Ashton Sahli and Company Find Canadian Weather on USA Bull Riding Trek
By: Covy Moore Tuesday, January 16, 2024 @ 10:14 PM
AIRDRIE, Alta. – The Canadian convoy of bull riders is continuing their trek through the United States. Following a successful week for Chad Hartman and Jake Gardner in Denver, Colorado, Ashton Sahli and Tyler Craig ran into some trouble with some lower-than-seasonal temperatures while leaving Colorado.
While one of the more favourable factors Canadian bull riders face while taking on the American competition schedule through the winter is the temperature, it was not their friend this past week.
“When I left, I was excited to get out of the minus 30 week,” began Sahli. “And then we drove right into it last night. It was 35 below last night in Denver, the truck didn’t run, we got stuck on the highway.”
“It worked out though,” Sahli added. “We are a little more seasoned than most folks down here driving when it's this bad out, so we made it to where we wanted to get to at least.”
Forever a lover of classic trucks and old technology, Sahli said his first-generation, diesel Dodge pickup was not a fan of the cold.
“It was a little cold, the fuel was bad in Colorado, it was gelling up and the old girl didn’t like that too much,” Sahli said. “Freezing our butts off, the truck didn’t get warm. Me and Tyler Craig stuck it out in the truck while Chad and Weston [Davidson] were behind us with leather comfy heated seats in a Jeep Grand Cherokee. It worked out though, we are on the road and in Texas today. It’s a bit warmer.”
“We are styling now. Put some diesel treatment into it, got some cardboard on the grill to try and let it get warmer. We ditched the cardboard now, we are flying. Feeling like Jim Sharp driving this thing down here headed to a bull riding.”
For Sahli, the start of the run in the United States hasn’t gone his way so far, but he knows he just needs one to get on a roll.
“I am not riding badly, it is just one of those deals where I have to get one rode and get on a roll and have it click,” Sahli explained. “I am feeling good, I am healthy. It’s just a couple minor mistakes that a guy can't afford to be making.”
“Otherwise, I feel good. I am super happy to be down here doing what I love to do, riding bulls.”
And he’s riding bulls with friends.
Travelling alongside Hartman, Davidson, Craig and having other Canadian bull riders like Gardner and implants from Australia including Callum Miller and Jake Maher makes the entire run feel that much more comfortable.
“It’s awesome having the four of us, and Jake and some of the other boys mixing in down here. We are out of our element in a way here, this isn’t home for us.”
“Personally, I don’t know anybody here,” Sahli continued. “We have been dropping our bags in our own corner in the locker room and having the guys that you are with all the time at home help you ride through the highs and lows. Someone to bullshit with, go out and have fun.”
“It makes it feel more like home and I know that helps me for sure.”
As for what his goals are on this run, and the next couple months stateside, the Albertan says his eyes are on a shot at the PBR World Finals in May.
“I am down here for the sole purpose of getting into the World Finals. Watching Nick Tetz, over a winter and a spring make the World Finals, and really hit it off, that kind of lit a fire under my ass to get down here and take a run at it.”
“I am not 100% on how the World Finals work this year, but there are a lot more guys who get a chance to get there. It is maybe a little easier to get there, I think with the points and how things are working. That is my main goal, to get into AT&T Stadium in May.”
With the change to a half-year individual season, followed by PBR Teams in the second half, it has opened up the entire Canadian roster to be able to chase the PBR World Finals.
“It works out perfectly,” Sahli said. “Our big lull in events at home is right when all these big Velocity events are firing up right now. Through January, February, and March. We only have a couple events in Canada so a guy can make sure he is home for those two or three big Cup Series events in the spring, but still make it feasible to make a solid run at the World Finals.”
As for what he needs to change in his bull riding, Sahli says he doesn't think there is anything technically he is missing, he just needs to get on a roll.
“I have Reno on Friday and Saturday this weekend. There is nothing to change on the bull riding side. They are just bulls. They are the same as they are at home. They all buck, they all go up and they all go down. You just have to do your job every time.”
“There is no difference just because we are down here. This is definitely where I need to be, I feel comfortable. I just need that one to get on that roll.”
As for the PBR Canada Cup Series season, which kicks off at the start of February in Red Deer, Alberta, Sahli says it is setting up to be the best bull riding of the year with how fresh and hungry all the Canadian riders are.
“That is one you don’t want to miss. We are really blowing up in Canada, the PBR is getting bigger and better each and every year. Each event is better than the last. It’s the best bull riders and the best bulls in Canada. Everyone is hungry, healthy and itching to go.”
“It’s going to be a dinger."