Nick Tetz Puts Record 2023 Season in Rearview, Looks Toward 2024 Opportunities
By: Covy Moore Thursday, December 7, 2023 @ 9:55 AM
AIRDRIE, Alta. – Back-to-back Canadian Championships were on Nick Tetz’ mind throughout the 2023 PBR Canada season.
And after more than 40 events and 100s of outs, the season came down to the championship round of the National Finals.
For Tetz, his final out was aboard Ringling Road, a bull he rode with ease, putting the pressure on eventual Dakota Buttar to cover his final bull, because without that last ride, Tetz would walk away a two-time champ.
But Buttar rose to the occasion, clinching the 2023 Championship with an 86.75-point ride on Time Marches On, finishing 45.5 points ahead of runner-up Tetz.
Career years are not always perfect, but for Tetz 2023 will be one to remember.
Kicking off the season as the defending Champion, his success in Canada earned him the opportunity to compete on the premier Unleash The Beast in the United States. His success stateside not only led to his first World Finals berth, but also caught the eye of the Arizona Ridge Riders, who signed him to their Reserve Roster. Tetz exceled with Arizona, ultimately proving to be the team’s top performer, promoted to the Protected Roster.
For Tetz, he says he only feels pride now looking back at the 2023 season. But along with that, he hopes that he can inspire some of his bull riding buddies to make that same trek to the United States.
“Looking at the standings I had the second highest riding percentage in PBR Canada,” Tetz said. “That is pretty cool. Second on money earned on the year. Dakota beat me because of the bonus and winning the title.”
“I could use a roommate there,” Tetz said of his time stateside. “It would be nice to see some familiar faces down there. Show them that Canada is a bull riding nation too, not just the US and Brazil. I am extremely proud of the season I had, I wouldn’t really change anything about it, or the way I went at it, and that is something I can always hang my hat on. I went down swinging every single time.”
With the success he experienced in PBR Teams, Tetz carried a ton of confidence into every Canadian event in the late summer and fall.
Admitting that his experience with the Arizona Ridge Riders had slowed down the game for him, he says he went into the 2023 PBR Canada National Finals with the attitude of picking the best bucker in each round and swinging for the fences, like he did in 2022.
“I went in feeling confident that I could pick any bull in that pen and be able to ride them,” Tetz said. “My game plan was the same as I had last year, pick the buckiest bull in the pen each day. It didn’t matter if they went into my hand or away from my hand. That is what got me, was doing that. But I went about it how I wanted to.”
“It worked out for Dakota, it didn’t work out for me,” Tetz added of his event strategy. “Dakota was battling with injuries, he went about it the best way he could with what he was given, and he did a good job with that. I felt confident with my shoulder, so I didn’t feel like that was the way I needed to go about it.”
When looking back at the Canadian season as a whole, Tetz says one big moment stands out for him was in Calgary in July when he rode his good friend's bucker Time Marches On for a career-best 92 points.
“For sure has to be winning that last day of Bullbustin, like I did the year before,” Tetz said without hesitation. “And doing it on Time Marches On of Jim Thompson’s, Jim has always been a big supporter of all of us that go to his place to practice.”
“I know I can call Jim at any time for some practice, or to figure some things out and he will run me in some good ones. To be able to go out, pick his bull in the short round and be 92, be the highest marked ride of the year. It was pretty awesome, especially given what he has done for my career. “
On the global stage, Tetz said that his first event after signing with the Arizona Ridge Riders in Cheyenne, Wyoming, is his standout moment south of the border. He said that despite the unknowns heading down, starting off the event with a ride for the squad simply set up the incredible season on the PBR Teams League.
“I went there after signing as a practice spot guy, and you don't know when you’ll get your shot to make a statement and get on the team is going to be. For me to do it at the first event, first out for them for the entire year to start off with a ride, it just gave me so much confidence and that team backed me up the rest of the year.”
“I let a couple nice ones get by me when I was struggling a bit,” Tetz continued. “I could have finished a little higher up in the overall MVP standings. But it gave me so much confidence for the Unleash The Beast season, and that goal of getting into the Top 10.”
The 2023 PBR Canada National Finals was highlighted by the 21 competitors covering a staggering 59% of the bulls.
“It wasn’t like we just had spinners at the Finals, we had the buckers at our Finals,” Tetz said. “It is unreal when you get to be a part of an event like that. Everyone was riding, everyone was clicking, you can feel the momentum with ride after ride. It just gets the crowd into it too. It makes you realize you have to show up too, cause if you dont you are going to be the bottom of the pack.”
“It was awesome to be a part of a Finals like that,” Tetz added. “If I could have ridden that one bull, maybe we could have set the record for the highest riding percentage of any individual event all year worldwide. It was a great event that PBR Canada put on and I was proud to be a part of it.”
A final highlight of the 2023 PBR Canada season for Tetz was just this past week when he and his longtime girlfriend Maddie got engaged while on vacation. The calculated bull rider says it was all a part of the plan.
“Me and Maddie have been dating for four years now, we have been dating since we were 19. We have a home together, bought half a barrel horse with her too,” Tetz said. “It’s just growing up, and there is no one else I would rather spend my days with. I am just happy she said yes.”
With plenty of PBR Unleash The Beast opportunities in 2024, a likely return to the Arizona Ridge Riders as well as a packed 41-event PBR Canada schedule, Tetz said he has goals across all facets of PBR competition.
“The number one goal is to ride 50%. I was 49% this year, so I can't cross that off yet. I like to start with that. I feel like if I ride 50% the rest takes care of itself. I have goals for what I want to earn. But having fun, doing that Teams series, you get to be friends with all those guys from every single team. I kind of miss everybody down there.”
“Just like when I am away from Canada, coming back is like a reunion. I want to get back down there, have some fun, I want to finish inside the Top 10 in the world. It's a lofty goal for sure, but I feel like I can take my step, bring my riding to the next level. Then obviously grab another PBR Canada title. Maybe be a little pickier for the Team events, try to hit a few more Canadian events with that $100,000 up. Those are the main goals.”
But a tertiary goal for Tetz is to inspire his generation of Canadian bull riders to take the plunge and head stateside. Alluding to what Ty Pozzobon did during his time on the PBR Unleash The Beast, Tetz wants to be a role model for what Canadian bull riders have to offer the world stage.
“I really want to put Canada on the map as far as bull riders go,” Tetz said. “Look at what Pozzy did for all the Canadians, and Brock [Radford’s] and Lonnie [West’s] era. Not in the same way, but I feel like I am doing that too for all my buddies. I think that was the last thing I talked to all of them about at Finals in Edmonton, was if they are going to any Velocity events, cause they better be. Its tough going down south, but with the way the cut system is right now, you just need to have a couple good events and you can hang in there. Get those good draws and capitalize on them. It's nice the way it's set up. It can suck in a dry spell, but if you are hot, I dont think it's too hard to get on tour.”