, going a perfect 2-for-2 to win the Touring Pro Division’s Elnora Brahma Rama and inch within 34.84 points of the No. 1 rank. The Saskatchewan man got off to a hot start in Round 1, posting the top score when he rode Desperado for 86 points. Coverchuk then defended his spot atop the leaderboard when he delivered the high-marked ride of the event in Round 2, going the distance atop Irish Rebel for 87 points. Compliments of a double-entry, Coverchuk was also fourth at the Elnora Agricultural Grounds. Going 1-for-2, Coverchuk’s second Top 5 effort was headlined by an 85-point score aboard Up Shift in Round 2. Earning a combined 51.5 points, Coverchuk not only furthered his stronghold on the nation’s No. 2 rank, but also decimated No. 1 Nick Tetz’ lead. While Coverchuk began the event 86.34 points back, he rose within a then mere 34.84 points of the top spot.
Stavely, AB (August 19): Sweeping both rounds of competition in Stavely, Alberta, Ashton Sahli was unrivaled at the PBR Canada Touring Pro Division event, winning the coveted Glen Keeley Memorial Bull Riding, cracking the Top 10 in the race for the 2023 national title. Sahli got off to a hot start in Round 1, surging to the top of the event leaderboard when he outlasted Times A Tickin for what would remain an event-best 88.5 points. As the last man to leave the chutes at Stavely Outdoor Arena, Sahli next readied to climb atop Alberta Prime Fallin Angel. In a perfect pairing, Sahli remained in perfect time with the powerful animal athlete, matching him jump-for-jump en route to the 8-second whistle. Marked a round-best 88 points, Sahli clinched the event win and an accompanying 62 national points. He rose from No. 12 to No. 8 in the national standings, inching within a then 277 points of the No. 1-ranked rider. Sahi, who is now ranked No. 10 in the nation, is not anticipated to compete this weekend in Grande Prairie, Alberta.
Bowden, AB (August 25): Coy Robbins rode a cut above the rest in Bowden, Alberta, going a perfect 2-for-2 to win his then PBR Canada-best fourth Touring Pro Division event of the season, victorious at the Les Supernant Memorial Bull Bash and rising to No. 3 in the 2023 Canadian Championship race. Robbins got off to a hot start, winning Round 1 when he delivered an 85.5-point ride atop True Grit. In the final round of action, the 2017 PBR Canada Rookie of the Year next took on Original Prankster. Remaining in perfect time with his animal athlete counterpart, Robbins reached the requisite 8 for 88 points to cement the event win. Garnering 37.5 national points, Robbins climbed from No. 4 to No. 3 in the battle to be crowned the 2023 PBR Canada Champion. He rose within a then 138.84 points of No. 1 Nick Tetz.
Armstrong, BC (September 3): In front of an electric crowd in Armstrong, British Columbia, three-time PBR Canada Champion Aaron Roy delivered a perfect 2-for-2 performance to win the Touring Pro Division’s Interior Provincial Exhibition & Stampede, cracking the Top 5 in the 2023 championship race. The win by Roy tied him with Coy Robbins for most Touring Pro Division events won by one rider this season with four. Roy was previously victorious in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Humboldt and Manor, Saskatchewan. As action got underway at the Interior Provincial Exhibition Association, Roy first went head-to-head with Positively Bangin in Round 1. Reaching the requisite 8, Roy was awarded 82.5 points, the fourth best of the round. Roy then took on Crazy Little Thing in the championship round. In what proved to be a perfect pairing, Roy covered the animal athlete for 84.5 points to cement the victory. Courtesy of the win, Roy earned a crucial 33 national points. Seeking his unprecedented fourth national title this November at the 2023 PBR Canada National Finals, Roy rose from No. 6 to No. 5 in the standings, then inching within 238.5 points of No. 1 Nick Tetz.
Prince Albert, SK (September 8): Canadian Champions Dakota Buttar and Aaron Roy were unmatched in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, delivering matching 2-for-2 performances at the Byrne Ranch to tie for the event win at the Touring Pro Division’s Clunie-Cooper Memorial, presented by Riverside Dodge. Both Buttar and Roy got off to a quick start in Round 1, tying for the top score when each contender reached the requisite 8 for 83.5 points. Buttar conquered Freaked Out, while Roy dominated Dark Matter. In the second round, Buttar went head-to-head against Chairman Frank. The 2020 PBR Canada Champion completed his perfect outing in his home province with an 86-point score. For Roy, his final animal athlete opponent was Night Stalker. Remaining in perfect time with the powerful bovine, Roy also delivered his second score in as many attempts for a matching 86 points. Buttar and Roy each netted 32.5 points to further their stronghold on two of the positions in the Top 5 of the Canadian national standings. Remaining No. 4, Buttar climbed within a then 155 points of No. 1 Nick Tetz. Roy remained No. 5 in Canada, propelled within a then 206 points of the top spot.
