Game Notes – Medicine Hat
By: Kacie Albert Friday, October 15, 2021 @ 12:39 PM
MORE COWBELL PLEASE – This weekend, for the first time in league history, PBR Canada’s elite Cup Series will buck into Medicine Hat, Alberta, holding the PBR Thunderbuck in the Badlands, presented by Robertson Implements and New Holland, at Co-op Place, Oct. 16. The tour stop is the third Cup Series event of the year, with action for Canada’s premier series getting underway in August in Lethbridge, Alberta, followed by a tour stop in early October in Grande Prairie, Alberta. The Medicine Hat event will begin Saturday, October 16 at 7:00 p.m. MDT with Round 1 and the championship round.
Including the PBR Thunderbuck in the Badlands, presented by Robertson Implements and New Holland, three Cup Series events, in addition to one Touring Pro Division stop, remain prior to the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals, presented by Command Tubular Products, Nov. 12-13 in Edmonton, Alberta. With an intense battle underway for the 2021 PBR Canada Championship, the Top 5 riders in the nation will travel to Medicine Hat within 74.66 points of one another. This weekend, one rider will have the chance to earn 80 national points.
THIS WEEKEND’S FORMAT – The PBR Thunderbuck in the Badlands, presented by Robertson Implements and New Holland, will feature one round of bull riding. Each rider will get on one bull in Round 1 on Saturday. The 10 bull riders with the 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.
JAKE GARDNER – PRINCE OF THE PEACE COUNTRY – After beginning his 2021 season stateside, Peace Country contender Jake Gardner made his return to home soil in triumphant fashion at the most recent PBR Canada Cup Series event in Grande Prairie, Alberta. As the lone rider to go a perfect 3-for-3, Gardner captured his career-first elite Cup Series event win, victorious at the PBR Grande Prairie BuckWild. In Round 1, Gardner was quick to strike, covering Oldsmobile for 82 points. Positioned sixth on the event leaderboard ahead of Championship Sunday, Gardner returned determined as he readied to go head-to-head against Blue Blood. Gardner erupted from the chutes, matching the bull jump-for-jump en route to the 8-second whistle and an 83-point score. With the second pick in the championship-round bull draft, Gardner selected 2021 PBR Canada Bull of the Year contender Lil’ Hooch, a decision which would prove dividends. Gardner, in picture-perfect form, covered the striking bovine athlete for a championship round-best 89 points, clinching him the event win and leading the crowd inside Bonnetts Energy Centre to erupt in raucous cheer. In addition to his success in the main event, Gardner also finished second in the PBR Grande Prairie BuckWild’s accompanying 5/5 Bucking Battle. As one of two riders to record a score in the special round, Gardner outlasted Wolf Bait for an 84.5-point score. Collectively, Gardner earned 96 national points for his efforts, allowing him to crack the Top 10 in the Canadian standings after beginning the second Cup Series event of the year ranked No. 26. Rising 17 positions, Gardner is now No. 9 in the feverish title race, 109.83 points behind No. 1 Dakota Buttar. Since making his debut on home soil in late September on the Touring Pro Division in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Gardner has been perfect in Canadian competition, making the 8 aboard all eight of his bovine athlete opponents. The record for longest ride streak held by any one rider on Canadian soil is 11, last seen in 2020 when Buttar achieved the feat at the start of the campaign. Gardner will look to continue his momentum this weekend in Medicine Hat, first going head-to-head against Vold Rodeo’s Jump Start in Round 1.
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. And while he may have had a slower beginning to the season, Buttar has been one of the league’s hottest riders since the Cup Series campaign got underway in Lethbridge, Alberta in late August. While Buttar was shutout inside ENMAX Centre, he was quick to rebound when the Touring Pro Division resumed competition in September. Riding at the developmental event in Ponoka, Alberta, Buttar not only delivered a 90-point ride, but went a perfect 2-for-2 to notch his first event victory of 2021. The Saskatchewan man got off to an electric start in Round 1, delivering the second-best score when he went the distance atop Twisted Soul for 84.5 points. In the championship round, Buttar selected a new bovine athlete opponent, drafting Norse God who had been ridden just once prior in five outs on record. Becoming just the second rider to make the 8 aboard the powerful bull, Buttar matched Norse God jump-for-jump en route to a head-turning 90-point score. The 90-point ride was Buttar’s first of the 2021 season and fifth of his career across all levels of PBR competition. The flawless effort earned the Saskatchewan man a critical 30 national points, allowing him to crack the Top 5 in the national title race. He rose six positions from No. 9 to No. 3, climbing within 18.67 points of then No. 1 Zane Lambert.
