Game Notes – Lethbridge
By: Kacie Albert Thursday, August 26, 2021 @ 7:53 PM
BACK TO BUCKING – This weekend, for the first time in league history, PBR Canada will launch the elite Cup Series season in Lethbridge, Alberta with the PBR South Country Co-op Showdown, presented by VisitLethbridge.com, bucking into ENMAX Centre August 27-28. While the league has welcomed fans in a limited capacity to Cup Series events since the onset of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the event in Lethbridge will mark the sport’s return to a full capacity crowd. Action gets underway Friday, August 27 at 7:30 p.m. MDT with Round 1 and the 5/5 Bucking Battle, with the event concluding on Saturday, August 28 at 7:30 p.m. MDT with Round 2 and the championship round.
THIS WEEKEND’S FORMAT – The PBR South Country Co-op Showdown, presented by VisitLethbridge.com, 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 season-launch Cup Series event in Lethbridge will also feature the first 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 Lethbridge are:
Sick Rhymes (Two Bit Bucking Bulls)
Finning Twitch (Flying Four Bucking Bulls)
Hanna Motors Wilford (Skori Bucking Bulls)
Irish Rebel (Wilson Rodeo)
Muzzle Blast (X6 Ranch Bucking Cattle)
PARSONAGE WINS NOT 1, NOT 2, BUT 3 EVENTS – While this weekend’s event in Lethbridge will mark the first Cup Series event of 2021, the Touring Pro Division has been in full swing, holding 10 events to date. One rider has emerged supreme at three of those events – Jared Parsonage – positioning himself as an early favorite in the 2021 PBR Canada Championship race and accompanying $50,000 bonus. After finishing the unique 2020 season ranked No. 7 in the nation, Parsonage got off to a quick start in the new year by winning the first tour stop of the year on Canadian soil in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Going a perfect 2-for-2, Parsonage began the event with a bang, delivering the Round 1-winning score when he covered Turn Back Time for 88.5 points. As the last man to erupt from the chutes at the Prince Albert event, Parsonage clinched the victory when he covered 2019 PBR Canada Bull of the Finals Finning Lil Shorty for 88 points. A rematch, the qualified ride avenged a buckoff from 2019 when Finning Lil Shorty brought Parsonage down in 6.52 seconds in Grande Prairie, Alberta. Earning 27 national points, Parsonage concluded his home province event atop the national standings, 10 points ahead of then No. 2 Zane Lambert.
Parsonage’s winning ways continued at his very next event, with the Maple Creek-native again emerging victorious in Kinsella. While he briefly surrendered the No. 1 rank in the nation, not competing at the Touring Pro Division events in Cluny, Alberta, he was back atop the rankings after the Kinsella Gravel Dome Bullarama. The 28-year-old began the event with a runner-up finish in Round 1, covering Look Alive for 84.5 points. As the penultimate man out in the championship round, Parsonage faced a rematch in Hanna Motors Rhythm & Blues. Having met once prior, Parsonage rode the bull in Calgary in March 2019, marked 84 points. In Kinsella, Parsonage replicated his success from 2019, once again covering the bovine athlete, this time marked an event-best 86 points. Earning 30 national points, Parsonage reclaimed the No. 1 ranking in the national standings, surging 19 points ahead of then No. 2 Cody Coverchuk.
While Parsonage was shut out in the subsequent two Touring Pro Division events, he found himself back inside the winner’s circle in Magrath, Alberta for the Celebration for the Two Bit Nation. Parsonage began the event at the home of Two Bit Bucking Bulls in strong fashion, topping Round 1 when he made the 8 aboard Look Alive for 85.5 points, the very bull he rode in late July en route to his second victory of the year in Kinsella, Alberta. As the last man to leave the chutes, Parsonage faced Irish Rebel, who entered the showdown with a six-out buckoff streak, last covered in Calgary in January 2020 by Wacey Finkbeiner for 82 points. In picture perfect form, Parsonage proved the more dominant athlete in the Magrath showdown, making the 8 seconds for 87.5 points. Parsonage’s third golden finish earned him a crucial 30 Canadian national points allowing him to maintain his No. 1 rank in the race for the 2021 PBR Canada Championship. The Saskatchewan man extended his lead over the No. 2-ranked rider from 7.67 points to 27 points. While Parsonage has since slipped to No. 3 in the national standings, he remains a top contender for the year’s national title, just 33.66 points behind No. 1 Nick Tetz. A former Lethbridge Cup Series event winner, Parsonage will first attempt Sons of Junkie in Round 1, and Norse God in Round 2.