St. Tite, QC (September 16): At the most recent PBR Canada event In St. Tite, Quebec, Albertan Garrett Green went a perfect 2-for-2 inside Coors Original Arena, to win the Touring Pro Division’s Festival Western St. Tite and crack the Top 10 in the heated 2023 national title battle. Green first put points on the board in Round 1 when he covered Stutterin for 81 points. Positioned fourth on the leaderboard ahead of the second round, Green next took on Power Show. In what proved to be a perfect pairing, Green reached the requisite 8 atop the powerful animal athlete for a Round 2-best 85.5 points to cement the win. The golden finish garnered Green a crucial 57 national points. Green cracked the Top 10 in the nation, rising from No. 12 to No. 7. He is now within 264.5 points of No. 1 Nick Tetz. Eager to continue his momentum this weekend in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Green has drawn Sippin Bravo in Round 1 of the PBR Peace Country Invitational.
PAST GRANDE PRAIRIE EVENT WINNERS – When the elite Canadian Cup Series last travelled to Grande Prairie in October 2022, Aaron Roy parlayed a 2-for-3 showing into an event win, allowing him to crack the Top 5 in the heated race to be crowned the PBR Canada Champion. Roy was quick to put points on the board in Round 1 when he went the distance atop Teeka for 85 points. Tied for third ahead of Round 2, the veteran Canuck then reached the 8 atop Dealing After Midnight for 85 points to surge to the top of the event leaderboard. Despite being bested by Built Tough in 6.25 seconds in the final round, Roy’s opening scores were enough to clinch him the event win. Compliments of the golden finish, Roy earned a crucial 79.5 national points. He gained three positions in the national standings, rising from No. 8 to No. 5.
2022 Aaron Roy
2021 Jake Gardner
2020 Lonnie West
2020 Dakota Buttar
2020 Dakota Buttar
2020 Zane Lambert/Callum Miller
FAMILIAR WATERS – Round 1 of the PBR Peace Country Invitational will feature six rematches. Those riders facing familiar opponents are:
- Three-time PBR Canada Champion Aaron Roy will look to remain perfect against Crazy Little Thing. Roy rode the bull for 84.5 points en route to his early September win on the Touring Pro Division in Armstrong, British Columbia.
- Callum Miller will attempt to reverse his fortunes aboard Dealing After Midnight. This July in Calgary, Alberta, the bovine athlete tossed the Aussie in 5.13 seconds.
- Cody Fraser has drawn Hanna Motors Sure Shot for the fourth time in his career. The two first squared off in September 2022 when Hanna Motors Sure Shot bucked off Fraser in 6.85 seconds during the Cup Series event in Lethbridge, Alberta. This past April, at the Touring Pro Division event in Marwayne, Alberta, Fraser evened the score when he covered the bull for 86.5 points. There most recent showdown, however, went in favor of Hanna Motors Sure Shot, with Fraser tossed in 3.01 seconds during the September Touring Pro Division event in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
- Coy Robbins will nod his head for the second time in his career atop Jail Break. Their initial meeting in July at the Touring Pro Division event in Calgary, Alberta, resulted in an 85.5-point score for Robbins.
- Jake Maher will be keen to repeat his past success on True Grit. Maher first drew the bull in November 2022 at the Canadian Touring Pro Division event in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, making the requisite 8 for 81 points.
- Jordan Hansen is the final rider to face a familiar foe in the opening round of the PBR Peace Country Invitational in Grande Prairie, Alberta. Again matching up with Black Jack, Hansen rode the bull for 82 points during the October 2021 Cup Series event in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
NEXT UP – The 2023 PBR Canada Sup Series, presented by Wrangler, will next travel to Medicine Hat, Alberta, and Co-op Place for the PBR Medicine Hat Classic, presented Art’s Excavating, on Saturday, October 14. Action will get underway at 7 p.m. MT.
PROVIDING PROTECTION – The bullfighters on hand for this weekend’s event in Grande Prairie, Alberta, 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
GRANDE PRAIRIE COMPETITORS BY COUNTRY
Australia (3) – Cody Fraser, Jake Maher, Callum Miller
Canada (17) – Dakota Buttar, Cody Coverchuk, Tyler Craig, Weston Davidson, Jake Gardner, Wyatt Gleeson, Garrett Green, Jordan Hansen, Chad Hartman, Kade McDonald, Jared Parsonage, Brock Radford, Coy Robbins, Aaron Roy, Cauy Schmidt, Stefan Tonita, Cole Young.
United States (3) – Cole Brewer, Jake Dunham, Conner Halverson
BREAKDOWN BY PROVINCE –
Alberta – Tyler Craig, Wyatt Gleeson, Garrett Green, Jordan Hansen, Brock Radford, Coy Robbins, Cauy Schmidt, Cole Young; British Columbia – Jake Gardner; Saskatchewan – Dakota Buttar, Cody Coverchuk, Weston Davidson, Chad Hartman, Kade McDonald, Jared Parsonage, Aaron Roy, Stefan Tonita.