After righting the ship in Ponoka, Buttar’s stock only continued to rise, winning two of the three events held the following week in Calgary, Alberta. As competition got underway at Grey Eagle Resort & Casino, Buttar delivered yet another flawless 2-for-2 performance to logging his second consecutive Touring Pro Division event win, victorious at the opening iteration of the Cody Snyder Charity Bull Bustin’. And not only did the perfect performance earn him the event win, but it also allowed Buttar to surge to the No. 1 rank in the race for the 2021 PBR Canada Championship, a position he has maintained ever since. Fresh off his victory the weekend prior in Ponoka, Buttar was one of eight riders to record a score in Round 1, making the 8 atop Sellin Dreams for 80 points. Drawing Slip Slap as his final opponent, a bull who had bucked just once prior in PBR competition, Buttar remained poised, registering the lone score of the championship round when he made the whistle for 84.5 points. The golden finish earned Buttar a crucial 25 national points, propelling him from No. 3 to No. 1 in the national standings. After beginning the tour stop 18.67 points behind Lambert, Buttar inched 2.33 points ahead of the two-time PBR Canada Champion. Buttar, however, still had work to do in Calgary. When the second iteration of the Cody Snyder Charity Bull Bustin’ began the following day, Buttar was once again unrivaled, netting his third consecutive event win and extending his lead over No. 2 Lambert to 29.33 points. Concluding the day with a six-out ride streak, Buttar posted the fourth-best score of Round 1 when he made the requisite 8 atop Double Deuce for 81 points, before capping his efforts with an event-best 89.5-point ride aboard One Eyed Charlie. Buttar concluded the trio of events with a fourth-place effort on the final day of competition. He recorded his seventh consecutive ride when he covered Fake News for 84.5 points in Round 1 but was inevitably bucked off by In Cahoots in 4.3 seconds in the championship round.
At the second PBR Canada Cup Series event of the season in Grande Prairie, Buttar remained in control of the No. 1 ranking in the standings. Going 1-for-3, Buttar finished seventh in the main event, but he also won the tour stop’s accompanying 5/5 Bucking Battle courtesy of an 87.5-point score on Trump Card. The stoic Saskatchewan native left Grande Prairie having netted a combined 29.5 national points to further his stronghold on the No. 1 position in the battle for the 2021 PBR Canada Championship. Buttar now leads the No. 2-ranked rider by 40.66 points. Buttar, who won the debut PBR event in Medicine Hat in 2019, has drawn Two Bit Bucking Bulls’ Devils Boy in Round 1 of the PBR Thunderbuck in the Badlands, presented by Robertson Implements and New Holland.
HANSEN HEATS UP – Jordan Hansen may not have started his 2021 PBR Canada season until late September in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan on the Touring Pro Division, but when he did begin his campaign, he did so in head-turning fashion. Backed by a monstrous 90-point effort, the Okotoks contender finished second at the Prince Albert PBR, presented by Riverside Dodge, earning 20 national points. Hansen first put points on the board in Round 1 when he covered Sure Shot for 85.5 points.