LAMBERT GOES FOR 90 – While he may not have earned the victory at the first PBR Canada Touring Pro Division event held in 2021, two-time PBR Canada Champion Zane Lambert was responsible for another special moment – the first 90-point ride of the season on Canadian soil. On the spurs of his 83.5-point ride in Round 1 of the event in Prince Albert, Lambert found his name across from that of reigning PBR Canada Bull of the Year Catch My Drift in the championship round. A familiar matchup, Lambert had been on the Two Bit Bucking Bulls’ bovine twice prior. After covering him for 87 points in their first meeting in Stavely, Alberta in September 2018, Catch My Drift evened the score in their subsequent showdown, bucking off Lambert in 3.31 seconds during the March 2019 Cup Series event in Calgary, Alberta. A rubber match, Lambert was poised. Matching the bull jump-for-jump, the Ponoka man made the requisite 8, marked a season-high 91 points. While the monstrous score was enough to earn Lambert the round win, he fell two points short of the event win in the aggregate. Since the runner-up finish in June, Lambert has registered two additional Top-5 finishes, fourth in Magrath and second in Coronation. He is presently ranked No. 9 in the race for the 2021 PBR Canada Championship, 84.16 points behind No. 1 Nick Tetz. Should Lambert win the title in 2021, he would tie three-time Champion Aaron Roy for most Canadian titles won by a rider in league history. In Round 1 from Lethbridge, Lambert will attempt Gandy, followed by Bob Rock in Round 2.
WELCOME BACK COVERCHUK – Returning to PBR Canada competition in 2021, Cody Coverchuk has been electric, winning two events to position himself No. 2 in the race for the national title ahead of this weekend’s Cup Series season launch event in Lethbridge. Coverchuk will travel to ENMAX Centre with momentum at his back, victorious at the most recent Touring Pro Division event held mid-week in Marwayne, Alberta. In Round 1, Coverchuk was one of the final riders to punch his ticket to the championship round, advancing courtesy of his 80.5-point ride on Big Chill. Despite holding a less-than-desired position on the event leaderboard, Coverchuk was undeterred. Drawing Ain’t About Fame as his final bovine athlete opponent, the Saskatchewan man reached the 8 for an event-best 86.5 points. The round winning score propelled Coverchuk up the leaderboard, securing his second PBR Canada event win of the 2021 season. Capitalizing on a double-entry, Coverchuk also finished sixth compliments of his 83.5-point score on Done Talking in the opening round. For his collective efforts, Coverchuk earned 26 Canadian points, climbing from No. 4 to No. 2 in the national standings. While he is now within reach of the top position, Coverchuk was briefly the No. 1 rider in Canada, a position he earned courtesy of his first event win of the season in Cluny, Alberta, where he dominated the competition, sweeping both rounds via a flawless 2-for-2 showing. Initially drawing Miguel in Round 1 of the Cluny event, Coverchuk earned a re-ride, an opportunity he seized. Next matching up against Double Major, Coverchuk made the requisite 8, marked an opening round-best 84 points. As the last man to leave the chutes, the 27-year-old was locked in a battle of champions in the final round, climbing aboard 2019 PBR Canada Bull of the Year Gaume Farms Homegrown. A rematch, Coverchuk covered Homegrown for 86 points during the 2018 PBR Canada Finals en route to both his victory at the season-culminating event and career-first national title. Coverchuk once again proved the more dominant athlete, remaining perfect against Homegrown and earning an event-best 89-point score. Alongside his two event wins, Coverchuk has registered an accompanying five Top-10 efforts. This weekend in Lethbridge, Coverchuk as drawn Big Bird in Round 1, and Gandy in Round 2 of the PBR South Country Co-op Showdown, presented by VisitLethbridge.com.