Making magic in the championship round, Hansen registered his first 90-point ride of 2021, and sixth of the year on Canadian soil, when he rode Catch My Drift for 90 points. The silver finish allowed Hansen to surge to No. 17 in the national standings, climbing within160.66 points of No. 1 Dakota Buttar. In his first Cup Series outing of 2021, Hansen’s stock continued to rise, parlaying a perfect 2-for-2 outing on Championship Saturday into a runner-up finish in Grande Prairie. Following an uncharacteristic 2.68-second buckoff dealt to him in Round 1 by Mr. Legit, Hansen was back to his title-contending form in Round 2, topping the field when he rode Norse God for 88.5 points. Hansen then selected a new opponent for the championship round in Al Capone. Poised, Hansen reached the requisite 8, earning a score of 88 points to cement the silver finish. Hansen netted 77 national points to surge from No. 17 to No. 11 in the Canadian standings. The 28-year-old trails the Top 10 by a mere 2 points and is within 113.16 points of No. 1 Buttar. This weekend in Medicine Hat, Hansen will look to register his third consecutive qualified ride when he faces off against Vold Rodeo’s Red Pearl.
CAN ROY MAKE IT FOUR? – In the history of PBR Canada no rider has won more national championships than three-time title holder Aaron Roy. Roy, the lone Canadian to have eclipsed $1 million in career earnings in the PBR, is also one of just two riders to have won the honor multiple times, joined by two-time PBR Canada Champion Zane Lambert. In 2021, Roy is seeking even rarer air, contending for what would be his unprecedented fourth PBR Canada Championship. At the most recent PBR Canada Cup Series event held in early October in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Roy gained notable ground in the feverish title race, finishing third to collect 59 national points. Roy dominated the opening round of action for the Alberta Cup Series event, surging to the top position on the leaderboard via his 84.5-point ride atop Stutter Step. In Round 2, Roy remained the No. 1 man in the race for the event title when he went the distance on Big Chill for 81 points. Roy’s string of successes, however, came to an abrupt halt in the championship round when he was brought down in 3.62 seconds by Gifted. The legendary rider is now No. 12 in the Canadian standings, 131.33 points behind No. 1 Dakota Buttar. In Medicine Hat, Roy has drawn Pedro as his opening round opponent.
COVERCHUK CLAIMS NO. 2 RANK – While Dakota Buttar may have retained his No. 1 ranking in the national standings after the most recent PBR Canada Cup Series event in Grande Prairie, Alberta, there is a new man in the No.2 position, hot on Buttar’s spurs. Courtesy of a fourth-place effort inside the Bonnetts Energy Centre, 2018 PBR Canada Champion Cody Coverchuk surged from No. 5 to No. 2 in the race for the national title. Going 1-for-3, Coverchuk earned the Top-5 finish compliments of his 86-point ride on Night Blood in Round 2. Ahead of this weekend’s tour stop in Medicine Hat, Coverchuk is within 40.66 points of No. 1 Buttar. Should either Buttar or Coverchuk win the 2021 PBR Canada Championship, they would become just the third multi-time Canadian national champion in league history. To date, three-time title holder Aaron Roy and two-time Champion Zane Lambert are the only two riders to have achieved the feat. Saturday evening inside Co-op Place, Coverchuk has drawn X6 Ranch’s Stay Alert for his opening round opponent.
PAST MEDICINE HAT EVENT WINNERS – While the elite PBR Canada Cup Series has never before travelled to Medicine Hat, Alberta, in 2019, the league made its debut in the Alberta city, hosting a stop on the developmental Touring Pro Division. As one of two riders to deliver a perfect performance, Dakota Buttar captured his second PBR Canada event win of the season. Buttar’s evening began strong in Round 1, recording the second highest marks when he reached the 8-second whistle aboard Broken Trigger for 85 points. Continuing the momentum, the then 26-year-old remained flawless in Medicine Hat when he recorded the high-marked ride of the event, scored 88.5 points on Spooky Lukie in the championship round.
For his efforts, Buttar earned 320 Canadian points, propelling him from No. 12 to No.5 in the standings.