BIEVER RETURNS TO CANADA – With the 2021 PBR Canada season starting on a delay, Logan Biever didn’t sit idle, instead opting to travel stateside, a decision that proved dividends. Compliments of success on the Touring Pro Division and Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour, Biever earned two appearances on the elite Unleash The Beast. While Biever failed to record a qualified ride on the elite tour, he did find success on the Velocity Tour, recording four Top-10 finishes, including a career-best second-place result in College Station, Texas. Having since returned home to Canada, Biever has ridden at just three events on home soil in 2021. Most recently he found his groove in Marwayne, Alberta, where he finished both third and 12th. As a result, Biever is now No. 14 in the race for the 2021 PBR Canada Championship prior to the Cup Series’ return this weekend in Lethbridge. Inside ENMAX Centre, Biever will attempt Smash in Round 1 and Hot Tamale in Round 2.
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. Battling through the unique 2020 season to win his first title, Buttar picked up right where he left off in 2021. After finishing 12th and 13th at the first Touring Pro Division event of the year in Prince Albert, Buttar made waves when the tour turned for Cluny, Alberta, delivering both a silver and bronze effort. Continuing his momentum, Buttar rode to a sixth-place result in Czar Lake, before once again finishing just short of the win, concluding the Magrath event second. In the weeks since, Buttar has registered three additional Top-10 finishes, including a fourth-place result at the most recent Touring Pro Division event in Marwayne, Alberta. While he has yet to hold the No. 1 ranking in 2021, Buttar is within striking distance ahead of the premier series’ return, ranked No. 4 in Canada, 41.33 points behind No. 1 Tetz. Victorious last March in Lethbridge, Buttar will attempt to channel past successes when he faces Black List in Round 1 and Alberta Prime Union Jack in Round 2 inside ENMAX Centre.
PAST LETHBRIDGE EVENT WINNERS – In 2020, PBR Canada’s elite Cup Series traveled to Lethbridge, Alberta, and ENMAX Centre three times. After playing host to the last fan-attended Cup Series event prior to the onset of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic in early March, Lethbridge was the site of the league’s historic return to competition with a double-header in late July 2020 following a 138-day hiatus from live events. In front of a sold-out crowd, Dakota Buttar won the March 2020 event in Lethbridge, marking one of his six event victories en route to the 2020 PBR Canada Championship. Later that season, Brock Radford and Ty Ellis tied for the victory at the opening iteration of the Lethbridge double-header in July, while Garrett Green won the third event of the season in Lethbridge held later the evening, which also marked the first fan-attended sporting event in Canada since the onset of COVID-19. PBR Canada’s elite Cup Series debuted in Lethbridge in 2019.
As the lone rider to go a perfect 3-for-3, Jared Parsonage captured the second premier series event win of his career inside ENMAX Centre.
2021: Garrett Green
2021: Brock Radford/Ty Ellis
2020: Dakota Buttar
2019: Jared Parsonage
FAMILIAR WATERS – In Round 1 of the PBR South Country Co-op Showdown, presented by VisitLethbridge.com, two riders will face familiar opponents. Both rivalries date to the 2020 iteration of the famed Glen Keeley Memorial Bull Riding in Stavely, Alberta, with neither rider having made the requisite 8. For Brock Radford, he will once again climb aboard Beer Buzz who bucked him off in 3.19 seconds en route to a 42-point score, while Lonnie West will again attempt Shameless who earned a 43-point score for his 4.56 seconds of work against West.
Round 2 of the Cup Series event from Lethbridge, Alberta, and ENMAX Centre will feature five rematches, with Radford slated to climb aboard his second familiar opponent of the year. Marking their fourth showdown on record, Radford covered Grey Tower III in their first meeting, scored 85 points during the championship round of the 2018 PBR Canada Finals in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The two next danced during the 2019 Calgary Stampede, with Grey Tower III proving the more dominant athlete, bucking off Radford in 3.05 seconds. Radford, however, delivered his second 8-second effort in their most recent match-up. He rode Grey Tower III for 88 points during the 2020 Touring Pro Division event in Lloydminster. Of the quintet, apart from Radford, only one other rider has previously covered their bull. Attempting to remain perfect against Edge of Tomorrow, Aussie sensation Callum Miller rode the bull for 78.5 points during Round 2 of the 2020 Cup Series event in Calgary.
The remaining Round 2 rematches are:
- Garrett Green vs. Sam Crow (2021 Cluny, Alberta TPD – Championship Round | 7.12 seconds)
- Logan Biever vs. Hot Tamale (2020 Grande Prairie, Alberta CUP FINALS – Round 1 | 3.13 seconds)
- Nick Tetz vs. Hanna Motors Rhythm & Blues (2018 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan CUP FINALS – Round 1 | 2.72 seconds)
BULL PEN – This weekend’s bull pen for the 2021 PBR Canada Cup Series launch in Lethbridge, Alberta, will be headlined by 2018 PBR Canada Bull of the Year Happy Camper. Hard at work on the Touring Pro Division to begin this year’s campaign, Happy Camper has been the Bull of the Event three times thus far in 2021. Happy Camper first claimed the honor in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan for the first event of the year in Canada, marked 45.5 points for his 4.13-second trip with Aaron Roy. The Bucking Sensation from the Two Bit Nation was again atop the pen in Cluny, Alberta, when he posted a 45-point score for his 3.09-second buckoff of Nick Tetz. Happy Camper most recently was the top bull in Kinsella, Alberta. Bucking off Tanner Eno in 2.69 seconds, Happy Camper was marked 44.5 points. In his most recent trip, Happy Camper bucked at his home event in Magrath, marked 44 points when he bucked off 2.31 seconds. Happy Camper will make his 2021 PBR Canada Cup Series debut in Lethbridge in the championship round.
Also hailing from the Two Bit Nation, and joining Happy Camper in the championship round, is reigning PBR Canada Bull of the Year Catch My Drift. In his first out of the year, Catch My Drift was covered by Zane Lambert for the first 90-point ride of the season, marked 91 points, including Catch My Drift’s 44.5-point effort. After bucking off the next three riders to climb aboard him, Catch My Drift was ridden in his most recent trip, covered by reining PBR Canada Champion Dakota Buttar for 89 points, and earning a 44-point score.
NEXT UP – Following a more than one-month break, the 2021 PBR Canada Sup Series will travel to Grande Prairie, Alberta and Revolution Place for the PBR Grande Prairie BuckWild on October 1-2. Action will get underway on both Friday and Saturday 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.
LETHBRIDGE COMPETITORS BY COUNTRY
Australia (1) – Callum Miller
Canada (24) – Cawl Braithwaite, Logan Biever, Dakota Buttar, Todd Chotowetz, Cody Coverchuk, Weston Davidson, Riley Gagnon, Garrett Green, Chad Hartman, Dayton Johnston, Nicholas Klinck, Zane Lambert, Tim Lipsett, Shay Marks, Micheal Ostashek, Jared Parsonage, Brock Radford, Aaron Roy, Ashton Sahli, Griffin Smeltzer, Blake Smith, Nick Tetz, Lonnie West, Cole Young
BREAKDOWN BY PROVINCE –
Alberta – Logan Biever, Cawl Braithwaite, Riley Gagnon, Garrett Green, Dayton Johnston, Nicholas Klinck, Zane Lambert, Shay Marks, Michea Ostashek, Brock Radford, Ashton Sahli, Griffin Smeltzer, Nick Tetz, Lonnie West, Cole Young; Saskatchewan – Dakota Buttar, Todd Chotowetz, Cody Coverchuk, Weston Davidson, Chad Hartman, Tim Lipsett, Jared Parsonage, Aaron Roy, Blake Smith.