2019 Dakota Buttar
FAMILIAR WATERS – In Round 1 of the PBR Thunderbuck in the Badlands, three riders will face familiar opponents, with every member of the trio entering the showdown seeking their first qualified ride against their drawn bovine athlete opponent. For two-time PBR Canada Champion Zane Lambert, he will face the lone bull that bucked him off this August in Lethbridge en route to the season-launch Cup Series event win. Once again slated to go head-to-head against Bob Rock, the bull got the better of Lambert in 1.84 seconds during Round 2 of the tour stop inside ENMAX Centre. Both Callum Miller and Griffin Smeltzer will face foes they initially attempted this September on the Touring Pro Division in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Both bested in Round 1 of the event held at the Byrne Family Ranch, Miller was bucked off in a hard-fought 6.47 seconds by Langham Kid, while Blue North dispatched Smeltzer in a quicker 3.04 seconds.
BULL PEN – This weekend’s bull pen for the PBR Canada Cup Series event in Medicine Hat, Alberta, will be headlined by the triumphant return of 2018 PBR Canada Bull of the Year Happy Camper. Dominant on Canadian soil thus far in 2021, Happy Camper leads the league with four Bull of the Event honors. In his season-debut in June at the Touring Pro Division event in Prince Alberta, Happy Camper lit up the scoreboard when he earned a 45.5-point score for his 4.13 seconds of work against three-time PBR Canada Champion Aaron Roy. As the Touring Pro Division turned for Cluny, Alberta, Happy Camper was once again unrivaled in the bull pen. Posting a 45-point score, the striking bovine bucked off Nick Tetz in a swift 3.09 seconds.
Happy Camper’s streak of head-turning outs continued in Kinsella, Alberta. Matched up against Tanner Eno, the fan-favorite animal athlete sent him to the dirt in 2.69 seconds to earn his third Bull of the Event honor of the year. Present for the season-launch PBR Canada Cup Series event in Lethbridge, Happy Camper earned his fourth event-best score when he teamed with Griffin Smeltzer for a 90-point ride, marked 44.5 points. The pride of the Two Bit Nation last bucked in September on the Touring Pro Division in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. While he was out bucked for the Bull of the Event honor, Happy Camper posted a respectable 44.5-point score for his 5.33-second trip with Australian sensation Callum Miller. Happy Camper is one of 10 bulls selected to buck in the championship round of this weekend’s Cup Series event in Medicine Hat, Alberta.
NEXT UP – The 2021 PBR Canada Sup Series will next travel to Calgary, Alberta and the Nutrien Western Event Centre for the PBR Pendleton Whisky Classic on October 23. Action will get underway at 7:00 p.m. MDT.
PROVIDING PROTECTION – The bullfighters on hand for this weekend’s event in Medicine Hat are Tanner Byrne, Ty Prescott, and Brett Monea.
2021 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 5 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 2021:
Aug. 27 in Lethbridge, Alberta: Callum Miller, 88 points on Hanna Motors Wilford
Oct. 1 in Grande Prairie, Alberta: Dakota Buttar, 87.5 points on Trump Card
MEDICINE HAT COMPETITORS BY COUNTRY
Australia (1) – Callum Miller
Canada (26) – Logan Biever, Dakota Buttar, Todd Chotowetz, Cody Coverchuk, Tyler Craig, Weston Davidson, Wacey Finkbeiner, Riley Gagnon, Jake Gardner, Garrett Green, Jordan Hansen, Chad Hartman, Nicholas Klinck, Zane Lambert, Tim Lipsett, Micheal Ostashek, Jared Parsonage, Brock Radford, Coy Robbins, Aaron Roy, Ashton Sahli, Dawson Shannon, Griffin Smeltzer, Blake Smith, Nick Tetz, Lonnie West
Paraguay (1) – Fabian Dueck
BREAKDOWN BY PROVINCE –
Alberta – Logan Biever, Tyler Craig, Weston Davidson, Wacey Finkbeiner, Riley Gagnon, Garrett Green, Jordan Hansen, Nicholas Klinck, Zane Lambert, Micheal Ostashek, Brock Radford, Coy Robbins, Ashton Sahli, Dawson Shannon, Griffin Smeltzer, Nick Tetz, Lonnie West, British Columbia – Jake Gardner; Saskatchewan – Dakota Buttar, Todd Chotowetz, Cody Coverchuk, Chad Hartman, Tim Lipsett, Jared Parsonage, Aaron Roy, Blake Smith.